6 Things IT Managers Need to Know About Hiring vs. Training

Deciding whether to train and promote your current staff or bring in new blood is a choice many IT leaders face on a regular basis. The best decision, of course, depends on many variables. The first step is answering these six questions.

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Mon, July 01, 2013

CIO — In a recent article we looked at doing a skill assessment of your IT teams and it raised a question that IT managers and CIOs have to deal with regularly. When do you hire and when do you train and groom internal IT professionals to take over the future needs of the business?

The answer will vary depending on a number of variables, but to help sharpen the focus we collected these questions the expert say you need to ask to make the train or hire decision.

1. How much time do we have to fill the gap that's been identified? "If we have plenty of time, it makes sense to train someone from the inside. On the other hand, if this is gap that needs to be filled immediately, says Rachel Russell, director of marketing at TEKsystems, "you've got to go the hiring route."

IT Training vs. Hiring

2. Is this a skills problem or a bandwidth problem? For example, says Russell, "I have people with this skill today but I only have three of them and in order to take on the workload the business requires of me I'm going to need 10. Then all the training in the world won't solve your capacity problem, you're going to need to hire."

3. Is it experience that's needed or skills? Sometimes companies just need or want someone in a role who has done this kind of work before and understands the industry at a deeper level.

4. How large is the gap? Does an employee need only a moderate amount of training and grooming to get to the next level or is the gap so large that it might take him a few years to get there.

"If it's a small gap you've got to go the training route. That is what motivates and inspires your people and lets them know that you see where they are at, you support their career efforts and support them as an organization," says Russell.

5. Does the gap represent a short-term or a long-term need? If you only to need a certain skill set to get from point "A" to point "B" then training probably wouldn't make sense.

"If the skill is one that will only be needed for a fixed period of time, and will not be needed long-term, vendor partners are an appropriate stop-gap," says Peter High author of the book, World Class IT: Why Businesses Succeed When IT Triumphs and founder of Metis strategy, a CIO advisory firm.

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