Acquiring a specific skill in this day and age is not only important for helping a person choose a career path, but it is critical in helping to set them apart from the crowd, with so many unemployed people in South Africa and so few jobs to go around. It is imperative that individuals are skilled enough for employers to need them more than say Joe Soap down the road.

Skills development means more and better opportunities. It means that jobs can be considered where unskilled workers would never be able to venture. Skills are a key to the economy growing, businesses expanding and job creation.

South Africa’s quality of education continues to decline. More and more school-leavers are less and less skilled. Lack of skills among prospective workers is one reason for high unemployment. The unskilled job seeker has fewer options than skilled graduates.

This article looks at what skills development can do for your staff. Whether preparing for future growth or adapting to changing role and customer expectations, training your staff and equipping them with the skills necessary to excel is crucial.

1. Upskill and develop employees for future growth

The Independent Online highlights that 54% of employees will need to be upskilled by 2022. The workplace has changed drastically with the impact of COVID making it crucial for employers to ensure that employees are fully equipped with the skills necessary to cope with this change. 

Skills development can result in increased productivity, which is greatly needed in a work-from-home environment where morale may be low outside of the office space.

People are likely to be cautious about changing jobs; so, which would you rather: have a bunch of employees who feel stuck in their current organization, or a bunch who are motivated, productive, and aligned to the core purpose?

Your ‘people approach’ will be a massive contributing factor to organizational success in 2021.

Nicholas Wardle, Co-founder of the Employee Experience Opportunity and Head of Employee Engagement & Communications at One Housing.

Executing tasks from home via video conferencing and email makes it important for employers to ensure that employees have the necessary skills to work effectively from home. Upskilling employees consistently and constantly ensures that a business can accommodate change while ensuring that employees are comfortable with the changes. Helping employees grow helps with business growth by filling in the skills gaps.

According to Simo-Sihle Mvinjelwa, an emphasis on softer skills is crucial for employees to continually adapt in an ever-changing environment. Soft skills are skills that are related to how employees work and can result in more success in the workplace, for example leadership and communication skills. Communication skills are especially important when it comes to working from home to ensure that all employees are informed and understand their duties.

2. Create a workforce that can adapt to changing role expectations

The reality is that although many employees do have the necessary qualifications to do the job, many lack the practical experience that fosters growth for the business. According to the HR Director website, the lifespan of a learned skill such as critical thinking is 5 years and even shorter for technical skills. Skills development is one way to ensure that employees get the tools they need to successfully carry out their job in an ever-changing work environment. 

SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) imposes a Skills Development Levy to be used for improving and developing employees’ skills. This leads to a number of increased opportunities such as the acquisition of scarce skills, which can lead to promotions creating a workplace that is more likely to thrive in changing roles and responsibilities.

The Future of Jobs Report from 2018 predicts that by 2022, 75 million jobs will be displaced in 20 major economies due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the decline in some roles as a result. However, the report further states that 133 million new roles could be created due to technological advances and new ways of working.

“133 million new roles [worldwide] could be created due to technological advances and new ways of working.”

Future of Jobs Report

To prepare for technological advances, employers need to invest in skills development to ensure that employees have the necessary skills to adapt to new ways of working. Working from home due to the pandemic has illustrated the importance of being flexible and adapting quickly. Aspects such as cloud working and cybersecurity come to the forefront and employees need to have the know-how to keep up with current and future expectations. 

3. Get ready to serve the changing expectations of customers

With the rise of media, customers’ ideas of service have changed dramatically. Many customers expect quick responses and to have their questions or complaints readily attended to. Skills development ensures that employees are efficiently prepared to interact with and assist customers.

This could be in the form of ensuring that employees are skilled in the importance of having a professional personal brand online, using platforms such as LinkedIn, and good online etiquette when interacting with existing and potential customers on social media or email. 

Excellent customer service is crucial to any business’s operations and ensuring that employees are able to deliver is essential. When employees are taught the necessary skills that make up efficient customer service, their confidence increases, and they are more likely to easily assist customers.

“76% of customers expect businesses to understand their needs and expectations.”

– Salesforce 

Salesforce research states that 76% of customers expect businesses to understand their needs and expectations. Ensuring that the workforce is able to meet customers’ demands is important for repeat business and a good customer experience on all touchpoints. This can be done by making sure that employees develop skills that will assist them in creating a good experience for customers – offline and online.


Skills development is an important investment for any business to ensure that their workforce is properly prepared for changes in the working world. Obtaining the skills necessary to adapt to changing expectations from customers and career roles enables businesses to future-proof their workforce.

At Geared2Solve we can help you create a tailor-made talent pipeline, facilitate learnerships, help you with the BBB EE scorecard, and assist with the submission of a workplace skills plan and annual training reports. Our diverse and dynamic team of future-thinking experts are ready to help you understand and implement skills development. Contact us to get started!