Sustainable Skills Development Strategies

20 August 2014 - We live and work in a diverse and challenging environment. Businesses are being put under enormous pressure to comply with legislation and guidelines in terms of managing an inclusive workplace. Being a part of a country which promotes diversity and inclusion poses a very real challenge in terms of aligning oneself in the competitive landscape.

Effects of the Modern Workplace

The modern workplace has paved the way for a number of emerging trends, the primary being a shift from an industry based to a knowledge based economy. Rapid advancements in technology and the call for flatter and more flexible work environments have had a large impact on how we go about conducting business and how we adapt the structure of jobs to enhance competitive advantage. We are not only dealing with multicultural environments, but also cross generational landscapes, and an aging, but work active population. The average working person is retiring later on in life, and this calls more than ever for companies to gain commitment from their employees. Essentially it’s about creating a career path for a person, not just about offering them a job.

With the above trends in mind, companies are forced to look at long-term Skills Development strategies which are sustainable. Compliance for the sake of points or rebates is a short-sighted solution and the focus should rather be to gain that much sought after competitive advantage and a long-term commitment to transformation.

Transformation in essence is a process of profound and radical change that orients an organisation in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness

A Proactive approach to Skills Development

The philosophy behind a sustainable Skills Development model prompts a proactive response to the effects of the above mentioned trends and encourages a planned approach to a company’s career development models that is aligned to an organisation’s strategy, and which speaks directly to the critical or scarce skills required by the organisation. More importantly by adopting such a strategy, true transformation takes place.

A model which speaks directly to this need is one that focuses on introducing a company to school goers as early as grade 9. By identifying mentors internally, an organisation is able to extend its knowledge transfer and guidance to those who are still undergoing the learning process. When the time calls, potential candidates can then be ‘bumped’ up to something more specific and recognisable in terms of tertiary education. At this stage the candidates would have already been exposed to the core values and philosophy of the organisation, and will be able to align their tertiary education to a necessary or befitting skill as required by the organisation or industry.

Utilising the Learning Programme Matrix as a tool when implementing this model will offer businesses clear guidelines on how to maximise skills spend and gain bottom line benefits whilst facilitating transformation and career growth.

A Fully Integrated and Sustainable Solution

Progression has positioned themselves as leaders when it comes to assisting organisations design and implement Skills Development strategies that support the inclusion of a diverse and dynamic workforce.

The long term benefits of this focus on identifying future leaders within the business, who may exist at all levels and within all departments. This provides an ideal landscape for future growth and development and makes a real tangible difference towards the organisation’s long-term strategy. Transformation need no longer be simply an aspiration of those wanting to achieve that ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ associated with upliftment and empowerment. Doing things differently is a driver of sustainable competitive advantage.

Julia Wood, Organisational Development Manager at Progression introduced this model at the recent Progression/ TDCI Disability Equity Conference. Julia’s experience in industrial psychology and workplace efficiency meant that she offered delegates a contextual approach to the need for aligning Skills Development strategies with organisational goals and capabilities. To connect with one of Progression’s experts please contact Candice Abrahams, candice@progression.co.za

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