By Devan Pillay, Cluster President: Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric

“The best way to predict the future is to create it,” said Abraham Lincoln.  A statement that certainly applies to the way we navigate our careers and its longevity.  However, the last few years has also seen a paradigm shift of sorts, with the traditional concept of lifelong careers and security giving way to shorter terms of employment and freelance work.

Employees, particularly those who are entering the workforce, are seeking flexibility, variety, and adaptability.  As organisations, it is therefore paramount that we tap into these trends whilst also preventing a disconnect between the various generations and their work methodology.

The balancing act

The challenge is to bring together the best of both worlds to create a productive and inclusive working environment.  According to recent research by McKinsey Global Institute

learning organisations do better at attracting talent.

Here, technology such as knowledge management systems can bridge the gap as it allows for the preservation and transfer of institutional knowledge.

Taking it one step further, knowledge management systems that leverage AI can digitally store and organise insights, making it accessible to the incoming generation. Cloud-based platforms facilitate the aggregation of transactional information which in turn create a corporate library which can be accessed by all employees.

The trick is to make all of these insights palatable to younger generations, ensuring that the knowledge is indeed transferred in a succinct and impactful manner.

It is also the juxtaposition of institutional knowledge and digital proficiency that represents the evolving business landscape. While experienced employees possess valuable insights into historical processes and decisions, the younger workforce is attuned to the digital realm, intuitively navigating software and analytics.

There is no right or wrong answer but rather an approach that strikes the right balance.  The marriage of technology and human experience has never been more prevalent or important.

A diverse talent pipeline

At Schneider Electric, we are going through an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse talent pool joining our operations.  Our industry has moved well beyond its “electrical” status and is today seen as a diverse environment which include many fields and subsequent employment opportunities in software, analytics, services, marketing and other exciting career streams.

Our employee base is diverse and inclusive and encompasses experienced individuals with deep institutional knowledge working together with younger, tech-savvy professionals who bring fresh perspectives and digital expertise.

We pride ourselves on creating a working environment that fosters growth, leadership and importantly various career options within the organisation.

And playing an important role in developing a pipeline of talent is our Early Career programme which offers apprenticeships, internships, and graduate opportunities. The programme is also taking us one step closer to our 2025 goal which is to employ 50% men and 50% women within the organisation.

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