By: Nyeleti Machovani, Elmarie Esterhusye
Skills Development Facilitators (SDFs) are inundated with deadlines and reports that they must submit. Keeping in mind the challenges that SDFs face, Elmarie Esterhuyse, the Gauteng Regional Chairperson of the Association for Skills Development South Africa (ASDSA), navigated through various internal strategies, management processes and technology solutions to help SDFs streamlining their work.
Her main point of departure is the fact that companies have to report on how they comply with the Skills Development, Employment Equity (EE), and the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Acts.
Esterhuyse stressed that although each of these mentioned legislation’s is administrated by a separate government department, they do have commonalities in their annual reports such as the company’s financials, employee- and training information, but each has different focus areas and intricate compliance criteria.
The buzzword which made its presence known during the workshop was “data”.
As Esterhuyse, who has earned her stripes as the manager of the Skills Development Advisory division at EOH said:
“The one golden thread that goes through all the reports that an SDF produces is the personnel and training data (PTD).”
SDFs need to continuously ask themselves: “Do I have available, accurate, ‘on-time’, and ‘in-time’ data?” This will then allow an organisation to track throughout the year whether it is on track to meet all of its targets.
Not only is that important to know for a company. That information feeds also directly in the formulation of the various sectorial plans, government initiatives and the National Development Plan, all of which are essential for South Africa to successfully compete in today’s knowledge economy.
How can SDFs streamline their reporting and data collection?
- Companies need to define clearly what information is required
- To that end, they need to continuously monitor the external environment such as changing information requirements but they also need to stay abreast of any changes within the organisation.
- That requires continuous internal communication with management regarding its strategy, changes in personnel, ongoing training initiatives and suppliers that are being used.
All too often the three reports, be that the ATP/WSP, the EE or BBBEE report are treated in isolation ie they are not connected. Instead Esterhuyse stressed that they are all part of the same system. Changes in one area, will affect all the other areas.
To achieve that SDFs must understand the company’s strategy and will need to invest in technologies which enable the organisation to keep their data updated, relevant and organised. The SDF will also need to define the processes used to collect the data and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the people involved.
The workshop provided an opportunity to further discuss some of the predicted reporting challenges corporates experience, and those which emerged were:
- How to turn the information contained in the three separate compliance reports into insights that can shape the learning and development plans for the organisation .
- How to plan the information and data streams needed to comply with the three compliance reports which each have their own deadlines, multiple compliance divisions and information criteria.
- An all-inclusive database to capture and store the required information which is extensive and constantly updated to support real time reporting of data
- The challenge of having to work across multiple systems such as Human Resources-, Payroll and Learner Management systems
- Companies often have financial difficulty to support all the compliance criteria technologically
- Responsibility of the reports is often divided between different departments which could lead to timing and communication challenges, which makes it important that one internal person is put in charge in co-ordinating the flow of data.
An investigation to understand the key factors that can influence compliance to report accurate employee- and training data will be of the benefit for companies and their identified personnel tasked to coordinate the Compliance Reports (CR).
Participants of the workshop regarded the session as a highly informative platform of learning. The most valued aspects of the presentation were undoubtedly the key aspects of systems thinking between the three government entities, systems thinking, and lastly the solutions offered for the challenges which SDF’s currently face.
Click here to read more about Elmarie Esterhuyse.