Individuals invest in themselves, in their careers, with university degrees and vocational training. This is expected. But it is equally beneficial, and often overlooked, for companies to double down on the investment, providing training that builds on and adds skills to help staff fly through the ranks.
“ IT IS OUR AIM THROUGH MANAGEMENT ACADEMY TO HELP BUILD MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE WORKERS BY PROVIDING ROBUST PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SOLUTIONS ”
– Naina Peris, Principal Consultant, Management Academy
With many of today’s professionals having earned their position via in-house promotions or based on outdated or untrusted education programmes, the need to brush up on certain skills among established employees is essential. This has been noted, and while many firms have taken to providing in-house training, demand is booming and coaching in soft skills – such as business English, public speaking, managerial skill, excel finance – is being outsourced to specialised institutions.
“The Cambodian education system is recovering from a tough past and still has a lot to catch up with,” says Lyaun Hay, a trainer with the Management Academy, which was launched recently to meet this need. “Private schools have grown like mushrooms to fill an important gap in the sector. But most of these institutions are too business orientated and have little concern for the training quality.”
With the economy on the end of some of its strongest growth ever, more skilled professionals are essential, according to Jitendra Manghnani, country manager for Tata International in Cambodia and Laos. He said that while the availability of skills and talent in Cambodia has witnessed a gradual incline over the past few years, there are certain profession-specific skills which the universities and vocational training institutes are unable to cater to in line with the evolving demand. This is where the role of training institutes come in, he says, forming a critical link in the current situation.
“Employers prefer job-ready talent, and in the absence of the required skills in the existing talent pool, companies look to training institutes to fill this void,” says Manghnani. “Over the years, we have learnt that in Cambodia the need is to plan for skill and developmental infusion at a base level. This is important for and beneficial to both the employer and the employee. For the employer, it aids talent retention, image building, and creating a robust talent pool. And, for employees, it sets expectations right from the beginning and also helps them hone their skills to become domain specialists in the medium- to long-term.”
Cambodia is among a number of rapidly growing economies in the ASEAN region that can no longer be ignored on the world stage. With the integration of the ASEAN bloc, Cambodia, at its centre, has the chance to become an economic hub within the region. “However, with competition for skilled labour becoming fiercer almost by the day, Cambodia needs to ensure it can keep up with labour and management requirements from foreign companies looking to settle in Cambodia,” says Naina Peris, principal consultant at Management Academy.
While the cost of labour is a factor in any business decision, she says, employing qualified staff with required skill sets is a non-negotiable element of developing the economy toward manufacturing or financial services, something Cambodia is aiming for with its 2015-2025 Industrial Development Policy, which outlines plans to upgrade from a garment-sector led economy with an eye on moving toward Lower Middle Income status.
“ BY PROVIDING TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES TO EMPLOYEES, THE COMPANY DEMONSTRATES TO THEIR WORKFORCE THAT THEY VALUE THEM … WHICH IS COST SAVING FOR THE COMPANY ”
– Lyaun Hay, Principal Consultant, Management Academy
A Matter of Perception
For those companies looking to develop their human resources, training and development institutes such as Management Academy are a godsend, with the institution’s success measured by its graduates. “It is our aim through Management Academy to help build more knowledgeable workers by providing robust professional development solutions which will not only help develop more local leaders but may also become a key differentiator for outsiders looking at Cambodia,” says Peris.
The results of training your employees can prove to be a game changer, especially given the rate that globalisation is taking place in Cambodia and around the world, raising standards and expectations across the board. “Employees who participate regularly in the training organised by their employers…will acquire new skills, increasing their contribution to the business and building their self-esteem. The training they do can take them into other positions within the organisation – positions with better prospects and/or better pay,” says Hay.
Employers will also see the difference. “By providing training opportunities to employees, the company demonstrates to their workforce that they value them enough to invest in them, improving loyalty and staff retention, which is a cost saving for the company.” Training is a tool to keep employees motivated and Hay believes that employees who do not improve their skills are more susceptible to organisational change and will face tough competition from the next generation of employees coming after them, who will be properly trained for the job.
“ EMPLOYERS PREFER JOB-READY TALENT, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF THE REQUIRED SKILLS IN THE EXISTING TALENT POOL, COMPANIES LOOK TO TRAINING INSTITUTES TO FILL THIS VOID ”
– Jitendra Manghnani, Country Manager, Tata International
Ahead of the Curve
There are many different options for value-added training, with context and need the great differentiators. Any external input by way of training, mentoring or coaching should be contextual and in that manner be a stepping-stone to future development, according to Manghnani. Management Academy is looking to stand out from its competitors simply be setting the bar higher in terms of standards and quality. “The primary objective is to offer only the best in class trainings with very highly reputed trainers, both Cambodians and expatriates,” explains Peris. “The MA has gone a step ahead of the current requirements of the Cambodian market.”
Peris believes that while training programmes are important, having internationally certified trainers helps ensure that clients benefit from world-class training methods, and gives them confidence that attendees will develop world-class skills. Management Academy has closely followed this methodology and partnered with globally recognised training and development institutions with an aim to bringing internationally recognised standards, and experts, to their training curriculum.
Words by Vivaddhana Khaou