“Effective upskilling definitely requires a balance between technical skills and soft skills. The balance has to be maintained in all the organizations. As a corporate organization, we ensure the learning of problem-solving skills. We also focus on a huge amount of blended learning and e-learning as we believe that skilling should be made easy and palatable to people”, says Ms. Sampada Inamdar, VP and Group Learning Head, ANAND Group India.
Since 1991, the ANAND Corporate University (ANAND U) has been preparing a future-ready global workforce through continuous and effective skill development. The corporate university focuses on the timely skilling, reskilling and upskilling of their talent to ensure their future readiness. To know more about the skilling initiatives taken by ANAND U in the age of this digital transformation, we caught up with Ms. Sampada Inamdar, VP and Group Learning Head, ANAND Group India.
Here are a few excerpts from our conversation. You can watch the full video on our YouTube channel.
Q. In the age of digital transformation, how do you enhance productivity and efficiency through skilling and upskilling?
A: Today, due to the pandemic and the intervention of technology, the platforms used for the transfer of knowledge have become digital. However, when it comes to skilling, the application of these competencies still remains physical. We need to find ways in which application on the shop floor process happens. There are workarounds in the form of simulations, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and other controlled technologies to appreciate these competencies. However, these workarounds are yet to mature in the Indian market if we look at balancing the cost and the scale of application.
As ANAND Group is spread across 53 plus locations, the implementation of simulations, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) wouldn’t be a good balance for us in terms of cost and the quality of implementation. Irrespective of all these, the pandemic has definitely given a good speed to digital transformation.
In the Automotive industry, digital transformation is happening at pace with the changing government norms and regulations which were planned to be spread across for the last 20 years are now getting expedited. And in the next three years, all these norms are going to be implemented. With industry 4.0, productivity and efficiency ramp-up is bound to happen. With this rapid transformation, organizations will not have the luxury to move at their own pace. So, a step by step approach to automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based projects is going to be the way forward.
At ANAND Group, the foundation work for all these steps has already been laid during the pre-pandemic times. The emergence of these new capabilities for subject matter expertise in the areas of Mechatronics, Automation, Analytics, Robotics and Cybersecurity led to a sense of urgency for the execution of these digital transformations. So, the skilling at ANAND has driven across all levels of hierarchy and we focus on their continuous skilling, reskilling and upskilling. There’s a huge amount of awareness, education and skilling happening at different levels.
Q. How do you ensure continuous learning and skilling for employees at ANAND Group across various verticals?
A: As continuous learning initiatives, we, at ANAND Group have linked everything to the roles. Each role demands a certain set of functional, technical, behavioural and leadership skills. When someone moves from one role to another, their range of skilling competencies is going to change which becomes a continuous upgrade for the employees and creates a pull in the organization. And skilling is a person’s own responsibility. So, if they want to grow, it’s their responsibility to skill themselves. On the employees’ side, continuous skilling and upskilling definitely happen.
From an organization driven standpoint, there are certain learning platforms available for people. We encourage them to nurture their digital skills through readily available digital platforms. As a corporate organization, we ensure the learning of problem-solving skills. The whole culture of looking at innovations and design thinking from a solution-focused approach is something that happens as a continuous process. All the continuous learning is a mix of the employee’s expectations and organization needs. We also focus on a huge amount of blended learning and e-learning as we believe that skilling should be made easy and palatable to people.
Q. Please tell us more about your collaboration with NTTF and how it has helped ANAND Group in technical training?
A: ANAND Group is known for its joint venture partnerships. And we have a long-standing association with NTTF. One of the key factors for our partnership with NTTF is the entire approach that NTTF has towards curating the skilling interventions. Their skilling interventions are customized and yet relevant to the industry. NTTF has the ability to be relevant to the times and the industry. They always strive to implement newer technologies, low-cost automation inputs in their workshops and labs. We both believe in doing and demonstrating.
Q. How ANAND Group Corporate University (ANAND U) is integrated with the industry requirements and how it promotes 21st century skills as a part of the curriculum?
A: ANAND Group has been a pioneer in the industry for setting up a corporate university back in 1991. So, it is a visionary approach of our Founder, Mr. Deep C Anand who envisaged the need to groom people in the skilling front and also for skill development to reach the masses. The current chairperson, Ms. Anjali Singh has added a lot of value to the vision by implementing future technology and contributing to the value chain.
ANAND U works not just as a nutrient provider to the employees, but also works as a unified corporate entity, tying all our group companies together. Our focus is not just being a culture enabler rather it is more on competency building, driving digital transformation, and future-readiness of our talent.
From the industry standpoint, our key focus has always been on the areas of innovation, automation, industry 4.0 and on the changes that are happening to actually become future-ready.
Q. What would be your advice to young HR professionals in making skilling integral to the HR processes?
A: The focus has to move away from only training to skilling and habit change. They need to be relevant and skilling along with habit change will help them remain relevant to the current competencies. With the current times, the HR process is going to get automated. So, for HR, the soft power and human touch need to be amplified. They can also hone their skills around coaching as all these skills will be of immense value in the future.
Also read: How NTTF ensures industry-readiness of students through quality technical training https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/how-nttf-ensures-industry-readiness-of-students-through-quality-technical-training/
The pandemic has really been a testing time for them. At ANAND Group, HR has done a stellar job despite the pandemic challenges. So, with the new normal, HR also needs to take care of themselves first. They need to find ways and mechanisms to have their own emotional resilience as an HR and at the same time, they need to be there for their employees. Going forward it is going to be a test of everybody’s emotional resilience.