It is always exciting to meet tomorrow’s business leaders – talented individuals just starting out in the workplace. These literate, innovative and hardworking young people are the fuel that will power India’s future economic growth.

But for India to develop and engage this demographic effectively for long-term success, it will first need to unleash the unique potential each of these individuals possesses. This means engaging with them and helping them develop their skills and fulfil their aspirations. Talent and hard work needs to be recognized and rewarded, especially if companies want their best employees to remain loyal.

New workers in particular need continual on-the-job training and development. And it isn’t just technical skills training that they need, but also the so-called “soft” skills of relationship building, leadership and people management.

Employees are productivity partners with an important role to play in the future success of any enterprise, not economic units to be exploited. It doesn’t matter whether people are on part-time, permanent or short-term contracts – they all need developing and nurturing. Businesses that understand this and cater to the needs of their talented workers enjoy higher productivity as a result.

Industry and government must share best practices across sectors to help develop the right workforce strategies. And this level of collaboration must intensify if India is to provide the multi-sector skills demanded of its future workforce. But not all companies and organizations know how develop the skills of their workers effectively. Some need help and advice.

Business is changing rapidly. So all stakeholders in India’s economy have to anticipate what skills are likely to be needed in the near future, so that educators can formulate and provide the right education for people keen to participate in India’s growth story. And it is never too early to start inculcating those relevant skills in our young people: all levels of education should be engaged in this process.

All business leaders must get involved in the effort to propel India up to the next level – socially, culturally and economically.

Author: Soumen Basu is Executive Advisor of Manpower Group, a strategic partner of the World Economic Forum.

Image:A Business Administration student reads a book in a library at the Management Development Institute in Gurgaon REUTERS/Adnan Abidi