"To evolve and stay current, you have to prioritise learning and create an environment that enables and supports talent development."
Sharon Walsh, Vice President Technology Management, Fidelity Investments
CHALLENGES: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN LEADERS AND TECH TEAMS
Digital transformation is rapidly redefining job functions across industry resulting in widespread cultural, organisational, and operational change for businesses.
The pace of change in the tech sector and competition for talent has led organisations to recognise the need to equip their leaders with the expertise to understand rapid technological change and bridge the gap between the technical and transversal capabilities needed to successfully embrace digital transformation. For Fidelity Investments (Fidelity), these challenges are all inherently linked to talent development.
Sharon Walsh, Vice President Technology Management at Fidelity Investments, says: “While it’s always been a competitive market, the competition for technology talent is at an all-time high. As a company, we are focused on talent that drives transformation in our business. Not only do we need talent that understands our customer, we also need our people to understand technology in what is a constantly changing landscape and how we can leverage data in the context of cyber security, customer engagement, Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation. There’s a lot for us to think about in terms of attracting talent, developing our workforce and crucially, retaining people.”
SOLUTIONS: LINKING HIGH-TECH KNOWLEDGE WITH SOCIAL CAPITAL CAPABILITIES
Fidelity partnered with itag Skillnet to amplify its talent development strategy with a focus on delivering accessible pathways that develop leaders across its workforce of 1,300. Central to the partnership has been the network framework which enables sector-wide collaboration. This access has given Fidelity a unique perspective on how to address immediate challenges that are being met within the business and by businesses right across the sector.
Sharon says: “The relationship with itag Skillnet is very much a live conversation in the here and now. We would all love to be able to predict the challenges that we’ll face ten years from now, but through our partnership with itag Skillnet, we are well positioned to address the immediate challenges we’re facing as a business and leverage the collaborative, network approach to understand the challenges we are facing as a wider sector. The outside perspective is what helps spark innovation and ideation.”
Fidelity’s strategic approach to developing leaders within the business has been boosted through the partnership with itag Skillnet and the creation of the itag Skillnet Digital Women’s Forum – a platform dedicated towards empowering women in digital tech by examining the unique challenges of working in, and with technology, to affect progressive change within working and community environments.
Through its participation in the Forum and partnership with itag Skillnet, Fidelity has also introduced the Digital Women’s Executive Leadership Programme internally which offers participants access to one-to-one mentoring which can be applied in the field.
Sharon, who leads the Forum, says: “The itag Skillnet Digital Women’s Forum is about connecting women in tech, networking, knowledge sharing and sharing best practice. It gives us an opportunity to hear challenges from across the sector and hear new and innovative perspectives from others who may be from another part of the wider tech ecosystem.”
CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT THAT ENABLES TALENT DEVELOPMENT
“At Fidelity Investments, we have a very strong ethos around lifelong learning. To evolve and stay current, you have to prioritise learning and create an environment that enables and supports talent development. Our partnership with itag Skillnet really fits within that ethos and gives us the advantage of informing and shaping the mechanisms we use to action it. The beauty of the itag Skillnet framework is that it enables companies to come together, identify a gap or opportunity and work with academia to develop a solution that caters for those leading in the field.”
IMPACT: BUILDING A ROBUST TALENT OF THE FUTURE
Placing talent development at the heart of its strategy has supported Fidelity along its growth trajectory. According to Sharon, this success has been driven by a commitment across all levels of the organisation to creating an inclusive environment where learning is embraced and leaders can grow.
Sharon says: “We’ve doubled our technology footprint in Ireland in the last five years and we would not have achieved that without the commitment to talent development which has been supported by itag Skillnet. What has been very important to the partnership over that time is the recognition that the combination of unique human skills with core technology skills will build robust talent equipped with skills for the future.”
Recognising the important link between high-tech knowledge and social capital capabilities, Fidelity worked with itag Skillnet on the development of an AI for Managers programme which will equip leaders and managers within the business with the expertise needed to strategise and envision AI-related projects.
Sharon concludes: “There are MScs in AI out there which are geared towards deepening expertise as a speciality but this programme aims to bridge the gap for leaders in AI and help determine what level of knowledge would be needed in the future when thinking about strategies around talent development in the area.”