How Lenovo’s ‘ASAP’ trains its workforce for new vertical

Lenovo India is venturing into the area of services & solutions, for which it is upskilling its existing tech sales workforce


Lenovo, one of the leaders in electronic products, has been expanding its presence in India over the years. As part of its continuous evolution, the computer hardware company is currently working on establishing a new business in the market.

Given how lucrative the services and solutions business in the Indian market is, the tech company is now venturing into this new vertical.

In conversation with HRKatha, Bhavya Misra, Director & Head of HR, Lenovo India, shares that even though a company such as Lenovo, with its strong employer brand value, finds it easy to attract talent for its conventional business, attracting the right talent for the new services and solutions business does pose some challenges.

“The name ‘Lenovo’ does not bring to mind ‘services and solutions’. Therefore, for the more seasoned and experienced talent, it may not appear to be the grandest of opportunities,” she points out.

The very fact that the Company is investing heavily in this domain provides an interesting proposition for the right talent. Therefore, Lenovo is on its way to alleviate any talent shortage it may be facing at the moment.

However, banking on external talent for the new vertical isn’t the Company’s talent outlook at the moment. In addition to hiring for specific skills from the market, Mishra shares that Lenovo is ensuring inclusion of the existing workforce in its talent strategy for the new business.

“The programme is primarily for tech sales, but we are trying to figure out how to build the capability of the entire organisation via ASAP. Currently, every function in Lenovo is required to partner in this”

Bhavya Misra, Director &Head of HR, Lenovo India

“Although primarily known for  hardware, we are presently at a point we refer to as ‘services-led transformation’,” she states. In order to upskill the workforce to perform in this domain, Lenovo India is running a very intensive training programme called ASAP.

Short for Accelerated Services Adoption Program, ASAP aims to build the capability of the existing tech sales workforce to handle the new initiative.

“The programme is primarily for tech sales, but we are trying to figure out how to build the capability of the entire organisation via ASAP. Currently, every function in Lenovo is required to partner in this,” Misra shares.

She further reveals that there are three stages of training in the programme. All of them involve skill training of varying difficulty levels. After the completion of each stage, there is an assessment to evaluate the person’s understanding of the concepts taught. Only after passing the assessment can the employees be sent to the next stage. If they are unable to clear the assessment, they are made to undergo a host of learning sessions to ready them to retake the assessment. These include a course of coaching, peer coaching and specific learning and development initiatives.

Instructors for the courses depend on the nature of topics. Some of the instructors are from within the organisation, while others are brought in to ensure that no gaps in learning exist.

On the overall hiring scope of the new initiative, Mishra explains, “Hiring is based on the sort of people/talent we need. After all, it is a technical business at the end of the day. If one can build the required capability internally, then it is fine, else, a certified expert for a particular role can be searched from the market.”

She further adds, “Technology as an industry is about transformation. One needs to learn new things all the time to stay up to date with the market. Hence, constant upskilling is required. Whether it is product or sales training, there is a lot of focus on upskilling.”

The Company also provides instructor-led training modules to regularly upskill its tech workforce. For the mainstream business, Lenovo India utilises an internal learning and development university, called Grow.

“Grow is an internal e-learning platform with a plethora of resources. We have tied up with multiple e-learning businesses to expand it as and when required,” Misra reveals.

She also elaborates that the use of the word ‘upskilling’ in tech is very generic. One needs to identify exactly what sort of skills people require and wish to add to their arsenal.

Mishra feels that even when working with people who plan to switch roles within the organisation, it is essential for the team to ensure that the person is set up for success.

“One needs to equip employees with adequate skills before positioning them at the deep end of another function. Hence, an individual development plan for talent must be in place,” asserts Misra.

With an individual development plan, Lenovo works with the employees to understand where they want to go with their careers and what sort of skills they would require to reach there. Specific learning is then imparted accordingly.

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