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Time to pursue a hobby, learn new skills: Top firms advise employees amid coronavirus lockdown

Due to the lockdown several companies are encouraging employees to take up online courses to improve their functional expertise and soft skills

Sonal Khetarpal | March 30, 2020 | Updated 21:45 IST
‘Time to pursue a hobby, learn new skills’: Top firms advise employees amid coronavirus lockdown
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Several people today are spending time discussing about the problems of working from home or the panic that has gripped the entire country due to coronavirus outbreak. But, Bharat Suvarna, Marketing Manager, Schindler India is using it as an opportunity to do things he never had the time to do earlier . "We are always complaining about not having time to read or pursue a hobby, now is the time to invest in yourself. This time will never come back," he says. He is doing an email marketing course from Hubspot.

Due to the lockdown several companies are encouraging employees to take up online courses to improve their functional expertise and soft skills. Take the case of sales, installation and service delivery teams at Schindler India whose productivity would be lower considering construction has stopped in the entire country. "We are sending them bullet modules with small quizzes so they can upskill and utilise the time," says Shubha Arora, Chief People Officer, Schindler India & South Asia says

Hexaware too is pushing employees to take up online courses from learning and development platform HexaVarsity. "While there is a lot of focus on employee engagement activities to keep the morale high, there also is consistent and continuous communication to emphasise that this is great time to use for self-development which often get missed due to the rush of meeting deadlines and office work," says Vishwanath Joshi, Chief People Officer, Hexaware. The employees are encouraged to take up online courses on technical and behaviourial skills that are offered on their learning academy HexaVarsity in partnership with Udemy.

Mondelez is encouraging its teams to participate in various functional and leadership sessions using the content from Mondelez International University and Functional Academies. It is also pushing for courses relevant to today's times of lockdown such as on wellbeing, making work from home productive, building connection with remote teams amongst others. "There are many instances where relevant leaders have picked a topical module and had full teams attend and discuss it," says Mahalakshmi R., Director - Human Resources, Mondelez India.

In fact, professionals are enrolling on online learning platforms to upskill themselves. Companies like Udemy, Coursera, Great Learning have made their courses free for users.

"The surge in registrations is evident across all of our learning offerings including the free courses as well as paid courses," says Hari Krishnan Nair, co-Founder, Great Learning. He adds that there is almost a three-times increase in content consumption across the platform.

Since most of the courses on Great Learning are for longer duration, it has launched GL Academy for shorter and intermediate level courses. The platform has got 100% increase in enrolments, 70% of which are from working professionals, says Hari. He adds the majority of the traction is from people employed in the IT/ITES sectors. Some of the top courses of interest are Python for Machine Learning followed by Introduction to Neural Networks and Deep Learning.

Mayank Kumar, co-founder & MD, upGrad says that their course starting next quarter will have the biggest cohort of 4,000 new learners. "Typically the batch has 2,000-2,500 people and it is for the first time we are launching such as big batch." At upGrad, all online courses start on specific times, usually every quarter. He adds, "Companies are also reaching out to them to reduce the span of courses so they can utilise the employees' time." Since people are working from home and have more time to finish the modules, they are asking upGrad to increase the duration of classes from 10-12 hours per week to 30-40 hours so they can finish the courses sooner.

Also Read: Coronavirus scare: Foreign tourist arrivals growth hit record low in February

Also Read: Coronavirus: Govt denies lockdown extension, says 'no such plan'


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