Retail has been dynamically changing in India. In the past decade we have seen the shift from “brick and mortar” to “brick and click”. Today, it is an integrated world fulfilling the customers’ demand through various channels and experiences. What really comes in, as a surprise to me is the second largest employing industry in the second largest populated country of the world is hungry for the skilled labor. Somewhere, a huge skill gap has been created between the traditional education and the fast paced industries.
Praparing for Tomorrow
There is a constant need for bridging this skill gap by inculcating future skills for industry 4.0 in our education system. Some of these skills are complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decisions making, service orientation, negotiation and cognitive flexibility. As we can see most of these are soft skills and need more humane intervention than robotic.
This at the same time is posing a big question on 1. Whether any mechanism exists which can be vast and spread out with the reach of online capabilities? 2. How does one get 50 million professionals to train and acquire the skills needed?Mostly in the learning and development industry we have either an online or an offline support. The companies need to gear up quickly and create their own e-learning platform with the amalgamation of technical and softskills. At the same time, they cannot do away with the classroom training sessions.
The new pedagogy suggests that company’s trainers’ intervention should be done once the pre assessments are done on the e learning platforms and they have a ready report of every individual in their hand. After the training a post assessment can be done to understand their grasp during the training program.
Another challenge that the human resource department face, is the attrition of the trained staff which are easily motivated by the increasing demands of the right skilled labor and for better opportunities they make quick shifts. Meaning, you spend time, money and efforts training personnel who switches the job before the company can well utilize the resource potential.
This also demands another drastic shift in the industry’s habit of hiring the manpower. Certified and pre trained personnel will become the need of the hour very soon. My advice is for those who are looking forward to be part of the retail industry, is to quickly get a certification or vocational course done to ensure you are a level ahead of others. To stay in demand at all times, you also need to ensure constant learning and upgrading your skills to quickly move up the career ladder. For enterprises, the only way out is to start treating learning and development as the core part of the business functions and not treat this as optional facility based on budget availability.
The article has been penned down by Iti Rawat, a motivational speaker, an entrepreneur and a retail experience Enhancer - have worked with several international and national firms on various projects for them in the Retail industry.