Sumit Sabharwal represents Fujitsu as the Vice President – HR, Fujitsu Global Delivery Centers (GDCs). In his current role, Sumit leads multi-country, multi-disciplinary teams in helping organizations succeed, heading a team of close to 300 HR managers, supporting business headcount of close to 20,000 employees. With clear objectives and purpose, he has been able to guide people in unlocking their potential and helping deliver results while also creating opportunities for themselves in the industry.
The fundamental role of the HR (Human Resources) team is to boost the productivity of an organization by increasing the effectiveness of its greatest resource—its employees. To fulfill that purpose, facilitating professional growth of the workforce is of utmost importance for any HR leader.
Career development has, therefore, become an important strategy for the efficient working of any organization, and the HR team achieves it by providing support to their employees in the form of coaching, mentoring, skill development and networking.
Focusing on career development also increases employee motivation and, thereby, productivity. It creates opportunities for promotion or lateral moves and gives the employee a greater sense of confidence and purpose to work for the company. While career development contributes to learning opportunities for employees, it is also cost effective for the organization because it helps retain valued employees, while attracting top talent, which are key objectives for an HR team.
However resourceful the HR team might be, there are certain challenges they face that hinder true progress when it comes to career development. With a more widely accepted remote or hybrid work culture as well as accelerated digitization and automation in the aftermath of the pandemic, communicating the importance of professional growth and motivating employees to pursue it, becomes critical.
Let’s look at the top five challenges HR teams face in facilitating career development for employees.
2. Creating a Supportive Learning Culture
An effective training strategy is one that considers fast-evolving technical skills as well as long-term transferable skills. Organizations will have to invest time, effort, and resources in planning and creating a supportive learning environment to achieve this. Organizations will have to design individual development plans with special focus on upskilling or reskilling.
To create Learning culture, organizations will have to inculcate a learning and training culture within teams. Hiring skilled trainers will also help because they would in turn create an effective learning environment for all employees. The need of the hour is making training a higher priority and creating a supportive work culture by blending traditional training methods with non-traditional ones.
2. Setting a Process
It will be essential to set up a clear and quantifiable process that will help employees look at learning opportunities as a path to professional growth, while keeping in mind organizational needs. Programs and activities for skill development like coaching, mentoring, internships, and job rotation could be creating a two-way dialogue. The learning process chosen should consider the fact that technical skills have a short lifespan while transferable skills have longevity. Thus, the process should be regularly quantified to measure impact of both kinds of training, as well as ensure that actions taken serve the needs of the organization.
3. Goal Setting Mindset
Goal setting means laying down objectives and guidelines to help the employees understand how they must approach the work. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound, often called S.M.A.R.T goals. Goal setting is a powerful tool to challenge or motivate workers to meet their professional aspirations. By setting SMART goals, the HR can guide improvement in employee performance and help strengthen the business. According to A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance by Locke and Dr. Gary Latham, the five important principles of goal setting are clarity, challenge, commitment, feedback, and task complexity. It is necessary to inculcate a goal-setting work culture that will help employees choose an appropriate career development path. If the employees have clarity regarding their needs, it will help companies invest in the right training that meets the individual’s as well as the organization’s requirements.
4. Agile Training Modules
When we talk about creating effective learning content, it becomes imperative that our training modules are also agile. Technology advancements such as artificial intelligence and automation have changed how we do business. As we move into the future, learning and development must be agile enough to be effective, productive, and successful. This means having Agile training modules that are improved continuously in small yet frequent increments.
In today’s post-pandemic era, the age-old saying ‘change is the only constant’ is truer than ever before. The moment an organization disregards change, there is a very real possibility that they will stop growing. HR has always recognized this fact and recommended that employees develop and show the ability to adapt to changing conditions and disruptions. in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, what was once a recommendation is now a necessity.
Upskilling and reskilling are now a requirement, a norm, and it will play a vital role in career development.
I believe, being mindful of the challenges will go a long way in creating a conducive, healthy, and supportive learning environment for the workforce which in turn will help in enhancing individual productivity and meeting organizational goals.