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Faces of HR: Keep your people relevant through ‘future back’ demand planning



Mark your calendars as the crowd's favourite candidate and employee experience conference, Talent Experience Forum is back!
Happening only in KL, Malaysia on 5 November. Register your seat because you will be hearing top insights from C-suite and senior HR leaders from Dell, Digi, GoCar, IPG Mediabrands, Nestle, Tesco, Unilever and more.

When developing leaders, understand the capabilities you need (now and for the future) and map the gaps that needs to be filled, affirms Shell Sharma, Head of Leadership, Talent, Organisational Development, and Diversity & Inclusion, Aviva. 

Q What is your opinion about the in-house talent and leadership development evolution over the years?

As roles and organisation structures change and evolve, the focus has moved to core skills and capabilities rather than job or role focused development. This is even more relevant for leaders and talent as their contributions are happening in different domains – cross functionally or at an organisation level. A good example is the role of a Talent Partner – moving away from assessment skills which can now be sourced easily in the market to real time development and facilitation.

Q How do you create a personalised learning pathway?

Pathways are designed based on the career stage that people are at and their growth aspirations. At Aviva, we realised that most career discussions tended to focus on either the potential rating or the behavior skill gaps that the individual had, without considering their career stage.

Therefore, we developed Career and Learning Personas, which are based on five key elements of an individual’s career and learning journey. They are:

  • Where I am
  • Where I want to go
  • How I like to work
  • How I like to learn
  • How I want to develop

Individuals are free to determine if they want to be a part of this learning pathway, considering their own interests and aspirations.

Q What talent and leadership skills are the most relevant to your organisation? How has this evolved over the past few years?

At Aviva, we begin by doing a ‘future back’ demand planning – understanding the capabilities that we will need for now and for the future and mapping the gap that needs to be filled. A good example is analytics capability – determined as key for our organisation. People are then mapped against the capability and structured development pathways are created to fill the gap.

A few notable others are:

  • Learning agility which continues to be key for both leaders and talent at every level, given the rate and pace of change and the way that work is evolving.
  • Specifically, for leaders, reflectiveness is emerging as a key need, both for self-growth and introspection as well as to think of and create a new direction for the business and the organisation.
  • For us, kindness, a word not commonly associated with business organisations and leaders, is identified as the root of elements like empathy, caring about people, and being an inclusive leader.

Recently, we have introduced the element of kindness as a key behavior to be practiced, at every level throughout the organisation.

Q What do you want people to get out of your session during the Learning & Development Asia 2019?

From the upcoming session, people will get introduced to the concept of personas – a new way of looking at customised career and learning pathways based on an (internal) customer lens rather than a process lens.

Understanding personas will help participants in the session create personas in their own organisations and thus enable their employees to make informed choices about their career growth paths. They can then link their employees’ short-term skill and learning pathways to their aspirations as well as the business objectives of the organisation.


Catch Shell Sharma’s session at #LearningDevelopmentAsia this 17-18 September 2019 as she shares Aviva’s strategies in customising learning journey for each employee in Aviva.

Visit the event website to check out the stellar speaker list and reserve your seat! Or you can simply email our friendly colleagues at renamelt@humanresourcesonline.netand ryanc@humanresourcesonline.net to find out more.



Uncover and learn about complex HR innovation tools and strategies at Accelerate HR from Thailand's largest employers including Agoda, DKSH, Fonterra, FWD, Kasikornbank, Minor Food, Nissan Motor and more.
Happening in Bangkok on 26-27 November, group discounts when you bring your team.

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