Hiring decisions must consider a person’s ability to learn as shelf life of skills is rapidly diminishing: Shaakun Khanna, Oracle

As we move into 2022, employees are hungry to regain control of their futures, revaluating what success means to them. Technology has carried us through the toughest challenges in recent history, but the question remains: What role will it play in our future workplace? To answer these questions and more, Oracle partnered with Workplace Intelligence to survey 14,639 C-suite executives, HR leaders, managers and full-time employees were asked general questions about the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace, AI and career development, and AI adoption at the workplace.

Shaakun Khanna, Head HCM Applications Strategy, Oracle Asia Pacific, shares more details on the insights revealed by the report, and highlights the key trends that are impacting the modern workplace

Some edited excerpts:

What are some of the recent challenges that organizations are facing with regards to the workforce efficiency?

There are largely four key challenges on the work efficiency front. First is enablement in the virtual world. For instance, the average number of new joiners is very high in organizations specifically in sectors like IT, BPO, BFSI etc. where there are high on manpower. Similarly, since the existing workforce is spread across cities in virtual mode enabling them is equally challenging.

The second challenge is concerning employee engagement. In the virtual world, it is difficult to invoke teamwork and collaboration, especially in the case of new joiners who have not been involved in socializing with the team in past and have only known them through a screen.

The third challenge is how do organizations ensure focus and mindfulness of people. Remote working has blurred the line between work and life. Further, the productive time in the office was enhanced by social interactions, on the contrary in remote environments employees are expected to work continuously for long schedules thus the social element is missing and there is only so much the human brain can do thus resulting in a lack of focus and mindfulness.

Lastly, the debate has centered around whether organizations should prioritize the process or the outcome. During the Industrial Revolution, processes and competencies were developed to demonstrate that this is a specific task to be completed and that this is the best way to do it in this environment. However, there is a greater emphasis on the outcome or deliverables rather than following a specific process. Nonetheless, the majority of organizations’ systems, whether they are performance management or performance evaluation policies, or even software systems, are all aligned to the older way of working. The challenge here is for organizations to let go of the process and focus more on the outcome, while also providing their employees with the flexibility and autonomy to work according to their competitiveness.

Employees around the world are hungry for new skills, what do you think is the role of technology in helping them reskill and upskill?

Technology is essentially acting as a facilitator for workforce skill enhancement. New-age technology with built-in AI and ML capabilities assist employees in delegating mundane tasks, freeing up their time, and allowing them to acquire knowledge. Technology serves as an enabler through discovering relevant skills for the future from the vast pool of skills. Most people in India (97%) want technology to define their future by identifying the skills they need to develop (49%), recommending ways to learn new skills (52%), and providing the next steps to progress toward career goals (49%). These are some fascinating numbers that show that India is far ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to technology adoption and embracing technology much faster and more openly than the rest of the world.

According to your report, 68% of people struggled with mental health at work more in 2021 than in 2020. The report also adds that the employees are looking to regain control of their lives and focus on mental well-being. What role has new-age technology played in assisting HR, particularly in addressing issues related to mental health?

Mental health has been a central topic of discussion and rightly so. New-age technology assists HR and the workforce in addressing mental health issues in significant ways. Technology has helped HR manage mental well-being at three levels, first level is around diagnostics to understand the mental health status of their employees. For instance, Oracle HCM has built-in modules and surveys that help HR leaders in keeping track of their workforce’s mental and physical health daily.

The second level at which technology assists is it provides a platform for the employees to speak freely and openly without any fear of judgment or bias. This provides them with a platform for the issues that might be bothering them away from the human judgment aspect.

The third level is predictive analytics, wherein HR leaders can use platforms that essentially run algorithms and combine millions of data points to create insights that were previously unseen and unheard-of. Oracle has been a pioneer in this area, and we recently introduced Oracle Fusion Analytics Warehouse, a solution that performs advanced data-driven analysis to provide deeper insights to managers and HR leaders, ultimately assisting them in decision-making.

Career development and skill enhancement are the top priorities for Indians, and they are willing to forego some of the most important benefits, such as monetary compensation or vacation time. What are some of the measures HR leaders can undertake to support their employees in career growth and how can they leverage technology for the same?

The industry dynamics have changed for almost all economic sectors and each organization irrespective of its size is facing tremendous competition. With respect to this, they need to maintain their competitiveness to sustain in the market and skills are one of the strongest assets to achieve this. The workforce globally and in India are also realizing this and are now looking at the bigger picture that supports their long-term career growth for which they are willing to forego monetary compensations and other benefits. As per our survey, 96% of the workforce in India are not satisfied with their employer’s support. Employees are looking for organizations to provide learning and skill development opportunities (49%), for more money (37%), opportunities to take on new roles within the company (47%), more flexibility (48%), and (41%) need technology to help navigate their careers.

As the workforce priority has shifted, the data points show that HR leaders have a significant role to play here. HR leaders must see it as an opportunity to advance their employees, which will ultimately contribute to the overall growth of the organization. To accomplish this, they can leverage technology to support their workforce by providing them with prospects for career advancement, making them aware of relevant skills for the future, and providing re-skilling and upskilling platforms that meet industry standards.

The survey revealed that 97% of workforce are ready to make career change, but 85% are facing major obstacles. How are organizations supporting employees in this regard, and what do you suggest are some of the measures HR leaders must undertake for career advancement within their company and drive employee satisfaction?

Over the past couple of years, a lot has been done in the HR sphere but it is somewhat insufficient because people continue to face major roadblocks. CHROs must develop new policies that provide more options and flexibility for people to explore career and development opportunities. Similarly, these policies must be reflected in hiring decisions that are based on the candidate’s intent and ability rather than solely on their experience record. The selection criteria must be re-evaluated, and hiring decisions must consider a person’s ability to learn, as the shelf life of skills is rapidly diminishing.

Another important factor for CHROs to consider to increase employee satisfaction is to provide them with a high level of mobility via an internal marketplace. Oracle is a pioneer in this concept, and we have launched a Talent Marketplace Application, a one-stop-shop that can be deployed internally, where people can select opportunities within the organization. This provides them with growth opportunities and the flexibility to evolve.

What are some of the measures Oracle has introduced keeping in view the changing global workforce dynamics and supporting customers across sectors?

In the last 18 months, Oracle has developed a number of applications to assist our customer base, particularly CHROs, in navigating the challenges especially during the pandemic. We have recently launched Oracle Dynamic Skills, a skill development platform for a changing market. Then we launched Oracle Fusion Analytics Warehouse, a solution integrated with extensive analytics capabilities to provide HR leaders with data-driven future insights and assist them in decision-making. Then, as previously mentioned, we launched the Talent Marketplace Application as part of our Talent Management solution, which focuses on internal mobility, flexibility, and accelerating workforce efficiency.

OracleShaakun Khanna
Comments (0)
Add Comment