With more than 225,000 global employees representing almost 130 nationalities, Infosys is tasked with keeping training relevant — even ahead of the curve — in an industry that typifies change.
The skills gap in STEM continues to grow, with millions of jobs unfilled around the globe. To address the issue, Infosys launched Infosys Wingspan, a next-gen learning platform to help employees enrich their knowledge of emerging skills, customize their goals, measure progress and interact with peers. The program, launched about a year ago, sees almost 10,000 employees logging on daily.
HR Dive discussed that program and the kind of cutting-edge training that a broad population in tech needs with Thirumala Arohi, Infosys' head of education, training and assessments. But his insights on learning can translate even to the smallest of companies.
Building a program that builds skills
For Infosys, the last several years have been focused on amplifying learning for employees in an attempt to elevate the business. "Part of everything we do is focused on learning," Arohi said. "It's the foundation of all we do. One of the only things we want from our employees is to upskill. We want them to remain relevant and involved with continuous education." To do that, they've had to scale learning, and thus Wingspan was born.
To build the platform, Infosys prioritized employees as the client, developing the platform around five pillars of learning. First, the platform had to be convenient, accessible anytime from any device; then, it had to be relevant to both the skills market and to employees. The power of platforms like Wingspan, he noted, is personalization. It can recommend content to each employee based on what they need at the moment for their job and what comes next.
The platform also needed to be modular, he said. A good learning program functions akin to music streaming. An employee starts with a song, which can lead them to the album, which may have more songs that the employee will like. That interaction could lead to an employee looking into similar songs — or lessons — that continue to pique his or her interest. A modular system builds an intuitive path, which pulls people into learning, Arohi said; "Rather than piece meal, the learning is woven together."
Learning also needs to be fun, Arohi said, which includes aspects like social learning, gamification, badges and a virtual playground where employees can access and practice what they've learned. Finally, learning has to matter — to an employee's career and professional journey. Employees should be rewarded for learning, especially as they improve competencies that are relevant to their goals, Arohi added.
Tailoring learning to the learner
Infosys employees — also called "InfoScions" — fall into three categories of learners: self-motivated, explorers and watchers. Explorers, for example, like to navigate through content and find links, while watchers prefer guided content from the platform. Learning content at Infosys is a combination of in-house development, external content and content created by learners for other learners.
"We're going beyond tech learning, as business is looking for more well-rounded skills," Arohi said. Liberal arts content is blended with technical upskilling to make sure employees understand design thinking, strategy and problem solving.
Infosys also leverages AI to analyze employee data points, evaluate jobs and make recommendations on what the employee should learn next. AI even scans the conversations employees have in the virtual playground and can make recommendations on what to learn next based on what they talk about.
Do you follow?
The community aspect of learning can't be underestimated, Arohi noted. When employees can see where they are progressing in relation to others, it provides motivation — and allows managers to remain in the loop, too, to give feedback and encouragement along the way. "In the virtual playground, employees can use the platform to challenge others – they can create a puzzle and challenge peers to solve it," Arohi said. "You win points if you do. Anyone can upload to the playground, which makes learning fun. "
Just like following a friend on social media can pique an interest in books, travel and events, the platform allows workers to "follow" others they like or are inspired by. "They can follow another person's learning who may be on the same or a higher career path to get ideas and set goals for their own learning playlist," he explained, which translates into positive peer motivation.
The challenge is to start with core skills and then move forward. "AI is now," Arohi said, but what will be next? To remain relevant, companies must focus on future skills and lifelong learning, he added, especially in this time of change.