Manishankar Baraiya

Embracing Change: Adapting to the Future Workforce Landscape in the EPC Sector | Manishankar Baraiya | CHRO | Kalpataru Projects International Limited

Manishankar BaraiyaIn the ever-evolving landscape of the modern world, with rapid technological advancements, artificial intelligence (AI), and evolving market dynamics, embracing change is not just an option; it is imperative for survival. With the global shift towards sustainability and renewable energy, the engineering and construction sector finds itself at the forefront of revolutionary change! As this industry experiences significant shifts and challenges, it is essential for businesses to embrace adaptation and innovation to thrive in this evolving environment. Staying ahead of the curve is not merely advantageous but a necessity for sustained growth and success.

As a leading Indian player in the Engineering and Construction industry, we recognize the pivotal role that human capital plays in shaping the organization’s success. It would be worthwhile to look at some of the key aspects of how forward-thinking businesses can build a resilient workforce capable of flourishing amidst the winds of transformation.

Paradigm shift in Workforce Demography: One of the most significant shifts in the modern workforce is the coexistence of multiple generations. Baby boomers are gradually retiring, and millennials and Gen Z are stepping in. Each generation brings its strengths, preferences, and work styles to the table. To adapt to this multi-generational workforce, building an inclusive environment promoting collaboration and learning from each other is the first step towards success. Emphasizing mentorship programs, where experienced employees guide and mentor younger ones, can facilitate knowledge transfer and skill development across generations and also help sustain a learning culture.

Making people future-ready: The EPC sector has traditionally relied on manual labor, with a focus on construction expertise and engineering prowess. However, with the rapidly changing landscape, with the advent of automation, artificial intelligence, and data analytics, it is essential to acknowledge this shift and recognize that the future workforce will demand a different skill set and mindset to excel in this technology-driven world. To stay ahead of the curve, reskilling and upskilling our employees are imperative. Investing in training programs that equip our workforce with digital and technical competencies will be critical. The convergence of technology and engineering will require a versatile talent pool capable of working with advanced tools and handling complex data-driven challenges and all this while transitioning from a construction-focused mindset to a holistic project management-driven approach.

Embracing Diversity and Inclusion: The world is shrinking and with the ever-expanding scope of business which is becoming borderless in every sense, we are constantly preparing for the future, and diversity and inclusion will be the key to our success. Organizations today are like a melting pot and embracing a diverse workforce will not only enrich our organizational culture but also bring in a broader range of perspectives, creativity, and problem-solving abilities. By fostering an inclusive environment, we can attract top talent from diverse backgrounds and retain them in the long term.

Agile Workforce Model: In the rapidly changing EPC landscape, flexibility is essential. Adopting an agile workforce model will enable us to respond quickly to market fluctuations and project demands. Leveraging the gig economy, freelance talent, and remote working options as far as possible and in roles where it is suitable can help us access specialized skills and adapt to changing project requirements effectively.

Employee Wellbeing and Mental Health: Since the COVID pandemic hit the world, we have realized the importance of wellbeing and mental health in a different connotation. The crises made it amply clear that employers cannot function in the absence of structured programs that support employees’ overall well-being and mental health. The dialogue is open to all. Uncertainty and transformation can create stress and anxiety in the workforce. By offering comprehensive wellness programs, fostering open communication, and promoting a healthy work-life balance, we can support our employees in navigating the evolving landscape.

Collaborative Partnerships: Circling back to the context of a shrinking world! Embracing change in the EPC sector and in general necessitates collaboration with other industry players, educational institutions, and technology providers. Building strategic partnerships will enable us to access cutting-edge technologies, share best practices, and gain insights into emerging trends, ultimately enhancing our competitive advantage.

Future-proofing Leadership: The changing workforce landscape requires a forward-thinking leadership approach. Early identification and grooming of future leaders with a growth mindset will be crucial. Leaders who are open to change, agile, and adept at navigating uncertainty will be instrumental in driving organizational success in the future.

Measuring Progress: Finally, as we embark on this transformative journey, it is essential to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and regularly measure progress. Tracking our success in adopting to the future workforce landscape will help us identify areas of improvement and refine our strategies accordingly. It is equally important to build a culture that celebrates meritocracy and believes in giving and receiving feedback for improvement. Often times, focusing on KPIs leaves less room for building on the underlying principles of enhanced performance i.e. timely and constructive feedback. Measuring progress will only be effective when Manager and Leaders are not averse in giving and receiving feedback that goes beyond performance and helps individuals and teams understand behviours that might be holding them back.

Build an employer brand. An organization’s brand identity might as well be its most important asset which speaks about the company’s past, present and future in the market, its financial stability, industry position and its offerings. Investing in human capital, culture-building initiative, and L&D help to enhance this brand identity and create long-standing goodwill. To succeed while the talent pool is ever shrinking against the backdrop of expanding business reach it is essential to deploy an employer value proposition to communicate brand identity and uniqueness clearly.

Co-creating the future. As businesses grow it becomes important to capture employees’ say on matters of mass relevance. While the larger strategy is defined and driven by the top leadership of the company, capturing employee’s perspectives on important matters like culture, values, impact of business on society and the planet is critical. A co-created future, where employees feel heard and involved in some aspects of the larger strategy prompts ownership at every level, and engagement levels tend to remain higher.

The future workforce landscape offers exciting possibilities, and by adapting proactively, we position ourselves to thrive in this dynamic milieu and stay ahead of the competition. Let us, as HR leaders, lead the charge in shaping the future and empower our workforce to embrace change with confidence and enthusiasm. Together, we can build a workforce that is ready to conquer the challenges of tomorrow. By recognizing the diversity of our workforce, leveraging technology, and nurturing a culture of innovation, we can create a resilient organization that attracts top talent, retains its employees, and delivers exceptional results.