IF employees get knowledge download from contractors

Intelligent Finance (IF), Halifax's Internet and phone bank, is using a consultancy to ensure that its contractors pass on their...

Intelligent Finance (IF), Halifax's Internet and phone bank, is using a consultancy to ensure that its contractors pass on their knowledge of IF's systems to internal IT staff before they leave.

The knowledge transfer scheme involves contractors and the bank's permanent IT staff working together over four weeks, in a programme overseen by consultancy Ultimate People Company.

IF said the scheme will prevent skills gaps appearing in the IT department when contractors leave, speed up the development of new projects and reduce IT costs.

With companies in all sectors often reliant on contractors for technology projects, knowledge sharing among staff and contractors is a key issue for management.

"Many IT people will work closely together and share skills and knowledge but this particular programme brings a sharper focus to this," said Julie McClelland, director of business design and IT at IF.

Contractors and permanent IT staff take part in work "buddying", workshops and training sessions to exchange the relevant IT skills and experience, she added.

Analysts said the loss of intellectual capital from internal staff as well as contractors is a serious problem for UK banks and added that knowledge transfer programmes could plug this skills drain, if used properly.

"A lot of companies have procedures to try and do [knowledge sharing] but when you have deadlines to meet the knowledge sharing might be something that is seen as a nice-to-do thing," said Daniel Mayo, a lead analyst at Datamonitor.

Ensuring that the goals of an ongoing project are clearly documented for IT professionals new to the project is another key area where knowledge sharing should be applied, he added.

The timeframe for IF's launch - the systems and service were set up in less than a year - meant that it used a high proportion of contractors for development work.

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