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uKnowva & SkillsConnect, in association with Ace Human Capital, have recently hosted another webinar series. The topic was on “Capability-Building For Freshers And Laterals And Its Impact On Business Success.” This webinar was on 3rd December 2022, honoured with the presence of industry experts as our Chief Guest Speakers like Harsh Kumar (CHRO at CSB Bank), Colin Mendes (Head of HR for Voltas Beko), Joydeep Roy (Managing Director - Human Resources & Talent Supply Chain Leader of PwC India). We also were super stoked with the presence of Ranu Parwal (Founder of Acura Solutions &, who joined in as the Host of this webinar. Besides that, we had Vicky Jain (Founder and CEO of uKnowva) and Sunil Kabra (Director at Ace Human Capital) with the additional tech support for taking up the Q&A around at the end.

Bistriti Poddar (Chief Communications Officer at uKnowva) anchored this webinar with thought-provoking inputs and terrific presence of mind. The webinar was more interesting as the discussion was led by the industry pros, introduced shortly below with their quotes along with key takeaways. 

Webinar’s Key


Webinar’s Key Takeaways:

Joydeep Roy (Managing Director - Human Resources & Talent Supply Chain Leader of PwC India) quotes any organisation that exists for profitable growth and competitive advantage. He pointed out that either it’s the company or the talent that competes in the market to stand out. For an organisation to stay ahead of time, talent supply has to be predictable or measurable to a certain level. And talent here means the capability each employed person or the potential candidate acquires. 

“Putting talent at the centre of your board agenda should be one of the key parameters of defining and building core capabilities within the organisation for freshers and laterals.”

-       Joydeep Roy

According to him, companies must also have a talent pool or dashboard. The next parameter in the queue refers to the investments made in talent strategies. Without these pillars, companies will always face a challenge to scale up their teams for greater business impact. 

Harsh Kumar (CHRO at CSB Bank) further expanded the thought with his experiences and beliefs. According to him, the whole question is about managing and maintaining the talent pipeline today. When the organisation is going through rapid changes and transformation, there is always a hunger for capable talent and team-building initiatives within the organisation. At the same time, the onus is on the companies and institutions to collaborate and leverage the right talent at the right time. The cost of the capability-building gets controlled and managed through these parameters. 

“Ask three critical questions for better capability-building approaches: how many, how fast, and how soon?”

-       Harsh Kumar

When the need for existing capabilities is immediate, companies must look forward to hiring laterals. That’s how it is easier for them to map and discover the talent at the right cost for the right project or position. Harsh Kumar commented that to narrate the thought further. 

Colin Mendes (Head of HR for Voltas Beko) has his fair share of brilliant inputs as well throughout the webinar session. According to him, there must be a strong industry and academia collaboration to bring the right talent on board for businesses to excel. Internships and projects are a great source for building future skills, even for the faculties to know what’s the trend that’s been set inside the company. It helps them train their students to stand out in the hiring market as freshers later on. 

“Despite the norms of buying talent, we must tap into the opportunity of borrowing for bridging the skills gap between academia and industry hiring.”

-       Colin Mendes

Borrowing talent for a defined period in times of rapid transformation in companies creates more value and gets projects done on time. That’s one of the comments by Colin Mendes to take the thought ahead on bridging the skills app effectively in organisations. Talent acquirers and leaders also learn to be more adept at acquiring new skills and talent with this opportunity. This activity can also bring in a healthy challenge within the organisation and help top talent retain more when needed the most. 

Joydeep Roy further shared his thoughts on how skills change in 6 months despite preparing the existing talent for various other talents they must acquire in the same period. So collaboration with the talent partners is a must at a certain level for organisations to onboard a talent who already has the knowledge or skill required at present. It is one of those alternative models for sourcing talent and spending less cost on building capabilities. We can say it’s one of the smartest approaches out there today. 

Sunil Kabra, Director at Ace Human Capital, concurs with Joydeep and explains how important it is for freshers today to start early before joining the talent war. Many industry leaders and students are already participating in Hackathon or other such events to be familiar with the efficiencies and capabilities they need to build to stand out in the corporate hiring world. 

Harsh Kumar shared his knowledge of women’s capability-building issues aligned with his experience and exposure in the banking sector. According to him, women often take breaks at the mid-senior or senior-most level for whatever reasons. And building workplace diversity in the banking sector is often one of the challenges we face while thinking about building capabilities and being fair to everyone while doing so. Yet, there is an amazing talent pool available in the market. But providing a hybrid work module and set-up is still a challenge in the banking sector. But we still have plans to bridge this gap and build better capabilities for deserving talent. 

Vicky Jain (CEO of uKnowva) was also on point with his comment in this discussion. According to him, AI is augmenting human intelligence and not replacing it. And the future looks the same according to his inferences and projections. One of the reasons for this trend to stay is that human intelligence consists of emotional intelligence. It would be very long for robotic technology or AI to have that drive in them to think, behave, or feel like humans.  

Ranu Parwal, founder of Acura Solutions & was generous enough at the end of the webinar to surmise the key points discussed by our speakers. He acknowledged how capability-building is the art of implementing after understanding the requirements of the business. He further noted:

  • HR is a business and should start thinking like a business. 
  • Pay as much for talent strategies as for product strategies. 
  • Joint certification programs and internships are two core solutions for building better capabilities in freshers and laterals. 


The webinar ended with thought-provoking and turning points for all of us to take home and think over. Even Bistriti Poddar commented on how capability-building will become the new normal, and everybody on the panel agreed with that chain of thought. We understand now how reskilling or skilling up is not going anywhere. It is as important for laterals as it is for freshers. Both talent categories can stand out in the market with equal opportunities to get hired and be onboarded with excellent perks and advantages. However, there has to be a smart collaboration between the academic and corporates to bridge the skill gap and not be overwhelmed by it. Industries and educational institutes need to come together and implement better strategies focused on building individual and institutional capabilities at the right cost. 

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