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How to close the IT talent gap

Rich Hein | June 27, 2013
If you don't know where you are going, then you won't know the skills necessary to get you there.

They typically use tools like Excel and Word or Survey Monkey to create surveys, which they send out to their teams to rank their level of confidence with this variety of topics in either typically a three- or five-point scale depending on what they want to measure.

"Can companies do it on their own? Absolutely. Does it take a lot of time to plan and do it right? Absolutely," says Garrison. The benefits of using a third-party company, according to Garrison, is that the skills gaps, once identified, are tied directly back to educational assets that will allow employees to close the gap quickly.

Make Sure Your Messaging Is Clear
In a survey published by Computerworld in 2012, 26 percent of the 4,337 IT pros stated they are specifically concerned about keeping their skills up to date and being valuable to their employers. A skills analysis and training program can help your employees do just that but how your staff feels going into this evolution is crucial.

Communication with the employee about this process is paramount, according to Garrison. "It needs to have the tone that the organization knows that you need help; however, we don't know what kind of help you need. This is going to help us identify the skills that you're most competent in and identify the gaps. This gives us the data we need in order to take action and help you be more successful in your role. The way that communication is set up is so critical," says Garrison.

"We talked about it with our entire staff and we assured them that this is not some sort of gotcha management program. We're really trying to find areas where we can help you improve. We told them, we're going to make an investment in your career," says Tapinka and vice president of multichannel commerce."

"Once we did it and they saw that we were taking the results and implementing the training programs that surfaced as a result of the assessment they began to realize that it was true we weren't using it as a way to weed out poor performers or people with the wrong skill sets etc. I hate to sound cliché but actions speak louder than words," Tapinka says.

How Long Will It Take?
According to Garrison, how long the analysis and training process takes is dependent upon where your company is at the moment. The company that feels confident in its technical, business and process skills will likely build a plan approximately for two years. Whereas a company that is weak in any of these three skills areas will likely create a plan 3 to 5 years in length to get their teams to the level they need to be performing at.


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