Upskilling And Crossskilling In It Industry Information Technology Essay

In todays competitive and economically volatile market, finding right a resource with right skill on right time has become a huge challenge and causing loss of business and customer dissatisfaction. Attrition is compounding the problems further. In parallel company wants to reduce the recruitment cost to contain its overall spending. Up-skilling and cross-skilling would be the only means to fix the resource crunch and in turn reducing the recruitment cost. Needless to say, Business managers can no longer approve spending without substantial justification to support their spending decisions. They are asking their Competency development team to provide proof that their training programs are resulting in positive returns.

Training and development efforts are big business in any company and particularly for an IT organization, with the amount of money spent increasing yearly. However, changes in the economy and declining profit margins are prompting many businesses to question the value of their training investments. Do businesses benefit from their expenditures on employee training or are they merely preparing their workers for jobs elsewhere? When workers bear the costs of such training, do they realize personal benefits or does the employer reap the only rewards? This project examines the benefits realized by the company in training and primarily concentrating on Up-skilling and Cross-skilling on IT resources by showcasing the ROI benefits

The challenges surrounding training and its effectiveness within the organisation have become more complex over the years. Today, the challenge is very significant for learning and development professionals. Return on Investment (ROI) as a tool for evaluating training is becoming an expectation of within organizations. With tight economy, reduced resources and show string budgets, HR/Training division professionals are finding it increasingly necessary to show the monetary value of the training programs. While it is abundantly clear that training can provide added value, a measured, isolated, determination of training effectiveness is difficult because personnel performance depends not only on training, but also on many other factors such as supervision, procedures, job aids, pre-job briefings, management expectations, and the experience and motivation of the workforce. To isolate and identify the value added by training requires either statistical separation of the actual performance data or institute work controls to try to isolate the training effects alone. Neither of these is practical in the day-to-day management of training or the actual operation of an IT organization

Acquiring skills is more than training, requiring that theory and practice be combined in the context of motivated staff working in feedback-rich environments. Most IT departments approach skills development by combining classic HR-driven staff development with haphazard individual approaches. HR regularly reviews skills needs to define a set of skills requirements and then finds education materials and vendors to fulfill those needs. This process is lengthy and often focused on business or soft skills because they are the most widely applicable. The haphazard individual approach happens when one application development professional sees something that he or she considers to be of value and invests time in either learning the materials or building a case to attend a conference or training class. Large technology vendors plan this time and cost into the budget for each engineer, but in most companies, this is neither planned nor budgeted. Current engagement within Accenture wanted to invest in the development of its staff in a planned and structured way, described as a systems approach to skills management. But this approach was constrained by

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No time for training classes. As at any organization, immediate needs, projects, and client support get the attention of the development team. There was always something business-critical that would prevent the development resources from attending classes. Furthermore, most classes required a block of time that would not fit into the schedule of project needs. Training class also constraints on the resource utilization.

Accenture Project engagement had a significant investment in people and technology. It was important to organization to exploit the business and technical knowledge of these resources while bringing all developers up to speed on new technologies and approaches. Effectively balancing the needs of today with the needs of tomorrow was a key challenge that organization faced. This challenge was compounded by the following issues:

Need to use a mix of programming models: Traditional boundaries between technical platforms or runtime environments were blurring as teams focused on delivering business value to their customers. This meant that Java developers needed to learn .NET or database resources had to help build data access services in C#.

Contract resources never know the business: The use of contract resources to fill the gap between short-term and long-term skills needs seemed like a great solution, but organization found that although they were trained in the new technologies, contract resources required lots of help with business knowledge and it also had problems of retaining and managing organization’s IP

The current IT climate has really driven up the importance of having both the skillsets and the education to differentiate from the competition and needless to say companies don’t have the luxury of having huge pool of people from which to recruit in a saturated market place and hence companies need to push forward to up-skill and cross skill its human resources. It is vital, now more than ever, so that companies’ remains competitive in the environment of increased competition and heights of high value service expectations. Continuity of training also positions the business to respond effectively to market growth when it happens and hence catch-up mode is not needed when opportunity strikes. It becomes imperative for IT companies Up-skill and cross skill its resources and to ensure to measure the training effectiveness especially the technical trainings. The scope of this Project is to study, analyze and propose a structured mechanism

Training is designed to improve human performance on the job and up-skill would enable resources to perform the current job better and equipping resources for future. Education is concerned with increasing general knowledge and understanding of the total environment. Education provides the development of the human mind, and it increases the powers of observation, analysis, understanding, integration and enables resources on their decision making, and allows them to adjustment to new situations. Before any training it is mandatory to carry out skill gap analysis

It is widely purported that the Human Resource Development (HRD) field is evolving of necessity from its traditional training paradigm to a performance based approach. In this approach, the objective of the training function is no longer the activity of training but the production of performance and business results (Stolovich & Keeps, 1999; Fuller & Farrington, 1999). Naturally, a shift in the training enterprise requires a shift in the evaluation of that enterprise. Phillips (1997) describes the characteristics of this shift, as shown in Table 1. If an organization has not emphasized this shift, the evaluator has a unique opportunity to help clients and colleagues make the transition to performance based solutions by leveraging the evaluation function in pursuit of ROI (return on investment) data. Because the bottom-line results of ROI analyses are attractive to today’s clients, requests for ROI results are common. In addressing these requests, an evaluator can demonstrate that ROI is integral to a larger performance-based framework that involves needs analysis and identification of the relevant business issues and results. In effect, the evaluator can use ROI to sell a performance-based approach.

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The current economic climate has really driven up the importance of having both the skillsets and the education to differentiate us from the competition. With redundancies an everyday occurrence and unemployment levels rising, it is imperative for those not only seeking employment but also wishing to stay in their current role to adopt an attitude of continuous learning. It is up to everyone, particularly those in advice-based roles, to keep abreast of developments in their area. So we don’t have the luxury of having a pool of people from which to recruit. As a company, if we are to develop, the only way we can push forward is to up-skill our people. It is vital, now more than ever, to develop staff up-skilling programs so that your business remains competitive and client-service levels are improved and they are key to business success in a challenging marketplace. Clients expect potential partners to be hungry for their business; they have high value and service expectations. Up-skilling impacts significantly here. Continuity of training also positions the business to respond effectively to market growth when it happens as business is not aware when opportunity strikes. Staff training isn’t a cost, it’s an investment that reaps direct business rewards and delivers additional benefits in morale, key-staff retention and turnover

Easterby-Smith and Mackness state that these purposes will have varying importance to different stakeholders within the training cycle. One of the prominent themes running through the literature is that the main reason for organizations carrying out training evaluation is to ensure value for money. (Rowe, 1996) puts forward an argument that top managers want to see proof “that spending $ X on worker Y will improve the bottom line by $ Z”. It is impossible in some areas of training for evaluation to provide this type of precise measurement; in particular, with regard to management training. The aim of evaluation is to measure change in knowledge, as well as reactions to the training, as described by (Mann and Robertson, 1996). Evaluation is not just about measuring reactions to the training; and further comments that research shows that those participants who had a positive reaction to the training did not necessarily perform better with the new skills or knowledge. The aim therefore for evaluation should be to measure change in knowledge, and the associated transfer of knowledge and learning to the workplace.

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Evaluation is an integral part of any instructional training models. Evaluation tools and methodologies help to determine the training effectiveness. Evaluation being very important activity, but evaluations of training programs are inconsistent or missing (Carnevale & Schulz, 1990; Holcomb, 1993; McMahon & Carter, 1990; Rossi et al., 1979). We can attribute this to

In 1992, the economist, Gary Becker, won the Nobel Prize for his work that demonstrated the importance to organizations of human capital and of training, in particular. Despite the importance of human capital to the long-term health and growth of organizations, they continue to under-invest in training (Becker, 1993). In The Human Equation, Jeffrey Pfeffer (1998) explained why, “Training is an investment in the organization’s staff, and in the current business milieu, it virtually begs for some sort of return-on investment calculations” (p.89). In other words, because organizations do not adequately measure the value that training adds, they fail to reap the benefits of fully investing in training.

There are numerous models of training evaluation in the literature as (Abernathy, 1999 p. 1) states “There are almost as many ideas about how to measure training as there are trainers”. The most popular model of training evaluation cited in the literature is that put forward by the American Professor Donald L Kirkpatrick (1975) which was originally formulated in 1959. This is endorsed by (Nickols, 2005 p. 121) who states that “Current approaches to evaluating training are dominated by The Kirkpatrick Model”. This is further supported by (Canning, 1996 p. 5) who comments that “Rather like a reptile, it has evolved through making incremental changes in form while retaining its essential features”.

Commonly used approaches to educational evaluation have their roots in systematic approaches to the design of training which are represented in the works of Gagné and Briggs (1974), Goldstein (1993), and Mager (1962). Evaluation is represents as the final stage in a systematic approach with the purpose being to improve interventions and to measure outcomes i.e. formative evaluation or make a judgment about worth and effectiveness (summative evaluation) (Gustafson & Branch, 1997).

There are, however, several problems with the Kirkpatrick method. For example, it is possible for people to learn things even when they have a negative reaction to the training. In other words, Kirkpatrick’s method implies an unnecessary hierarchy. Another problem is that Kirkpatrick’s method requires that you specify what was learned and how what was learned was transferred, and yet it is a psychometrically challenging problem to measure learning, more so, transfer of training (Baldwin & Ford, 1988). Finally, many of the benefits of training, such as networking, effects on employee morale, and knowledge sharing, are neglected by this method.

The ROI model is based on Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model, Phillips added additional steps of ROI which provides a monetary valuation of the training impact. ROI is a backward looking metric that yields no insights into how to improve business results in future, it is primarily used for self-justification rather than continuous improvement.

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