15 Sep 2016
Located in Cape Town, Innovate Biz is a skills development company
providing training to the community, individuals and corporate sectors, with
special focus on soft skill training and inclusion of those members of the community who may be disadvantaged in
accessing training to assist them in the implementation of income generating
As the founder, Karen Venter, is passionate and committed to
assisting in strengthening those individuals who are on entrepreneurial journeys
in order to create a foundation for successful and sustainable new ventures.
Karen is a qualified Facilitator, Assessor, Moderator and Outcomes Based
Learning Programmes Developer. She is a registered assessor and moderator
with ETDP Seta and a registered assessor with Service Seta. She is also a
certified United Nations National Facilitator for the UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and
building entrepreneurship program Empretec,
which through its National Centre in South Africa SEDA, trains entrepreneurs
and SME’s with the necessary competencies as identified by the United Nations
to build and grow their businesses.
Know more about Karen Venter : innovatebiz.co.za
made you choose a career in training and development?
I have a real passion for seeing people develop themselves and
recognize and harness their potential.
Training in various areas gives people an opportunity for growth and the
realization of the gifts which lie within them.
important is training and development for a work place? Be it a small firm or
MNC, other than job related training and certification ain’t targeted HR/People
training inevitable for success?
Training and development are crucial for any and every workplace
regardless of the size of the company.
Aside from the personal growth opportunities which are present as a
result of training, there is an enormous emotional payoff which benefits the
company. When a company recognizes their
staff members, demonstrates to them that they are valued and makes them feel
worthy of investing in, the individuals inevitably feel appreciated, become
more productive and loyal and the end result is that not only the individual
benefits, but the rewards for the company in terms of productivity are inarguable.
a trainer and facilitator, you would have had plethora of opportunities to meet
new people and to travel around the world. While taking pride in ourselves as
the most superior amongst all species remaining on earth; our habits, thinking,
culture, values, interaction etc differ
sharply and are unique for each race (Across countries and continents). How
important is it for the trainer to know the audience beforehand so that he/she
can have a productive conversation/interaction and to deliver maximum results?
Could you share a few instances where you had to adapt to the audience? How
different is it across countries or races?
As a trainer, you need to be able to connect with your audience on
more than just an intellectual level as it is highly personalized work. In any business, “buy in” happens when people
connect emotionally and when they feel seen and heard and this applies
particularly in the training environment where a trainer is working closely
with a group of individuals. Until
people buy in to what you are saying, they will not listen as effectively or
absorb as much learning as they potentially could. Trust is the foundation upon which a
trainer-trainee relationship is built.
The trainees need to feel that they are in a safe, welcoming, non-judgemental
environment as this is how adults thrive and learn best. For all of this to happen, the trainer needs
to be informed about the group which they are working with in advance in order
to know what to do to meet the needs of the group. Each country’s population is unique as each
country has a different history and cultural background. When working in India, I soon understood that
the culture was totally different to South Africa in the training room. Where I might have to be more formal and guarded
in S.A. because we have a conservative and guarded culture, Indian people are
warm, engaging, highly receptive and responsive which leads to a less formal
environment even though the level of professionalism remains the same.
others through their body language and choice of words in a conversation can
reveal a lot about their character and mental state. How important is that
professionals master this, when it comes to corporate functions of conflict
management and negotiations for better decisions and outcomes?
Body language is a very revealing form of communication, possibly
even the most revealing of all. Because
body language conveys the emotions and responses of people in an unspoken but
spontaneous manner, it is difficult for people to hide their emotions through
this medium of communication. Rarely do
most people consider their actions before they carry them out. For example, in
a negotiation, if you are dealing with somebody who is sitting across the table
from you and has folded arms, you can immediately tell that they are not open
to the suggestions you are making and you can change your approach. Trainers need to be in tune with the body
language of their trainees as this can give them many different clues, e.g. are
they engaged in the classroom discussion / activity or are they distracted by
and people influence one’s instant behavior and character if exposed for a long
time. We imbibe a few traits. We inherit another few. What is the right way to
balance both so that we have a strong character, to become a better human
In order to be authentically who you are and not allow yourself to
be overly influenced by others, one should a self-confident individual. Someone
who is confident will show themselves as they are in front of others instead of
conforming to a group. They are not
ashamed of their uniqueness; rather they are proud of it and derive a sense of
individuality from being authentic.
you think technology and extent of social media has fragmented our personal
bonds with family, colleagues and friends? We socialize virtually! How do we
re-position ourselves to restore warmth on our relationships?
Social media has impacted the way we live and interact. Things have
become less personal and fragmented as you mentioned in your question. It is up to us to keep things balance and
healthy. The only way to overcome this
is to create a healthy balance between social media and family / friends and
interpersonal relationships. It is
helpful to limit time on social media by allocating yourself a time limit for
this type of interaction, a timeframe which is not going to consume too much of
what should be spent on personal interaction.
always complain about having hired ‘not-the-right-fit’ candidate for the job or
often ‘wrong-fit’ ones. Despite having strong HR assessment tools and umpteen
rounds of activities/interviews, what do you think puts the corporation into
such a position?
There could be a
problem in corporates where they are not taking the “fit” of the company
culture into consideration. Perhaps they
need to assess whether candidates will be a good fit for the culture of the
organisation as well as assessing their competence for the job at hand. The culture of an organisation dictates much
of what happens internally as well as the interpersonal relationships in the
organisation. Staff members need to be
able to fit in with or be flexible in order to adapt to the culture of the
organisation. They should include some
questions in relation to this when assessing competency and compatibility.
involve a lot with entrepreneurship training solutions. You have an individual
filled with enthusiasm, passion and great plans for the future calling for
help. How different or tough is handling the ‘wannabe Steve Jobs and team’ from
Corporate and entrepreneurship is very different environments and I
would say that one of the biggest factors at play is that risk taking for an
entrepreneur is most certainly more challenging than in the corporate
environment. There is no safety net
which one can fall back on as an entrepreneur, often having used all their
savings or all resources available to them.
Therefore, the pressure to “get it right” the first time is higher than
that of those in the corporate environment although there is still not a big
margin for error in the corporate world.
As a trainer or mentor one has to take this into account amongst many
other factors which differ between the two environments. Also when dealing with someone who has their
own business, is passionate and has to make things work regardless of what it
takes, generally the commitment to training is very high. These are people who have chosen to go
through the training to benefit their business goals and they tend to be
exceptionally attentive and enthusiastic in understanding the personal benefit
to themselves and their businesses.
important is it to inculcate hands-on activity in a training session rather
than a traditional presentation session, then a Q&A to wrap it up? Have you
observed personally any result output variations in your training sessions?
It is imperative that
participants are given the opportunity to have some practical experience or
experimentation in the topic at hand wherever possible. Adults learn through what they do, not what
they hear. What they hear is not always
integrated and is easily forgotten but what they do and experience will be
integrated and remembered.
MNC jobs and advent of technology, ‘stress-diseases’ have taken up a central
stage. Stress fracture, work place stress, anxiety disorder, insomnia, stress
and anger management; the terminology is never-ending. Could a share a few
personal tips that our readers could stick onto to get over the on-going
Stress management is a very important topic and one which is often
overlooked. I could do an entire workshop
just on this topic but in summary and simple terms a few tips would be:
Get enough sleep at night: this replenishes your energy and gives you
the stamina. It also has a positive
impact on your immune system.
A healthy diet: Eating junk foods and drinking large amounts
of coffee will give you instant energy and put you on a short lived “high” but
as soon as this wears off you become tired and sluggish and concentration
suffers. Healthy foods will maintain
sugar levels, good levels of concentration and the energy to deal with
challenges more calmly.
Deep breathing: Deep breathing is a well-known stress
reliever and has the benefits of leaving you more productive and
energetic. Make a decision to focus on
your breath for a few minutes of the day.
Take short breaks to help you
clear your mind. Try to get up from your
desk and move about during a break.
Plan your day and
prioritize: You will reduce stress by
identifying your activities in order of priority as well as allocating time to
each activity. This way the projects
which will have the most impact will be best aligned with your goals.
important is re-training and timely evaluation for developing an industry
competent work force? Your suggestions.
training is important so that the company can assess the impact of the
training. This will tell you where you
might need to make improvements for future training in order for participants
and the organisation to receive maximum benefit. It will also help to assess whether the training
was beneficial at all. Training should not happen just for the sake of
training, it should be aligned with the organisations objectives and this is
where evaluation can demonstrate whether the training if effectively equipping staff
to meet the organisational objectives.
It might take the participants halfway to where they are needed to go
with some gaps. Evaluation will help to
identify any gaps which need to be addressed.
are your thoughts on India as a HR hub of 1.2 billion minds?
I have read that
Prime Minister Modi feels strongly about the possibility of India becoming the
human resources capital of the world.
With a third of the 1.2 billion population being between the ages of 10
and 24 (according to a UN report), there is tremendous potential for this to
happen. With a young population such as
this, India being an incredibly tech savvy nation and with technology comes the
possibility for services to be delivered remotely – India is well positioned to
become a global HR capital.
Many thanks Karen for sharing your insights and time.
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