IT firms are harnessing employees’ potential by Training

When an organization takes a personal interest in an employee, professionals stay motivated. Taking cue from this, many companies especially in the IT space are setting up their own training institutes to develop and harness their employees’ potential. Although the phenomenon of corporate training has been in existence for a long time, setting up a training institute is a recent practice dating back to the early 1990s.

In the services sector, where people are the key assets, training is critical to provide a firm base for its growth. Training today has also taken a paradigm shift from developing technical competency to building leadership, business and personal skills. The aim of setting up institute in a single location is to create a melting pot of cultures where apart from learning people build a strong bond with each other.

At FCIPL, they consider their chief asset is their people. They believe that the development of skills and knowledge of people is not only important but it is also critical for the survival and growth of both the individual and the enterprise.

Thoughtworks Inc., a Bangalore based IT firm is one of the many firms which, has set up its own training institute. They set up ‘Thoughtworks University’ so that participants engage in a mix of shared curriculum, competency-specific tracks, and project simulations. All of this would ensure the participants have the necessary context, skills, and experience to work effectively in the field.

The institutes have various courses based on experience and skills. They conducted a ‘Walk on Fire’ training to enhance the motivation and goal setting competencies for their leaders. This is a long term initiative aimed at consistently building competencies which will add to the productivity of the employee and of the organization.

Thoughtworks University is an intense, 7-weeks-course split into 4 weeks of shared curriculum, 2 weeks of discipline specific training and a week-long project simulation. The shared curriculum includes tracks about Thoughtworks itself, and other tracks around consulting, software delivery and personal development. The discipline specific curriculum on the other hand, covers skills specific to the students’ roles and the job that they undertake on a daily basis.

At FCIPL, it is mandatory for every employee irrespective of his experience level, to undergo 40 hours of training every year. Depending upon the role they envision for themselves within the organization and their needs, every employee determines an individualized training program for herself/himself. Whether this involves equipping themselves with the new skills or simply an opportunity to refresh existing skills, the provision of training is vital.

They have also instituted a mentoring program to reduce the learning curve for gaining knowledge of organizational processes and culture. The curriculum stays fresh primarily through the rotation of consultants through the program as trainers. This provides the program an opportunity to remain fresh, giving the consultants a chance to shift their focus from software delivery to team leadership and development. Each consultant has the opportunity to suggest changes to the course and they often get the chance to see the change through to its delivery. This team is supported by professional facilitators who provide expertise in training and development, instructional design and coaching.

There are various pros and cons of firms running such training institutes. Since the courses are specifically designed by the company, they are customized to fit in with the organization’s philosophy and work culture. This also creates intra department bonding and knowledge sharing. Known environment and trainer brings in the feeling of oneness. The senior and subject matter experts are involved in designing the course. This way the program is tailored to meet the actual needs of the employees. At the same time the pros far outweigh this one con. “Thoughtworks’ culture is prevented by sharing consistent messages while also create a sense of belonging for the individuals participating. In addition, they potentially increase retention and most importantly improve a new hire’s chances of success.

Training today is not only limited to professional competencies but also hobbies and personal interests. At HP Global Delivery Application Centre, they have fun-clubs that bring guest speakers and professional trainers to help people learn about a certain hobby, a passion or simply to lead a healthy life.

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