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A strong IT workforce starts with training

Diana Bersohn | Sept. 30, 2015
As CIOs lead the charge for developing technology acumen across the entire organization, their talent strategy must include training as a priority, in addition to recruiting new talent, writes Accenture’s Diana Bersohn.

Today’s environment places new requirements on the workforce to meet the needs of a digitally enabled business. It is notgetting any easier to recruit and retain the right talent with the right skills. According to Accenture research, nearly a third (32 percent) of business leaders say it is getting harder to compete for the best people. And a majority of executives agree that people are one of the most valuable assets to an organization — 87 percent believe that organizations that win the war on talent will have a competitive advantage. But how do you win the war when every day seems to be its own battle?

Many business and technology leaders are rethinking their overall talent strategy and recognizing that they need to use a variety of approaches to find and keep the best talent; this includes both upskilling the current workforce as well as recruiting fresh talent. In fact, 60 percent of companies we surveyed are offering training to upskill employees.

CIOs, especially, require an ever-changing mix of skills among employees in order to keep pace with a constantly evolving industry. As CIOs lead the charge for developing technology acumen across the entire organization, their talent strategy must include training as a priority, in addition to recruiting new talent.

For instance, I recently sat down with Raymond J. Oral, CIO of CNA Financial, to hear his insights on how to best train the IT workforce of the future. Here is what he shared:

CIO.com: How are you managing technology talent for the future?

Raymond J. Oral: As a leader, I try to spend as much time as I can focused on the development of talent. Talent is our means to quickly—and successfully—adapt to disruption in the marketplace and prepare for the future. Spending dedicated time on this has value. It’s hard to ascribe what the value’s going to be, because the payback takes some time. However, clearly the winners out there are investing a large amount of time, maybe even more than they believe that they should be, to develop the talent they need to compete more effectively.                                                                                  

CIO.com: What are some of the new ways you are upskilling your IT workforce?

Oral: We look at upskilling a little differently now. We look at it in terms of the skills and competencies we’re trying to build. When we first came into our current operating model about five years ago, we knew we needed to upskill on business analysis. With that, we focused very heavily on trying to attract new college grads into the BA field, while at the same time, redeveloping our training programs for in-place employees so that they could upskill as well.                                                            

 

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