Organizations vary in approaches to internal IT training. Big enterprises tend to have independent training functions housed in the IT department.
Some companies consolidate all training under HR, with HR utilizing subject matter experts to develop training curricula.
Still others designate an HR manager as the IT training contact to assist with curriculum, materials, and administrative functions, with IT doing the actual training.
Training by actual IT personnel (whether or not they’re under the guidance of HR) offers many benefits. For one thing, IT knows exactly what is necessary to roll out and run the systems, so it can tailor training directly to those needs. Under the direction of a resourceful CIO, internal IT training provides an opportunity to educate IT team members on exactly how the work they do affects the organization as a whole.
Training Budgets in Recent Years
The recession hit training budgets hard, with many organizations disbanding internal training groups and cutting external training budgets. While these drastic measures may have been necessary at the time, limiting training too severely can offset short term gains with longer term problems.
Without training programs, companies may have hired experienced employees, trusting they would know what they were doing or figure it out as they went along. But what ended up happening in some cases was the cobbling together of a workforce full of “entrepreneurs” intent on doing things their way, whether or not it served the organization as a whole.
Should IT Be in Charge of Internal IT Training?
CIOs may not relish the thought of having to provide training, but there are advantages to IT heading up its own internal training rather than putting the burden on HR. For one thing, HR has to spread its resources throughout the organization, and may not give IT training the attention it deserves. And frankly, HR may have a hard time orchestrating training that involves technical topics like big data, databases, and the cloud.
However, for internal IT training to be successful, the CIO must have buy-in from upper management to obtain adequate training funding. Additionally, training will necessarily involve sacrificing some production hours of IT’s top subject matter experts so they can provide training.
CIOs: “Internal Training Works”
Internal training can accomplish what outsourcing can’t.
Dave Aron, Gartner VP and fellow in the CIO Research Group, told TechRepublic that for many organizations, outsourcing training ultimately didn’t deliver: “Until a couple of years ago there were much higher hopes for what outsourcing would do for us. The effect of that has been we weren’t necessarily building the right talent to fill all of these roles because there was an expectation that outsourcing would save the day.”
Furthermore, Gartner’s 2013 CIO Agenda report, which surveyed more than 2,000 CIOs, found that CIOs focused on internal training tended to run more successful IT shops than those that depended on simply “buying talent.” Those who were committed to training and retaining staff completed more projects on budget and on time, according to Aron.
Training in an Era of Restricted Budgets
This is all very nice, but how do you provide training if your budget is seriously tight? Charlotte Ward, senior manager at TopLine Communications in the UK provided some tips to Small Business Herores for creating tailored training programs when money is in short supply:
• Assess real training needs based on each person’s core competencies, including skills they need in their role and to serve the business with their full potential.
• Compare where each staff member is to where they should be, according to their job description. Managers and employees themselves can assist with this.
• Identify ways to bridge the gap between how employees are currently functioning, and how they would function ideally. At this point, you can identify training methods (external, internal, or self-development, for example) that are appropriate. Determine which of these skills can be taught in-house.
• Reassess training regularly, both during annual employee evaluations, and at regular checkpoints throughout the year to determine if the training has achieved the hoped-for results.
A combination of e-learning and follow-up classroom training works well for ensuring employees receive training they need without a major capital investment. This approach lets organizations reach more people (through e-learning), while ensuring maximum training value with added classroom training as needed.
However your organization chooses to approach training, you ignore employee training at your peril. Not everything can be outsourced, and poaching talent to fill skills gaps doesn’t always work out as expected. One way to ensure your IT service desk and asset management needs are met today and tomorrow is by employing flexible, powerful IT service management software like Samanage. With Samanage, your IT team is always using the latest and greatest software version, for efficient IT service delivery that opens up opportunities for your IT team to tackle greater challenges.
About Karen Small
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