Come join us on Friday, February 17 from 11:45 to 1:00 on the Third Floor of the Central Library as Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton discusses Essential Skills in the Workplace.
Sarah Elaine Eaton, Ph.D.How is workplace literacy being defined by HRSDC?
Today’s definition of literacy goes beyond traditional notions of being able to read and write. Literacy and Essential Skills is the umbrella term used by Human Resources and Skills Development Canda (HRSDC) to define the skills needed by all adults in Canada today, regardless of whether they are working, stay-at-home parents or retired. There are Nine Literacy and Essential Skills:
- Document Use
- Computer Use
- Oral Communication
- Working with others
- Continuous Learning
Employees need to have skills in all nine areas to be effective in today’s workplace.
What is the number one issue concerning employers regarding workplace literacy in Canada today?
The number one issue for employers is finding and keeping employees with the right skills to do their jobs safely and effectively. The Fall 2011 Labour Market Bulletin published by HRSDC reports that Calgary has failed to recover the same employment rates that it had before the 2008–2009 recession. While the province overall is recovering, the Calgary labour market lags behind other areas of the province. The Calgary job market requires high-skilled white collar workers with higher than average skills in reading, writing, numeracy and digital skills.
What are some of the costs to employers for not having employees trained in literacy and the essentials skills?
These can be difficult to quantify since people have lower levels of literacy and essential skills will often try to hide their lack of skills. This behaviour is not uncommon, as there can be feelings of shame and failure associated with low literacy skills. For that reason problems in the workplace can be difficult to trace back precisely to lower level skills.
Some studies have shown that employers who focus on building employee skills can see up to a 15% increase in overall workplace productivity and larger organizations may have even higher increases in productivity. One study revealed that over 80% of employers who engaged in workplace literacy programs felt that the benefits of the training outweighed the costs in terms of increased productivity leading to higher revenues for the buseinss, less wastage and less down time.
What are 3 resources for workplace literacy that employers and employees have access to?
Three of my favorite resources are:
Sarah Elaine Eaton is an educator, consultant and research specializing in adult learning, literacy and twenty-first century trends in training and education.