For companies participating in B-BBEE, large amounts of money are often dedicated to Skills Development. Training employees is a great way to elevate them, motivate them, promote their career paths, and contribute to a higher standard of living and opportunities for individuals.

But, what if it feels like you’re not seeing a return on investment on your Skills Development spend, or employees keep dropping off and not completing their training? This has financial impacts and can deter you from continuing your training programmes. The question then is, how can you prevent a situation where training and Skills Development is a burden, and not a tool for improvement?

Clear and open communication about opportunities

Rather than instructing employees to attend certain training, clear and open communication about training opportunities are beneficial to determine where the employee’s true passion lies and what they are able and willing to dedicate to their training. Creating opportunities for these discussions during times like performance appraisals will help you create opportunities that align with your business and with each individual.

  • Talk to employees about training during performance appraisals
  • Dedicate a specific person to whom employees can go to with training ideas and requests
  • Have employees proactively participate in their career planning by encouraging them to research and present training ideas and how it can help them and the business
  • Follow through on training promises
  • Maintain constant communication about opportunities and ensure that all employees have a fair chance to participate in training
  • Communicate the details and structure of learnerships, skills programmes, and bursaries often and clearly to employees on shared messaging boards or communication platforms
  • Host training sessions that inform employees on what the different types of training is, how it works, and what the expectations are
  • Have clear training policies in place that govern the relationship and responsibilities of learners and employers

Cultivate a learning culture

Easier to say than do, right? Fostering a culture of learning is critical to maximise the benefit your company gets from Skills Development implementation. With a few easy steps, your company can start prioritising and praising training and development:

  • Introduce incentive programmes for employees that commit to training achievements in the form of extra bonuses, additional vacation days, or small tokens for achievements
  • Follow up on training with tangible change such as promotions, increases, and celebratory internal events
  • Offer helpful assistance by establishing a designated person/s or mentors to assist employees that are training, give them advice, and ensure they cope with work and training
  • Create group opportunities for employees that are training to support each other and give each other advice to cope with work and training
  • Implement “buddy systems” for learners on the same training programmes to keep each other motivated and on track

Frequent and honest feedback

It’s important to ensure that employees that are on training programmes are attending, progressing, and have the required support to succeed. Your HR function has to play a supportive role to facilitate frequent and honest feedback from the employee as well as from the training provider.

  • Schedule at least monthly individual check-in sessions with learners where they can request assistance and provide an update on their training experience
  • Get fixed monthly (but preferably more) learner feedback from training employees where learners are on skills programmes or learnerships
  • Ask employees about their lives outside work and training to enable early interventions if life events or challenges are likely to impact training

Linking training to KPIs

To ensure that employees can get the most out of training, link their training to their KPIs – in this way, the company also gets maximum benefit because the training (and accompanying expenditure) will directly contribute to enabling employees to perform better in their job every day. Workshop through different training options with employees to ensure that they understand exactly how the training links to that what is expected of them daily, and how it can help them perform more efficient. Then, align this with performance bonuses or incentives and employees will jump at the opportunity to become better at their daily work, and be rewarded frequently to keep them motivated.

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