Emerge Stronger

One of the best things about my job is being regularly surprised by what people are capable of. Every week I hear career transformation stories that really impress me.

  • A customer services agent evolves into a Python guru.
  • A designer becomes one of the most ruthlessly efficient project managers in her company.
  • An intern develops the skills required to become a brilliant data analyst.

People can completely transform themselves when they're given the time and opportunity to do so.

This insight can, however, be lost on businesses. They’re so busy looking outside their organisation for talent, they’re not even considering the people right under their noses.

And this is mad. Because reskilling makes so much sense from a business perspective.

  1. It’s low cost – you don’t need to pay recruiters’ commissions or hire expensive contractors.
  2. It’s fast – you don’t have to launch a six-month search for talent. You get the skills you need within a matter of weeks.
  3. It’s reliable – you get the exact skills you need from people that understand your business and you already trust to deliver.
  4. It’s prudent – you get to keep all the knowledge and skills within the business as you’re not relying on short-term contractors.

We see all these benefits in our work, every day.

Case Study: Nationwide

We recently did a project for Nationwide, a company renowned for investing in their people and their community.

They wanted to enhance their engineering team through reskilling non-technical staff across a wide range of roles throughout the Society – mainly, individuals with no coding experience who came to the project with nothing but enthusiasm and commitment.

This seems like a huge challenge, right?

Well in just 12 weeks, we transformed these learners into a great team of IT pros. Teaming up with Nationwide to support their Technology Development Programme, we’ve been training around 130 career changers over three cohorts.

And they didn’t just learn the basics. Nationwide now has a full complement of engineering skills –  DevOps, orchestration, software development, analytics, project management – the lot.

In other words, they transformed their technical capabilities and made a big difference to their business as a result.

But they also did something equally, or maybe even more, important. They gave back to their people. They listened to their staff and gave them what they wanted, in the form of fresh challenges and opportunities.

The hidden value of reskilling

Our work with Nationwide highlights the hidden and often underappreciated value of reskilling. You’re not just bringing new skills into your business, you’re strengthening your culture. You’re showing your people that you give a damn by investing in them and their careers.

And this pays dividends. Again, we’ve seen this firsthand. People redouble their efforts, they stay at your company for longer and they reveal hidden talents that can transform your business.

You just don’t get this type of outcome through other forms of talent acquisition like contracting or hiring.

And that’s why reskilling matters. And it’s especially important today. With everyone working from home, it’s easy for employees to feel isolated, maybe even unseen.

Reskilling can give them the challenge and impetus they need to feel good about work again. To feel part of the organisation again.

So if you’re coming under pressure to launch new IT projects, and you can’t find the talent you need, look to your existing employees.

Has anyone expressed an interest in coding? Does anyone have a natural flair for project management? Who’s looking for a new challenge?

These people could be the makings of a new IT team. Why not give them a chance before looking outside your organisation?

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts on digital transformation. In previous posts, we looked at how to emerge stronger from this crisis, how to lead an L&D revolution, and how to win the war for tech talent. Don’t miss them.

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