“Can skills be taught at scale?” A unique employee-employer jugalbandi

Did you learn problem solving in the classroom?

What needs to change for employers and employees to thrive in a dynamic environment?

The classic fishbowl discussion technique was given a unique twist in an engaging session at the NTLF 2020. Shailja Iyer, Head HR at Incedo India took the hotseat in a carefully moderated session wherein the other empty seat was filled by employees/participants from the audience firing questions at the employer in constant successions.

As the pulses within members in the audience rose while deciding if the question was answered satisfactorily, what grew was the fiery energy in the room leaving us with a few interesting takeaways and some food for thought. Below are excerpts:

The Employee-Employer Jugalbandi
(Image Coutesy: Yashika Begwani)


For the Employee

  1. Own your Career – Ask for more if you want more.

We’re far ahead of the times where employees seldom spoke to their employers. With technology and openness in communication, employees can just walk up to their leaders and raise their requests or concerns. If you wish to do more than just the job, go tell your leader how else could you contribute, ask for more learning opportunities and you bet you wouldn’t get disappointed.

  1. Be Specific when you Ask – There’s no point beating about the bush.

Figure out what is it that you can do exactly to contribute more, what is it that you’d really want to learn specifically that’ll contribute to your career path and feel free to ask for it. Leave it to the employer to decide how they want to give it to you.

  1. Focus on Building the Right Skills – Be the real you!

Gone are the days when hiring managers looked at degrees while selecting candidates. Employers are looking for a right mindset, a few basic skills, and above all an adaptability quotient and the ability to learn while hiring. Abhinav Agarwal, founder Fluid AI said in another session for example, that they tend to hire not the best problem solver but the best learner for it’s a long-term investment.

For the Employer

  1. Creating the Right Atmosphere – Employees will stick to organizations that give them a sense of belongingness. Nurturing the employees in the initial stages is important. Find them a buddy, a mentor; help them map their career path and push them to strive for better. Creating a good atmosphere matters since employees spend a large part of their day at work.
  2. Teaching Skills at Scale – Skills like leadership, problem solving, decision making etc. are not taught at schools. They need to be built over time. Some organizations require their employees to have a combination of these skills in varying degrees basis their vision.

Most of these organizations invest time and resources to help their employees build and further hone the skills but a pressing question is how such skills can be taught at scale!

In a thriving work environment communication between the employer and the employee needs to be really strong. Furthermore, an environment that embraces learning for employee development helps strengthen this relationship. As remote working gains more popularity in the next few years, technology will aid this communication. But, will the ‘Techade’ also resolve the pressing problems of teaching skills at scale? Only time will tell!



Was leadership, problem solving or decision making taught to you at institutes? If not, how did you pick them up. Tell us in the comments below.


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