[Exclusive Interview] Emotional Intelligence, Resilience Is Necessary For Work From Home Success
25-year old Clover Academy is a leading name in the IT services and outsourcing industry.
Here is an exclusive interview with Lakshmi Mittra, VP and Head, Clover Academy
What new-age skills are essential for IT employees in this new WFH environment?
Even in the post COVID – 19 world, work from home will continue to be a part of the organizations’ work culture. Considering the cost benefits it offers, many organizations are expected to integrate it into their operating models. However, successful implementation of ‘work from home’ model requires employees to hone skillsets that are essential to function in such an environment.
These skillsets are technology skills – one of the biggest traits that can help employees survive in a post-coronavirus world is their ability to be tech-savvy. The pandemic has brought about huge digital transformation, and employees need to develop digital skills to ensure business continuity.
However, apart from technical skills, these trying times have made us all realize the importance of leadership skills, emotional intelligence and resilience. Remote workforce need to have these qualities to ensure that they do not get intimidated by external forces, which are seldom in their control, and can focus on creating the best out of any situation.
What impact has COVID-19 had over the IT sector and its employees?
The last year has disrupted businesses across industries, and IT sector is no exception. Business continuity and security have become the central theme and hence companies have evolved to reimagine the business and not just processes. Organizations are increasingly focusing on building new-age solutions that enable their customers to keep up with the latest technologies. This has necessitated for employees to develop more than technical skills, they need to concentrate on holistic development. Analytical, communication and collaboration skills have become an imperative for seamlessly functioning in the post COVID era.
According to you, what is the future of jobs and what kind of skillsets future-ready employees require?
The unprecedented changes that took place last year have brought major changes in the nature of jobs. There has been a paradigm shift in terms of job expectations, skill sets requirement which has redefined the entire perspective and deliverables. Essentially, the future of jobs is created and influenced by socio-economic changes and impacted by latest industry forces and trends. The growing adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and augmentation in the workplace will result in employees spending less time on predictable, physical activities such as collecting and processing of data. Rather, they will be focusing more on the functions that machines are incapable of performing such as managing people, applying expertise, communication, interpersonal skills, and leadership abilities. This will not only enhance the nature of jobs but also improve the quality of work. The employees of the future need to develop skillsets in not just digital technologies such as Cloud, data analytics, RPA, and Cybersecurity but also build mental capabilities and resilience.
What would you say is the future of new-age learning and reskilling?
As mentioned earlier, the pandemic has transformed not only the nature of job but also job roles and expectations. It has compelled employees to develop skillsets that would help them to stay industry-relevant.
A report published by LinkedIn on ‘learning journey of their members during the pandemic’ shows an uptick in demand for online reskilling and training initiatives. In India, there has been an increase of 245% in the number of hours spent on learning from July 2019 to June 2020, compared to the same period a year before.
Professionals across the globe continue to adapt to the new normal with active use of online learning and learning new skills that are most in-demand.
Further, organizations are frantically adopting Learning Management System to facilitate online reskilling and upskilling of its workforce. Clover Academy – the knowledge arm of Clover Infotech, saw a huge spike in demand for online skilling initiatives in technologies that are essential for remote workforce such as cloud computing, RPA, and Cyber Security.
Amidst new-age learning, what is the role of LMS as an enabler?
A learning management system (LMS) is definitely an enabler and facilitator for online training and learning. It offers numerous benefits such as ease of use, time saving and provides a common platform to trainers and trainees to connect and keep a track of learning progress. Through LMS, employees can access learning material in a centralized location through their unique login credentials. Instead of having learning material spread over different platforms, LMS enables organizations to store the entire content and data in one location, so that employees can access it even on the go through their mobile phones.
Further, it makes the online learning interactive and consolidated. Trainers and attendees can come together on a single platform to collaborate in real-time and offer new methods of learning such as surveys, quizzes, and other gamification-based learning options. This makes the learning process interactive and engaging as participants can assess their understanding by taking online exams or quizzes, participate in live scenarios and simulations, and watch e-Learning videos that highlight complex processes or tasks.
What are some of the major gaps in the current skilling space that LMS fills?
There are many constraints that a learning management system (LMS) assists in overcoming. The most important one is to keep a track of employees’ progress when they are undertaking training virtually. In a pre COVID – 19 era, trainers and trainees could get together in a training room to facilitate learning and development. However, now with social distancing becoming the way of life, physical training model will have to co-exist with the digital learning models. Online training comes with its own set of challenges like making the learning material accessible to all employees through a secure corporate login, providing flexibility of use and a common platform to learn and interact under the guidance of trainers. All these requirements can be fulfilled by a cloud-based learning management system.
In a highly dynamic industry, what are some of your top tips for IT employees to remain at the top of their game?
IT is a knowledge industry, hence it will continue to evolve and innovate. Employees need to constantly upgrade themselves to keep up with the industry pace. It they want to stay relevant, they need to continuously reskill and upskill themselves through training and online learning initiatives.
IT was earlier pre-dominantly a process digitization exercise. However, it has now evolved into something that can re-imagine businesses and the way it interacts with its stakeholders. It can accelerate revenue generation while enabling to cut costs both in terms of technology infrastructure and in physical infrastructure. Employees in IT need to garner a very good understanding of the sectors and domains that they serve. For example: If their clients are banks, they need to know how the bank functions, how it generates revenue and manages operations efficiently. Hence, training in domain knowledge along with the new-age technologies is utmost essential. I believe the focus on training in domain and sectoral knowledge and understanding still has a lot of scope for improvement.
What is your vision for the future of the IT sector and its employees?
The IT sector is all set to transform industries and change the way they operate. It will be a business driver and not a function that supports a business. Hence, we are very optimistic about the future of IT services. With our clients too, we are no more just a vendor but a partner who is involved with them to create the technology and business charter and not just implement it.
I think employees in this sector would be staring at a lot of interesting opportunities. We have entered a decade of technology led transformation and talented employees in IT will have a bright future ahead.