The Talent Series Event discussing the Future of Talent in India was held in earlier this month in January 2012. In case you missed it, here are the highlights:
On 6 January BraveNewTalent organized the first event of the in the “Talent Series” – a conversation about Talent and Technology focusing on the Future of Talent in India. About 40 people attended from organizations as varied as KPMG, Amazon, SAP, Hewlett Packard, Genpact, Intel, Oracle and Nike.
Dheeraj Prasad (BraveNewTalent India MD) welcomed everyone and introduced the panel:
Pratik Kumar, VP-HR of Wipro and President, Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, Madan Padaki, CEO of Erudient, a Manipal Group Company, Krishna Prasad, Chief Experience Officer of Dentsu and Lucian Tarnowski, CEO of BraveNewTalent.
Lucian started by explaining that the Talent Series is about the conversation of talent and technology and that it is quite appropriate that it’s happening first in India. India is ground zero for talent. One in four of the world’s workforce in the future will be Indian. Lucian shared how his vision of the Talent Series is modeled like the Renaissance Salon, since we are going through a major shift and second renaissance like the time of the Medicis. Introducing BraveNewTalent, Lucian said that we connect Employers, Employment and Education. The model of talent communities is not something new to India. The origin of communities for learning started in India – and in the new virtual world, India can leapfrog the bricks and mortar model of education to education delivered via the cloud by employers.
Madan Padaki showed a video that questioned the concept of “employability”. In the video Ramesh (an 18 year old from a village, without any skills or education) was taught in seven months to write and speak in English and is now employed and manages a team currently in a rural BPO firm. Madan therefore asserted his hypothesis is there is nothing called employability, and everybody is employable. Madan stressed that we have to change the lens with which we see talent and skills and the current model of certifying learning is dead. Social and informal learning is the future. Technology will be so embedded in learning, that there will be no such thing as ‘technology based learning’ – it will simply be learning, according to Madan.
Pratik shared that technology leads to “Empowerment” in employees where earlier learning and access to information was linked to where people were in the hierarchy. Now it has liberated organization and people from that, knowledge is now available to everyone. It leads to ‘boundarylessness’ – interactions, mentoring, and learning from people across structures and companies. It enables employees to rally and make their point of view heard. The other big factor is Personalization – technology gives us the ability to personalize information and content to an employees needs and interest. This will become more and more important going forward.
Krishna shared that online is growing, access is becoming easier for users and the availability of content is increasing.
Ferose VR (MD of SAP Labs, where the Talent Series was held) shared that the traditional methods of learning are no longer relevant, and at SAP Labs they are getting rid of them. Most traditional forms learning delivers exposure but does not deliver experiences. So, for example, communications training is done by doing theater workshops. That is how the employees gain experience, by actually doing it.
Ferose stated that there is a difference between being intelligent and being interesting. Today’s world needs people who are interesting. For real innovation to happen there has to be an intersection of science and humanities. SAP Labs is therefore exposing people (like engineers) to art, literature, humanities – to foster innovation and creativity.
Lucian asked the panel what they felt the role of employers is in bridging the skills gap in India.
Pratik answered that there are several things that can be done in the precincts of the organizations, but it is an inefficient use of time. It is not the job of organizations to create campuses to upskill people. But unless the government, HRD ministry and the AICTE step up, they will have to, as the inability to get the right kind of talent impacts the future of organizations. It cannot be the job of one organization. Organizations are dissipating their energies doing this individually. They need to collaborate together and form a platform for doing this.
Within the organization we have to liberate the process of learning, asserted Pratik. The line between who you are personally and who are you professionally are getting blurred. The intermingling needs to be seamless. Wipro allowed its employees to bring their own devices to work to enable them to learn on their preferred device.
Madan added that as long as you don’t change what you measure you will never change what people learning. One of the things they did at Merittrac was they pulled out a “long term” team and told them you don’t have any quarterly targets or short term numbers, only focus on the future and they are doing some great work.
Lucian then asked the panel about their thoughts about technology and its use in the recruiting space.
Madan shared an example where they put out a simulation game of a college fest to MBA students to simulate a business problem. Every click when they play the game gives great level of data and analytics as to how they think. The future model would be to get students to play multiplayer games and give different companies different analytics as they want to focus on different set of behaviours from the same simulation.
Pratik shared that the true impact of technology would be in productivity gains in the recruitment process. Wipro has tried out many initiatives to figure out how to get applicants to match to openings and is experimenting currently in using predictive analytics at an experimental level.
Lucian’s next question was that in the age of social media, what the panel thought of companies models of controlling the message and what is the future of corporate communications?
Krishna shared that although digital brought on- to-one messaging, its importance is more than communication and advertising. It’s 70% about insights. There is so much data out there that you need to have an eye for what you want. The lines between Marketing and PR and who controls communications is blurring. Social touches every aspect of the organization and consumers lives. Often it is outsourced to a third party which does not understand the brand and this will have a negative effect on the employer brand.
Lucian stated that the candidates are ahead of the employers and organizations have to get on to the train that is quickly leaving the station. In 2012 we will see social recruiting become mainstream. Talent is now more important than capital, so the Chief Talent Officer has to be more important than the Chief Financial Officer.
There was then an interactive question and answer session between the audience and the panel. We will post the link to the video online as soon as it is ready.