Organisations are under massive pressure to evolve and prepare for the “new normal” arising from the Coronavirus pandemic. Capacitating people to adapt, work and innovate in a radically changed environment has become pivotal to survival.

With new norms in social distancing, online meetings and many people working from home, people need new skills. Furthermore, the way that skills are accessed and developed also needs to evolve.

Deon Oberholzer, Director at ProudAfrique Human Capital says that companies need to close the gap between existing skills and the skills they need to propel their business forward in a dramatically changed environment. At the same time, they need to protect their personnel, making online training and skills development programmes the viable solution.

“The new business order demands new ways of thinking, managing, working and training. Companies have to change the way in which they upskill and manage human capital as well as rethink business models to be ‘revolution-ready.”

“In the ‘new normal’, we are less likely to meet in person, less inclined to attend any form of gathering or event and more likely to use video conferencing to engage with our clients and personnel. Similarly, training and skills development is increasingly moving online.”

“During the COVID19 pandemic, we have seen a strong leaning to favour online learning and we do not think it will swing back to in-person training in the near future. However, much of the training online is theoretical whereas the implementation of knowledge and practical skills is also critical to success.

“With this in mind, online training combined with workplace based programmes that fuse academic learning with practical work with a mentor would be a best practice solution for bridging the void between existing skills and the competencies that are required in the new business order.”

Deon Barnard at the University of the Free State Business School says a holistic approach to matching and empowering relevant skills is necessary as businesses claw back.

Holistic approach

“Companies need to ask where their next leaders are coming from, have succession planning and exit strategies in place, and have a view of how their management teams will look  post COVID19.

“Investing in management development is about shaping managers who are equipped to navigate the new challenges of doing business. There is a big movement towards online programmes, and even more so with more people working and studying from home. With this said, online teaching programmes are becoming a crucial part of education. And these human capital programmes make it easier to take part in management programmes from anywhere,” he says.

“To easily adapt in an environment where radical innovation and change is inevitable, it is important for organisations to have a systematic process of training and growth in place where individuals in management teams can gain and apply knowledge, skills, insights and attitudes to manage the workplace more effectively.”

Oberholzer concludes saying that elements such as Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) should form part of the holistic approach to human capital development and management.

Aside from the obvious benefits of a workplace-directed qualification that combines both theoretical and practical learning the Workplace-based Learning Programmes offered by ProudAfrique Human Capital qualifies for recognition as Category B programmes in the Learning matrix of the Amended BEE Codes. This allows the salaries of participants to be recognised as part of Skills Development Expenditure.

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