Cape Town, 18 November 2016: As students take to the streets demanding #feesmustfall and the de-colonisation of education in higher education institutions, worker activism is on the rise. Workers are expecting and sometimes demanding a personal growth plan.

“Workers want more than compliance and a tick box for training, they are looking for continual career development and growth in skills that keep them relevant as the world changes,” said Stefan du Plessis, Commercial Director at Eiffel Corp.

According to a Grovo research project, staff who don’t spend five to 10 hours a week learning online “will obsolete themselves”. *1

Du Plessis referred to the latest ManpowerGroup’s 11th annual Talent Shortage Survey:*2

He highlighted three points:

  • Employers across the globe are facing the most acute talent shortage since the recession. Of the more than 42 000 employers surveyed, 40% are experiencing difficulties filling roles — the highest level since 2007.
  • As skills needs change, employers are looking inside their organisations for solutions, with more than half choosing to develop and train their own people.
  • The increased need for skilled individuals and the number of employers who are focusing on training and development in order to fill open positions (86% in South Africa)

Du Plessis stressed that training is driven by company culture and corporate goals and varies according to the industry and company strategy.

“This learning pathway takes many forms and includes a blended learning approach in most corporates and includes coaching mentoring, online content, customized content and specific skills development in line with the business strategy, budget and personal learning requirements,” said du Plessis.

“Not many companies in South Africa are engaging in this properly. I know for myself, that personal growth was a defining factor in my career choice,” added du Plessis.

“One of our clients has linked adoption of their Learning Management System (LMS) to compliance and career development, as a result they have an adoption rate of 99% which is almost unheard of in the HR and training space.”

According to the World Economic Forum, the ten skills needed by 2020 are strongly biased towards emotional intelligence: cognitive flexibility, negotiation, service orientation, judgement & decision-making, emotional intelligence, co-ordinating with others, people management, creativity, critical thinking and complex problem solving.*3

A seasoned South African L&D professional believes that digital learning can fill the skills gap identified by the WEF research.

“Employees need behavioral skills on how to show up emotionally, and this can be via digital libraries and digital learning,” she said.

“Millenials behaviours are learnt via social media and workplace learning is just an extention of this.”

“There is a balance between the digital and workplace classroom, I have closed Facebook pages and Linked In groups which are all about knowledge sharing and experience,” she added.

“We’re going through a digital transformation in our organization as employees become Google learners and there are plenty of opportunities for digital in corporate South Africa.”

Madelein Smit Managing Director at HR Company Solutions said some organisations have come up with creative ways of doing training.

“One of our clients has put Friday training sessions in place, it’s part of the employees work week, and imaginative content invites staff to participate,” she said.

“Worker activism is demanding a change in workplace training and I believe this is to close the skills gap as companies are hiring skills instead of training internal employees to complete the jobs with improved remuneration.”

“We’re moving to the concept of digital learning – short bite-size pieces of information, info graphics, interactive PDF’s, which all keeps pace with a digitally friendly world,” said du Plessis.

Millenials are happy to adopt alternative forms of learning, but often the manager or boss doesn’t embrace the same technology, but when the chips are down, an LMS is only as successful as it’s adoption rate.

“The age of the Google learner is here and that’s why Grovo has filled such a key gap in a working digital learning eco-system,” added du Plessis.

For learning and development on an LMS to be effective it requires robust technology, an appetite for a technology solution by leadership, appropriate and effective content and compliance tied to performance contracts.

The keys are the data, content and quality of reporting; functionality means nothing.

Learnerships are also an integral part of a worker’s personal workplace plan, and companies are able to allocate this development to CSI budgets, again eLearning can be pivotal in providing small bite-size content as a part of learnerships.

Read more on: https://www.businessessentials.co.za/2016/11/30/worker-activism-worker-demands-comes-job-training/