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Training to transform your workforce for the future

March 13, 2020

As organizations everywhere seek to achieve greater degrees of agility and competitive advantage, once-breakthrough technologies like cloud native and serverless are becoming increasingly mainstream as newer technologies like AI take hold. With the pace of digital transformation accelerating, IT departments need to not just keep pace but stay ahead – and CIOs and IT leaders need to ensure that their workforces are ready to take on this newly digital world.

Having cutting-edge capabilities is one thing; having the skills to take advantage of them is another. In the traditional world, development was siloed with the focus on core Java, but IT departments of the future will depend on full-stack developers whose skills span the entire IT portfolio.

But many organizations are held back in their digital journeys not just by a lack of next-generation digital skills but also by the absence of a plan for recruiting those skills and retaining them. For most IT organizations, building a sustainable digital- and future-ready workforce requires a complete overhaul of traditional approaches to training in favor of a new workplace culture.

At Capgemini, we’ve not only seen the need to transform amongst our clients but we’ve also experienced it firsthand. As we partner with clients to make digital business a reality, we’ve had to evolve our own organization and embrace new approaches and processes for training. Along the way, we’ve identified a few key imperatives and best practices for an effective training program that will help build and retain the workforce for the future of IT, whether your focus is on upskilling or on reskilling. These imperatives are:

Make it immersive

In the fast-paced world where IT landscapes are constantly evolving, your IT workforce needs to be similarly agile. The typical approach of long-term, topic-based, academic learning needs to evolve to focus on short-term, use-case-focused, and hands-on learning modules. Traditional training was more theoretical, but today we make sure that 80% of our training is hands-on with real-life, end-to-end coding scenarios. That emphasis is carried through to the end of the course, where instead of the typical multiple-choice test we hold “coding cafes” where trainees are given a use case and expected to spend the day coming up with a solution.

Make it individual

In a field in which the newest skills are in high demand and developing a range of skills is important for long-term success, each employee needs to feel he or she has a stake in the training journey. Rather than management pushing specific training, individuals need to be empowered to up-skill themselves according to their own goals and preferences. This also means ensuring that on-demand, multi-channel modules and third-party training platforms like Udemy or Pluralsight are leveraged so employees can learn anywhere, rather than just at their desks. Role-based learning maps help employees chart their own paths and work towards their goals.

Make it ongoing

It’s important to continuously re-skill employees to embrace the new. This means creating a culture of continuous learning so employees can learn new skills at any time, regardless of what project they’re working on. Not only does this help ensure that you’ll continue to deepen your internal expertise, it also helps employees feel engaged and interested in their work.

Revon DSilva heads up the CTO function within the application and cloud technologies practice at Capgemini North America. For more information about how to harness the power of cloud and application technologies to make digital business a reality, access The digital CIO’s handbook here.