Anyone in the business of delivering talent to an organization knows that they’re skating on thin ice. Getting the right talent at the right time, the right place, and at the right cost, has become extremely challenging. With business environments becoming dynamic, forecasting talent requirements has become difficult, skills have shrinking shelf lives, and supply has become unpredictable.
Wipro has designed a Talent Engineering framework in response to these challenges. The framework has enablers in the roles of Talent Engineering Head (TEH) and Skill Family Heads (SFHs). Between them, the roles bring focus and accountability to talent acquisition, training, deployment, utilization, and retention.
The roadblocks to ideal talent fulfilment
A well-oiled talent fulfilment function depends on addressing four major roadblocks:
- Alignment and mapping of future skills: Skill requirements change in a flash. Existing ones become obsolete, thereby adding to overheads, and must be flushed out quickly. Identifying the demand for skills and placing bets on them has to be done with precision, failing which investments on resources are lost.
- Decision to hire/ retain/ upskill existing resources: Keeping the organization equipped with the right talent firepower is tricky. Should the organization retain and upskill existing talent or onboard fresh resources from the market? Acquiring fresh talent is not as simple as it sounds. The supply of skilled resources in the market is scarce and the demand high. This makes timely acquisition of talent at the right price-point uncertain. Wipro has traditionally trusted its ability to upskill the internal pool. This has been enhanced by offering interesting career paths to individuals in keeping with their aspirations together with effective niche skills deployment to ensure flawless customer delivery.
- Lack of unified approach and siloes in contribution: People supply chain management, competency building, and deployment, are managed by three sub-heads/ divisions. Each fulfills individual objectives, but there is a lack of co-ordination between them. This has resulted in the larger goal of unified talent engineering being diluted amidst the movement of talent and its utilization.
- Understanding and interpreting people data: There is a lack of people data -- from past engagements and deployments -- that hampers the ability of predictive models. Better data can quantify what went right and what went wrong, allowing us to make better decisions.
Wipro’s approach for people supply chain
In response to the challenges, Wipro has taken three steps to facilitate people supply chain ownership and competency building:
- Created a bottom-up demand management approach that enables us to build talent pools starting from the DU/SL/geo level
- TEH, which is a centralized role, responsible for end-to-end management of everything, from forecasting to workforce management, training and coordination of hiring decisions within units
- who own the generation of an internal pool through competency building and training/certification activities at BU/SL level based on client requirements and a forecast of technologies most likely to generate skill demands in the future
Talent Engineering Head
The TEH improves demand fulfilment by consolidating demand forecasts at BU/SL levels, builds our next generation workforce with digital skills, and provides employees with better opportunities. The TEH’s performance is measured against total people cost as a percent of revenue. The TEH’s charter includes:
- Strategic decisions based on BU/ SL level demands and skill prominence – which makes it necessary for the TEH to interact more effectively with stakeholders to drive optimal results
- Managing hiring for each quarter based on demand while limiting indent-based hiring
- Creating capacity through training, talent acquisition, and bench management
- Improvement in internal fulfilment through coordination with delivery organization
- Work with SFH to plan and execute training/certification activities at BU/SL level
Skill Family Heads
Technology has been evolving at a rapid pace. Legacy skills are morphing and new technologies like Containers, IoT, Analytics, and Machine Learning are creating disruption. The need of the hour is to proactively identify ways to outpace this dynamic evolution. To do this, we have created Skill Families that align and skill our workforce on technologies that are (or will be) in demand. Each skill family is supervised by an SFH, who directly interacts with employees (employees are mapped to SFHs based on their roles). The TEH garners support from SFHs to focus on specific skill sets and build competencies. The SFH’s charter includes:
- Improve employee experience and capabilities through discussions, mentoring, and training
- Deliver bottom-up demand forecasts and consolidate the forecast at skill levels
- Provide clear visibility into how roles/ demand will be fulfilled
- Build competencies based on demand forecasts
- Create capacity through training, internal and external certifications, talent acquisition, rotation of tenured resources, and bench management
- Function as final evaluator of employee fitment to their roles and align training/ upskilling accordingly
- Serve as a channel between project teams and TEH to achieve organizational objectives related to skilled and motivated workforce
Why this works
The Talent Engineering framework is effective because it is aligned to customer requirements and to an accurate forecast of the demand for future technological skills. It becomes a powerful lever to meet delivery commitments because it motivates employees by forging a clear and realistic career path. The organization benefits because the framework improves customer satisfaction and makes it possible to cross-utilize talent across DUs and SLs.
The framework’s effectiveness pivots on two factors: First, it allows BUs and SLs to take independent decisions based on their understanding of requirements; second, it holds one person—the TEH—unambiguously responsible for optimal results.
In a larger sense, the Talent Engineering framework is based on the guiding spirit of one Wipro. It eliminates walls between teams and encourage cross movement of resources while keeping delivery objectives and the customer in focus.