Norwich Union uses skills framework to cut out the contractors and reward staff

Financial services company Norwich Union revealed last week that a government-backed framework for managing IT staff skills...

Financial services company Norwich Union revealed last week that a government-backed framework for managing IT staff skills helped the firm save millions in training and staff costs over the past two years.

Norwich Union said the Skills Framework for the Information Age has helped it to reduce its dependence on contractors and has cut the cost of training for permanent staff by 20% without losing essential expertise.

The company is one of the first in the UK to roll out the framework, which gives IT employers tools to assess the skills of their workforce and to assess what training will be needed to develop staff and meet the needs of future projects.

Gary Cannon, people development manager at Norwich Union Life and Pensions, said, "Two-and-a-half-years ago we embarked on a big change prog-ramme and the SFIA saved us a lot of time and heartache. It allowed us to significantly reduce our reliance on contractors, helped us save millions of pounds and a lot of time and effort."

Norwich Union introduced the framework following a series of mergers to bring IT staff working in different parts of the business together in a single structure.

"Most of my team were from other sites, using other classification systems. They used different language to describe their roles. Now we do not have to argue over what we mean by a systems administrator," said Cannon.

The system has simplified the way staff are appraised by managers, and allowed staff to identify what gaps in their training they will need to fill in order to take the next step up the career ladder.

"We tended to reward people in terms of expertise and personalities," said Cannon. "There was a tendency for people to move up within the same specialisation. But the SFIA allowed us to reward people who have a breadth of skills, which is so vital for us."

The SFIA provided Norwich Union with a complete audit of its IT staff's skills, which has allowed Cannon and his team to deploy staff more effectively and reduced the time staff spend waiting to be allocated to a project by 98%.

The firm has been able to replace contractors by identifying staff with similar skills and has also asked contractors to provide training in weaker areas.

Meanwhile, the British Computer Society has thrown its weight behind the Skills Framework for the Information Age. It said last week that it would adapt its industry structure model to the SFIA standard, and base future products and services around the framework.

SFIA user group

SFIA benefits

  • Reduced training costs of 19% per head
  • Reduced dependency on contractors
  • Reduced time IT staff are not allocated to a project by 98%
  • Saved millions of pounds over two years.

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