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The Axium Team at an end-of-year staff development session in 2017. Photo: Brian Quinton

The Axium Team at a staff development session at the end of 2017. Photo: Brian Quinton

Reflecting on the positive news of two team members (Bongeka and Mashiya) receiving NSFAS funding for studies this year offers an opportunity to reflect on the importance of continuous staff development. We sat down with Thuliswa Nodada, who heads our Human Resources and Careers Development portfolios, to hear her thoughts on this aspect of our work.

Three Quick Questions for you, Thuli:

1. What is your vision for staff development and how does this fit into Axium's goals for the year?

I believe in the dreams of the people I work for. I believe that everyone has potential and my vision is to see that potential realised so that every staff member is aware of their purpose, agency and options and that they have the knowledge and the means to seize those opportunities. I pretty much take what Axium does for the students and apply it to our staff members: the vision is the same.

2. Tell me a bit about how staff have developed their visions for the year.

At the beginning of this year, we had a session where we reflected on last year in order for us to plan. We reflected on how we ended the year, how we felt we were at the end of last year, was work challenging, was it boring or was it stimulating. After answering that question we then asked what can be done to keep us all operating at a place where we are challenged to grow, and how we can avoid boredom and stress. These questions then translated to goals and strategies. We also asked what would make 2018 a successful year and what needs to be done to achieve that, so goal setting again. Having personal goals somehow transfers to professional goals, which is beneficial for our organisation. We have people wanting to improve isiXhosa and others in English: though that would be seen as a personal goal it strengthens our work and the way we relate to each other. I hope I am answering your question.

3. As head of HR and Careers, from your perspective why is it important to establish these personal visions?

Firstly, it's like sharpening your weapons. The people of the organisation are the organisation. What they know is what the organisation knows. The extent to which they grow is the extent to which the organisation will grow. Personal visions translate to organisational development.

Secondly I once attended a Proudly South African Buy Local Summit, where we were encouraged to buy local and support local business, that got me thinking about the dreams of South Africans and their many hidden talents. I believe that our personal visions translate to development. Firstly, we become aware of ourselves as we reflect on where we are to where we want to be. These visions change conversations during family dinners, they raise expectations, they inspire us to get up and do something about them. When we pursue these visions we bring hope in our families, hope in our communities. Mostly, we change the world around us, by changing ourselves. When you have personal goals you buy back our dignity, you buy back our purpose and you broaden opportunities. Have you ever noticed how communities take pride in owning a success story?

Thank you, as always, for your insights Thuli!

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