In the third episode of Candid with P@SHA, a knowledge sharing session was held around discussing the best practices for organizational skill development. The panellists involved people representing diverse backgrounds including larger IT companies and SMEs having well-established training and career growth programs, as well as a boot-camp, focused towards the empowerment of the Pakistani women through vocational and IT business training.
The talk covered a lot of ideas and suggestions aiming for the improvement of the digital learning process for organizations under the current state of affairs. The acceptance towards digital and online learning has increased exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected to go even higher post-pandemic as educational institutions and individuals will more likely move towards economical learning platforms. While there are many courses currently being offered free of cost to encourage online learning, it is still highly dependent on how passionate an individual is about learning and improving their skill set.
A point mutually agreed upon by the panellists was that while the youth of Pakistan are energetic, smart, and large in number, they generally lack enthusiasm towards learning or retaining the core concepts of education which later is visible in their professional lives.
For any organization, be it big or small, it is of utmost importance to nurture the passion of its employees and create a robust culture which emphasizes not only on working for a set number of hours but also concerns the personal and career development of an individual. In an execution-oriented culture where employees engage in a friendly and competitive learning environment, the motivation to excel and move ahead has been experienced to originate amongst the employees.
A few other ways of creating a learning environment discussed during the candid talk are as follows:
- Training the employees in batches with assigned mentors so the success of the mentor ultimately relies on the success of the batch. This will create vested interest from both sides.
- Humanizing the learning process by combining e-learning with human interaction and creating localized content which improves the understanding of the native employees not proficient in a foreign language.
- Focusing more on contributing to open-source projects with real-time fieldwork instead of solely relying on certifications.
- MOOCS and Nano degrees.
- Soft-skill training to become a prevailing part of the workplace culture instead of making it a singular or infrequent session(s).
- Presentations based on learning outcomes from online courses which can then be shared to a larger group(s).
Moving towards IT-related academia where the focus is usually inclined towards getting an education for good software development, many important aspects such as product development, design thinking, leadership, and communication skills are often overlooked. A multi-faceted concept of learning which covers all bases while keeping into consideration the personality of the pupils was suggested by the panellists to create better engagement and industry-academia linkage.
Another sore subject in the IT industry is frequent employee turnover. Employees are often perceived to find better opportunities upon receiving expensive training from organizations. Most IT companies invest a large amount of money in the initial training but then proceed to offer little or no career development paths to the employees. To overcome this, creating a road map for the professional development of the employees at the very early stages of recruitment may help the organizations to retain their workforce for longer time periods as the employees keep looking forward to newer challenges and clear chances of growth. That being said, maintaining one-on-one relationships with the employees and creating a healthy turnover which benefits both parties in their long-term goals are also great learning points to consider for the companies.
In times like this where technology and craft keep changing with such great volatility, self-motivated individuals who keep on innovating and improving their skill-set through diversified means are the first ones who hit it out of the park and have much better chances of grasping the opportunities as organizational cultures progress.