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We Have Already Trained Over 1.2 million People Globally: Sanjay Bhal, CEO & MD, Centum Learning

Sanjay Bhal, CEO & MD, Centum Learning, a skills development and vocational training landscape talks company's work appreciation program, jpob demands and skill development leading to jobs. Edited Excerpts:

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Sanjay Bhal, CEO & MD, Centum Learning, a skills development and vocational training landscape talks company's work appreciation program, jpob demands and skill development leading to jobs. Edited Excerpts: 

What are the employee appreciation programs practiced in the company?

One of the greatest challenges for a people-driven organization is the retention of its most valuable asset, its workforce. An inspirational employee appreciation program is therefore fundamental for us to motivate our employees and enhance their overall job satisfaction.

Whilst almost every organization, small or big, runs an ‘R&R’ program, what differentiates Centum is the philosophy of building an emotional connect with our employees’ families by involving them in all our recognition initiatives. Whenever an employee excels at work, our CEO personally sends a ‘Thank You’ note to his or her family, acknowledging their role in our organizational success. Our reward and recognition ceremonies invariably include the award winners’ families, who receive a red carpet welcome. Furthermore, in order to add variety and spontaneity to our recognition efforts, we have placed ‘Value Cards’ in all our office premises. Whenever an employee demonstrates any of our core values - ‘Customer Focus’, ‘Respect & Care for Individuals’, ‘Meeting commitments’, ‘Integrity’ or ‘Continuous Improvement’ the supervisor or any other colleague within the organization can felicitate the individual by using these cards and adding a note detailing the accomplishment.

Finally, we have robust internal communication that ensures real-time broadcast of employee achievements through a dedicated channel called ‘Flash – the top news’.

What makes for a great place to work?

While there is no single answer as to what makes a great place to work, it is an established fact that organizational culture is a key contributory factor. We have invested in a strong value system. With open lines of communication and mutual trust, we have attempted to build a strong relationship with our employees and this, we believe is what makes us such a great place to work.

What is the gender diversity ratio in the company? 

Centum is an equal opportunity employer and we are proud to employ some of the most talented and competent female professionals in our industry. Currently, 27 percent of our workforce is female. Flexibility in working hours to ensure proper work-life balance, work-from-home policy and awareness sessions on female health are some of the women-friendly practices that Centum promotes.

Skill development program has produced only half of the candidates as employable. What are the challenges and how to ensure better employability for candidates going through skill development?

Reaching out to the youth and motivating them to get skilled in a sector of their choice is the only way to ensure that our demographic dividend does not turn into a demographic disaster. Mindset of the rural youth, attrition, quality and accessibility of skill training centers can be seen as the key challenges of skill development. Traditional mind-set in rural areas and low willingness to migrate to urban areas is one of the factors that hinder the skill development of the youth. Accessibility of training for the disadvantaged and rural section of the society is also difficult due to high costs involved and other social barriers.

Soft skills play a vital role when working in an organization. Effective communication, positive attitude, taking initiatives, team building, appreciating and motivating are some of the skills which can go a long way in a person’s career. Candidates from rural areas are the worst hit as they lack most of the basic skills like logical, reasoning skills, etc., which impacts their employability.

What sectors will require the most development in terms of changing job demands in future?

We see a significant change happening, that is directly impacting workers and emergence of new opportunities. The need of hour is to build a workforce with futureproof skills. Although, the intimal disruptions in industries through AI could have a negative impact but further in time will yield the genesis of Fourth Industrial Revolution that will promote job creation under varied fields of work like mobile internet, the internet of things, big data analytics and robotics. These sectors will be fueled by the demographic dividend that India has to offer. While companies are focusing more on digitization, nearly a million jobs are expected to be created in the coming six months. With FDI now in retail, the sector is creating thousands of jobs. The travel and tourism industry is poised for growth and is a big contributor to the economy.

How many people have gone through skill development under Centum Learning and what is the target you are looking at?

As the saying goes, the world is our oyster and we will not be constrained by geographical or sectoral boundaries. We have already trained over 1.2 million people globally. The fact that we partner both industry and government helps us understand the industry demands and build training solutions that are relevant for the industry. We are better positioned to make sure that even for our government programs, we train students on skills that are relevant for industry; hence making them employable. We have aggressively partnered the government to fulfill NSDC’s target to create a skilled and empowered India. Our unique approach to skilling has made us the trusted ‘Go-To’ partner for corporates looking to deploy skills development and vocational training initiatives.