Technology-focused upskilling programs position today's companies for tomorrow's success.
Technological advancements affect companies of all shapes and sizes, changing the way they carry out work—and altering the work itself. Organizations that invest in training and development to upskill employees in new technologies gain a competitive edge in the war for talent.
At Arcesium India, the talent development team created the FinOp Skill Empowerment Program to enhance productivity and innovation in the financial operations business unit. Being in the fintech industry, the company's tech employees are attuned to the latest technology—and TD sought to expand that expertise to FinOp workers by upskilling them on coding language. Program participants learn to build development tools to further automate internal processes and expand client service offerings.
China Telecommunications Corp.'s TD team upskills employees on new technologies via its Learning Powers Smart Home Engineers' Sales Transformation Program. Executives recognized a growing global expenditure on smart home service and installation, but the company's fixed network installation and maintenance personnel lacked the education and marketing knowledge to boost sales related to smart products. The new program enhances the team's capabilities, transforming them into "smart home engineers."
To stay ahead of the technological curve, Cognizant's L&D team designed two separate initiatives: the IoT Development Initiative in the business unit and the Big Data Capability Program. The Internet of Things (IoT) "is an emerging market with a skill demand of over 1 million resources, while the workforce in the market is just over 250,000," says Saransh Agrawal, assistant vice president and head of L&D. "We took an approach to ‘create talent' by upskilling and cross-skilling our associates in IoT technologies." Similarly, the L&D team created the big data program to build a pool of big data developers and architects.
Meanwhile, Thai Oil Public Co. debuted an upskilling program to fast-track promising employees' career paths in anticipation of a future requiring more diverse skill sets. The Dynamic Career Management Program accelerates talent readiness and expands business value chains beyond refinery and petrochemical. "The world is moving faster," explains Suchada Deechaiya, vice president of people and organization excellence. "The program accelerates high-potential staff to unleash their potential for new business leaders ever faster."
Arcesium India uses an internally developed framework to upskill FinOp workers with no coding experience via an immersive blended learning program, training them to write codes in Python to automate internal processes. Program participants learn to apply coding skills with tangible outcomes: Managers encouraged them to compete in the company's yearly hackathon. While workers from the technology business unit dominated previous hackathons, the new training program empowered FinOp employees to feel confident in participating. They even won some of the competitions.
For Cognizant's big data program, the L&D team offers blended learning with virtual instructor-led training, hands-on exercises, and self-learning modules. A big data lab mirrors the developer environment. Participating associates take on coding challenges via a unique "spark-a-thon" that positions learners as players in digital arenas. "The healthy competition and immersive learning techniques increased the interest of the associates in pursuing their training," Agrawal says. "The niche nature of skills and meeting learning milestones makes it essential to maintain a competitive environment."
The company deployed campaign-based learning to upskill employees in the IoT initiative, providing access to mentors and subject matter experts. Cognizant injected competition by holding hackathons and projecting the best solutions to clients, leading to positive client feedback. Those offerings "gave the right blend of knowledge and helped build a community within the company," Agrawal notes.
Thai Oil identified prospects to fast-track their career paths in its upskilling program, moving talent through well-defined levels with more career flexibility. Motivated employees complete cross-functional project assignments and advance to critical connector positions, embracing innovation and adopting digital technologies.
To upskill its installation and maintenance team on smart technologies, China Telecom focused on five main products and developed curriculums to support those technologies, integrating marketing and operation information. The company also offers certifications, enabling smart engineers to upgrade their skill sets.
Win-win for workers and companies
Technology-focused upskilling programs transform participants into future-ready employees and inspire an appetite for learning. In turn, their employers benefit from a more prepared and competitive workforce during times of technological change.
Arcesium India's FinOp program teaches staff that skill development adds value to their professional growth. Upskilling, according to the TD team, promotes innovation and ensures that processes are efficient and in line with the latest industry practices.
At China Telecom, not only have installation and service employees become smart home technical experts; they have shifted their focus from technique to customers. For example, the company reports that employees enjoy aiding customers in using smart technology to remotely check on their pets or to communicate via smart speakers. Revenues generated from smart home support service increased significantly in the first half of 2021. And a large majority of smart home engineers now recommend products to customers when delivering door-to-door services.
Cognizant's IoT program graduates leverage their new understanding of advances in this space, such as 5G, Industry 4.0, edge computing, and IoT analytics, to advance their careers. "By providing our associates opportunities to upskill in these areas, we widened their scope for internal talent mobility and future-proofed their long-term career in IoT," says Agrawal. With the IoT and big data programs in place, the company has become a forerunner in the new digital arenas and expects to accelerate toward the purpose of "engineering modern businesses to improve everyday life."
Finally, staff participating in Thai Oil's fast-track career program experience greater vertical growth and expanded learning opportunities as well as international experience. The upskilling increases employee engagement and reduces staff turnover, while taking the company "beyond core business," according to Deechaiya.
View the entire list of 2022 Excellence in Practice Award winners.