By: bdewar@litha-lethu.com On: February 12, 2018 In: Articles Comments: 0

We know that employees are an essential component of any business. Organisations need to build a highly skilled workforce capable of enhancing their offerings to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage. A skilled workforce is not only engendered through employing quality candidates, but also through the continuous development of skills. By providing employees with the opportunity to develop additional skills and strengthen others, the organisation not only allows for personal career growth increases the talent pool overall.

Successful organisations actively create and enforce plans that provide a comprehensive skills roadmap and guideline in the development of their employees. The plan should stimulate a culture of self-improvement, ambition, and aspiration, with a concomitant impact on increased productivity and quality output.

The Department of Labour created the Skills Development Act of 2003 and applicable Amendments of 2008[1] in order to encourage employers to use the workplace as an active learning environment and to provide employees with the opportunities to acquire new skills. This was crafted after the realisation that enhancing the skills of the employees provides both short and long-term benefits to the individual employees, as well as the organisation as a whole.

Understanding the value of a skills plan is great, but where do you start?

Organisations are required to develop a concise Workplace Skills Plan [WSP] that provides a structured approach to determine the type and amount of training required for the year, based on the current and future skills needed for the organisation.

The Department of Labour has set the 30 June as the due date for the submission of WSPs. Don’t let this give you a false sense of security, the reality is that creating a meaningful Workplace Skills Plan takes a considerable amount of time; requiring research, planning and foresight.

Begin with a comprehensive skills audit to gauge current skills levels versus proficiency required, and don’t forget to communicate widely and frequently with employees during the process. The more information that employees have about the skills analysis; it’s origin and design, why their input is important, and what results it is likely to yield, the more inclined they are to participate fully.

Consider critical skills that are required for every level in the organisation, from general workers to the C-Suite, aligned to key performance indicators.

Up to date role descriptions and competency dictionaries should be used as a baseline against which current skills levels can measured through applying one-on-one structured interviews, self-assessment, and direct supervisor assessment questionnaires, 360° reviews, benchmarking and competency assessments and examining performance versus score cards and key performance indicators, to inform development plans.

Too tall an order? Give the team at Litha-Lethu a call. Our assessment process includes: a consolidated management report, specifying talent pools, strengths, and potential development areas; as well as individual feedback, with a suggested development plan to address weaknesses, capitalise on strengths, and create a solid, meaningful Workplace Skills Plan. http://litha-lethu.com/competencyassessment/