With 30+ years of work experience in varied industries like Manufacturing, Food & Beverages, Telecommunications, Consumer Electronics, Staffing and Recruiting etc. Seema is currently working as Chief People Officer at Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd. She has been into various leadership role in across companies like Carlsberg, ZTE Telecom, Canon, Sony, Motorola, AT&T and Nestle India etc. Find her on Linkedin here
In a special conversation with Corporate Shiksha, Seema Bangia, Chief People Officer at Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd., she shares her perspective on Future of Learning.
Ques: How do you see shifts in technology (AI, IoT, Big Data Analytics, 3D Printing, Robotics) impacting your workplace in the near future?
Answer: I represent Defence Sector of Mahindra and I see that the shifts in the technology will impact the workplace in two ways – one on the workforce & processes, wherein introduction of new technology will enhance overall organizational efficiency and performance. On the other hand, the introduction of high-end technology will impact defence related projects, helping us provide high-end solutions to our customers but will have very limited impact on the traditional procedures and processes related to defence.
Having said the above, I feel human intervention will still be required at each level.
Ques: Continuous improvement requires a commitment to learning. What is the secret formula of creating a culture of Learning in your organization across all levels?
Answer: Learning method needs to be aligned with the pace of innovation and technology. Earlier days when more importance was paid to class-room learning and gradually same learning was replaced with micro-learning or learning-on-the-go, every era has its best formula of learning which is evolved with the changing times. Class-room learning still has its importance, however, the millennials keep themselves engaged with the newer ways of learning. Our organization keeps pace with the changing times and introduces more innovative employee engagement experiences.
Ques: Do you see shift in skills impacting your work force? How are you planning to build new competencies by skilling/reskilling and cross skilling your people?
Answer: There is an evident shift in the skills impacting the workforce and that is moving from technical to soft skills. As we see that people skill is gaining momentum now, more weightage is being given to the soft skills and EQ (emotional quotient) while hiring or training the employees,. Even if someone is very well equipped with technical skills but one loses out on people issue then it starts impacting the work force fiber within the organization.
Building new competencies is the need of the hour. Unlearning and relearning are continuous factors that contribute in meeting the goals and the overall success of the organisation. Towards this the organisation is training the workforce on newer skills sets and technology.
Ques: According to you what qualities should leaders of the future should possess?
Answer: As I said above, the “people skills” is the new skill which requires a great level of empathy and collaboration. Teams which are good in these two new skills are successful teams. Though these are not so new skills, they have been there since time immemorial. However, they got into forefront because of too much aggression being found in the organizations. Many Fortune 500 companies couldn’t cope with the pressure of changing times primarily because their workforce couldn’t keep pace with the changing scenarios and there they found “low EQ”, lack of empathy” were the main reasons.
Ques: How are you preparing your organization for the Gig Economy? (Gig Economy is a way of working that is based on people having temporary jobs or doing separate pieces of work, each paid separately, rather than working for an employer.)
Answer: Due to the nature and sensitivity of the business we are in, I do not see the possibility and impact of gig economy much. Though some roles are time and project bound where expertise from the market are required for a limited time, we do not see much challenge to hire workforce for these requirements weather long-term or short term period.
Ques: Tell us what you are doing in your organization to create learning communities or peer learning environment.
Answer: Our old “buddy” systems plays a role when we talk about peer learning. Also mentoring and reverse mentoring options are created in the system. We have a program called “Gyan Cafe” which propels peer learning culture in Mahindra Defence.
Disclaimer: The responses to the questions are solely interviewee views as a professional and do not reflect that of the Organisation interviewee works for as well as Corporate Shiksha.