IN 2022, GENPACT employees logged close to 10 million hours on the company’s learning platform Genome, more than double the number in 2018, when it was launched. “We could not have imagined such scale with classroom training 10 or 15 years ago,” says chief human resources officer Piyush Mehta. “Skilling and reskilling, learning and unlearning, are going to be most important for organisations because the world is changing fast.”

Companies across the world are focused on employee learning and development given technological advancements and disruptions. Genpact, which helps organisations in digital transformation, says it realised a few years ago that its future hinged on transformation into a learning organisation where people can build on their skills, collaborate at scale and deliver effectively. One of India’s largest business process management services firm stresses five core principles — enhancing talent through reskilling; human-centred learning; developing intersectional and trilingual capabilities; complementing core skills; and harnessing power of teams.

The Genome platform, central to the effort, helps employers reskill in a scalable manner, uses discussion forums to help people learn from each other as well as experts and encourages people to practice what they have learnt on micro-projects. Every month, nearly 40,000 people learn on Genome, which features 700 subject experts across 80 skills. “It has been a competitive advantage for us over last 36 months and resonated with clients, who see this as an important enabler of re-skilling,” says the company.

The World Economic Forum expects automation to displace 85 million jobs by 2025. “For those in C-suite who want their businesses to stay relevant, the only alternative to reskilling is huge cost and disruption from waves of recruitment, redundancies and buy-outs. In the long run, developing a workforce that can adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of the business is the better option,” says a 2021 report by EY, Learning Reimagined.

Once people gain skills on Genome, the company puts them through a programme to ensure they have opportunities to explore other roles and move up the ladder. This is where internal talent marketplace Talent Match comes in. Mehta says the company continues to find ways to promote internal talent. This keeps employees satisfied and serves the company financially well because “when you go out in the market to buy talent, it’s a far tougher proposition than promoting internal talent,” says Mehta.

The company has an internal target to move at least 50% employees to new roles every year. Mehta says the business is growing at a compounded average growth rate of 10% a year with more than 20% attrition, which means there is enough room to promote internal candidates. “We drive the supply-side engine through Genome. It ensures more satisfied and engaged employees who understand company culture. We get better engagement scores,” he says.

Over last few years, the company has invested in focused talent programmes such as Leadership Direct Program (LDP), Global Operations Leadership Development (GOLD) and Women Leadership Program (WLP), among others. These, Genpact says, offer mentorship, rotational assignments and exposure to high-impact projects for building leadership qualities. GOLD, for example, is focussed on development of high-potential talent. Genpact says about 1,000 managers and senior managers have gone through the programme in about a decade and a half. Of these, about 90% were promoted.

Under LDP, conceived in 2018, the company picks high-potential talent internally and from best B-schools across the world and puts them into top 1,000 roles regardless of their age. These candidates go through 12-18 months of accelerated learning. “There is no reason why someone with right smarts needs 20 years experience for a leadership role. Unless you are in a job which is highly domain-oriented, a lot of leadership jobs can be done by smart people who we can rocket through the system,” says Mehta.

The women’s leadership programme offers mid-career women learning opportunities. The aim is to “enable them to position themselves as future leaders.” At present, 33% employees in India are women; 40 employees from India team identify themselves as members of the LGBTQI community; the global count is 147.

However, Mehta says the company is not happy with its diversity rate. “We would like half of our workforce to be women. We are not there yet,” he says. Though, leadership council has 40% women.

Besides learning and development, Genpact is using new tools to boost engagement and collaboration among employees. For example, its Watercooler virtual assistant helps schedule 15-minute, informal, one-to-one catch-up calls between employees. The company is also using its artificial intelligence chatbot Amber to track employee mood and sentiment. During the pandemic, Amber helped the company identify employees struggling to cope with the pandemic.

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