Learning academy: HR imperative for recruitment and retention | HCLTech

Learning academy: HR imperative for recruitment and retention

October 17, 2022
Saanvari Malhotra


Saanvari Malhotra
General Manager, Digital Process Operations
October 17, 2022

Recruitment is among the fundamental pillars that drive success and determine the competitive edge of any enterprise. Without the right talent pool at disposal, all business-critical factors – product/service quality, sales, customer experience, marketing – are only concepts that can’t be realized.

Hiring professionals with the desired skills and retaining them is a constant challenge for enterprises irrespective of their size and industry and the geographies in which they operate. The impact of disruptive events - the pandemic-triggered lockdown or the emergence of the remote work model globally – makes talent acquisition and retention further complex and tricky. Shifting interests, evolving priorities, and fluid preferences keep HRDs awake and on their toes to fulfill their roles.

Primary hiring challenges across the board

HR leaders across the globe must address and strategize for a wide range of concerns. The changing global and local circumstances put unique pressure on the HRD depending on the relevant industry and market. With these being acknowledged, certain pertinent HR challenges are common across organizations and prevent them from maximizing the ROI of their human capital.

Skill gap: The demand-supply disparity in talent acquisition is, by far, the biggest issue that recruiters face at present. In a survey, more than a quarter of recruiters claimed that they received zero applications from candidates with relevant qualifications. Moreover, nearly 30% of them received limited applications that were aligned with their requirements. In the US alone, the skilled workforce deficit is estimated to exceed 6.5 million by the end of this decade, resulting in unrealized business value worth $435 billion.

Low offer acceptance rate: Offer acceptance rate varies across companies and markets. It also depends upon the various external circumstances. That said, an offer acceptance rate of 90% or higher is considered as healthy while anything below 80% should ring an alarm. However, by the end of the first quarter of this year, the average offer acceptance rate had fallen to 81% from the previous year’s average of 85%, which was already way below the healthy mark. The average specifically for technical and niche roles was even lower at 70%.

Long notice period: The duration for which employees are obligated to continue serving their employer after resignation –notice period - impacts recruiters as much as the candidates. For instance, three months of notice is common for technical and niche profiles. The popular idea behind long notice periods was to deter candidates from resigning and to get ample time to recruit and train their replacements. The same boomerangs when an organization wants to hire. They must either buy out the notice period or patiently await completion.

Low offer-to-joining ratio: Candidates not showing up on their joining date even after accepting the offer is the biggest blow to recruiters and is a recurring phenomenon today. The notice period does have a role here too. After accepting the offer from one organization, candidates apply for resignation and start offer shopping. While the organization that has made the offer waits through the notice period, candidates have the option to negotiate with their respective current employers while also seeking better opportunities. It’s not uncommon for them to eventually decline the first offer for a more attractive offer.

Acquisition and retention through value addition

As salary no longer remains the most decisive factor in job search, organizations need to think beyond paychecks for attracting and employee retention. Flexibility and culture are among the key considerations for people switching jobs or even looking for their first one. However, every individual has unique preferences, and projecting work culture and flexibility as a differentiator may not be a game changer for most organizations. One of the more assuring differentiators and employee retention initiatives is facilitating a learning academy for employees.

Employee upskilling has turned from an advantage for career growth to an imperative for staying employed. As the half-life of learned skills has reduced to five years, the average tenure of employees stands at four-and-a-half years. For organizations seeking longer employee retention or increasing the offer acceptance and joining rates, providing skill development opportunities via learning academies is the safest investment. In the US, 80% of the people in employable age group consider organized learning opportunities by an employer as an “important” or “very important” factor in job acceptance.

Benefits of intra-organization learning academy

Employer-facilitated upskilling opportunity is considered a major differentiator by most people of the employable age. No other corporate perk is termed an advantage with such unanimity by the employees. Establishing a learning academy pays back by:

  • Building a strong employer brand: Offering an integrated work-and-learn program makes an organization desirable as an employer for candidates.
  • Aligning workplace culture: The organization can have a more cohesive workforce in terms of work culture and expectations.
  • Fostering a trained and committed workforce: As employees get a holistic opportunity for career growth from their employers, they tend to stay with the organization longer and with higher dedication.
  • Preparing a ready pool of desired skills sets: Organizations get a steady supply of professionals trained on emerging technologies from within their workforce, drastically reducing recruitment costs.
  • Shortening time to value: Reduced TAT to depute the required resources on critical projects helps to accelerate business potential and drive higher customer satisfaction.

On this front, HCLTech has a comprehensive, three-pronged strategy for establishing employer-sanctioned learning academies for companies of all sizes and across geographies and industries. We foster learning academies to continuously shift focus on hiring fresh talent from the campuses and develop them on critical and niche skills basis our clients’ requirements. Always having a ready-to-deploy pool of resources at a cost which is much lower than hiring lateral talent gives us a distinctive edge. Our talent management team has a robust program in place to retain and grow this talent over a period of time to keep their personal and professional growth consistent and aligned to the organization’s objectives.

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