Upskilling allows internal talent to fill 80% open roles at GE Power

General Electric works towards developing smart energy-generation methodologies around the world. Pramath Nath, CHRO - Asia Pacific & India, Steam Power, GE Power shares the Company’s strategies, for its Asia Pacific & India operations, to diversify the workplace and upskill internal talent for internal promotions.

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Reskilling or upskilling employees in order to ensure maximum productivity is a practice that many organisations follow to improve their attrition rates. Pramath Nath, CHRO – Asia Pacific & India, Steam Power, GE Power, tells HRKatha how reskilling has been the priority for his team at GE.

“Reskilling is the most critical HR project rolled out by us in India, in 2021. We keep a live skill inventory of each talent and that’s the reference point for any upskilling initiative,” shares Nath. All learning interventions are designed to bridge skill gap, if any. The on-the-job learning plan and the upgradation of technical capability are the ways in which “we help our talent upskill themselves and be role ready”. In projects — services as well as manufacturing — the reskilling programme has been unveiled “to achieve our business transformation objectives,” Nath further elucidates.

Via upskilling, the Company has been able to fill almost 80 per cent of open roles internally. “Reskilling, coupled with clear actions from our rigorous talent-review process — such as bubble assignments, specific development plans, talent upgrades in key roles and so on — have enabled us to fill 80 per cent of all open roles, to date, with internal talent,” Nath elaborates on GE’s reskilling initiative. “With energy transition and our own business transformation at Steam Power, it is imperative to build a series of interventions to enable employees to update their skills, and remain agile and relevant at the workplace,” he opines. That is why, the Company has also developed programmes for people leaders at Steam Power, to support them in leading and coaching their teams in a hybrid work environment.

“With energy transition and our own business transformation at Steam Power, it is imperative to build a series of interventions to enable employees to update their skills, and remain agile and relevant at the workplace”

Pramath Nath, CHRO – Asia Pacific & India, Steam Power, GE Power

The power sector is known to be dominated by men, but Nath is working to make the GE workspace more diverse. “While it is true that women are traditionally under-represented in the power sector, I see their numbers growing in leadership roles across various levels, including instances of engineers and technical experts. We have been able to make progress by driving diverse candidate and interviewer slates as well as promoting talented women, internally,” reveals Nath. “Women hold the global CEO, CHRO and CFO positions at Steam Power,” informs Nath, proudly.

That said, there is always more that can be done in this area. In order to promote an inclusive culture, which fosters diversity of thoughts and ideas, GE tries to ensure everyone feels empowered to perform their best and feel acceptance, respect and a sense of belonging.

Nath also sheds light on GE’s apprentice programme at its Durgapur plant, under which 50 per cent tribal women have been taken on as apprentices in the past few years.

Touching upon how the hiring strategy at GE is different from other companies, Nath explains, “At GE Steam Power, we aim to hire the best-in-class talent and offer them a robust career framework to learn and grow with us. Learning agility, fungibility, attitude, technical competence and cultural fit are what we assess,” elucidates Nath.

In the power sector, the biggest challenge is to find talent with transformation experience. And as Nath illuminates, “We have always focussed on job competencies versus a person’s individual competencies, and been location-agnostic for the roles that can be performed remotely — these are our key differentiators.”

The HR at GE is working to ensure employee wellness, which has become more of a point of focus, given the pandemic. “To further strengthen GE’s long-standing focus on employee wellness, given the effect of the pandemic on communities around us, Steam Power in India is providing health insurance to employees and their immediate families, parents and in-laws, which is a way of providing both financial support as well as peace of mind,” says Nath.

A team of doctors facilitates medical aid to employees in need, while the global employee-assistance programme provides counselling and advice to employees seeking mental wellness.

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