We are developing, leveraging and transferring skills within and between the markets in which we operate to create value and identify opportunities for our business units and clients.
SEM is present in 33 countries in Africa where our preferred model is majority ownership, and a meaningful shareholding by our in-country partner. We rely on the local knowledge and infrastructure of our partners in the markets in which we operate and invest. The availability of critical skills in some markets and the quality of existing skills are a potential risk to the Group. Developing and leveraging skills is therefore essential for growth and sustainability.
In 2019, the cluster was particularly challenged in finding sufficient and appropriate compliance skills. To an extent this is being addressed through the Target Operating Model, ensuring sufficient and efficient resources in material entities that require less support from the centre, and more significant guidance and support from the centre for the smaller entities.
In terms of IT, there is also a shortage of skills and capacity, making some businesses vulnerable to cybercrime. In smaller entities, the IT departments can be made up of a small number of individuals that work very hard to cover all aspects of IT without the necessary in-depth or specialist knowledge.
We have a multi-faceted approach to mitigate this through the investment in training people in country, the standardisation of key technologies as well as setting up structures at either cluster or Group level to provide assistance from a centre of excellence. Although the establishment of network connectivity remains problematic, it will assist to implement additional consolidation and standardisation efforts. We are working on establishing the ability to make use of a centralised team for specialised functions that can be executed across multiple entities.
There is continued focus on expanding capacity and breadth of skills in areas where increased support is required.
SEM introduced a leadership programme for middle and senior managers within our partner companies in 2017. The programme aims to develop the competency of managers in our partner companies by focusing on management and strategy fundamentals that will help employees lead themselves and their teams ethically and effectively and exceed expectations.
In 2019, 29 middle and senior managers from Sanlam Pan Africa’s partner companies in Uganda, Kenya, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Togo and Tanzania completed the Senior Leadership Development programme.
The digital team at Shriram Life Insurance Company introduced millennials as next-generation sales officers in its ecosystem through its digital sales officers internship programme. Insurance penetration in India is below 3% due to a general lack of knowledge. With the sales force ageing there is an opportunity for a new generation to invigorate the market.
The new internship programme takes place over a period of 45 working days and takes the form of a series of role plays and simulations. After completing their training, the students can join the sales team. The interns are exposed to various aspects of the life insurance industry which includes information about distribution, the value chain, consumer segmentation and the sales process.
The programme was piloted in April 2018. During 2018/2019, 2 000 students were interviewed, of whom 800 completed the training programme. Another 1 200 students received training in the first quarter of the 2020 financial year.
Interns who have shown exemplary performance during the programme were offered full-time employment.