Advice for job satisfaction and workplace training | Hot FM | Skillfully

How to find great courses using Skillfully

Jimmy Winfield
07 February 2023

Thinking of changing jobs? Maybe there’s a solution to your workplace frustrations that doesn’t require quitting. Nzinga Qunta interviews Greg Fried, co-founder of Skillfully, on the prospects for South African professionals upskilling to enhance their job satisfaction. Greg highlights the importance of directing one’s own upskilling journey and making informed choices about the courses that suit one best. Skillfully offers courses for professionals and firms in a market where information about the most credible courses in financial services can be hard to find. Greg's insights offer valuable perspectives on investing effectively in personal career development.




Audio Transcript


“Hot 1027 business, with Nzinga.”


Nzinga - “Thanks so much for staying with us on Hot Business. So, I saw a headline earlier on today that Isaah Mhlanga has left his role as chief economist at Alex Forbes and gone to Rembrandt. It reminded me of a stat that I saw that said that January is the most popular month to quit your job. I’m not saying that he quit his job, I think he actually got headhunted by RMB, but I thought it was interesting to take a look at how people behave in the job market in January. So tonight I'm speaking to Greg Fried, who's the co-founder of Skillfully. Greg, thanks so much for your time on Hot Business this evening. Just tell me more about the figures around people quitting in January and why that is.”


Greg - “Hi Nzinga, it's great to be with you this evening. Well, January is the most popular month; in fact, we've passed the peak time which historically is the 21st of January for people quitting. Why is that? I think that you can imagine. I mean, how do you feel when you come back from leave in early January? You're ready for a fresh start. You feel relaxed, you've reflected. You want to take a leap into a new role if you're not happy with the current one. And I guess what we say is, look before you leap, because, as in so many areas your imaginary job is just always better. It's worth kind of thinking twice before quitting. It’s useful to ask why people quit. And actually, there's some stats on this, and it turns out head and shoulders, the two big reasons for quitting are, firstly, low pay. Okay, no great surprise, you feel you're underpaid. But, the second one is people feel that they lack opportunities for advancement in their careers. And in fact, McKinsey has cited some research here which says about 19 people out of 20 say they would stay longer at their firm if it invested meaningfully in their career development.” 


Nzinga - “Yes. What does that mean?”


Greg - “It's a great point, what does it mean, because investing meaningfully in career development a lot of the time means upskilling. It means learning something new, which can be rewarding in itself and can boost your career. But here's a strange thing, Nzinga - it's that upskilling in itself frequently doesn't work. You know, a lot of South African firms are very aware of the need to upskill. They understand they don't want employee churn. They want the good people to stay. They want to bring new skills on board. But, frequently that upskilling doesn't work. And the reasons why it doesn't work are very interesting to us at our company,, and that is what Skillfully is for, is remedying issues in the upskilling market.”


Nzinga - “Greg, tell me more about those issues. Why I would assume that if you're an employee, you get upskilled, it's good for you, it's good for the company. Is that not correct?”


Greg - “Look that seems right. It is basically right, but a lot of money is misspent on upskilling and there are, a number of factors that people could take into account but don't always. So we have one piece of advice about effective upskilling, which is simply to make your own choices. Your learning journey should start with you in your professional career. So a lot of the time, human resources makes a decision of what courses to take for a large group without the input from those individuals. You know yourself best, you know your circumstances best, and you're likely to have that special insight into the kind of training and learning that is going to work for you. If you're going to spend so much time and effort in learning, you want to be part of the choice. Actually, as I listen to myself, I feel like I'm giving advice on online dating. What I'm about to say kind of emphasises that, but you'd really be surprised how people jump into a major commitment before seeing what else is out there.”


Nzinga - “And you warning that the grass is not always greener. We know that for dating. But when it comes to the job market, and especially the frustrations that you spoke about Greg, you come back from holiday and you’re just like, I actually don't want to be here.”


Greg - “I don't want to be here, and the thing is, South Africa is obviously a very tricky employment market, and many South Africans who are fortunate enough to be employed justifiably feel concerned about whether they'll find another job, even if they're not satisfied with their current employment. But there are certain areas in professional services, for example, where people have some skills which are much in demand and they can make the leap. Headhunters welcome their details. They have other opportunities. But as we said, it comes at a cost for them, it also comes at a cost for employers. That employee churn is no small thing. So that's why we like to think about upskilling as another option, developing yourself with the help of your company. And that doesn't involve just making your own choices, but thinking about all sorts of other things. For example, content. If I'm interested in a technical course or maybe a human skills course, a course of management or leadership, working with a coach, for example, it's really important to know what is out there in terms of content. There’s actually a huge terrain there. There’s some fantastic South African trainers, but I have to know who they are and I have to compare what they offer. I also should know what works for me in terms of delivery. Is it online? Is it face-to-face? Do I need a short course? Do I need a long course? There's really a lot to think about.”


Nzinga - “Just tell me more about the Skillfully training platform and what it does for employers and employees.”


Greg - “So in essence, we are there to make life easier for everybody. We looked around - we've been trainers in financial services for some years ourselves - we looked around and we thought, this is a market that is not efficient informationally. It’s very difficult to know who is out there, precisely what they offer, which training companies and which courses are really excellent. And this is for a range of courses, right? This is for technical courses, it’s for communication, leadership and so on. And so Skillfully is a kind of marketplace that we have curated. We found really outstanding courses from many different trainers, a great range of them, and employers and individuals who work for firms, particularly in financial services. But there's a lot of interest to people, who more generally, can come on to Skillfully and at a glance, see what is available. The idea is to make it super clear so that if I know myself and I know what works for me and I think, okay, I just want a couple of hours a few times a week, I’m interested in convenience, it doesn't need to be face to face, here's the general area, I can very quickly hone in on what's good for me, and I get great reporting. Once you're on the platform, you can see what you've done, where you're going, what interest you've expressed, and that's very helpful because it's a learning journey. The way we see it with one of the problems with corporate training frequently is it's a bit of a scattershot approach. I do one course from one trainer here and another from another there, and it doesn't amount to something coherent. But what we're after is somebody who gradually sets up a learning journey that makes sense over the years so that they and the firm they're working for can see how they are developing step by step.”


Nzinga - “Greg Fried, the co-founder of Skillfully, just joining us here to talk about how people quit a lot in January, how to think about whether you should be quitting or whether you should be upskilling, whether you're an employee or an employer and how their platform does. Thanks so much for your time in Hot Busines this evening.”


Greg - “It is such a pleasure, Nzinga.”