How Pitney Bowes Is Building The Next-Generational "Think-Force?"

Cultivating a culture of continuous learning and providing employees access to on-the-job training opportunities, such as mentorships, shadowing, and job rotation opportunities is the key to keeping them engaged and invested in their own careers as well as the growth of the company


Focus on the L&D muscle in organizations to reskill and train the existing workforce to do new roles with expanded skillsets, is the need of the hour in today's fast-paced world. Hence, Ruchi Bhalla, Country Head - India Delivery Centers and Vice President, Human Resources (Asia Pacific) is here to throw light on how should organisations rovide opportunities and exposure for talent to develop themselves – practical and academic skill enhancement. Alongside she will also lay emphasis on changing management and transformation to bridge the gap in the tech industry.

1. Coronavirus expedited a trend of digitalisation in the workplace at an unprecedented pace. In your opinion how did L&D muscle help the organisations keep up with changing dynamics of the industry?

The pandemic fast-tracked the need for better L&D practices across all industries to stay relevant. Organizations needed to invest heavily in driving talent development to empower the workforce to be future-ready by providing continuous opportunities to learn new and relevant skills. Managers had to be committed to engage in transparent, constructive development and coaching conversations to support employees’ career growth and maintain skill relevance. Empowering employees to adapt to the ever-changing technological environment, be agile, and actively deepen and build new skills was an essential part of building the L&D muscle.

2. As the ‘great resignation’ continues, how do you think L&D muscles in organisations can help hold their feet?

Cultivating a culture of continuous learning and providing employees access to on-the-job training opportunities, such as mentorships, shadowing, and job rotation opportunities is the key to keeping them engaged and invested in their own careers as well as the growth of the company. L&D is traditionally a static function; however, it is more important than ever that L&D programs are dynamic, customizable, and personalized. The use of data and analytics to understand the nuances of each employee’s learning requirements is essential for the success of a smart L&D strategy to maintain a sustainable talent pipeline and a stable workforce.

3. Can you elaborate on the practices set at Pitney Bowes which enables the existing workforce to do new roles?

Pitney Bowes is committed to taking an ‘Inside first’ look at our talent and putting the right people in the right place at the right time. This includes allowing employees to explore new opportunities within the company.

Internal Mobility provides employees with opportunities to broaden their skillset and for the company to build a diverse pool of qualified employees. We embrace talent progression and opportunities for our employees to gain new experiences. We encourage them to take charge of their career by pursuing internal openings that meet their career interests.

4. According to you, how beneficial are Talent development programmes for an organisation to not only enhance its talent but also stabilise it?

Providing new and exciting avenues for growth and skill development encourages people to take an active role in advancing their careers. Innovative learning programs such as Peer-Learning, Skill-based Trainings, Virtual instructor-led training, and open innovation brainstorming forums help create a strong learning culture. During uncertain times like these, it becomes imperative to provide structure and assist employees in creating clear roadmaps and identifying critical trainings to help them advance in their roles and careers.

Organizations need to provide opportunities for employees to learn new skills and build existing ones. At Pitney Bowes, for example, we believe in encouraging employees to set their Personal Value Proposition, by encouraging them to focus on their career aspirations, aligning the best learning programs, selecting appropriate learning metrics, and up-skilling at their pace and convenience. Continuous investment in their careers will help keep employees engaged and make them feel that the company truly has their best interests in mind.

5. Keeping in mind the current attrition rate in the industry, do you think it will affect the opportunities and exposure provided by an organisation to its employees?

A personalized and holistic employee experience is the only way to retain talent. In India, there is no dearth of talent, but organizations need to do more to groom new talent that enters the workforce to provide them with a clear career path and roadmap for success. For example, building structured Internship Programs that allow young talent to connect with leaders who have been in the company and to get access to resources and training materials that will help them grown in their careers goes a long way.

We are also seeing a trend of people returning to their former employers. Having focused programs for boomerang employees, especially for women employees who maybe returning after a career gap, create a sustainable and personalized environment curated to the unique needs for each individual.

The pandemic has taught us to look at our colleagues as human beings beyond their roles at work. While building L&D programs too, it is important for organizations to invest time and resources to understand what motivates and inspires employees and creating a link between their personal aspirations and organization goals.

6. As rampant talent poaching continues, do you think it’s unviable for traditional employee retention practices to engage with talent sustainably?

In today’s location-agnostic world, talent has the boundless opportunities. To retain the best talent, organizations need to reimagine their retention practices and become more proactive to align their culture to employees’ (both remote and otherwise) expectations of a great workplace.

There is enough evidence to show that employees look for more than just compensation when choosing an employer. They value having mentors, an open and healthy line of communication between leaders and employees, celebrating wins together, being able to share feedback and concerns in a safe and open environment, and access to tools and resources that will help them grow in their careers.

7. Rising adaptation of digitalization has created a strong demand for highly skilled workforce, do you think this will increase the digital divide, and if not, then why?

Digitalization and adoption of emerging technologies has accelerated the demand for digital skills so there is an evident skill gap as the technology environment evolves rapidly. Continuous upskilling and learning will become even more important than before. Organizations can do their part in bridging the digital divide by making upskilling and re-skilling initiatives and digitally inclusive initiatives a priority to help develop these digital skills and build resilient workforces equipped with future skills. Cross-functional and cross-geographic collaboration can also play a key role in tackling this digital skill gap.

8. As there’s widespread digital adoption across all industries, what governance and process according to you should an organisation follow to bridge the gap effectively and efficiently?

As industries move towards becoming fully digital, governance processes become more complex and need to be navigated proactively and securely, to stay abreast with the new risks and opportunities that arise every day. Processes need to be able to pre-empt potential risks or challenges, for example, a pandemic or economic instability. Leaders must become fluent with data to be able to make accurate and unbiased decisions.

From a talent perspective, organizations need to have an expansive view of their talent road map, as much as they would of their digital capabilities for sustainable and scalable digital adoption.

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