Businesses across Africa and the world face a workplace and workforce radically reshaped by Covid-19. While “Zoom-ing” and “virtual work” have become commonplace, “upskilling” to retain talent and keep teams happy has been redefined and become even more valuable. Data from the last three years show that getting your learning and professional development right can be the most significant driver of employee happiness and retention in today’s workforce.

According to LinkedIn’s March 2022 Employee Well-Being Report, even in the face of decreased happiness at work – employee happiness at work has decreased by 6% while the sense of belonging has dropped by 5% – “opportunities to learn and grow” has jumped to become the top driver of great work culture globally, up 8 places from 2019.

The report also highlights other important factors: only 50% of employees feel their manager encourages the use of work time to learn. And those who felt their skills were not being used well are 10 times more likely to be looking for a new job.

As ambitious professional talent navigate the “great resignation” or “great reshuffle”, the world is re-learning what we at the African Management Institute (AMI) have known since 2013 when the company was founded to fix Africa’s broken “training” sector; to power growth, businesses need empowered people. People feel empowered when they are learning and applying what they learn on the job.

How practical business and management training drives growth

Effectively empowering people through learning can be challenging. It begins with Africa’s ambitious businesses needing more satisfaction with the status quo; sending people daily to a hotel training room for sleep-inducing PowerPoints won’t get the job done. It’s also a waste of time and money. So is sitting your team in front of an out-of-the-box eLearning solution with non-African content.

Studies show that impersonal and non-experiential learning is most likely why executives and leaders are consistently unhappy with the results of the nearly $400 billion they spend globally on learning and development initiatives annually. Participants in leadership development programmes globally aren’t happier either, according to a2019 study where “47% of participants are dissatisfied with their employer’s learning and development programs.”

What is effective when it comes to workplace learning? According to the same Forbes study, respondents were most interested in “experiential, peer-to-peer engagements – with a self-directed component – can help employees to understand concepts like ownership, collaboration and teamwork at a deeper level.”

Learning for Africa’s businesses from an African learning company

Over the last decade, AMI has built a unique methodology and approach based on what we know works best for learners and what works in Africa. Individuals are more likely to use their learning when their training is practical and applicable at work, on the job, or in the business. We also know that having business learning content rooted in the African context and experience is critical. People learn by doing and learn when they can relate to it personally.

We focus on something other than training managers and entrepreneurs using concepts and theories. Our approach introduces practical business and management tools that can be downloaded on a phone or laptop and immediately applied at work. Through learning experiences and peer-to-peer support focused on these tools, learners implement these tools and practices in their businesses until they become a habit. Our programmes are delivered by the continent’s leading facilitators and incorporate African-contextualized content and case studies based on businesses, and management experiences found only in Africa.

All of this is combined with in-person and virtual learning experiences and a proprietary online learning platform, which includes over 3,000 downloadable tools, over 80 online courses and content in 5 languages.

When it all comes together, our practical business learning is proven to accelerate Africa’s entrepreneurial economy by driving growth through improved employee performance and satisfaction. The results speak for themselves and indicate we’re making significant progress in offering an alternative to Africa and the world’s broken training approach.

Ninety per cent of companies who sent staff on our management training say they have seen an immediate tangible impact in the business. In these businesses, 97% of participants say they apply what they’ve learned, and 95% of CEOs report improved management and leadership skills in their teams. Finally, we’re proud that 9 of 10 participants would recommend AMI to a friend or colleague.

Practical learning from AMI Enterprise can help turn your workforce into a growth force and provide your team with opportunities to learn and grow. Prioritizing this will put you in a better position to retain your highest potential team members and put your teams in place to help your company thrive. In the end, we suspect that’ll make everyone at the company happy.

To learn more about the African Management Institute (AMI) and AMI Enterprise, visit their website

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