Building on skills and introducing development programmes can be a great way to increase team productivity and retain staff members, but failing to do so can lead to difficult circumstances. (See also: How executives can retain CIO talent.) 

Training can provide employees much needed support while also creating better communication with colleagues, increasing overall work productivity.

It is important for organisations to train newly hired staff to help them adapt to the business culture, while also understanding the company’s procedures. Here, CIO UK looks at how 12 leading UK CIOs and decision-makers are training their staff members to ensure a greater team performance. (Read next: 13 recruitment tips for CIOs.)


"The enforcement of appraisals, personal development plans and use of mentoring and coaching programmes have contributed to the success of the Trust. We are also investing in training and are introducing job shadowing across the department and in clinical areas to help my staff understand the importance and impacts of what they do, and expose them to different roles within the department."
Joanna Smith, Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust’s CIO


"To ensure the team are first internally supported in considering new roles, a programme of training and development was also launched. The team has worked together in 2016 to prepare for an influx of new resources, ensuring that induction and on boarding programmes are as agile as possible and that the culture of the team can be clearly articulated, thus enabling new ideas to be heard and applied to the way the team evolves."

"A talent management programme has been developed for the entire OoCIO in 2016 and will be implemented in 2017 to ensure that the digital skills that we have grown can continue to evolve, thus enabling us to flex our delivery capability internally.”
Richard Corbridge, HSE Ireland’s CIO


“The best results are achieved from a long-term investment in people. This leads to confident and empowered team members who take ownership of tasks. In line with this belief, this year I’ve invested time and resources delivering training and awareness sessions across the business focused on cybersecurity. With an emphasis on risk awareness and personal accountability, this training reinforces everyone’s role within the business to do their part in keeping it cyber secure.”
Russell Morris, Northern Powergrid's Head of IT


“With the 90-day management plan, I am training my team and setting the expectations of being a manager, which have seen both personal and team improvements, ranging from personal productivity to effective communication and meeting management."

"A key component of this is emotional intelligence training; helping typically introverted technically focused individuals communicate more effectively with business colleagues and with their peers within technology fostering great teamwork and greater empathy.”
Frank Gibson, Royal Society of Chemistry’s Director of IT


“Our big programme in this area is tech-savvy leadership – a multichannel, multidisciplinary programme which has been designed and is now in execution to support colleagues in operating and leading in a digital world. It involves a series of short-term and long-term interventions starting with an ‘iconic event’ delivered as part of an overall 21st-century leadership programme developed by our HR department but in partnership with me and my digital colleagues."

"The programme includes using existing meetings to bring key topics into discussion, for example, showcasing product development or communications techniques, and mutual mentoring between tech-savvy staff and less tech-savvy senior leaders. There are drop-in sessions on how to use kit, safe spaces to share ideas, an executive assistant group where we equip them with tools and techniques to support the executive teams and also maintain a feedback loop.”
Laura Dawson, British Council’s CIO


“In Action for Children, the CEO was an exemplary champion, who learned to use Twitter and was a role model in using a tablet and working flexibly, whether hotdesking in the office and/or working from home. To ensure the tech supported the CEO, I arranged training and any tweaks needed – for example, a Wi-Fi booster at home. This helped those on the senior team that are in favour of digital change to take the lead, and I supported by presenting as a joint platform."

"We already have apprentices in IT and I have signed up to use recruitment agencies that specialise in retraining ex-forces personnel and career-break mums for IT careers. As an IT team we are also providing work experience for people with disabilities.”
Alan Crawford Action for Children’s CIO


"When I took over the service in 2012, development of IT skills wasn’t an objective. The skills that staff had varied enormously and this impacted on the service delivery. Over the years, we have ensured that training and skilled staff is central to our work. All staff are ITIL-qualified, project managers have Prince2 and agile qualifications."

"Leadership and management training has been at the core of service improvement. This has resulted in the majority of leadership roles in 2016 being internal promotions, based on open competitive processes, where we advertised widely.
Kevin Gibbs, Greenwich Borough Council CIO


“[We are] onboarding an external supplier to provide the service we wanted to take careful planning and implementation. From the outset we wanted the external company to be an extension of us, to integrate with the business and be representatives of the department."

"To achieve this, both our internal team and the supplier wear e-business-branded polo shirts, so regardless of who is on site everyone recognises a member of the infrastructure team. It’s a little thing, but the visibility, and in turn the approachability of the team, is important. We paid particular attention to our training programme and documentation, ensuring that anybody who came on site knew our processes and systems, and was able to offer an effective level of support as quickly as possible.”
Mike Fairers, BSH UK & Ireland’s Director of IT


“The digital competencies have been a strong start here. We have also run an extremely popular ‘being digital’ presentation to every single department, trying to explain what we see in the digital strategy team as key for us as individuals but also the company as a whole to play a role in a fast- changing world. The presentation has been popular, and we’ve run it for a number of organisations in the health space within the UK as well as at meet-ups and other events.”
Sharon Cooper, BMJ CDO


“My team and I have developed further improvements to our 4G site-connect systems. Our engineering teams are now seamlessly connected to the WAN without the need for clunky Terminal Services. Users enjoy the same secure user-experience wherever they go. They undertake basic training online, discuss progress with colleagues from site using video link, backup their PC off-site and access any document library on Raymond Brown Construction’s network."
Peter Williamson, Raymond Brown Construction’s Business System Director


“We have doubled our training budget and ensuring that all of the IT team are trained to ITIL foundation level. We are encouraging and facilitating cross training to enhance resilience but also to provide greater job satisfaction. Through better monitoring of service performance, we are focusing on improving the customer experience.”
David Edwards, Cardiff University’s Director of IT


“We want colleagues across DWP to think digitally. Over the last year, we’ve delivered more than 20,000 hours of digital training to colleagues to improve our digital knowledge and expertise."

"We are creating modern digital workplaces to support flexible working across the whole department, and a more agile, collaborative culture. That means securely introducing technology our colleagues have become accustomed to as consumers, including tablets, laptops, smartphones and Wi-Fi, plus enterprise social media and other collaboration tools.”
Mayank Prakash, Department for Work & Pensions’ CIO