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Kenyan companies want more people skills; see little use for class theory

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60 percent of Kenyan companies find corporate training to be too theoretical for their needs. This is according to a report by the African Management Initiative (AMI) and the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM).

Out of the 130 Kenyan companies surveyed, over half of the respondents advocated a greater focus on people skills noting that organizations can achieve up to 147% higher earnings per share than their competition with well-trained managers.

According to the report, Kenyan organizations have spent billions of shillings on training, without realizing tangible results. And there is currently a gap in the training offered to job entrants, entrepreneurs and young managers. This is particularly acute in the estimated 750,000 companies that make up Kenya’s ‘formal’ SME sector.

“Managers and entrepreneurs need practical guidance and lots of opportunity to try out their new approaches back in their workplace. There are some highly innovative companies in the report who show how they have got great results from focusing less on teaching knowledge to individuals – and more on transforming what they actually do,” noted Samson Osero, Executive Director, IHRM.

80% of Kenyan HR managers in the report cite tangible change in their company as the leading requirement from their workplace learning investment. The report shows that traditional management courses have, in the majority of cases, failed to achieve this. This is down to an emphasis on individual skill development over what the report terms effective ‘management practices’.

“Managers and entrepreneurs need practical guidance and lots of opportunity to try out their new approaches back in their workplace. There are some highly innovative companies in the report who show how they have got great results from focusing less on teaching knowledge to individuals – and more on transforming what they actually do,” said AMI Chairman Jonathan Cook.

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