RETURN, REIMAGINE, REINVENT with your future-fit skills plan

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Today's challenging business environment serves as a reminder to organisations that talent management, which involves appropriately deploying employees' skills to maximise performance, is a critical function. The world is changing at a rapid pace, and organisations will rise or fall based on the strength of their employees. Organisations must ensure that their employees are well-trained and equipped to deal with the emerging changes.

In the past two years, successful innovative organisations approach skill building in a more integrated way—and are quietly gaining an edge on rivals. Skills that these organisations are prioritising are increasingly focused on developing social, emotional and advanced cognitive skills. Skill building is more prevalent than it was prior to the pandemic, with 69 percent of organisations doing more skill building now than they did before the COVID-19 crisis (McKinsey.com).

While the specific skills considered "21st century skills" vary from person to person, place to place, or school to school, the term does reflect a general—if somewhat loose and shifting—consensus that almost always includes references to critical thinking and reasoning, as well as creativity and innovation. Future thinking is a fresh perspective on the future that goes beyond strategy. Skills audits and annual workplace skills plans (WSP) can result in a complete re-alignment of organisation's strategy, operations, workforce configuration, and skill requirements.

A WSP is an important tool for assisting organisations in addressing their learning and development needs. The WSP requires organisations to identify their skill priorities in accordance with their business strategy, identify the subsequent skill gaps that exist within their workforce through a training needs analysis, and develop or search for the best learning solutions for their employees' career goals.

Ms Bolekwa Maseti, Executive Manager: Human Resources at Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP), explained, "Learning and development is a lifelong process that helps employees to become more effective in their roles. In light of this, WSPs are a critical tool that articulates how the employer intends to address its skill development needs."

Further elaborating on the significance of a WSP, Ms. Maseti stated, "An organisation's skills development efforts feed into the country's Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Skills Plan (ERRP), whose goal is to reshape the country's economic landscape and address global realities."

Based on previous experience, Enterprises UP understands that the pressures of submitting a WSP on time frequently coincide with improper planning, budget-cut constraints, and a lack of knowledge about which skills are critical for strategic growth. In the same breath, WSP implementation becomes difficult because it must be in line with organisational skill gaps in order to be evaluated once addressed.

Within this broad context, Enterprises UP pioneered solutions that address the WSP stages of PLANNING, EXECUTION, and EVALUATION.

Planning entails considering your business strategy, as well as determining which skills you already have in your organisation, which skills you want to develop, and which skills you still require in order to optimally deliver on your business mandate.

Enterprises UP provides a free online Tools and Tips course to help organisations that are struggling to execute their well-thought-out WSP.

Finally, it is critical to begin thinking about how your organisation can demonstrate a clear return on investment in skill development. Experts from the University of Pretoria are prepared to assist you in measuring the impact of your chosen training.

Organisations are fully capable of considering both current and future needs by conducting a skills audit, integrating needs into performance management systems, implementing succession planning initiatives, and implementing new processes/technological changes. Organisations can benefit from numerous incentives and a better skilled (and more productive) workforce by taking a planned and structured approach to learning.

If you would like more information on how we can assist your organisation with a Workplace Skills Plan, or if you would like more information on our Workplace Skills Index Audits  and Future-fit Solutions, please contact our Executive Management.