Jimmy Norcross, senior vice president of Agile Digital Solutions for CACI, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the challenges of attracting and retaining top talent in the federal industry as well as the discussions about the hurdles of innovation that are based away from the technical side.
In addition, Norcross discussed how CACI’s customers are working to improve their government networks, platforms and data through digital modernization initiatives. He also provided a look into the core values of the company’s culture and what makes CACI a great place to work during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“CACI has been very successful at attracting and retaining top talent. I would attribute that back to our culture, transparency, and sense of community. It’s very important to communicate often with our team, but also give them the opportunity to ask me and our other leaders’ questions. We dedicate a lot of time to this since communication is vital for any business to succeed and grow.”
You can read the full interview with Jimmy Norcross below:
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the challenges facing your federal government customers? How will digital modernization and other initiatives improve government networks, platforms, and data?
Jimmy Norcross: “CACI is focused on delivering expertise and technology to the U.S. Government. My customers are mostly tasked with updating and modernizing their technology for their enterprise and their mission.
Our customers are modernizing, which means they have to update their technology to the current standards, or what I call ‘get it to lie flat.’ That means getting the technology to a state where it basically runs itself.
Once our customers get to this state, they can reallocate their resources, such as talent, funding, time, etc., to invest in more technology for advanced capabilities. We are helping our customers reach this ‘lying flat’ stage in several ways.
For instance, we deliver Agile at scale. CACI’s ASF or Agile Solution Factory enables our programs to achieve Agile at scale and then rapidly turn to modernization efforts to add capabilities for their mission. The beauty of our ASF is that as customer requirements change, we can pivot with those changes to meet the dynamic mission.
The other angle is automation. With automation such as RPA (robotic process automation) and automated testing, we are truly doing “more with less.”
ExecutiveBiz: We often discuss innovation from the technical or capability side. What are some of the unique challenges that you’ve seen on the business side of innovation that hasn’t been addressed or discussed enough?
Jimmy Norcross: “While I agree, innovation has been discussed frequently and there is a spotlight on it, talent is a challenge we are facing on the business side. Attaining, developing, and retaining talent is a significant challenge in our industry right now. It’s always been a top priority, but there’s a lot of uncertainty and new expectations following the impact of the pandemic.
For example, there is a lot of geopolitical uncertainty that’s affecting people, and many are still facing the fallout of the pandemic. I believe it is important for our leaders to have empathy for their people and remain connected with them, which is what we are focused on at CACI.
It’s also important in an organization of any size to have a central community and culture. If you’re a larger organization, you have to find a community within your program and your sub-organization or group to create a network.
This is something that I am most passionate about – working with our younger developers to ensure that they have a sense of community and belonging to CACI. Many have just joined us from college, and we want them to see their value and how they’re contributing to CACI’s mission, our community, and national security.
As leaders, we also need to provide employees with a clear understanding of their career advancement possibilities. This goes for all of our employees, whether you’ve just joined or you’ve been here for 30 years. We all want to know where our career is going.
Following the pandemic, people are looking at ‘work’ differently and it’s my job, and the responsibility of all leaders, to keep a pulse on what has changed and make sure we’re addressing the changing needs of our people.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are the core values that are important to your company’s culture? Why is CACI a good place to work?
Jimmy Norcross: “I’ve been with a number of companies and experienced a lot of cultures, but the innovation and culture at CACI runs deep. It’s based on commitment, character, integrity, and ingenuity and we live up to these qualities every day. It’s around excellence and it’s important to understand that for us, those aren’t just words.
When I hire someone, I’m very transparent about their future work environment because I want to establish an open and honest dynamic with them right out of the gate. When making a hire, I’m betting on that person and they’re making a bet on me and CACI. That transparency and understanding of the commitment and integrity it takes to be successful is the beginning and remains at the core of our ongoing professional relationship.
In addition, it’s very important to empathize with our employees and remember that people have challenges in their lives, and work is just one component of their overall life. People often talk about work/life balance, but the challenge now is how we implement our return-to-work plans following the pandemic.
As workers begin to come back, we are working with them to determine the right fit, whether that is a hybrid solution, full-time in-person, or a remote environment. We are hoping to strike the right balance for our employees and customers to ensure that we are responding to our new normal. Understanding the full picture post-pandemic for our employees’ needs is very integrated.”
ExecutiveBiz: Given the increasing demand to attract and retain top talent in this industry, how do you motivate your current workforce and inspire others to join CACI?
Jimmy Norcross: “CACI has been very successful at attracting and retaining top talent. I would attribute that back to our culture, transparency, and sense of community. It’s very important to communicate often with our team, but also give them the opportunity to ask me and our other leaders’ questions. We dedicate a lot of time to this since communication is vital for any business to succeed and grow.
The ultimate goal is to create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable having those discussions and connected to CACI, which aligns closely with our company culture and what distinguishes us. This includes difficult conversations as well.
As part of these discussions, and as part of that commitment to our people, we embrace open and honest communication and follow up afterward. I find that people respect our transparency. We value our people and constantly strive to provide an environment at CACI that supports both individual and team success.”