How GE Energy sets up millennial talent for success

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Landing a position in GE’s IT organization straight out of college seems like it would be a big win for any job-seeker. But even as one of the world’s largest companies, we still have to work hard to recruit the best and brightest graduates into our IT departments. That’s because we’re competing for the same talent as technology companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple.

To stand out in the eyes of graduating and early career millennials, we’ve implemented an Information Technology Leadership Program to help young IT professionals build their career at GE.

The two-year program offers graduating college students four six-month rotations with different businesses at GE. During their rotations, these young professionals  gain real-world experience by working on projects that are important and challenging, and they get to do it while collaborating with some of our brightest technical minds as colleagues.

Along the way, they’re also building their leadership skills, their understanding of how businesses work, and  their technical skills. At the end of the two years they get absorbed into the business of the choice.

While some of our program participants are recruited directly through universities, others are brought in after successfully completing a summer internship with us as rising juniors or seniors. During their internships, we’re always watching for stand-out students who are working hard and would be a good cultural fit for GE. We often invite those students to participate in the leadership program.

But that’s not all we do to keep early-career IT professionals interested in staying at GE. We also give some of our young IT professionals unique opportunities to share their ideas with senior-level executives. One way is through our Innovation Team, a group of about 14 junior employees who advise me on things they think we should be spending more or less time doing. Another way is through our reverse mentorship program, which pairs a young IT professional with a member of GE’s C-Suite. The younger professional helps to update the C-Suite member on  technical issues, be it hardware, software or merely industry trends.

We’ve found that these young IT professionals enjoy the exposure to senior leadership, and feel a stronger tie to the company as a whole. And that’s a win for all of us.

Read "Tapping the power of reverse-mentoring in IT."

Venki Rao was named CIO of GE Digital Energy business in December 2010. He is responsible for driving the IT strategy for Digital Energy, synergies, operational efficiencies, key digitization initiatives and enhancing business’ go-to market efforts with their smart-grid solutions. Additionally, he works closely with the Software Solutions business team to grow it and strengthen connections with Utility CIOs.

Venki Rao was named the global CIO of GE Automation & Controls in August 2016. Prior to that he was the CIO of the Digital Energy business for GE since December 2010. He was responsible for driving the IT strategy for Digital Energy, synergies, operational efficiencies, key digitization initiatives and enhancing business’ go-to market efforts with their smart-grid solutions.

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