Transforming GCCs with knowledge and learning

Authored by: Bimaljeet Singh Bhasin, President, Skills and Careers Business (India), NIIT Limited

Supported by an enabling environment of talent, policy support and robust infrastructure, GCCs in India have come a long way. From their humble beginnings as process hubs, GCCs today are driving the transformation agenda of their parent organisations.  Increasingly tasked with delivering innovations and fresh ideas, GCCs in India can be expected to become epicentres of efficiency, innovation, and modern practices in the coming years. Today, their presence spans across sectors like banking and financial services to healthcare, electronics, and energy, among others.

As GCCs take on new roles in support of their parent organisations, their unique differentiator remains their workforce. Talent will define how well equipped GCCs are when it comes to delivering on their transformation agenda.

From process centres to transformation hubs

It wasn't always like this. GCCs initially started in India as operative process hubs given the cost arbitration advantage of being in India. As India presented opportunities for growth and investment, GCCs were on the frontlines of one of the world's biggest markets. This led to a change in role as GCCs were uniquely positioned to spot early trends and conceptualize new products and services. When deployed as solutions to outstanding business challenges, the work delivered by GCCs in India makes for global impact and strategic advantages.

What had initially started as an idea for operative process hubs had now evolved into centres of excellence driving innovation and ideas from India for global companies. Given the nature of the industry, this called for investment in talent and their reskilling and upskilling.

To understand this, the transformation of the GCC must be considered. From providing simple back-office support, GCCs today are true "business partners" to their parent organisations. The pandemic and the changes that it brought about only brings sharper focus on GCCs as resilient, innovative, and adaptable organisations delivering efficiency and effectiveness to their organisations. What this essentially means is that GCCs themselves are undergoing digital transformation to evolve into true business partners.

Without the right talent, the digital transformation of GCCs will be in jeopardy.

Learning and development for transformation

For GCCs the learning and development journey must be inclusive and across the organization. On one hand digital skills training – be it in full stack development, software engineering, cloud, analytics etc – must be imparted to the entire workforce. On the other hand, reskilling and continuous learning through periodic evaluation of individual capabilities to identify gaps in skills will also greatly help. Development of specific focus areas of talent will also help strengthen skillsets and possibly arrest attrition.

While organizational transformation through learning and development is key, special attention must be allotted to middle leadership. This is because this set of leaders need to transform, from focusing on process compliance to driving innovation and ideas. Here, a change in mindset and inculcation of leadership competencies are critical upskilling components.

Much of this will revolve around taking proactive approaches to problem solving, having a good understanding of global and local aspects in terms of business viability and the ability to use technology for greater efficiency. It also calls for a good understanding of what makes for a customer-centric organization.

Overall, there must be a transformation of mindsets with learning and development programmes having a blend of "whys" and "hows". "Why" is about the outcomes, which is not merely a skill imparted but a holistic transformation of the workforce, and the "How" is about the most efficient way to produce those outcomes. This leads to not just building of skills and competencies but capabilities for a specific role.

These really are "Transformative Competencies" and without these seminal competencies, talent cannot be transformed. Implemented at either business unit level or at the organizational level, talent transformation programmes implemented using program charters, change management and course correction can truly transform the talent of an organization.  It is this transformation of talent that will truly power GCCs in their new role as local centres of excellence and innovation for their parent companies.

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