Saturday, August 9, 2014

Shaping Human Assets (Skill Development)

Working for a small scale sector company and interacting with our local industry association on a fairly regular basis, human resource or the lack of it is the most common cause of concern. I sometimes fail to understand what really motivates people to work as on an average you find them to be extremely casual about attendance and equally lackadaisical approach towards their responsibility. People quit for no reason or even without securing another job. Money also seldom seems to be the motivator even when there is a scope to earn extra or become multi-skilled at the cost of the company and increase one’s own value. Often the attitude is that if I know more, I will be expected to do more. There seems to be a joy in being an under performer, underachiever. There is a clear lack of desire to learn and excel.
Even the few people that you come across who seem to be employable lack very basic skills. I often observe so-called computer literates struggling to find the Microsoft Word or Excel program in a new computer. There are many more examples. But this is about computers, the larger problem is lack of technicians and operators in manufacturing companies who need to be literate enough to read and comprehend instructions and produce results at their workstation. At a slightly evolved level, line managers and owners expect these people to add value to the process by finding means to improve productivity with the same resources. However, it is a tall order at ground zero.
Demand for skilled personnel in the manufacturing sector is mounting by the day. Walk up to any small – medium business owner and you will find every second person lamenting about scarcity of people and even if they are available the stark lack of skill to perform routine tasks. On one hand we are talking about poverty and job creation to counter the fundamental issues of our society while employers are in a constant twist of finding suitable people to fill up the gaps, training them and sadly facing random attrition.
Skill Shortage Hindrance
According to an Ernst and Young report, 40 million people are registered while only 0.2 million get jobs. NSDC statistics project that 65% of the population will be between the ages of 15 – 59 by 2025-30.
There is a severe and growing lack of skilled people at two levels.
         i.            New people entering the job market ecosystem
       ii.            Existing workforce whose skills are becoming obsolete due to technological changes and new demands of evolving profiles
Due to growing competition and agile manufacturing systems becoming the norm, employers now not only expect employees to successfully complete their tasks but also add value by analyzing how work is being done and changing the processes to shorten time, reduce cost, improve quality. Companies no longer value employees who turn into furniture. Often few driven employees can give greater output than a dozen of them.  
Specialized Skill Development Institutes
It is about time we start focusing on specialized asset development strategy for human resource to accelerate business growth. Generic skills are necessary but people will need to possess sector/ industry/ job profile specific skills which make them valuable assets of an organization. Skill development institutes will have to bring in deep expertise and gain industry favor motivating them to become receptive and be included in the hands-on training program. 
In the absence of effective vocational training program like the German education system and instead of waiting too long for a complete overhaul of the education system, we have a serious need for specialized training players under the aegis of NSDC to impart concentrated and result – oriented skills to people and make them employable assets.

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