There is considerable talk about an IT skills gap. Are CIOs prepared? In an article for InformationWeek, Julie Stansbury makes the case for expanding employee skills (soft and hard) for the digital enterprise. The shift of IT to an integrated, enterprise-oriented outfit requires a good hard look at three business needs of the present and future.
The Right Investments
- Start Early
- Develop In-House Talent
- Look for Multi-Dimensional Workers
If you build it, they will come. That is the mentality Stansbury advocates when it comes to having the appropriate IT workforce. The idea is to partner with educational institutions to guide the development of tomorrow’s workers. As a win-win scenario, this approach is exceptionally favorable for workers, since it ensures that their (hefty) educational investment will likely pay off. Of course, other companies may benefit from these efforts, but overall the endeavor will eventually pay for itself.
While cultivating the future wave of new employees is certainly important, it also makes sense to engage the people already in your employ. This approach is simply good ROI, and should be the first consideration one makes regarding the skills gap. Stansbury assures that money invested in this way will not go to waste. So whether you’re a large firm or a one-team outfit, shelling out the cash for continued training will only bolster the loyalty and value of your current staff.
Lastly, hiring a new employee is a lot like signing a vendor contract for an important software tool. Is the employee flexible, with a broad range of skills to meet unexpected needs in a shifting business landscape? If so, you might consider hiring them. [It’s] important to look for talented people who have general technical knowledge but who also have soft skills such as communication, leadership, and ambition. As IT becomes more like a business and vice versa, tomorrow's IT pros will be an interesting blend of soft and hard skills. They’re worth the investment.