Business Matters

Monday March 25th 2019

Productivity and efficiency are key drivers of profitability. To make your management task easier, we will regularly post “best practice” articles relating to business management. We would welcome your comments on the articles. Please also share the articles with your friends and colleagues.

The latest Business Matters articles are listed below.

How can I improve learning in the workplace?

A new year always brings with it opportunities for growth and becoming even better versions of ourselves. As a business owner, you have objectives for your business but it’s important to remember and appreciate that your employees also have their own career and personal goals. When an employee’s career goals are aligned to that of the business, the business has an opportunity to assist them in achieving their goals. Employees achieving their goals also result in success for the business.

Although it can be difficult to measure return on investment when it comes to outlaying resources (both time and money) on staff development in the long term, investing in employee learning does not have to drain resources.

There are many options for smaller businesses that can add significant value. Technology, for starters, has changed the way in which we do business, interact and receive information. Online education platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, getAbstract and online campuses available through Mindvalley and TED offer a myriad of learning opportunities.

LinkedIn Learning conducted a survey around “The Rise and Responsibility of Talent Development in the New Labour Market” the results of which are presented in a report titled “2018 Workplace Learning Report.” They found that as a result of our changing environments, opportunities are changing not only for business, but also for individuals. Skills are no longer relevant as automation takes the lead and as the industry is changing, skills gaps become wider. The sample surveyed included a mix of 4 000 employees, executives, HR managers and talent development professionals each offering views on their perspectives of learning in the workplace.

From this survey, they identified the following top workplace learning trends in 2018:
• Soften the impact of automation. The number one priority for talent development is training for soft skills such as being adaptable, critical thinking and communication.
• Balance today’s challenges with tomorrow’s opportunities – not enough is being done to focus on future skills required.
• Digital is transforming talent development with more dependence on online learning solutions to meet the needs of a diverse multigenerational workforce. The survey found that 58% of employees prefer opportunities to learn at their own pace while 68% preferred to learn at work.
• If employees can’t find time to learn, reduce the friction by using existing platforms aligning with their job requirements and professional aspirations. This was the biggest challenge identified. However, 94% of employees said they would be more loyal to a company if it invested in their career development.
• Strengthen your manager relationships. Manager involvement is critical for employee engagement with learning. 56% of employees confirmed that they would spend more time learning under direction from management. If you would like to read the full survey, click here

So what can you as a business leader do to improve learning in the workplace?
• Discuss career goals through personal development planning sessions with your employees.
• Identify skills shortages or gaps in training to help achieve business objectives.
• Compile action plans to address gaps.

Training and development can be outsourced. There are many relevant sources of learning within our industry specific to product, soft skills or general abilities needed to perform financial planning and support roles. Mentorship can also offer great development opportunities to upskill staff.

During the course of last year, we conducted a survey amongst financial planning practices to obtain better insight into remuneration practices and challenges within the industry. The key challenges specific to workplace learning identified were lack of experience or knowledge, training and inadequate time to spend on upskilling staff. You don’t need to resolve all these issues by yourself. Partnering with outside resources means that you can spend your time and money elsewhere.

How can we at Old Mutual Wealth help you to improve learning in the workplace?

We will be launching our executive assistant course during the month of March. This nine-week online course is suitable for junior support staff or newcomers to the industry. The course aims to help enhance understanding of the financial services industry and improve key skills required for support staff roles. Delegates have to complete weekly modules which require a few hours of reading followed by of a short quiz and an assignment. The cost for this course is R2 000 (including VAT). For further information or to register, send an email to