Booz Allen Hamilton

Unlocks Talent Retention and Productivity through Upskilling

Booz Allen employees provide world-class, industry leading expertise in the areas of Strategy and Consulting, Analytics, Digital Solutions, Engineering, and Cyber across industries ranging from defense to health to energy to international development. Innovation has always been core to Booz Allen’s culture—and through the Technical (Tech) Excellence program the organization has reaffirmed its commitment to clients through an investment in its people.

Challenge: From highly-skilled technical talent to improving engagement, robust learning is critical for Booz Allen

In recent years, organizations in all industries—from health, to national security, to finance, to energy—have realized the benefits of employing highly skilled technical talent. Consequently, the demand for such talent has exploded, making it very difficult to recruit and retain these individuals. In fact, the demand for certain skill sets literally outweighs the supply.

Looking within Booz Allen, many employees with the necessary technical skillsets did not have the required clearance levels; and conversely, few with the required clearance level had the necessary technical skills.

As a result, sold and funded positions often remained unfilled, sometimes for several months and even at the cost of the loss of the contract. The firm quickly realized that to position itself as a leading provider of solutions in technology, it would need to aggressively commit to reskilling and upskilling existing and newly hired employees.

The Learning and Development (L&D) team partnered with leaders across multiple business units and talent acquisition to determine where greatest needs existed across the workforce. The team analyzed volume of unfilled job requisitions to determine hard-to-fill jobs, interviewed leaders challenged with lack of qualified candidates, and assessed reasons why cleared applicants did not complete hiring process.

The proposed solution was to establish a centralized, firm-sponsored program to develop in-demand skills and provide experience for junior, cleared talent to create a pipeline of qualified talent for in demand roles.

Getting the balance right for both hiring and upskilling

Because the DC metro area is exceptionally competitive for talent, the L&D team knew it wasn’t practical to consider hiring the necessary number of skilled workers outright. The most advantageous approach would be a “build and buy” strategy, wherein some workers would be recruited and hired externally, and the remaining would be internally upskilled through formal training.

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