The mark of any successful organisation is one with an investment in skills development and workplace training programmes. Government continues to dangle carrots before us in the form of SETAs and other tax incentives so we contribute to national empowerment, and the HR manager is under pressure to contribute to sustainable advantage through human capital. This month, we take a brief look at the complex world of training and some key challenges and pain points for the HR manager — disruption, risk, skills retention and shifting the training attitude within an organisation.

Firstly, the rapid advances in technology and its mercurial nature means that skills development is becoming an almost continual process for any employee, forcing us to rethink our definition of training – is it really an exercise with a defined start and finish, or is it now an ongoing process?

Without going into the downfalls of our education system, the reality is that one does not emerge ‘work-ready’ from  formal institutions such as schools, universities and colleges. By and large, one must still undergo on the job training before any contribution to the company is felt. We all know that bittersweet feeling of making a new and much needed appointment only to have our own efficiency disrupted by the training or shadowing period! Long term planning and smart resource allocation is critical if one is to achieve a blended induction and training programme that won’t disrupt productivity whilst acquiring such skills. Unfortunately the attitude of  “teach them the basics, they can pick up the rest as they go along” doesn’t work. Neither does “we’ll train them when we know they’re going to stay” – it just drives up costs and leads to dead weights that do not contribute to their full extent from the outset.

What about the low hanging fruit—the competencies already residing within your business? Training can not only apply to new hires — there must exist a holistic programme that supports company-wide advancement. This means that at any given time, the HR manager has under him a set of individuals all at varying stages of their careers, making his role of identifying and extracting talent based on organisational needs a hugely complex one. So complex, it can be easy to overlook existing skills or underestimate a person’s full potential if one takes their eye off the HR ball. What also holds many HR managers back from truly investing in skills is the threat of poaching. Yes, rival employers pose risk, especially where skills are scarce. It is the nature of the game and the trainee with mobile skills developed at your cost can always be bought if the price is right, yet foolish is the manager who doesn’t train out of fear. To counter this, it is imperative to foster a working environment built on trust and to create a strong foundation for job satisfaction and skills retention. Remember, individuals who feel recognised are far more likely to stick around.

It has been proven that organisations with a ‘pull’ rather than a ‘push’ stance on training have far more successful development programmes but to get an employee to request the training, the skills programme must be accessible and the HR manager approachable in this regard. Among our clients, we’re definitely seeing more employers encouraging staff to manage and take ownership of their own growth path, to shift this push / pull mindset. Unfortunately, we also see a surprising number of organisations locked into the old and somewhat dangerous mindset of training to conform within a hierarchy, rather than training to address a situation or likely scenario.

So, we all want brilliant human capital that is committed but there is no quick fix—it requires time and investment. Are we really paying enough attention to equipping our staff with the skills they need, or do we expect miracles? Are we perhaps too quick to look to government for skills development schemes and then criticize their incentive-based efforts as a means to justify our own lack of investment in this realm? Let’s rather look closer to home at the rich skills under our noses and reboot our training programmes. I urge you to invest some time in a thorough audit of your HR training functions and to start asking the uncomfortable questions. Are you being proactive or just responsive? Are you engendering a push or a pull training culture in your organisation? Do you see training as a threat or an opportunity? Are you confident that you are using SETAs and other incentives to best advantage or are they unchartered territories? Do your employees see training as just a day out the office or as your recognition of their long term potential? Most importantly, are you confident that you are fully utilising CRS’ wealth of experience and training knowledge in the African context to grow your people? Food for thought!

Please click here to view the upcoming CRS training courses or chat to your consultant about developing tailored courses for your staff.

Until next time

James McKerrell


“The only thing worse than training people and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” Anonymous


The normal date for submission of the annual return required by the Department of Labour is 31 March every year. Please note that at this point the returns have not yet been issued to employers.

Below we share the following questions posed by the Payroll Authors Group, with responses from the Director: Income, Compensation Fund.

Q. When is the Fund going to issue a notice postponing the due date for the submission of the W.As 8 return for the 2011/12 year of assessment?

A. Approval has been granted to extend the submission deadline to 31 May 2012.


Q. Issue the W.As 8 form for 2011/12?

A. The ROE will be issued from 2 April 2012.


Q. Issue the earnings threshold for 2012/13?

A. The Annual threshold approved – R292 032, effective 1 April 2012.

COIDA and the mining sector

The Department of Labour (DoL) needs to extend coverage of the Compensation for occupational injuries and diseases act (Coida) and ensure it is implemented and enforced across the spectrum. Deputy Director at Compensation Fund Chokola Lengolo said the DoL needs to collaborate with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to ensure that Coida was implemented fully in the mining, a sector, which accounts for a large number of workers exposed to hazards.

Lengolo said some of the sectors that were not implementing Coida were iron and steel and agriculture among others. He said the fastest growing sector, the taxi industry was also reluctant to implement Coida. He said this conduct threatens the existence of the Fund.

Please click here to read the full article.

New COIDA and CCMA assessment rates

A new tariff of fees for services provided by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and standard assessment rates for 2012/13 made under Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) 130 of 1993 have been published in the Government Gazette.

Please click here to learn more about these tariffs.

Engagement Matters—the impact of training on employee turnover

Employee turnover is a major concern for many organizations today. High employee turnover can have a devastating effect on a company, especially if the lost employees are high performers.

First and foremost, it is costly to replace personnel, and the proprietary knowledge that they take with them when they leave is impossible to replace. A ripple effect often occurs as well. When employees depart, they impact morale, spur rumors, and often open the door for others to leave the organization. According to the Saratoga Institute, which specializes in quantitative human resources measurement systems, the average company loses about $1 million for every 10 professional employees who leave.

Although there are several factors that influence the decision to leave an organization, one factor that is linked with the decision to stay is training.

Please click here to read the full article.

Training Modules

We continue to offer a selection of training on our modules. Please click here for the dates and venues.