Human Resource

Skill is the New Currency

Organizations are moving from a role-based system to a skill-based system. This is quite advantageous in the following ways:

  • Skills help develop employees’ capabilities further and result in greater customer satisfaction.
  • Skill-based orgs behave more like a Live Enterprise
  • Higher proficiency attract better pay for the employees.

Podcast Audio Transcript

Alisha: Hello listeners, this is Alisha; thank you for tuning in to yet another exciting and informative podcast from us at Infosys BPM. Today, we are discussing the benefits of skill development. And to talk about this, we have here with us, Uma Sankar, AVP & Head – Organization Development. Welcome Uma. How are you?

Uma: I’m doing well. Thank you for having me, Alisha.

Alisha: It’s an absolute pleasure.

To start with, Uma, could you elaborate on the concept of skill being the new currency?

Uma: Sure. Conventionally, all talent management processes are aligned to structures such as a role or job. But that changes dramatically as you focus more on skills; this shift reflects in our hiring and development processes as well.

Our traditional recruiting processes still place an emphasis on education, experience or referrals that can lead to a more homogeneous workforce. Organisations are now rethinking job descriptions and have started prioritizing skills. Skill represents a candidate’s ability to perform a task and deliver results without requiring an unnecessary barrier to entry like a qualification or experience. In this paradigm, it is all about skill assessment, skill training and skill-aligned compensation. This is how we define a skill-based organisation.

So, you see, jobs will be designed around capabilities and skills and not around tenures. This is why I call skill the new currency at work.

Alisha: Yes, this skill focus is a growing necessity in today’s competitive environment.

Also, this is beneficial to employees as well, right? You might be enhancing your L&D programs to improve skills.

Uma: Absolutely. When you look at it, you will see that it’s really a two-way street, Alisha.

When we develop employee skills, they in turn achieve the capability to further enhance customer satisfaction. Essentially, it creates a very symbiotic work environment. For the first time in the BPM Industry, we launched skill tags a few weeks ago. This will be a career development initiative for internal talent growth, while focusing highly on skills that would fetch a premium from clients as well.

A Skill Tag signifies a specialization – a combination of domain and technology/digital skills. Based on the current market demand for new services and client transformation initiatives, we have identified the niche skills that enhance employees’ current roles and promote their professional growth. This helps employees deliver with agility and be hyper-productive, and ultimately to enable clients becoming a Live Enterprise. It also results in stronger retention. As you can see it’s a win-win on both sides, and there are rewards attached to it.

Alisha: Yes, it’s really a win-win situation. How do you enable this at Infosys BPM?

Uma: Skill tags are defined at three proficiency levels. At each level, there are focused learning programs and certifications. Employees can prepare for careers in new and emerging areas by aspiring and completing structured learning paths in skills they are passionate about. We also have a device-agnostic platform called Lex which allows our employees to experience anytime/anywhere learning. Thereafter, the organization provides opportunities for people to apply the newly acquired skills in specific projects. Employees who demonstrate the required excellence and deliver clear business outcomes bag the skill tag, earn better incentives, and achieve higher visibility with their unique skill identity. Higher proficiency attracts better rewards.

Alisha: That can be really enriching to a person’s career. Now, deviating from domain and technology-related skills, let me come to soft skills. How important are soft skills in a tech-focused world?

Uma: For organizational development and success, we need all kinds of skill sets. People in leadership positions need to exhibit certain qualities, such as empathy, people management, coordination, decision making, and communication. They are responsible to bring a team together and help them achieve project goals.

When we develop a skill-based organization focused on building deep domain or tech expertise and move away from the role-based system, we don’t disregard the aspect of soft skill development. Fostering human, non-cognitive, and interpersonal skills that help people to unlock synergies and drive innovation will always be a precursor to any specialisation in any area.

Alisha: That’s very forward-looking, Uma.

Will skill tags also impact your diversity and inclusion efforts?

Uma: The fact that we are transitioning from jobs and roles to skills makes it a level playing field for anybody who has the skills to come in and deliver excellence, rather than years of experience and job titles defining growth. As boundaries blur, we will see a more inclusive and diverse workplace within the skill-based economy.

Alisha: Yes, I am sure.

Uma, it was a pleasure to have you back again with us. Thank you so much for your insights.

Uma: It was great to be back, Alisha.

Alisha: Dear listeners, if you enjoyed our podcast today, please don’t forget to share and like it on social media. Our social handles are mentioned in the podcast page. The podcast will be available on various platforms like Google Podcasts and Spotify, in addition to our website.

Also, if you have any queries, do reach out to us through the email address on the podcast description. Watch this space for more exciting podcasts coming up. Once again, thank you for tuning in, stay healthy and socially distanced. Have a nice day!

Recent Podcasts