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New Hiring vs. Upskilling: What do Companies Prefer and Why?


It’s about putting smart people to work or being a think tank who can address issues pertaining to
• What are the future plans?
• What is the pipeline strategy?
• How do you plan to meet the changing demands?
A one-size-fits-all approach may work for apparels, but as we have seen this approach does not work or hold good for corporates. As more companies are streamlining themselves they want employees who don’t just perform but also decision makers who can walk the walk. Else it’s ‘Find Better’ for them as job roles go higher up in nature. While Migrate, Modernize and Build are essential the confidence of the vendor is a pivotal factor. With technologies seeing a never seen before newer dawn in Indian businesses, more companies are looking to adopt disruptive technologies such as analytics, data science, and artificial intelligence in their working environments.

To enable this, companies will have to look for a workforce that is skilled enough to adopt these cutting edge tech innovations and strive to bring newer competencies in the market.This is where the need to reskill or replace talent pool comes into the picture. We have seen in the past how companies such as Cognizant and many other tech companies have laid off employees who were not able to keep up with the changing technologies and have failed to upskill in this highly tech-driven time or shall we say competitive market. The world is changing at a fast pace and companies have to alter the ways they work by incorporating technology efficiently in their processes. While we have published numerous studies and blogs in the past which suggests that there are a lot of job openings in data science and AI field that currently needs to be filled up. They also clearly indicate unavailability of talent that can be addressed either by reskilling or making new hiring’s as per the need of the organization.

‘But what do companies usually prefer — reskilling or hiring? Let us find out

- Reskilling - A Win- Win strategy for Companies and employees
Most companies, business leaders are posed with a core question of how to build capabilities in their organization so that they can ride the wave of digital transformation. Companies today are frantically looking for people with dynamic skill sets who can meet the need of the growing technological demands. Many companies face the question of whether to invest in hiring or reskilling. In a recent talk by Mr. Joseph Jayakumar, Director Amstar Technologies, he puts out simple yet effective points on why reskilling is always a better move than hiring new people. “While hiring my sound simple the fact is that there is a huge scarcity of talent in the market and getting the right people may come at a very high price point,” he said.
There are other factors such as investing a lot of time in the new hire to acclimatize them with the company culture, meeting the company’s expectations, making them learn the workflow and processes from the scratch, apart from many other micro challenges. Mr. Jayakumar therefore, believes that Reskilling can be the best option as it not only builds the talent pipeline but also helps in improving employee bonding to a great extent. Plus you would have loyal people who will stay with you and work with you for a longer tenure. It may be in the interest of the company to build talent internally and provide a 360-degree complete learning framework. This trains an employee across different roles and provides an integrated and immersive experience to the employees that can boost up their skills while benefiting companies in the longer run. Jayakumar also focuses on the empirical fact that companies should focus on not just training a single skill but rather on a cluster of skills that will be relevant for longer years. Some of the skills that are currently picking up momentum are Automation, Robotics, Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, connected devices, Fintech, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Blockchain and Big Data etc. While many veterans prefer reskilling over hiring. There are others with a mix point of view. Yes the advantage of employee retention is that their work experience gets complimented once their reskilling training is completed. But at the same time, one should also continue recruiting new employees with skills and knowledge in AI, Data Analytics, etc. as they bring a fresh perspective and set of skills that will help the company grow even further.

- Employee Reskilling? The Onus is all about creating a better Brand Equity
Many IT companies are introducing online courses and learning sessions that enables employees to learn new skills in a self-paced learning environment (SPVC). Some of the steps that companies are taking today are building training systems and portals, invest in introducing newer capabilities in the company that enables more employee engagement and increases value in the long run. While the old models of learning have become obsolete and companies need to develop newer models for reskilling and introduce a learning-centric approach, creating a personalized learning experience is the name of the game as companies should upskill existing talent who have showcased a potential to learn new things and also onboard fresh talent from time to time. “A company should also support employees’ efforts through subsidy/reimbursement of these courses,” as they should also be motivated to upgrade/reskill further adds Mr. Jayakumar who has brought in ‘Pay as you Earn’ modules for candidates looking to reskill themselves. For instance, Wipro has their ‘School of Decision Sciences’ which is essentially a data science transformation and a tech-stack enabled programme which lets an employee train on a variety of skills.

The programme is a 6-months long module and has seen a lot of interest coming from the employees not only from analytics domain but also from other domains to re-skill themselves and comprises lessons on big data, how to handle data, algorithms, data modeling, visualization, storytelling and industry use cases etc. Even Tech Mahindra has also taken initiatives in reskilling a majority of its IT workforce in digital and future skills such as Blockchain, cyber security, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and automation, and 5G to drive Upskilling in key digital future-skilling initiatives.
We are also in touch with IBM as a Global Training partner to provide reskilling in areas of IBM Watson, AI, IBM Q-radar, Blu-Mix etc.
Why Reskilling Wins Over Hiring?

While replacing existing employees or making a new hire may be a quite cumbersome and expensive process as compared to re-training employees. It may not be the best course of action in many ways as hiring fresh talent requires both time and money. Replacing older employees may have a ripple impact on the morale of existing team and even affect brand reputation and risk of hiring the wrong person for the job. In fact, new hires may become obsolete or saturated over a period of time, making the company come back to square one and replace now old, already trained employees to newer people making it a vicious cycle. While there is no denying of the skill gap when it comes to the technology market, Companies need to take thoughtful decisions while making a move that best fits in the interest of the company.
This blog gives a birds-eye view of what may suit better for technology companies in the highly tech-driven environment. The approach may vary based on the requirements and facilities they have but the result equates to outcomes derived. From our study and expertise we deduce that reskilling has an upper hand over hiring.

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