Create a Learning Culture in your Business

South Africa’s unemployment rate for youth between the age of 15 and 24 years is 55,2% according to Stats SA.

Magdalene Chetty, Head of Learning and Development at Talksure Trading recognises that it’s very difficult for young people who lack experience and exposure to find work. That’s why Talksure has taken on the responsibility of creating programmes to groom young talent, developing work-readiness skills, enabling them to meet the demands of a high performance sales environment.  

It’s however not just about offering someone a job… Magdalene says, “It’s also important to continually take care of your staff’s development needs – upskilling them with both on-the-job and qualifications linked training so that they can carve out a career for and grow within our company.”

Magdalene, who was awarded Best Training Professional in 2017 by Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA) and the Contact Centre Management Group (CCMG), has been with Talksure for eight years and says she is very fortunate to do work where she can see the impact of her efforts.

“After gaining a new qualification or skill, you can see the shift in behaviour, the sense of confidence it brings to people – training really enhances their performance,” she says. 

Earlier this year, Talksure received accreditation to provide the Short-Term Insurance qualification, giving more of its staff the opportunity to acquire it.   

Magdalene says that skills development has benefit for both the individual and the company – employees feel valued and internal capability is built to drive strategic objectives. Empowered and motivated staff are also in the best position to deliver service excellence to our customers.

“A business cannot move forward without its people,” she adds, “Be clear on your learning strategy and align it with your organisational goals.”

She provides the following tips to develop a learning culture in your business:

  • Bring Learning into Everyday Activities

To ensure that your workforce’s skills remain relevant, learning cannot just be a once-off activity. Create opportunities for knowledge sharing through focus groups, micro learning and think tanks. Introduce structures in your company that lend themselves to coaching and mentorship. Monthly meetings focussed on reviewing best practice and shortcomings are important. Having collaborative working environments supports cross functional learning providing employees at all levels in your organisation with insight into the wider business. Continuous and varied development opportunities have a bigger impact on morale and level of skills than isolated, formal interventions.

  • Discover how your employees want to learn

Consider that you most likely have different generations and learning styles within the workplace, each with their own preferred way of learning. For example, the younger tech savvy employee would prefer online learning as opposed to instructor led. Your business needs to create various learning opportunities, using varied media, tools and techniques to cater for these different needs. Regardless of age though, people must be encouraged to take ownership of their career and their development.

  • Real-time Learning

Take deliberate action when a situation arises. Have a conversation and review it on the spot with your staff. This way they can take something away with them immediately. Employees should be able to engage and connect with your learning content. Keep the information relevant and practical so that its serves the purpose for which it was intended and can be immediately implemented.

  • Consider Future Skills

Where is your business headed and what impact will technology have on it? Consider how the needs of the business and the roles of individuals within it may change, and how you can best equip your employees to navigate these changes so that they are continuously empowered for performance. Responding to change may not necessarily require qualifications or certifications but rather that business and HR leaders think about how to bridge the gap, wherever and whenever, it arises. Changes are happening exponentially; it has become an imperative to consider future skills to ensure continuous access to top talent.

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