A VERY SWEET PARTNERSHIP
For the last four years, USB-ED and the Royal Eswatini Sugar Corporation (RES Corporation) have partnered to provide ongoing professional development to RES Corporation’s team and the greater Eswatini business community.
RES Managing Director Nick Jackson says that when the company took the decision to partner with USB-ED in order to provide targeted training, it was to improve decision-making capability across the organization. It was also to enable the achievement of the RES’s strategic goal of improved efficiencies, a lower unit cost and support the growth strategy. “Since the training began, decision-making across all levels of the organisation has been totally transformed.” Here, he outlines some of the ways sustained staff training has given RES Corporation a completely new perspective and way of working.
6 benefits of continued staff skills training:
- Every leader now feels empowered to make decisions:
There’s been a profound change at management level; our people are more capacitated and better equipped to handle their responsibilities. From supervisors to senior managers, we’ve offered vigorous training across all leadership levels to entrench decision-making abilities as a core skill.
- There’s a significant change in morale:
There’s a new-found appreciation of strategy which has enabled our team to be able to think more broadly – not just operationally. There’s a general appreciation of how learning can transform a person – at a personal and professional level. There’s a new sense of career development. Learning helps promote an open-mindedness which is assisting our employees to gain more knowledge. It’s changing people’s lives – the testimonials we’ve received show this. We’ve reached a point where the demand for training outweighs the numbers we can accommodate. This just shows the benefits of continuing professional development – to an individual and our business.
- It’s transformed our learning culture:
Providing professional development from within our organisation has changed our application of learned knowledge. It has improved our internal appointments and evolved how we create value by improving our learning culture.
Now, we’re focused on using what we’ve learned. For example, many of our people have benefitted from the finance module and continue to apply their learnings in their personal and professional capacity.
- It’s bridged the gap:
The sugar industry is very old. There are certain ways we’ve always done things. Continuous learning has empowered our people to appreciate global market movements and trends. It has enabled us to reconsider how we perceive things and to understand the value of change.
We’re now looking at worldwide tech advancements and redefining our strategy to keep abreast with what’s happening in the global space. There’s a prevailing movement toward people being health-conscious with their sugar consumption. So, we’re looking at how to make our business sustainable in the long-term by aligning with world consumption patterns.
- It’s prompting iterative ideation:
Part of the USB-ED programme involves people doing a creative project focused on problem-solving around a particular issue.
This has had incredibly positive results, with one team coming up with the idea to produce specialty sugars. For example, we’re now considering trialing to meet the shifting demands of our market. It’s about finding solutions that don’t necessarily change the production line, but rather introduce meaningful, incremental modifications.
- It’s helping our country, as a whole:
Our country needs these skills. We’ve seen this first-hand. We would train people and other companies would immediately try to ‘poach’ them.
So, we decided to open our training up to the public. In year one, we had 6% external participation.
This year, we have 69% external participants. We’re continuously blown away by the demand for these kinds of upskilling opportunities. By providing ongoing professional development, we are lifting the entire corporate space.
By pooling our resources, Eswatini businesses can bring this learning facility in-country, which saves costs on sending our employees to South Africa for training.
In this way, small businesses, who may not otherwise have been able to afford development opportunities, suddenly have access. It’s a social investment we are proud to make for our country.
Why not transform your business and enrol in our Management Development Programme? For the past four years, RES Corporation and USB-ED have been partnering to enhance leadership capacity in the RES Corporation team and greater Eswatini business community. Most businesses have a workplace skills plan and entrenching confident leadership and decision-making should be an ongoing organisational imperative. USB-ED’s management programmes are designed to do just that.