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Growing need for Thrive Skills to adapt to evolving customer dynamics

The Indian Services sector is one of the most important contributors to India’s GDP and one of the fastest-growing in the world. In FY 2020, it contributed 55.39 percent of India’s Gross Value Added at current prices. It has also made a significant contribution to increase in employment and export.

Among the prominent industries in the sector are telecommunications, media, and entertainment, trade, health care, retail, hotels, railways, and education. As these businesses rely heavily on customer engagement, they must evolve and adapt to the times.

People skills such as flexibility, empathy, effective communication, resilience, relatability, and good judgement are in high demand in the Services sector.

Experts believe that all of these social, cognitive, and behavioural skills are essential to survive and thrive in today’s times.

“Over the last few years, new job categories and greater human-machine collaboration are the trends that have emerged. I think with the advent of digital and new technologies, there are new job categories that are coming up, and there are new skills that are required by people to imbibe the new technology and provide a superior customer experience,” Nilanjan Kar, Chief Revenue Officer, Harappa, said while speaking at a session of The Economic Times-Harappa Transformation Series.

The gathering—the fourth and final chapter of a four-part webinar series spanning sectors and verticals—was an attempt by the two organisations to highlight the challenges and opportunities in the areas of social, cognitive, and behavioural skilling.

“The key skills that have come up in the past 5-10 years in the services sector are the ability to listen, empathy, and assertiveness. On the HR and the L&D agenda, companies are prioritising cognitive, social, and behavioural skills,” added Kar.

In the services industry, he also noted that consumers play a critical role. Consumer expectations and competing technologies are extremely dynamic, changing every month. As a result, personalisation becomes the most important aspect of the consumer experience.

Sushmita Roy, SVP & Head HRBP – Digital, TV & Studio, Sony Pictures Networks, spoke about the top abilities that are required in these exceptional times. She said, “When we talk about skills, one of the things that come to the top of my mind is resilience. In these changing circumstances, resilience is the core to build an organisation where people can take on challenges and emerge out winners.”

Mr. Rajagopalan Purushothaman, Head-Learning & Development, JioMart Digital, also expressed his thoughts on the skills. He added, “One of the key abilities to get things done in large organisations is build relationships with people which can be a struggle. Emotional intelligence helps in building relationships, which is a part of social skills.”

Rani Belliappa, Associate Partner Head Learning & Development & HR Business Partner, KPMG Global Services, highlighted that they have been adopting a strategic approach at KPMG to future proof its workers in the current context and in the years to come. They concluded that the primary areas of skill development include cognitive skills, human-centric skills, and technology after consultation with the Big 3 consulting firms and HR consulting organisations.

Prabhjot S Goomer, Group Head Human Resources, Eros Group, who was also on the panel, spoke about how the pandemic has affected the hotel sector. He said, “We were the first to be hit, we were the worst to be hit, and very likely we will be the last to recover. This has disturbed the workforce.” He also mentioned that they have been instilling confidence in their team.

Underlining the changing roles of HR, Amla Awasthi, Vice President HR, Indiamart Intermesh Limited said, “The entire role of HR has changed. We were more like councillors, more like support to the teams in terms of crisis management as to how to maintain that behavioural pattern and people live in that positive mindset so that they communicate better and come out of the issues they are facing.”

Adding to the same and applauding the role of HR, Ashok Ramachandran, CEO & President, Schindler said, “The first revelation that happened during this time is that finally, HR has got the seat it always deserves. Everyone has realised that this is the saviour and hats off to them for driving organisations across the world.”

Gautam Khanna, CEO, Hinduja Hospital concluded by saying how they have been trying to reduce the mental stress of the frontline workers. They ran a series of programmes for the well-being of their staff. He added, “During Town Halls, I would reemphasise to people why they are working in Healthcare. They are working in this sector to serve humanity and this is the most important time to serve humanity. This helped them get the empathy and compassion back in them.” 

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