Developing future business leaders from the ground up


Until recently, compliance has largely been the driving force for workplace skills development in South Africa. However, increasingly, CEOs and other business decision makers are realising the need for a more sustainable solution; growing a workforce that both meets their compliance needs and the overall goals of the business.

It’s no secret that employee retention yields greater ROI than employee recruitment. It’s this concept that governs Progression’s ‘Grow Your Own’ initiative; aimed to encourage organisations to empower and help current employees grow into greater roles. Picture a strategic management team consisting of members who began their career at the very same organisation; members who understand the business nuances because they had exposure and access to every touch-point during their career. This kind of in-depth knowledge is invaluable yet very easily attainable with a sustainable investment in previously unskilled or unemployed staff members.

This sustainable development requires transformation as a forward-thinking tool. Candice Lambert, who heads up Strategic Business Development at Progression, looks at developing talent from the ground up in this ‘Grow Your Own’ concept, addressing the issue of compliance versus sustainable and strategic business growth, as well as the need for contribution to skills development on a national level.

“The ‘Grow Your Own’ concept is a principle or practice that responds to the national drive around the unemployment crisis,” states Lambert. “In theory the process is simple. Find previously unemployed or unskilled individuals. Provide them with an opportunity within your organisation to bridge the gap into the ‘working world’. Mentor these individuals so that you, as the employer, can understand their career goals and potential. Align the individual’s career with a specific gap in your organisation. Identify further specialised learning. Reap the benefits of a committed employee who is integral to the success of the business.”

An organisation that invests time to understand employees at a fundamental level creates a climate for greater morale, loyalty and growth. By taking a sustainable, ‘ground-up’ approach to skills development, an organisation stands to not only meet their compliance needs, but create a workforce that is committed and aligned to the goals of the business. This both strengthens the business itself and feeds into the larger national need for skills development.

“What we need to remember when embarking on the ‘Grow Your Own’ journey within any business is the fact that improving on the national skills pool is a shared responsibility” says Lambert. “It’s about imparting knowledge that truly empowers another person. At a macro level it’s always going to be a win-win because if we are all able to do our bit towards transformation, then the overall impact is in the right direction,” she told Achiever magazine.

As there is no blanket model for nurturing talent internally, Progression works closely with each organisation to develop a bespoke solution for finding and growing much-needed talent from within.

Progression offers broad, all-encompassing strategic consulting, backed by a variety of world-class products in the employment equity, disability equity, skills development, training, and recruitment arenas. The company can empower any organisation to manage diversity and transform the workplace into a more inclusive, positive and dynamic environment.

“We’re not reacting to the urgency or the race to transformation that is biting at the heels of so many. We’re responding to it in a strategic manner. The benefit is not about instant compliance; it is about organic growth. To put it directly, it is about finding individuals now, investing in a skills development programme, and then watching that person grow within the business,” Lambert concludes.

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Issue 58