What are the Implications for Businesses and Corporate Learning in South Africa during COVID -19?

The basic guide to survival

As most will agree, talking about the impact of Covid 19 and businesses will arouse a mixed bag of emotions more so the learning and development space. I make particular reference to the Corporate learning space where many projects and events have been postponed and cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak affecting all spheres of the workplace and education sectors.

This article aims to highlight the challenges affecting learning at every level
We also outline and provide some of the possibilities of overcoming and surmounting these challenges through various learning models, steps and strategies.
In a world where the routine and way of work has been altered indefinitely, how can we navigate this uncertainty to rise and thrive beyond the murky waters?
The implications are that many companies have either gone into hibernation pending better times ahead or closed down completely as a result of these impacts. This holds true for stakeholders and clients alike and who have also had their fair share of disappointments. In this wave of uncertainty, many are still hoping to be thrown a lifeline or wade the tide of the Lockdown until the state of calm.

How does it affect us?
The Lockdown has imposed restrictions of movement and reduced face to face meetings. On the one side, there are the precautions taken to prevent further spread of the virus, while on the other hand, halting the operations and survival of businesses with no end in sight for the return to normalcy. One could prepare the ground for the promises of a better outcome or just wait indefinitely for assistance by the authorities

 What about relief or aid?
The provision of Financial relief is a welcome gesture in this dire period and many are hoping to cash in before it is too late. So supposing there are no cash injections forthcoming, does it mean the end of the road for businesses? Are we banking our hope on the promises that may or may not materialise? Do we need to make decisions that defy the situation or make do within the present circumstances and if so what are the implications of such decisions?
 What can we do as a basic start?
What seems to ring clear in all the questioning and musing is that we need a clear strategy that will help to overcome the present situation without making things worse. We need to take the safety of our employees, clients and stakeholders seriously. I have singled out a few ways that one can prepare the company for the unexpected. It is important that one has a clear strategy on the way forward and how to drive the organisation and steer through the unexpected.

I particularly need to mention an article entitled “Adapting workplace learning in the time of coronavirus,” Mckinsey and company’s report explains” how one can create a clear strategy on the way forward where the organisation needs to determine a course of action the organisation and in order to make a difference. They also say that learning leaders need to take make bold decisions in order to protect employees, they can adapt programs and delivery, and establish and expand virtual live learning in order to continue enabling and delivering value-adding initiatives.

Are there any possible Strategies?
The report by Mckinsey also advises on making good decisions by obtaining the appropriate information and data related to the task at hand, which in my view is of critical importance to businesses as they implement the changes in addition to communicating properly to all those who may be affected by Non delivery of service. I noted that they emphasize the importance of prior engagement in the face of challenges in order to maintain a good relationship with clients and stakeholders. 

Cathy Truter of Bowmans Law who writes extensively on the legal implications of Covid also advises in her article “Covid-19: impact on businesses and investments in South Africa” that businesses should assess all their legal implications beforehand and ensure that all the obligations are adhered to. In order to comply with law and qualify for the financial assistance that government is offering to cushion those who are heavily affected by the impact.

In conclusion, online and virtual learning has been adopted to replace face to face learning interventions and make business clients or stakeholders aware of the slowing down and non-delivery of services. It is quite possible to maintain good relations with networks and create new ones as a way to make the prospect of business feasible and possible. In every process, it is important to regard the safety of those we interact with and share critical service with. We can still engage in the normal tasks successfully while complying to set standards.

How have you fared in these times of uncertainty, what would you have done differently?
What are your strategies in place for developing your online learning and development plans?
This is indeed an opportunity to learn from each another creates opportunities for others success…
Understanding declining merchandise trade, supply chain disruption, and the impact of slower economic growth in China on the South African economy and tourism.
The impact from this global health crisis remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the buying behaviors of corporate L&D functions have shifted dramatically.