How investing in leadership and talent development comprehensively has helped Dell Technologies innovate and grow
In September 2016, the merger between EMC Corporation and Dell created the world’s largest privately held technology company, Dell Technologies.
It’s a journey that began over a generation ago, in Michael Dell’s Texas University dorm room. He believed he could provide customers with more powerful technology at a better value by rethinking how computers were manufactured and delivered. Around the same time, Richard Egan and Roger Marino started EMC; first delivering compatible memory boards with higher reliability, then delivering data storage solutions scalable to enterprise level.
Having begun with two technology companies and a shared vision to provide greater access to technology for people around the world, these journeys completely changed the way the world sources, builds and sells technology.
How talent development plays a key role in the vision
As the company takes the shared vision forward, the comprehensive continuous learning strategy at Dell Technologies covers employees at all levels, from freshers to senior executives. At a granular level, the company has in place Individual Development Plans (IDPs), which combine both technical and behavioural training, job-based assignments and self-development. At a broader level, there are mentoring programs in place to ensure that employees with the potential to take on higher and more complex roles get a chance to further hone their technical skills and leadership skills by mentoring others.
There are a number of customized professional training and development programs, both in-classroom and online, that cover a range of technical and soft skills and organization-specific requirements for employees.
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Helping technical experts become business leaders
Just hiring talent is not enough. How can you nurture this talent and draw up a long-term career path for them so that they play a significant role in the organisation’s success? For global technology companies, inculcating soft skills, leadership skills and communication skills in employees is as important as honing their technical skills. Dell Technologies has tied up with renowned academic institutions which help upskill employees in both technical as well as management skills.
TechEDGE is a program developed by Dell Technologies, in collaboration with IIM-Bangalore, for mid-career technologists and shape them into technology leaders who can inspire younger technical talent and become thought leaders in future.
It focuses on three key aspects for developing competencies:
- Improving technical subject matter expertise (design, architecture, software engineering, creating innovative solutions, IP and whitepapers)
- Social and consulting skills and orientation (customer and results-orientation, complex problem solving and reasoning ability, communication and presentation skills)
- Leadership skills (setting direction, collaboration across virtual teams, business acumen)
Since the program’s inception in the year 2013, there has been a significant increase in senior engineers in the India Center Of Excellence and 22% of TechEDGE participants have been rated as high impact.
“TechEDGE is one of the most sought-after programs in our company. The program is a perfect blend of enhancing technical expertise as well as leadership skills which helps participants enhance their careers and Dell by creating more technical leaders says Srikripa Srinivasan, Vice President, Dell Global Analytics, Dell Technologies
Another flagship learning initiative, again in association with IIM-Bangalore, the EDGE Management Development Program for middle and mid-to-senior level managers, aims to Educate, Develop, Grow, Empower (EDGE) and create an effective leadership pipeline.
The program is like a mini MBA, and includes workshops on strategy, problem-solving and finance. Other aspects of the program include 360-degree feedback, learning from leaders, peer learning, and on-the-job learning.
“EDGE is a one-year program which we have in partnership with IIM Bangalore where they talk about experience in learning on products and sessions with top leaders and we see a 50% participation of women there,” says Sheenam Ohrie, Vice President, Dell Digital.
The impact of the program has been significant, with 53% of the program’s graduates seeing a broader scope of work, and 24% participants being consistently rated as high impact.
Building a strong pipeline for senior leadership
For senior employees, the Director Leadership Program and the Advanced Leadership Experience program equip business leaders with skills, information and the framework needed to grow in their own careers while also driving the company’s growth
One of these is the Foundations of Leadership program, which gives corporate leaders-in-the-making essential know-how to learn and apply new skills as part of an instructor-led and online program.
For more senior leaders, there’s the Advanced Leadership Experience, an immersive, action-based program.
The Director Leadership Program is a unique program for senior leaders which uses simulations and gamified immersive and learning technologies to help them inspire and influence leader at Dell Technologies.
Helping women discover and reach their true potential
Dell Technologies prides itself on having a diverse and inclusive work force and with this focus, the company has in place several programs to nurture women employees at different stages in their career and meet their specific needs. Whether it is developing women managers into leaders or helping them re-enter the workforce after a prolonged career break for personal reasons, these programs help with skills training, both technical and non-technical, aspirational training and more to help these women achieve their best.
RISE is one such development program designed to help women move up into the next level in their careers. Aimed at mid-career high potential women team members, it provides them with the right tools in the form of training, sessions, events, and written material which empower them to perform well at work. The program helps women managers with skills such as public speaking, networking, and thinking innovatively. Since its inception in the year 2013, there has been a 200% increase in the number of women participants selected for high potential leadership program. 60% of RISE participants saw increased scope of work, while 30% progressed to the next level of the program.
The company has several other programs dedicated to women for the larger ecosystem as well. ‘Return to Work’ and ‘TAARA’ are great examples. Return to Work was launched in March 2018 to give an opportunity to women who are currently on a break and planning to join the workforce. TAARA is an upskilling program for women IT professionals on a career break. VMinclusion Taara is a collaborative initiative by VMWare and Women Who Code, to upskill 15,000 women in India by giving them access to free technical education and certification courses.
All these initiatives serve to highlight the fact that when talent aligns with a company’s vision at every level, and when companies are invested in every employee’s growth and development, great things happen!