INSIGHT

The positive side of COVID19 : A great opportunity to develop and polish the skills of your employees

There is no denying that the impact of Covid-19 on the South African workforce has been devastating. There are surely very few, if any, businesses that have escaped this period unscathed. Whether it be through restructuring, repurposing staff, downscaling, or the very worst, closing – those lucky to have jobs, are faced with increased responsibility and those without are seeking new employment. Through this unquestionably dark time, we have made an attempt at shedding a light on the opportunities this period presents.


Whether our readers are faced with a need to diversify their skill sets in order to appear as more appealing candidates in the job market, are being allocated additional responsibilities in their existing positions to compensate for a loss in the company workforce, or are employers looking to upskill their remaining workforce to meet demands – training is something that all individuals should be considering in this time. Investing in your or your workforce’s skills is, in every case, a net profit.


At Africa International Advisors (AIA) and our SETA Accredited sister entity, Resonance Institute of Learning (RIL), we encourage individuals to position themselves as “expert generalists”: displaying a breadth of knowledge in many areas, and a depth of experience in a functional area, discipline or specialty. The primary aim of RIL is to drive transformation through education, training and development services by improving human performance. The scope of courses that it offers, gives everyone – employees and employers alike – the opportunity to achieve the desired T profile, so as to ensure greatest value to the company.


While the past few decades have seen an emphasis on accumulating a depth of knowledge (i.e. the art of specialising, in order to set oneself apart), there is a definite recent turn toward diversity of skill. This need has only been heightened by the effects of Covid-19, where employers may be minimising, tightening, and requiring more from the skeleton staff that remains.


Readers may be wondering what the next steps are: how do employers readjust themselves and their employees to meet present demands, and how do job seekers position themselves most ideally for employment when opportunities arise? AIA, RIL and Strategi EXE provide an integrated solution for all.


As our articles previous have highlighted, AIA knows change and it knows how to strategically position companies for change. Formulating a strategy allows you to identify and mitigate weaknesses while leveraging off strengths. The formulation of strategy necessarily takes a deep dive into each company’s capabilities (indeed, each individual’s capabilities), highlights gaps and proposes solutions for addressing them. One such proposal, in current times, will invariably include upskilling and training. Where companies may not be able to articulate their business’ readjustment and training needs, AIA can quickly identify them, and work synchronistically with RIL, who has 15 years of experience in curating courses according to specific business requirements, to develop the required content and course for speedy execution. No matter the strategy, it is the effective execution of such that sets a company on the path to success.

In addition to skills development, one area that is crucial to enhance is your or your company’s digitalisation. This is because, at the same time as the development of a global crisis, technology in the workplace is advancing at a rate that is outpacing many businesses. In fact, lockdown conditions have only accelerated the rate of the global trend in effecting the fourth industrial revolution. However, in the combination of these two extremities, lies opportunity. Time spent during this downtime should be utilised in getting ahead of the curve; in understanding the changes and equipping the workforce and the business for a comeback that is stronger than Covid-19. Building resilience is key to overcoming the disruption that has occurred.


But what does this mean? How do businesses automate and innovate? One sure-fire way is the automation of tracking your company’s strategic action plan with defined goals and objectives. Our second sister company, Strategi EXE, has simplified strategy and its execution through a hosted solution – which removes the administrative and reporting requirements of strategy execution – so that businesses can spend time on what really matters – adding value.


What we are talking about here is a holistic solution, regardless of your position or the situation that Covid-19 has thrown you in, to overcome the period with resilience and strength. View this period of as an opportunity for professional development: adapt your strategy; adapt your structure, process and systems to gear up to achieve; and gear up your human resources to deliver by training them on depth and breadth matters AND on inculcating new ways of work. Success can surely not escape your grasp if all of these elements are expertly considered and actioned. 



Oct 2020
Gabrielle Knott

Gabrielle, a Senior Associate Consultant at AIA, is an attorney by profession with experience spanning across a development finance institution, intergovernmental organisation, international law firm, and the private sector – giving her the versatility to engage with various stakeholders on a meaningful level. Geographically, she has worked across four continents, and has led multi-cultural teams through high pressured and technically difficult situations.