Having a strong graduate programme is a great way to introduce new employees to long-term, successful and structured career development. It also lays the foundation for ongoing innovation.

That’s what attracted Nhlanhla Chauke to Tarsus Technology Group (TTG). Chauke completed a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems in 2011, joined the organisation in 2013 as an intern with Printacom / Platinum Micro and moved to Tarsus Distribution as part of product and sales team in 2014. In 2020, he moved to Tarsus On Demand, taking on the role of vendor compliance officer.

“Investing time in training employees and helping them to develop new skill sets is most valuable when the employee knows what the company requires from them and is given the freedom to deliver on that,” says Chauke. “Training for training’s sake is a pointless exercise. People need to believe that their skills are valued and in demand.”

When he joined the Group as an intern at Printacom, which was a small business at the time, he took the opportunity to learn about each division. From there, he moved to TTG and began a new internship. “Learning about the business from a group level was a rewarding experience and gave me confidence and an ability to engage with different people, which is not something they teach you at university. I also learnt how to present to groups of people which helped me overcome my shyness.”

These experiences, he says, also encourage employees to think innovatively, to contribute meaningfully to team discussions, and to build their own networks to gain access and insights into different fields.

“These elements have enabled me to add value to the company,” he says. “I have grown into a truly customer-oriented person – I enjoy working with customers immensely, and my customers love engaging with me. They know that I care. In an age of customer-centricity, this is a talent that works in the interests of both my career and the company’s mission.”

Chauke aspires to move up the career ladder and make it onto exco so that he can contribute to decision-making in the organisation. “I’m a guy who likes to learn all the time. Formal learning is important, but so is the development of soft skills. Many of those are best learnt by observing more senior colleagues in the organisation. I’m also working on developing my critical thinking skills — analysis, interpretation, inference, explanation, self-regulation, open-mindedness, and problem-solving – and we have many opportunities to do this. Our leaders are keen to help us grow and to become people who contribute positively to the economy of the country. I like that they think in those broader terms.”

Chauke says company initiatives like the CEO’s lunch are valuable because they help to encourage greater employee engagement. “Colleagues from different age groups and different departments join our CEO, Anton Herbst, for a virtual lunch and talk about their experiences in the workplace. It’s a great way to foster connection and belonging. It’s also beneficial to build these connections between the younger and older generations. I feel comfortable approaching senior staff members because they have made it that way for us; they are committed to coaching and mentoring us. Creating these opportunities for cross-generational learning inspires us to understand each other more deeply and with greater empathy.”

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