By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

With organizations diving deeper into digital transformation, upskilling the workforce has moved to the forefront. While digital transformation is creating powerful business opportunities, it is also creating a skills gap. The dynamics of work are also constantly changing and evolving, and organizations have no option but to invest in advanced upskilling strategies to capably respond to market changes and cash on the opportunities. 

The World Economic Forum had predicted that more than 1 billion people globally would have to be reskilled by 2030 to meet the needs of jobs transformed by technologies. 

In today’s world characterized by a hybrid workplace and remote teams, focusing on ongoing upskilling and employee development has become imperative. 

As the impact of the pandemic, organizations have to not only upgrade technical skill sets but have to work towards developing a workforce that is agile and emotionally & mentally ready to tackle a transforming market. While there are clear advantages that upskilling brings to the table, given the forces of disruption at play, the traditional approach of creating annual training plans no longer remains effective. 

Market dynamics are compelling organizations to add new capabilities on the fly. They demand organizations to be flexible, agile, and resilient. In such a dynamic and constantly evolving market, organizations need to make their training and upskilling initiatives agile as well. 

Given these shifts, how can organizations plan their upskilling initiatives? 

Replace guesswork with data analytics for precision 

Jumping on the next upskilling fad and expecting your upskilling initiatives to work? Initiatives designed from a place of gut feel or trends usually end up in the skills graveyard. This is because training only sticks if it is relevant and contextual to the employee. Why should the employee enthusiastically upskill if they don’t feel the need or understand the role these skills will play in their career development? How will the training stick in the absence of relevance? 

Organizations need to engage their employees and help them identify these skill gaps not from gut feel but from data-backed tests. These tests have become crucial data points to evaluate the technical and power skill needs of the workforce. Behavior Analysis tests or 16 Personality Factor tests, for example, can help organizations and employees self-diagnose and identify their exact skill needs. 

With this information, organizations can create powerful peer coaching plans and leverage a robust, technology-enabled peer coaching platform to drive great results. With such a platform, it becomes easier to make the right coach and learner pairings. A comprehensive platform will also provide actionable insights from rich analytics on skill development, performance, employee engagement, and overall transformational insights. All of these make training outcomes more impactful and positive with lesser effort.    

Remove ambiguity in a hybrid world of work 

Employees across the world are battling challenging times. While the chaos and uncertainty that gripped the world of work in the initial days of the pandemic have mellowed, ambiguity and complexity prevails.. 

As employees and organizations move into the Future of Work, it becomes the organization’s responsibility to help the workforce settle into this hybrid world. 

  • News of work from home burnout, concerns regarding career paths, and work opportunities are on the incline. 
  • Managers have to now move from being bosses to virtual leaders
  • Leaders have to discover new leadership styles to suit this new world. 
  • New employees have to find and build trusted networks and paths for career development. 
  • New and old employees are working out how to augment their career paths while ensuring they remain visible. 

The challenges in this new world of work are aplenty and add to chaos and confusion.

Helping employees and management (leadership) find the right direction in uncertain times assumes strategic importance now. Traditional upskilling initiatives are not designed to be impactful in this new world simply because the rules of engagement have dramatically changed. As such, upskilling initiatives have to account for the unique needs of the workforce and help them contextually resolve their problems. 

Peer coaching networks help a great deal in removing most of the complexity that comes with ambiguity. Since peer coaches come with similar life experiences and work challenges, it becomes easier for the learner to connect with the peer coach, understand the context and implement the actions that need to drive behavioral change. As Peer Coaching is a measurable and contextual process, it can be leveraged to drive learning and upskilling programs and cover up those aspects that typical traditional training programs miss. 

Battle constant change with resilience 

If there is one thing that is set in stone is that ‘change is now constant’. Organizations have to now develop their workforce such that they can contribute to organizational resilience. Digital technologies are assisting organizations in this journey. Cutting-edge technologies such as AI are helping them improve business capabilities and outcomes. 

The key to survival and success in these disruptive times is to remain agile towards the workforce and organizational needs. As such, while organizations cannot completely do away with training planning for the whole year, it is essential to supplement it with peer coaching to address the more immediate needs of the workforce. Peer coaching can also be impactful in reinforcing learnings and driving behavioral change that ensures that new skills stick and are implemented at work.  

This becomes especially relevant in these trying times as employees battle to understand the new rules of engagement and figure out strategies for professional success in a remote, disconnected, and hybrid world. 

Peer coaches, through non-judgmental and informal exchanges, can help learners navigate challenges and hurdles with ease. Employees are also more receptive to feedback when it is presented in a timely, contextual and non-judgmental manner. Strong peer coaching also reaffirms learning by providing personalized and contextual nurture actions that include notifications, reminders, alerts, kudos, and more. These actions, along with contributing to skill enhancement, also aid employee engagement initiatives by delivering enablement to employees when they need it.

Connect with us to see how an AI-powered coaching platform can power up your upskilling initiatives and drive them with deep engagement insights from data analytics and Machine Learning-powered engagement scores.

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Just over a century back, oil emerged as the most lucrative resource one could think of. 

With the dawn of the digital era, there came a new commodity that overtook oil. That commodity was data. Today, data is the currency on which the world runs since it is fact-based and unequivocal, as opposed to opinion. 

In the initial days, data analytics, the vehicle that made data invaluable, was all about discovering interesting information and flagging it off for organizational leaders. Over the years, as more organizations are becoming data-driven, data analytics is considered an essential ingredient to enable good decision-making across all departments and all levels. 

The rise of People Analytics in HR

Today data is being embedded into everyday decision-making and is used to understand every aspect of the business operations. The HR department too is not immune to the lure of data and is using people analytics heavily for managing all aspects of workforce planning, driving operational improvements, and engaging with employees. 

People analytics in HR has undergone a seismic shift. From being a technical subset that analyzed retention, it has matured and is being used to get deep insights to drive performance and employee engagement. People analytics is now being used heavily to discover, interpret, and communicate meaningful patterns hidden in workforce data to make informed decisions and consequently drive performance. Along with tracking basic HR metrics, people analytics is being increasingly used to understand every aspect of how people impact business value.

Factors such as the availability of data, the increase in the capability of organizations to process and analyze that data, and the HR’s ability to use that data have been responsible for the growing popularity of people analytics. 

The workforce analytics market is now expected to reach USD 1.87 billion by 2025 as organizations lean in towards adopting data to manage its workforce.  

So how do People Analytics help organizations and HR teams improve their workforce management?

Discover drivers of high performance

People analytics is finding firm ground across organizations since it can be a valuable resource to discover the unique factors that influence organization-wide performance. With insights gleaned from different aspects of the workforce, organization leaders and HR teams can collectively identify the drivers of high performance and then develop strategies to enable the workforce accordingly. 

 

Organizations can also apply these insights to their recruitment practices and talent management strategies and also to address performance gaps. 

Diversify hiring and eliminate bias

Diversity has become an organizational priority since it has been proved that diversity in teams impacts organizational performance positively. Diversity in workgroups drives a richer flow of ideas, aids creativity and innovation, and improves problem-solving capabilities. 

Studies show that organizations that focus on diversity are 35% more likely to financially outperform their competitors who do not emphasize diverse hiring practices. Gender diverse workforces also outperform less diverse companies by 15%.  

People analytics can play a big role in enabling diversity initiatives by helping organizations identify the characteristics associated with successful hires and apply those to processes to assess candidates with these traits. This makes the recruitment process faster and enables HR teams to make their diversity initiatives more intentional. 

Read: Mentorship Programs – The Critical Piece To Drive Successful Enterprise Diversity Initiatives

Win the talent war and manage attrition 

There was once a time when organizations won the talent war by throwing more money into the mix. Today, the story is quite different. 

With more millennials coming into the workforce and changing employee dynamics, people analytics can prove to be a valuable tool to create profiles of at-risk workers by understanding the key reasons behind the same. These insights assist organizations to make more informed and concrete efforts to convince these employees to stay on by providing directed learning and development opportunities and providing coaching to drive engagement. 

Read: Purpose-Led Engagement for Women and Millennials

Identify high-potential employees

Most organizations today also want to create a robust succession pipeline. For this, it is imperative to identify their high-potential employees who have the capacity to drive the organization’s success in the future. 

Analyzing professional and educational backgrounds and performance ratings allow people analytics to provide the right insights to identify these high-potential employees and also helps the organization identify what motivates them. Using this information, organizations can develop strategies to help these employees move further along their growth path, keep them engaged, and avoid losing them to attrition.

Read: Employee Retention Strategies for Top Talent

 

Fine-tune coaching and training strategies 

People analytics can help organizations improve and fine-tune their training and coaching initiatives. Leveraging data, HR can measure the impact of their training and leadership development programs. This becomes especially relevant when the world of work has moved to a virtual setting owing to the COVID-19 pandemic

People analytics moves beyond employee engagement data and helps organizations identify where to invest in leadership development. This becomes more relevant since most organizations co-relate specific leadership skills with employee engagement and productivity levels. People analytics ensures that these correlations do not become erroneous by accounting for the complexity of the data. 

Since people analytics leverages multiple data sets and sorts through these complexities, it provides the prioritized behaviors needed for leadership development or coaching that will contribute to specific business outcomes. This information can be then leveraged by HR teams to fine-tune and refine their coaching and training strategies. 

People analytics also helps organizations proactively identify the kinds of coaching programs they need by accurately measuring and assessing skill gaps across functions and departments. Creating the right, relevant, contextual, and structured employee development programs using personalized coaching for each employee at scale across the entire organization then becomes easier. 

Improve employee experience 

Employees are an organization’s internal customers. Just like how organizations have become hyper-focused on customer experience, they have also started to look out for their internal customers – their employees. The importance of employee experience has exploded in the enterprise since businesses are struggling to engage employees to drive business results. With the workforce moving into a more virtual setting, employee experience is proving to be an important aspect to drive retention, productivity, and ensure better talent management. 

People analytics effectively maps every touchpoint within employee experience and helps HR predict, manage, and measure the impact of their efforts and activities by linking them to business outcomes. 

In Conclusion

People analytics helps in making workforce planning and strategic business planning a parallel process and also promotes a culture of objective transparency. The insights generated from people analytics provide valuable workforce information that can then be employed to create the right people practices. This helps in ensuring and developing correct talent attraction, retention, engagement, performance management, career planning, and rewards and recognition programs. These insights can also be utilized to enhance leadership development and create strategic pathways to help employees move northwards on their career trajectories.

Connect with us to see how we use AI and people analytics to help organizations drive employee engagement and experience and develop their leaders for tomorrow.