NCDEX goes for ‘relevant upskilling’ during lockdown

Employees at the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) are upgrading themselves with skills that can be put into business use in real time.

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Employees at the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) are regularly attending in-house learning sessions, through webinars on agricultural economy, product knowledge and other topics. As part of their learning series, they rolled out a session — ‘Know your Product’— which was spread across two weeks. Conducted by in-house subject experts, it focussed on the various product categories offered on the Exchange.

“Apart from domain-functional webinars, we have encouraged our people to up their book-reading habits, and also complete online certifications and other learning in line with their development plans and additional interests,” says Aditi Mukherjee, EVP and head-HR, NCDEX.

The organisation also promotes peer-group learning through its ‘learning hub’ section available on the Company’s intranet.

It engages in research, training and building awareness about the agricultural commodities market. The organisation has turned to building social awareness about the business through multiple digital avenues.

For instance, during the lockdown, the business and products team have been regularly hosting short introductory tutorials online, on the derivatives market; learning videos on concepts, such as ‘open interest’; webinars on the process of algorithmic trading with Python; commodities future market and so on. The Company has used social media extensively to disseminate information to all those interested.

“The nature of our operations is unique. Therefore, potential candidates who possess the requisite knowledge and skills on agri commodities and commodity market are not readily available in the talent pool,” says Mukherjee.

Aditi Mukherjee

We are engaging our employees through regular leadership dialogues and informal talks in large and small groups. Communicating with them and listening to their narratives, we have captured several motivating stories of rediscovery of self..

“We want to ensure that more talent is available in the agricultural sector, and this is one of the reasons why we are trying to build market awareness and make people aware of the sector. Although we had started earlier, now we have gone completely virtual by necessity.”

“As the lockdown continues, we intend to continue our knowledge-sharing series with the same vigour, determination and focus,” adds Mukherjee.

Falling under the essential services category, NCDEX has been amongst those companies that have been fully operational during the lockdown. Therefore, from early March, the Company started work from home, but in a staggered manner, starting with its support and non-critical functions. Currently, close to 90 per cent of the team at NCDEX is working from home. The remaining 10 per cent consists of teams from critical functions, that are going to office on a rotational basis.

Engagement

The organisation has since been focussing on raising the morale of its employees.

The National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange is conducting regular leadership dialogues and informal talks among its employees. Apart from the town halls, where operational needs are discussed, the leadership in the Company frequently engages in two-way dialogues with the employees. In these ‘virtual charcha’ sessions, employees discuss their work-from-home issues and challenges and try to resolve them.

It is also a chance for the employees to share their feedback on what they are finding useful and what more the management could do to help.

Mukherjee explains, “We are engaging our employees through regular leadership dialogues and informal talks in large and small groups. Communicating with them and listening to their narratives, we have captured several motivating stories of rediscovery of self and shared these through our WFH video series, which is also available on our social media handles.”

People are taking this time and opportunity to revisit their interests in painting, dance or music and showcase them to their colleagues. Employees are also involving their families by bringing together their kids, who perform various acts, such as an impromptu dance or magic show.

All the activities organised until now have been part of NCDEX’s first series, and there are plans to do more of them along the way, according to Mukherjee.

Hiring and onboarding

The Exchange is keeping its promises and has recently onboarded a fresh batch of 11 summer interns into its fold. The Company has further brought on board few full-time management trainees from diverse campuses, across functions such as agri-management, HR and finance.

Besides engagement and upskilling of its employees, NCDEX is also working to spread awareness about the agricultural commodity trading market, among the larger society as a whole, through social media.

The corona pandemic has completely changed the way we are connecting with people. Physical distancing and stay-home practices have posed tremendous creative challenges for companies and have forced people to think on radical lines in areas of engagement and experience.

“We have been strictly following all safety norms issued by the Government, and also taken additional precautions, such as regular office sanitisation, use of thermal scanners, masks, sanitisers, special arrangement of private transport and other precautionary health measures,” explains Mukherjee.

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