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CIOInsider India Magazine

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Workforce Development

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Ashish Khanna, MD & CEO, Tata Power Solar and President, Tata Power

Ashish Khanna has over 30 years of collective experience in bearing lead roles for project management and contracts in both India and abroad. After graduating from IIT Delhi, he has worked for Bharat Petroleum and Engineers India Limited before joining Tata Power.

Skilled workforce is one of the many crucial elements that contribute to an industry to thrive and the same cannot be denied for the growth of the renewable energy industry in the country. Lack of appropriately skilled manpower has been identified as one of the most prominent challenges in hiring required personnel in the sector.

Workforce development is an essential and ongoing process for organizations that ensures efficiency and cultivation of a dynamic nature of workforce. But to dig deeper into the topic of workforce development we must first understand what the term ‘workforce’ means.

What is workforce? Workforce can be defined as the people engaged in or available for work, either in a country, area or in a particular organization or industry. It not only includes the total number of people employed in the armed forces as well as the civilian jobs but, also the unemployed people who are seeking a paying job.

Workforce development is considered to be an interconnected set of plans and strategies that an organization internally formulates to meet employment needs. It may include the following:
• Changes to culture
• Changes to behavior
• Changes to attitude
• Changes to potential; etc.

All these above mentioned factors act as a force in driving the organization towards a positive influence that enables the achievement of business’ future success. Workforce is also often interlinked with employee development and is a vital pillar in business growth.

Some of the major emerging technologies that can be taken into consideration while working towards development of workforce are:

1. Business Intelligence
Business intelligence (BI) is a technology-driven process for analyzing data and presenting actionable information to help executives, managers and other corporate end users make informed business decisions. In retail industries, this is a type of forecast that is essential when it comes to making decisions regarding the appointment of the right people during seasonal hiring.

2. Cloud Technology
Cloud technology is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user. If an organization is planning to adopt digitization, cloud technology is a must. It makes data storage much more affordable, practical, and hassle-free.

3. Mobility in Workplace
Workplace mobility might just be the biggest revolutions that impact the workforce development of businesses of all sizes, in a positive way. Although it highly depends on the economic standing the company, mobility enables employees to work in a way that goes well with their lifestyle and saves more time. Employees can work in a way that is more effective and efficient.

Workforce development is achieved by first and foremost, preparing workers with the specific types of skills necessary for a specific type of job


4. Production Studio Technology
Production Studio Technology enables employees to package and deliver content such as sales collateral or internal presentations in new and innovative ways, with tools such as videos, podcasts, infographics and nextgen presentation software. This empowers employees to be more creative in their efforts to lead, sell and influence by breaking out of the PowerPoint jail. Introducing this type of technology can also result in achieving changes of behavior amongst the employees as it would make the work process more interesting and eliminate mundane monotony.

5. Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs)
VPAs will gradually and affirmatively become more common as technology improves, and employees grow more comfortable with them outside of work. At the moment, assistants such as Cortana, Siri, Google Now and Echo are being used mostly for data retrieval and basic tasks, but within a couple years VPAs will proactively initiate and conclude complex business processes on the behalf of the employee with negligible oversight required. This will result in a great deal of time saving and cost cutting with minimal efforts.

Global renewable energy employment reached 10.3 million jobs in the recent time, an increase of 5.3 percent compared with the number reported in the previous years. An increasing number of countries derive socio-economic benefits from renewable energy, but employment remains highly concentrated in a handful of countries, with China, Brazil, United States, India, Germany and Japan in the lead.

It has been proved that all the forms of renewable energy are healthier for the environment and for people, so we can assume that the environment in which they work to manufacture the clean technology is also healthier for the workers. Studies have shown that employees involved in the solar industry have healthier workplaces simply because they are not exposed to the toxic compounds that coal mines or gas plants release on a daily basis (not to mention the workers in the nuclear energy sector).

China alone accounts for 43 percent of all renewable energy jobs. Its share is particularly high in solar heating and cooling (83 percent) and in the solar power sector (66 percent). While expansion took place in China and India, the United States, Japan and the European Union lost jobs. A key feature of the solar power landscape is that jobs remain highly concentrated in a small number of countries. This can be attributed to the fact that the bulk of manufacturing takes place in relatively few countries and domestic markets vary enormously in size. For India, where annual Solar Power plant installations have fluctuated in recent years, the employment-factor calculation suggests that the country may have seen an impactful growth in the renewable energy sector.

Workplaces are changing rapidly. Due to this dynamic nature, the experts are driven to develop innovative ways to educate and prepare the populous to meet the demands of an increasingly global economy. A large portion of the population remains yet unemployed, while the gap between the technical skills acquired by the workers and those needed by the industries continues to grow.

However, engagement is also a hurdle that many managers have yet to figure out and/or address. It is impacted by the tools the employees are using(mobility), how they are trained, whether they feel acknowledged, and most importantly, are they content with the current position they hold.

Thus, it is safe to state that workforce development is an affair of priority for the government and the society as a whole. Thus, something carrying such emphasis should be advisably tackled with the best tools, i.e., modern technology and equipment to enable the organizations to achieve their goals with ease.

Every employee in Tata Power Renewables is feeling a sense of optimism at the opportunities that have now become available to us. The quality of the work we do today will be our legacy to the nation and epitomize the values of Tata Group.

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