Investing in Your People: The Role of Learning and Development in Attracting and Retaining Talent

Investing in Your People: The Role of Learning and Development in Attracting and Retaining Talent

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

People are one of the most significant assets that any organisation can have. However, for any asset to thrive or add value, there needs to be a continuous investment and intentional effort that drives this process.

Talent Management and Retention

According to a study by Deloitte (2019), 63% of millennials consider the availability of training and development opportunities a key factor when choosing an employer. Similarly, a survey by LinkedIn (2018) found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. Investing in learning and development is, therefore, essential for attracting new talent and retaining current employees.

Talent management is an essential HR component that should be considered. It can be used as a great tool to identify, attract, develop, and retain talent within the organisation. Talent management includes the processes of recruitment, hiring, engagement, development, performance management, recognition, and succession planning. It will also assist in identifying gaps in the skills or experience of employees, which can then be addressed through learning and development initiatives.

Understanding what each employee brings to the table, creating a matrix of aligning individuals to the right roles and duties where they can contribute the most helps improve engagement and efficiency. We can then further look into what learning and development employees need to succeed, and this is then addressed through the Workplace Skills Plan, which is submitted annually.

Employee Engagement and Productivity

Employee engagement and productivity are closely linked to learning and development. When employees perceive their employer to be invested in their growth and development, they are likelier to feel engaged and committed to their work. A report by the Association for Talent Development (2019) found that companies with a strong learning culture have a 30-50% higher employee engagement rate than those without. Additionally, research by Gallup (2017) shows that engaged employees are more productive, with companies that prioritise employee engagement outperforming those that do not by up to 202%.

“A company’s employees are its greatest asset, and your people are your product” – Richard Branson.

Innovation and Adaptability

Investing in people also drives innovation and adaptability within an organisation. Continuous learning and development enable employees to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices and assist in developing new skills and competencies that can drive innovation and growth. In a rapidly changing business environment, the ability to adapt and innovate is crucial for staying competitive. A survey by PwC (2020) found that 79% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills, and investing in employee development is one way to address this challenge.

In conclusion, investing in people is essential for attracting and retaining top talent, driving employee engagement and productivity, and promoting innovation and adaptability within an organisation. Companies prioritising employee development and creating a culture of continuous learning are better positioned to succeed in today’s dynamic business environment. 

“The best investment any company can make is in their employees.” – Bill Gates

Revitalise your workforce and improve your organisational effectiveness with Siyakha’s expert assistance in reviewing and enhancing your ‘people’ strategy through our specialised WSP and ATR process.

Sune Marais

E: | T: 011 706 9006

25 years making development happen

25 years making development happen

Siyakha is celebrating 25 years this year, in delivering solutions to our clients. Our team is focused, more than ever, on making development happen. Through the work that we do in fund-raising and growth, our consulting work to develop solutions and our development teams who are on the ground, driving change, we have never been more aware of the need for all of us to be a part of the solution.


The Siyakha Impact Trust© and the Siyakha Development Trust© are both vehicles that allow our clients to make contributions to SED and/or ESD respectively, allowing these Trusts as 3rd party providers, to then deliver programmes in the 12 months ahead.


Our FabLab© programme is there to support digital SMMEs. Our YOWZA!© platform provides comprehensive support to SMMEs through online learning, funding support, coaching, access to opportunities, an SMME marketplace and much more.


Our Project Hope© initiative provides employment, learning and development for unemployed mothers in townships.


We are working to raise funding for more than 11 000 initiatives, programmes, SMMEs, NGOs and registered charities across South Africa in a multitude of disciplines including forAfrika, a feeding scheme and Pothole Patrol, extrusion processes for environmental and food certainty, to name, but a few.


If you are grappling with how to build a strategy for Sustainability, submit ESG reports, need to rethink B-BBEE to make commercial sense, have Skills Development, Socio-Economic development or ESD spend that is not yet utilised, talk to our team so that we can ensure that you have the right solution that has maximum impact and measurable results.


Suzaan Bezuidenhout

T:011 706 9006

Investing In Kenya

Investing In Kenya

In 2020, Kenya faced the dual challenge of COVID-19 and a desert locust outbreak, but has managed to remain one of the most attractive investment destinations in the region


“We’ve been using drones to deliver blood to rural areas and to announce health messaging to the population reminding them to wear face masks and updating them on the latest cases.”


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kenya was the key investment destination in East Africa, with expected growth rates of above 5%, together with the country’s favourable weather and the political reconciliation that followed the disputed 2017 elections. Kenya has been propelled to first and fourth place in investment attractiveness in East Africa and Africa respectively.


Kenya is a relatively diversified market economy with consistently strong growth rates. The country has good telecommunications infrastructure, a robust financial sector, strong industrial base, and extensive aviation connections with the rest of Africa, Europe, and Asia. Mombasa Port is the major trade gateway to much of East Africa and plays a key role in the export market, especially to Asian markets.


The country’s economy benefits from diversity and sustained expansion in consumer demand, urbanisation, East African Community integration, structural reforms, and investment in infrastructure, including an oil pipeline, railways, ports, and power generation. Kenya has aspirations to reach 100% renewable energy generation by 2030. In 2017, the country’s president announced four priority sectors to anchor GDP growth, namely food security and agricultural productivity, affordable housing, universal healthcare, and manufacturing.


In 2020, Kenya faced the dual challenge of a desert locust outbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted doing business. The hospitality and transport sectors were hardest hit, with freight and cargo delays for imports reported, negatively affecting the country’s balance of payments to date.


Kenya’s National Bureau of Statistics reported an economic contraction of 1.1% in the third quarter of 2020, compared to growth of 5.8% over the same period in 2019. The macroeconomic environment was fairly stable over the second half of 2020 as a result of the implementation in the first half of the year of various monetary and fiscal measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic. In December, the government announced the reversal of various tax reprieves to pre-COVID tax rates, namely corporate tax, individual income tax (PAYE), and VAT rates.


There were, however, sectors that performed well during the pandemic, including e-commerce, digital health, and insuretech. Modern warehousing complexes continued to receive increased demand from occupiers due to increased intra-regional trade and e-commerce activity over the last few years.


In April 2021, the International Monetary Fund Board approved SDR1.655 billion (about US$2.34 billion) of extended credit facility and extended fund facility arrangements for Kenya.


Investing in Kenya means foreign investors benefit from the same treatment as national investors. Multinational companies make up a large percentage of Kenya’s industrial sector, and the country is continuing to make improvements to its regulatory framework to boost its attractiveness as a destination for foreign direct investment.

Kenya: East Africa’s Tech Capital

Kenya: East Africa’s Tech Capital

The country has a world-leading FinTech industry, with a growing ecosystem of start-up entrepreneurs


“New investors are arriving in Kenya every week to seek partnerships with the country’s tech talent in its 50-plus innovation hubs”


Almost three years ago, Kenyan entrepreneur Mark Karake packed his bags in Silicon Valley to return home to Nairobi and immerse himself in Kenya’s rapidly expanding start-up scene.


He launched the Impact Africa Network as a non-profit start-up studio to ensure that young, talented Africans have the opportunity to participate in the digital transformation of Africa as both creators and owners.


Impact Africa Network offers 12-month Innovation Fellowships to talented college graduates seeking to launch their own start-ups and has a deal with LinkedIn to match all donations received.


Karake is just one of a growing ecosystem of start-up entrepreneurs in Kenya who in 2019 broke all records to raise more than $400 million. An early adopter was iHub, founded more than 10 years ago by Erik Hersmann. It has incubated great success stories such as Majik Water and M-Shule and has inspired scores of innovation accelerators around the country.


Since then, the Kenyan Innovation Hub has grown at a breath-taking rate. These new hubs work closely with Kenya’s universities. iBizAfrica, for example, is hosted by Strathmore University and has incubated more than 300 start-ups, including ValuRaha, Buymore, and Tatu Creatives. C4D Lab operates out of the School of Computing and Informatics at the University of Nairobi and is home to the prestigious Nairobi Innovation Week.


In addition, the University of Nairobi hosts the Fabrication Laboratory, perhaps better known as FabLab, which specialises in digital fabrication and is part of a network of labs linked to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At Kenyatta University, the Chandaria Foundation supports the Chandaria-BIIC’s attempts to merge academic research with innovation. About 70% of its budding entrepreneurs are Kenyatta University students and have had successes ranging from mobile money start-ups like FlexPay to healthcare initiatives.


Kenya now has a world-leading FinTech industry. Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile money system is well known and in use in seven other African countries. Less well known is that innovations in Kenya’s FinTech space have seen financial inclusion in Kenyan banking grow from just 26% in 2006 to an astounding 83% of the population today. As a result, the traditionally ‘unbanked’, the rural poor, and women farmers and street traders are benefiting from FinTech and using it as a passport to economic empowerment.


These Kenyan innovations have become models for the rest of the continent, with 24 countries in Africa having committed to a digital economy blueprint.


As Africa begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, improving the continent’s healthcare systems is a major area for innovation. Kenya’s e-health start-up TIBU Health demonstrates how digitalisation is transforming patient care. Since its launch last year, it has served more than 10 000 patients with a comprehensive home-based vaccination service.


TIBU’s success has attracted new local and international investors, which the company will use to set up a high-tech micro-lab to process medical samples in-house and boost its healthcare logistics and delivery network. This is only part of a bigger picture that is seeing new investors and corporates arriving in Kenya every week to seek partnerships with the country’s tech talent in its 50-plus innovation hubs.


Kenya sits at the heart of the East African economy, and through the East African Community has easy access to neighbouring markets in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, with the massive Ethiopia just to the north. This gives Kenya’s entrepreneurs a larger market in which to sell and expand.


All this must be music to the ears of Impact Africa Network’s Karake and his dream to ensure that young, talented Africans participate in the digital transformation of Africa.


Kenya is at the crossroads of this transformation as it increasingly becomes a key player in Africa’s digital future.

The Dubai of Africa Opens for Business

The Dubai of Africa Opens for Business

A new pan-African financial hub opens its doors in Rwanda in June to create a one-stop-shop for African and international investors


Rwandans have already shown the rest of Africa the importance of working together, we’ve united for peace. Now we’re on our way to becoming a middle-income economy, but we mustn’t achieve that at the expense of our environment.”



The Rwandan government has big ambitions for its new Kigali International Financial Centre to become a major destination for investors seeking opportunities across Africa.


According to the Rwandan opposition MP, Dr Frank Habineza, the hub has the potential to turn Rwanda into “the Dubai of Africa”. The centre, which will launch in Kigali during the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in June, will bring together banks, lawyers, accountants, and regulators to create a one-stop-shop for African and international investors.


Dr Habineza, leader of the opposition Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, says the centre is designed to build on the country’s reputation for “ease of doing business”.


“We will be an international hub for investors, just like Dubai … [with] lots of opportunities for them to take advantage of our special economic zones and tax incentives,” he says.


As a former Chair of Rwanda’s Forum on Water, Sanitation and Environment Conservation Dr Habineza hopes that this economic growth in Rwanda won’t be at the expense of the green economy:


“Already we’ve seen deforestation in some areas as our infrastructure has grown. Some people have been using our rivers as dumping sites and that has brought desertification and water pollution, which poses risks to public health”.


His solution is for Rwanda to embrace the challenges of climate change and become a leading African green economy, promoting economic growth while introducing measures to conserve the country’s green spaces:


“We need to think about tomorrow, not just today. Quick fixes won’t work. Rwandans have already shown the rest of Africa the importance of working together, we’ve united for peace. Now we’re on our way to becoming a middle-income economy, but we mustn’t achieve that at the expense of our environment.”


Why invest in Rwanda?

Why invest in Rwanda?

The country has a widely acknowledged record of more than two decades of strong economic growth, including a three-and-half-fold increase in per capita income.


Effective governance has been key to Rwanda’s success, with accountable political and inclusive economic institutions creating an environment conducive to private sector development


Rwanda is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa and the world. Since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda’s gross domestic product (GDP) has increased from $752 million to $9.5 billion in 2018, while GDP per capita has grown from $12 to $787 over the same period.


Economic production halved in 1994, which was followed by a 35.2% recovery in GDP the following year. Since then, real GDP growth has averaged 7.2% per annum, reaching an estimated 9.5% in 2019, while inflation has fallen from 101% in 1995 to 1.1% in 2018. In addition, Rwanda jumped more than 100 places in the World Bank Doing Business Index and is currently ranked 38th in the world and second in Africa.


The traumatic memories of the 1994 genocide are gradually fading, as associations begin to take a more positive form of a nation on the rise, powered by human resilience, a sense of common purpose, and a purposeful government. The government of Rwanda has identified four key essential and interdependent future drivers of growth, namely innovation, integration, agglomeration, and competition. These drivers of growth, in turn, receive the necessary boost from reforms in six priority areas:


  1. Human capital development;
  2. Export dynamism and regional integration;
  3. Well-managed urbanisation;
  4. Competitive domestic enterprises;
  5. Agricultural modernisation; and
  6. Capable and accountable public institutions.


Having launched its development with a measure of success, Rwanda is now keen to forge a future of security, prosperity and modernity. Sustaining high rates of inclusive economic growth is at the heart of these ambitions. Future aspirations in this regard are high, with Vision 2050 aspiring to achieve upper-middle-income status by 2035 and high-income status by 2050. These aspirations translate into average annual growth rates of more than 10%.


The economy remains highly dependent on agriculture, with between 50% and 70% of the population deriving their income from the sector. The country’s most important cash crops include tea and coffee, and the sector is dominated by rain-fed crops, which renders agricultural production highly vulnerable to adverse weather conditions. Formal economic production is dominated by the services sector, with sub-sectors such as wholesale and retail trade, real estate and education some of the largest contributors to overall GDP.


Rwanda’s industrial sector accounts for about 20% of total economic production, which is notably higher than the 15% attributable to the sector a decade ago. The government’s ambitious infrastructure investment programme has stimulated industry, particularly construction, while the mining sector has also increased in prominence in recent years.


Effective governance has been key to Rwanda’s success, with accountable political and inclusive economic institutions creating an environment conducive to private-sector development. A preferential tax rate is accorded to investors that undertake the generation, transmission and distribution of peat, solar, geothermal, hydro, biomass, methane and wind energy. The reform-minded government has decided to play more of a supporting role in the economy’s development, putting policies in place that promote entrepreneurial activities and that attract foreign investment. This has resulted in widespread development, with growth and foreign investment not only restricted to a few sectors.