In a field as fast-paced and constantly changing as technology, training is key and it can be a big challenge. Cost, time, and choosing the right training are some of the main pain points of figuring out how to best get the next generation of IT professionals ready. CIOs and CTOs can help their organizations overcome those sticking points to best prepare for future success.
Training can be incredibly valuable not just to companies, but to staff, who are getting the benefit of education and possibly a push to stick around longer with the company that put in the effort to give them real, usable knowledge and skills. In this way, IT training is important for recruitment and retention, not just daily work. So, how can it be a success?
A Blended Approach to IT Training
When you think about how your organization has handled IT training in the past, you may quickly realize that it has been quite compartmentalized. For a lot of companies, IT training takes the form of one of two things: either outsourced courses, videos, or workshops, or flinging people into their roles and responsibilities hoping they will pick up what they need on the job.
Obviously, both of these approaches have their downfalls. Outsourced training is expensive, time-consuming, and often really boring for IT hires who may not be as receptive to what they are supposed to be learning, because of the format. Especially when this outsourced training focuses on individual, passive learning, staff lose the opportunity to engage with one another and learn from others.
On the job training also has disadvantages. New hires or people who have moved into expanded or evolved roles may not actually learn what they need to know because the on the job experience and observation does not cover it, or adequately prepare them to handle it on their own. They could feel like a burden to the trainer, and trainers may be equally frustrated with having to add a trainee to their list of responsibilities.
A blended approach is a great option for CIOs and CTOs who are heading up training programming. This takes aspects of both classroom-style training, and on the job experience and observation, combining them for best results. Trainees may participate in some kind of structured learning, chosen by tech leaders, then work alongside an existing employee to put those learned skills into action. Neither trainer nor trainee is carrying the full burden of education, and CIOs and CTOs can be closely involved.
Encouraging Peer Training
If you foist a new hire off on a busy tech professional, you will end up with a lot of frustrated people. If you encourage peer training and social learning, however, you will get buy-in from your existing staff who will see the benefits of this kind of training. As a tech leader, a CIO or CTO can also set a great example by making themselves available for peer training.
This is different than sticking people together for on the job training, in that you are asking staff to share their knowledge and experiences on their own time, to better the experiences of everyone. You may do this with a message board or other internal staff communication or social platform, or through incentivizing staff to set up in-house training sessions or discussions. The goal is to get everyone working together to realize that shared knowledge helps everyone.
The Evolving Role of CIOs and CTOs
CIOs and CTOs are becoming more and more important and hands-on within businesses, moving away from the executive bubble of fixing tech problems and working more on the human side of their businesses alongside tech. With the sheer amount of data and information available to your average business, a CIO or CTO can do a lot of work with it, assisting in strategizing and innovating.
These tech leaders are in a position to drive a company’s growth, and clearly, the success of a business relies on the skill and knowledge of its staff. That is why companies are looking more toward CIOs and CTOs to offer insight and make decisions about how to best train staff, to keep up with the competition, stay on top of new technology, and make the most of a company’s resources.
CIOs and CTOs are important members of the executive C-suite, and need to be a part of the learning and training culture of a corporation, working with human resources and other departments to understand how leadership decisions will shape the trajectory of the company as they trickle down to other areas and ultimately, to the people who are doing the everyday work in internet technology.