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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The buzz word around most companies today is “skills.” Managements across the globe are seeking out corporate trainers to skill their employees. ADC in conversation with leadership at GEMS Skills spearheaded by Amitava Ghosh, President finds out the answer to the big question: What are soft skills, and why is it relevant to the professional well-being of employees today?

How was GEMS Skills conceptualised?
GEMS Skills is a pioneering endeavour to empower millions of professionals across an organisation’s hierarchy, with cutting-edge talent enhancement solutions. It is an international process-driven “Corporate Learning and Development” organisation, recently launched in India. The company was conceptualised with the objective of providing companies in India and overseas, 'talent transformation solutions' which would enable employees across a value chain learn, grow and deliver on critical performance areas of their job function.
GEMS Skills delivers an entire gamut of Corporate Learning Solutions in India. What is the need?
India is today a fast-growing economy making its presence rapidly felt on the global stage. Indian manufacturing processes and services have begun to attract the attention of companies all over the world, compelling many companies to scale up operations in line with global systems, practices and technology. However, there is an enormous challenge to ensure that India’s vast talent pool, both employed and employable, are adequately skilled to assume new business challenges. It is to suitably address this large skills gap prevalent in India that GEMS Skills has taken on the mantle of providing relevant corporate learning and skills development solutions to Indian businesses. GEMS Skills works with companies across industrial sectors and has identified critical sectors in India such as; retail, manufacturing, FMCG, BFSI, telecom, automotive, healthcare, information technology and its allied services, where there is an urgent need for skills empowerment. Companies can easily access information on any of these programs through the GEMS Skills website:, which showcases its Corporate Learning Solutions.

What is the relevance of soft skills training in today’s work environment? Soft skills are imperative in the professional life of any employee. While it is important to be armed with a bachelor’s or master’s program in the sciences, arts, engineering or medicine, it is equally important to equip oneself with the softer interpersonal and relationship-building skills that help people to communicate and collaborate effectively.
Makes you an Effective Communicator
Whether you are a young executive or a manager, one is expected to play multiple roles. Employees trained in soft skills are found to be able to communicate thought processes to their colleagues with clarity and camaraderie, resulting in an effective completion of tasks.

Helps an employee emerge as a Strong Leader
Effective leadership skills are critical to the success of any organization and the development of employees. Any professional can master effective leadership skills and grow rapidly in an organization, at times leading large teams to performance with ease and compatibility.

Renders an employee a Key Influencer
Soft skills training play a critical role in developing professionals to become key influencers in an organization. With these training inputs, a key influencer is able to easily resolve problems, express one’s ideas with clarity, and is also able to rally people around to reach a desired business outcome.

How do you think adults can be educated about work ethics and soft skills?
While it is common belief that most adults are set in their ways and more so if they have been working for 10-15 years, it all depends on the professionalism of the training solutions company to be able to facilitate a smooth learning process. GEMS Skills has a senior training faculty which ensures that participants are guided through all soft skills programs through a process of individual and collaborative learning.

How much do you think a job environment matters to a young professional compared to someone from the older generation? And how much do you think it should matter, considering the workaholism in today's life that is somewhat-destroying the interpersonal relationship of people?
Every employee, even in today’s fast-paced organizational culture, looks at a work environment that facilitates both personal growth and professional development. Many organisations often struggle with bridging the gap between older employees and new recruits. GEMS Skills has introduced specific Corporate Learning Solutions which direct senior employees in mentoring and guiding young professionals and new recruits in the delivery of a task.  Some of these programs include; “Onboarding”, “Employee Engagement”, “Motivating Employees to Do Their Best”, “Managing Teams, “Managing Up”, “Skillful Collaboration”, “Team Chemistry”, “Team Excellence”, “Emotional Intelligence”, “Managing Emotions” among many such other Corporate Learning Solutions. Each of these programs foster a spirit of ownership, collaboration and team effort, which have brought about a greater stability among young talent and has also reduced attrition rates and also has helped a new employee, straight out of college.

When a straight-out-of-college student finds his or her first job, they tend to be quite intimidated from the seasoned seniors. At times, they even encounter condescension from the seniors and are mocked, discouraging them to a large extent. How do you think this can be solved? How can GEMS Skills help corporates in making them aware of this issue?
GEMS Skills works with HR teams and line managers to identify sensitive and core issues within team members. Very often a performance issue of a new recruit is often a result of a behavioural aspect at the work-place. GEMS Skills conducts diagnostic evaluations to identify such behavioural issues at the work-place and suggests specific corporate learning solutions to address these issues. Programs such as “Learning to Manage”, “Supervisor Communication Skills”, Approaches to Resolving Performance and Conduct Problems, Challenging Negative attitudes, are some of the many programs which help avert or even arrest such issues.

There is a lot of job-hopping happening in the last few years. Every one or two years, a new person in the field will end up changing jobs, mostly for a higher income. What views do you have about this?
There are two primary reasons which compel a young employee to leave an organization, dissatisfaction at the work-place and better compensation. Surveys have revealed that attrition is often the result of the former. GEMS Skills works with management and employees to address key issues of high attrition, often deploying its result-oriented theatre based learning and outbound learning programs.
There is no age to stop learning. What would you recommend for the senior seasoned workers at an office to learn from the younger generation?
Learning is a never-ending process, more so for an employee who is keen to maintain an ascending career graph. With rapid changes in technology today, most young professionals are constantly looking at leveraging technology to resolve most of the work-place problems. Conflicts often arise between conservative and new-age thinkers. GEMS Skills works with line managers on a core learning program called, Golden Rule. This program is directed at creating a respectful workplace, where employees are consistently called upon to demonstrate respect in their day to day interactions. They learn how to establish self-respect, develop reciprocity with colleagues and maintain respect when faced with stress, uncertainty and change.

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