For ambitious financial services professionals lacking development opportunities, January is often the month to quit their jobs, with 21 January the most popular day. The fresh perspective of a new year energises people to make big changes. Yet, for all the sense of renewal that switching jobs can bring, there are serious costs. The change is risky for individuals and expensive for firms: high churn hurts an organisation’s bottom line, as well as its morale.
One of the strongest factors fuelling the job dissatisfaction that causes people to resign is a lack of opportunities for career advancement. According to new training platform Skillfully, many financial services firms recognise this threat and acknowledge the importance of on-the-job, continuous upskilling. Skillfully co-founder, Greg Fried says: “Firms hear the same thing we do from prospective hires, that skills training is the top quality of a great employer. According to research cited by McKinsey, 94% of current employees would stay longer at their firm if it invested meaningfully in their career development.”
And yet, despite employers’ willingness to fund it, Fried notes that upskilling often doesn’t get done, or is done poorly, intensifying employee dissatisfaction. Fellow co-founder Jimmy Winfield identifies the problem: an inefficient training market, hindered by poor information. “Until now, there’s been no comprehensive, easily accessible source of top offerings from SA providers. Trainers are mostly found via word-of-mouth, which is very hit-and-miss. When a need is identified, it’s hard to find the right course and the best trainer to offer it.” Winfield adds that there are even inefficiencies within firms, since finding training is often the responsibility of the HR team, who might not understand their people’s training needs exactly
Some firms try to fix these problems by having employees find their own courses, but that doesn’t remove the frustrations of trawling the internet for options that are often hard to find, inadequately described and tricky to compare. “No matter who’s looking for the training, it can be an exhausting process and an administrative burden for everyone involved,” says Winfield. “Given the pressures of the financial services sector, the investment of time and effort is huge – so crucial training is either sub-optimal or neglected entirely.”
Skillfully was founded to remove the informational barriers in the SA training market and create a seamless, transparent process for employees and HR teams. The platform features an ever-growing variety of carefully selected in-person and online courses from top training providers, such as large organisations – like ASISA Academy and Growth in Motion – and individual specialists. Courses vary in length from a few hours to accredited 12-month qualifications, and cover topics from niche financial skills to broader leadership and communication courses. Skillfully works with financial services firms to ensure that admin, including invoicing, links smoothly to each firm’s operating procedures.
“We’re here to fill a gap in the market,” says Winfield. “Our revenue model is to take a small commission from trainers, who agree not to inflate the prices they offer on the platform, so Skillfully is completely costless for users. By ensuring that only the best offerings are available, we save users from the slog and uncertainty of investigation and due diligence, while using data and tech to provide full reporting. This helps professionals who want to keep track of the best courses for their careers, as well as HR teams and administrators who need to meet their reporting requirements.”
Skillfully has grown steadily since its launch in late 2022, adding marquee clients like Coronation and Sygnia. Says Fried, “It feels really good to help solve a real problem. In a more transparent and efficient training market, everybody benefits.”
For more information on Skillfully, visit https://skillfully.co.za