Organisations want results. Stakeholders, investors and leadership want results. The entire goal of a business is to achieve solid financial results and growth. However, this requires that the people within the business are engaged and motivated. They are the reason why an organisation thrives. However, economic uncertainty, political complexity, social upheaval and overall global uncertainty are currently having a serious impact on employee wellbeing and engagement. What’s needed now are leaders who can take people through these storms, people who can motivate, inspire and encourage employees so they remain steady while the world, and the business, transform.
It is also about creating spaces and opportunities for people so they can grow their skills and confidence. Organisations need to invest in training programmes and skills development courses that allow people to gain critical skills that allow them to plug the talent holes that are affecting their growth and capabilities. A recent survey by the Manpower Group found that there are significant talent shortages across most sectors – increasing from 10% in 2012 to 78% in 2022. The most in-demand talent includes IT, operations and logistics, sales and marketing, manufacturing and production, and administration and office support.
The upshot is that private companies need to upskill South Africans to build a talented workforce and create even more job opportunities as this commitment tackles two of the most pressing challenges facing the country right now – unemployment and skills development. One approach is to focus on providing junior graduates with the opportunity to work within an organisation. It allows for them to grow real-life skills within the business while investing into people who will then understand the business on a granular level. There is an opportunity to partner with SETAs, NPOs, training companies and formal education institutions. This is a war to be fought by masses, not one structure.
This is a strategic approach. Time and money are invested into building talent from the ground up which engenders loyalty and empowers the next generation. However, investment into talent shouldn’t stop there. It should also be focused on developing managerial skills, providing managers with tools that allow them to better mentor these graduates. Managers need to know how to coach these young, fresh graduates so they grow within their roles with confidence, and this means a huge investment needs to go into their development as well.
These investments, into people across all levels of the business, not only ensure skills are disseminated throughout the business and that people are made to feel connected and engaged, but also ensure that people gain much-needed confidence. This is essential, particularly in the current market. People who have faith in their abilities are more dynamic, engaged, committed and passionate about their work and these are precisely the kind of people that turn an organisation into a success story.
Moving ahead, companies need to focus on building graduate programmes that focus on the core principles of skills development, managerial skills, coaching, and personal confidence. These, like the one currently in place at Altron, prioritise people and show how the organisation values their contributions to the business. There is no leadership joy that can compare to seeing talent growth and leaders that came from the Graduate or Learnership Program. And that, over making stakeholders and the finance team happy, is good business.