6 Steps to Close the IT Skill Gappost by Chris Curran on August 28, 2010
Recent research reveals that 72% of executives place above average importance on talent management, yet only 44% of their companies have done an above average job in building the foundational capabilities to manage and improve talent. During a recent project with a health care CIO, we observed this gap in practice and want to share some of our observations.
Early-on, we saw four major issues:
- higher reliance on outsourced resources for roles that could be filled by more junior internal resources
- misalignment of resources and responsibilities
- limited leadership and succession pipeline, and
- disconnects between the training and competencies required to support the operating model and overarching IT strategy.
While these skill and resource problems may not be the only cause, on-budget and on-time delivery were 15% and 37% lower than industry average, respectively.
These problems are not unique to this company and seem to be cropping up with more frequency elsewhere. On average, IT organizations only spend 0.3% of total on developing talent, yet the annual estimated costs associated with attrition and rehiring are 2.5 times greater than skill development spend.
Closing the IT talent gap-the divide between the skills IT pros grew up with and the skills they need to add value tomorrow-won’t get any easier. But there are actionable steps your company can take now to position your organization for success:
1. Get HR and training department support
CIOs need to partner with HR and training organizations to define a short-, mid-, and long-term talent management strategy to more effectively manage and uplift internal skills. One of these organizations must take strategic accountability for closing the talent gap.
2. Ensure common understanding of the IT operating model
You can’t hire and train people efficiently unless everyone-IT line management, HR and training-are on the same page about the IT operating model. Take the time to explain the operating model in detail. Use visualization techniques to illustrate relationships and dependencies. Confirm that everyone understands and appreciates the tight linkage between the operating model, roles and responsibilities, and job family descriptions.
3. Regularly reassess your sourcing strategy
Re-evaluate your IT sourcing strategy on a regular basis to ensure the appropriate technology functions are outsourced, and analyze how this impacts internal job families, job descriptions, and career paths.
4. Factor skill management into your sourcing decisions
Companies often outsource to save money only to find that their most valuable internal talent are the first out the door. A sourcing strategy that analyzes how outsourcing decisions impact internal job families, job descriptions, and career paths can help ensure that the right internal talent remains on board.
5. Have a rock solid talent management foundation
An annual review process, promotion criteria, skills assessment processes, and training plans are too often taken for granted in fast-paced IT shops. Annually assess whether or not job families, job descriptions, and career paths align to the operating model, overall IT strategy, and sourcing strategy. Where there is misalignment, work with the HR department to close the gaps.
6. Proactively manage the change
Understand that employees are generally sensitive about job title, career path, and compensation changes, and be proactive about generating the appropriate level of awareness and benefits of changes at multiple points in addressing the talent gap.
We’re happy to report that the health care CIO succeeded in filling the internal talent gap by being more attuned, proactive, and strategic about managing internal talent. She recognized that people are the greatest asset to effective execution, and is now proactively managing internal talent as a top priority.
What ideas are working in your shop to attract and retain talent that truly supports your IT strategy?