Did you know that one of every four of your employees is looking for a job? That means tomorrow, a quarter of your company could be quitting…
As technology innovations accelerate and advance business processes, many senior business leaders are finding that recruitment for sought after talent is taking longer – by an average of one month and 22 days. Shifting your focus to upskilling your current workforce could help to increase the skills available, as well as improve employee retention. It’s against this backdrop that business leaders across the globe are scrambling to review their employee retention and learning and development strategies.
This was the topic of discussion at a recent ‘HR Next roundtable’ chaired by The Economic Times, co-organised by leading tech startup, Indorse. The objective: discuss ways to upskill millions of software engineers across India.
Indorse’s co-founders presented the ‘Gallup’ research to a panel of senior HR business leaders from diverse industries. This then sparked an insightful conversation about the impact on businesses. The response was unanimous: learning and development is a key area of focus for all participants and creating strategies to upskill and retain existing employees is high on the agenda.
Following the ‘HR Next Roundtable’, we are pleased to share 9 commonly discussed HR themes that will help you develop and retain your tech talent:
1. Upskilling can positively impact diversity ratios
Senior heads of HR at Zivame, Bigbasket and Goibibo, acknowledged the benefits of ensuring a diverse workforce. While it is commonly accepted that diversity in the workplace increases innovation, productivity and profits, these companies discussed how uneven gender ratios at both an operational, and leadership level, can result in people leaving for other jobs. As the cost of replacing and retraining an employee is significant, this often overlooked ratio could stifle organisational growth.
2. ‘Tech talent’ seeks self-improvement
Organisations (including: Licious, Bigbasket, Quess Corp and Bookmyshow) recognise that tech talent naturally seek challenges and praise these individuals for being motivated to continually upgrade their skills. They believe it’s an innate human condition to want to shine and suggest that business leaders should be doing more to encourage and incentivise this behaviour.
3. Experience isn’t the be-all and end-all when hiring tech talent
In the tech sector experience isn’t everything. Businesses should be focusing on potential and hiring candidates who can grow and develop. A contrasting view was raised by some companies who advocated for hiring for ‘potential’ over ‘experience’. Goibibo, Tally Solutions, Mindtree, Smartdrive, Matchmove all demonstrated a preference for fresh hires, young recruits and campus hires, as they felt they could be trained and nurtured to develop the skills the company immediately needs and continue to retrain as the company evolves.
4. Building a ‘learning culture’ is key
A common belief held among leaders at Subex, Swiggy, Tata Communications, and Zivame was that learning cannot be forced. They highlighted a need to create a culture that is engrained in learning and development by encouraging open communication and learning by doing, known as self-directed learning. These companies are motivating and educating their workforce on the need to upskill and are creating conducive environments that stimulate learning.
5. Paid leave for learning days is on the rise
While sponsorship for online courses was commonly reported, Ini Bajwa, Head of Learning and Development at Tata Communications takes it one step further and provides paid leave and learning days for employees to facilitate their own self-learning journey.
6. Resignations can be reduced by introducing ‘stay interviews’
A unique idea was the creation of ‘stay interviews’ instead of the traditional ‘exit interviews.’ This was raised by Shirin Salis, Vice President of Human Resources at Ingersoll Rand. He reported that going into such interviews with a stay mindset can reduce resignations.
7. Internal moves should be prioritised over external hiring
Another standout idea was the decision by one company to always open available roles internally within the company first, before looking for external talent. This was put forth by Smartdrive Systems but other companies also advocated for a strong focus on internal career paths including Quess Corp, Licious, Ingersoll Rand, Quest Global and Tata Communications. They all agreed doing so stimulates an environment of continuous learning.
8. Responsibility should be given to your line managers (avoid initiatives feeling like they’re ‘HR-led’!)
Head of HR at Bookmyshow, Shamita Ghosh, also highlighted the importance of not putting all the pressure on HR. In her opinion, line managers who work more closely with their team members are better equipped to ensure strong internal career paths and strengthen the learning and development culture. This was supported by Matchmove who advocates for learning through peers and Swiggy, who advocates for learning by doing.
9. A focus should be placed on learning and development from the get-go
Vipul Mehrota (AVP of Talent Acquisition at Swiggy) highlighted the importance of learning and development from the early stages of a company’s growth rather than it being an afterthought. This sentiment was supported by other companies including Chetan Yadav (Chief People Officer at Tally Solutions) who said their L&D budgets were almost equal to their talent acquisition budgets. Asit Kumar (Director of HR at Flipkart) further emphasised this point and advocates training programs being available for all levels.
Regardless of the path taken, what’s obvious is that business and HR leaders are fighting a real war – they are under immense pressure to retain talent and make sure their teams are keeping pace with the rapidly evolving rate of technology. It’s also clear that the opportunity exists for technology to better support the gruelling upskilling process. Technology that can streamline learning and development strategies and conduct objective-led programs that upskill their existing workforce quickly is going to be a significant advantage.
The reality is traditional learning and development and upskilling programs are difficult, time-consuming and costly. Which is why retention is faltering, and why the skills-gap is widening. Everybody knows it’s far more expensive and time-consuming to find a new hire than it is to upskill an existing employee.
The best leaders know this and that’s why they are fighting tooth and claw to improve budgets for dependable upskilling programs.
3 strategies to help upskill and retain existing employees:
- Encourage and incentivise self-motivated learning behaviour
- Aim to promote internally as well as conduct “stay interviews”
- Give your line managers responsibility for upskilling by advocating learning through peers
3 long-term goals every company should be striving for:
- Encourage diversity and improve diversity ratios via upskilling programs
- Create a culture ingrained in learning and development
- Increase L&D budgets with a focus on career paths from the beginning (fresh hires)
Can’t hire the needed talents? Upskill your current employees!
Offering the right platform and means for your workforce to upgrade their skills is crucial. As an employer, you can compete with other companies for a saturated pool of tech talent. Or you can use innovative upskilling strategies to retain the right talents and strengthen your existing workforce.
Indorse is an advanced Skills Assessment Platform where Enterprise companies use the platform to build great tech teams, upskill their workforce, and enable innovation. It is powered by a network of renowned industry experts that sole focus is your developers, software engineers and data scientists.
With Indorse you can overcome the pitfalls of traditional learning and development approaches. How? By using a platform that allows you to use pre & post skills assessments with comprehensive feedback from a panel of renowned industry experts!