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World Youth Skills Day: Investing In Digital Skills Proficiency Is Key To Success

Planning a robust framework for upskilling in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, cybersecurity & quantum will help firms stay relevant and competitive, believes Arppna Mehra, Vice President, HR, HARMAN India

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On World Youth Skills Day, Arppna Mehra, vice president, HR, global digital transformation and HR head of HARMAN India, shares the importance of digital skills proficiency among employees amid the wave of digital transformation. 

She believes that keeping an eye on industry trends and addressing the gaps through structured learning and project interventions is the path to continuous learning engagement with employees and targeted upskilling on a regular basis. 

How should organisations ensure upskilling and reskilling of employees amid frequent technological transformations?

As per the World Economic Forum, approximately 50 per cent of the workforce would need reskilling/upskilling by the year 2025. Organisations should plan for robust frameworks for areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), cloud, Internet Of Things, cybersecurity, 5G, and quantum. This will keep the organisations relevant and competitive in the coming years.  Amid the digital disruption wave, organisations should subsequently design curriculums for these focus areas to train employees on an ongoing basis. This ensures a future-ready vision. 

According to a report, India stands at the 73rd position in Digital Literacy globally. How should organisations promote digital skills proficiency among employees?

Organisations should ensure continuous learning engagements with employees. It is also important to understand where the employees stand with respect to skill proficiency before designing a learning journey. 

Hence, we have initiated a coding challenge to ensure regular assessment of the digital skill proficiency of employees and address the gaps via structured learning and project interventions. Such initiatives will allow organisations to have a continuous learning engagement with employees and targeted upskilling on a regular basis.

What are some major challenges faced by young talent in upskilling? 

Learning interventions for young talent should not be dull, lengthy and lacking interactivity. Instead, they should be readily accessible, available on demand, adaptable to their pace, and presented in bite-sized formats. One of the challenges that legacy organisations face is that their modules are still lengthy and monotonous. Those courses need to be modified and represented in a fashion that can be easily digested and applied by Gen Z and millennials.           

What are some metrics or indicators to track the progress of employees’ skill development? 

The metrics should prioritise both organisational growth and the behaviour of employees, recognising that learning serves as a strong foundation to support and drive organisational growth.

Other than basic learning metrics, here are a few metrics that we use and can be used to track the progress of skill development among employees. 

Learning Applicability Percentage: How much learning is the employee finally applying on the job?

Client Certification Completion Percentage: Client-specific certifications that are critical for employees to complete in order to service the client better.

Training Effectiveness: How many participants were able to clear the assessments-- both in theory and in a mock test environment. 

Training Feedback: What is the employee saying about the training? Are there any areas where L&D can improve?

Completion Percentage: How many employees were able to complete the training successfully?

Market, tech and trend awareness can help put employees’ skills to the right use to tap appropriate opportunities. What are your views?

For an organisation, it is important to keep an eye on industry trends and be closer to customers to understand their problems. To facilitate this, programmes such as Masterclass and TechTalks which try to address this by providing a platform for leaders and employees to share knowledge and discuss market trends can be initiated. Our Masterclass is a platform for our leaders to share the latest development in the tech space and showcase to larger audiences what the organisation is doing and its market potential.

To celebrate World Youth Skills Day, can you share some success stories of young talent who have benefitted from skill development programmes?  

We have developed various in-house interventions which focus on the freshers and young talents, one of them being – EMBARK. Embark is an in-house structured learning journey especially customised for freshers which encompasses topics from behavioural, and functional to technical upskilling. Hundreds of employees have graduated using Embark as a launch pad, in the past year. Out of those, we have many employees who have also switched roles with the help of our cross-training platform called Skill Up. These youngsters have got trained in niche technologies like Yocto and are already exceeding their SLAs.



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