An Employers Guide to Prioritising Training Needs

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To say that our world has changed over the last year is a tremendous understatement which is true in all spheres of life, especially in the workplace. If you had to take stock of the skills you needed to do your job before the pandemic and compare it to the new set of skills you have attained since then, you will likely agree that al lot of development had to happen in a hurry to ensure you deliver despite of restrictions.


This example illustrates and emphasises how critically important it is to continue with development of staff for businesses to survive and compete in disruptive circumstances.

Additionally, the need to develop our staff is further intensified by the renewed focus on Health and Safety measures required in the workplace and the compliance training requirements which accompany legislative provisions. Employers simply cannot afford to be caught with these measures being neglected.


Despite this, an equally important truth employers are facing is the fact that businesses are currently doing everything in their ability to survive in the light of economic circumstances. Training, as a result, tends to take a back seat and enjoys very little of the budget available.


As highlighted, training still needs to happen in some form or another. By prioritising training needs in a more calculated way, you could ensure that the training that does happen- despite the constraints- truly contributes to the strategic objectives of your organisation.


To prioritise effectively, your first step is to determine the minimum budget you can commit toward training your staff. There are many ways you can supplement your budget through tax incentives and skills development grants; we highly recommend that you read the related article in the following link for more information in this regard:


Once a budget is confirmed, you will need to categorise your training requirements according to their respective importance to the strategic goals of your organisation. We recommend using the following sequence of categories when determining the importance of training interventions:


1. Compulsory and Compliance Training Requirements


This is the most important category for the simple reason that you do not have a choice in the matter of whether these interventions should be delivered or not. This is because they are either required by law, or you are not able to conduct business without implementing these interventions. Training interventions in this category are most commonly Health & Safety related such as First Aid, Fire Fighting, and SHE Representative training. It could also be a specific battery of interventions prescribed by a mine or port, for example, which need to be attended by all individuals who wish to work on the site.


To guide employers in terms of their own compliance requirements, we have developed a tool- which you are welcome to use- to guide you in terms of your own compliance training needs. Just click on the link and complete the survey to find out if your organization complies with legislative training requirements:

Compliance Training Questionnaire (


2. Technical Skills and Operational Training Requirements


This category enjoys the second highest priority since it has a direct link to the bottom line of your business.


In other words, if you implement training in this category, you either make more money because your employees become more productive, or you save money because your employees become more efficient.


To determine whether a training need falls within this category, you simply need to determine if the employee in question can do their work without it. Examples of training in this category includes specialised technical skills training which could be related to machinery or tools. It also includes training related to specific systems and software such as your client relations management system which is unique to your organisation or the role of the employee.


3. Technological Training Requirements


Since the pandemic and the subsequent rise of remote working, this category of training has become even more prominent as a priority. By investing in this area of your employees’ skills, you equip them to be more self-reliant and efficient- allowing your organisation to stay abreast of the changes which are rapidly carrying us into the fourth industrial revolution.


The scope of training in this category has also seen a dramatic increase and is no longer limited to the traditional Microsoft Excel and Word courses we have come to see as the regular occupant in this area. Employers are encouraged to investigate the apps and solutions which are available and equip their staff to utilise these tools to be more competitive and efficient in an ever-changing environment.


4. Additional Human Resource Development Training Requirements


Courses we tend to find in this category is often referred to as “soft skills” training such as conflict management, leadership development and the like, but also include training linked to employees’ personal development goals. These training interventions might not have a direct impact on the bottom line of your business, but results in a well-rounded workforce who are engaged and committed to the vision, mission and strategic objectives of your organisation and are well worth investing in should you have the means to do so.


When you consider the impact strategic training management could have on your business, coupled with the complexities of the South African Skills Development Legislative framework, there has never been a better time to partner with our Training Specialists. Our consultants are committed to helping you navigate the intricate web of legislative compliance, deriving value from incentives and grants and ensuring a workforce that is equipped to thrive in a disruptive era.

Take on the next annual skills development cycle with the confidence that can only come from a competent workforce.

For more information on the above topic, please contact the LabourNet Helpdesk at 


0861 LABNET (0861 522638).


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