By Nancy Thompson, Executive Director, AWENS – Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia @nthompsonED
Change is constant in the workplace. Change; being necessary to continually improve and build on achievements of a business. What allows for change to take place, are the businesses’ most valued asset – human capital – people. This means a business needs to ensure their valued asset – people – have the knowledge and skills they require to ensure there is continued upward movement towards continued success.
Success comes when businesses ensure their human capital have the necessary basic knowledge and skills they need to do the work they do and may have to do in the future, due to change in the workplace. This requires implementing a strategy to increase the level of basic knowledge and skills of the people, especially as business moves change forward. Basic knowledge and skills are thought of as basic literacy and numeracy, essentials an employee needs to have, to have a work life.
If jobs change as a business grows, then the basic knowledge and skills of the people may be required to change to do the job. When new software programs or machinery are introduced into a business, people may be required to broaden or increase their level of basic knowledge or skills. People may function well at their current job, but with the introduction of new software and machinery, they may need to increase their literacy and numeracy levels to take on new tasks and roles. A front-line staff member may have excellent communication skills, but they have low numeracy levels which may be preventing them to take on a position that requires the calculation of percentages.
Gaps in peoples’ basic knowledge and skills to do a job do not mean an individual does not have the competencies to take on a higher-level role or contribute to the growth of an organization. There are varying levels of literacy basics of reading, writing, verbal communication, and numeracy. We all have things we are good at and other things we struggle with, and it works in much the same way with basic knowledge and skills. People can be very good at one thing, maybe it is reading or writing, but they have difficulty with numeracy, which can interfere with their overall performance and can prevent change from taking place.
When a business values their human capital they need to consider the training options available to fill the gaps of the people they have invested time, money and energy in. Increasing the knowledge and skills of a business’ human capital will only result in increasing the overall performance and the value of the business. All of which leads to the success of the business that has been brought about by the change.
Gaps in literacy and numeracy hold people back from fulfilling their potential. This is a loss to the individual and to the business. By taking a few simple steps towards extending training and education to fill knowledge and skills gaps, the literacy levels of the people and the wealth of the business increase.
There are many funding programs that assist organizations to help increase the literacy levels of their workforce. By taking action, towards providing workplace education, the result will lead to maximizing peoples’ contribution towards the growth of the business and its success.
AWENS has been helping organizations build the knowledge and skills of the employees in the workplace for 17 years. Recognized for its achievement, AWENS has been the recipient of the National Award of Excellence for Municipal Workplace Literacy Achievements, and the Partnership Appreciation Award by The Province of Nova Scotia for AWENS leadership and contribution to the creation of a lifelong learning culture.
AWENS can provide direction to funding sources to support learning in the workplace. In addition, AWENS provides Professional Development to assist with building capacity within organizations. If your organization is looking to find solutions to fill skills gaps and increase literacy in the workplace, AWENS is offering a one day course, November 19th, 2017- Literacy Solutions in the Workplace.
For complete information, download the pdf Literacy Solutions in the Workplace Education or contact AWENS at 902-406-7440.
Nancy Thompson is the Executive Director of AWENS – Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia. She has worked across a wide range of industries and organizations within the business development, government, construction, corporate and non-profit sectors. As an experienced trainer and adult educator, Nancy’s passion is for promoting lifelong learning and helping people to grow both personally and professionally.