The most effective IT departments invest in developing and stretching their IT staff throughout their careers. Training and developing staff pays dividends not only for IT professionals themselves, but for the entire organisation.
Training can be a big factor in keeping staff, and given the cost of recruiting and the difficulties finding people with the most-in-demand skills, staff retention is crucial.
The best IT departments have structured programmes in place to help their staff develop. Telecoms company Kingston Communications, for example, has helped its IT workforce gain accreditation in the IT Infrastructure Library, Prince2, the British Computer Society's Iseb business analysis training and supplier qualifications.
IT services supplier The Internet Group is among the employers that emphasise continual training. "Every member of the IT team has a training roadmap and receives two hours of training per week, every week. This training is also available without charge to members of staff who are not in the technical department but wish to further their IT knowledge," the company said.
Companies House, the government register of UK companies, is among the organisations to recognise that IT professionals increasingly need business skills as well as technical training. "Staff require not just technical skills, but also the softer skills to deliver functions such as programme management and relationship management to bridge the gap between business and IT," the agency said.
Some organisations deliberately move their staff around so that they can gain experience in other departments. The World Wildlife Fund, for example, sends IT staff on secondment to cross-fertilise skills.
"We have informal job swap days when we encourage staff to job swap or job shadow. This helps us understand the challenges others faces and also provides opportunities for staff to move into areas they may most be interested in," the WWF said.
Organisations shortlisted for the best places to work in IT 2007 awards
● Barclays Bank
● Birmingham Midshires
● Citigroup Technology
● HBOS Group Technology
Business and professional services
● Berwin Leighton Paisner
● British Army (Land - CBM AIS)
● Companies House
Construction, agriculture and mining
● Smith Group UK
● WSP Group
Hospitality, entertainment and leisure
● American Institute for Foreign Study (UK)
● BBC Worldwide
● Friends Provident
● Norwich & Peterborough Building Society
IT services suppliers (including outsourcing providers)
● Rhyme Systems
● The Internet Group
IT software and hardware suppliers
● Citrix Systems (R&D)
● cScape Strategic Internet Services
● Data Connection
● Welcom Software
Manufacturing and engineering
● Procter & Gamble
● Whitman Laboratories
● City of London Corporation
● Kent County Council
● Lancashire ICT Services
● Liverpool Direct
● London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
● London Borough of Towerhamlets
Public services and non-profit sectors
● Audit Commission
● British Transport Police
● Crown Prosecution Service Business Information Systems Directorate
● New Charter Housing Trust
● Opportunity Links
● Coal Authority
Retail, wholesale and distribution
● Asda Stores
● South West Trains
● Carphone Warehouse
Utilities and telecommunications
● BT Group
● Cable & Wireless
● Kingston Communications
Book a table at the awards ceremony
The Best Places to Work in IT Awards 2007 will be presented on 2 March at the Grosvenor Marriott Square Hotel in London.
Now in its fifth year, the lunchtime ceremony will play host to the UK's best UK IT employers.
With IT departments from leading companies of all sizes, representing every sector of UK business life, the awards offer a unique networking opportunity.
To guarantee your place, and secure your opportunity to network with the UK's best IT employers, go online or contact Siobhan Abbott: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 8652 3887
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