Why businesses should invest in employee skills training

Literacy provides learners with the opportunity to unlock a world of possibilities. Having adequate literacy skills means being able to understand, evaluate, use and engage with written texts.

Literacy extends far beyond reading and writing. In fact, the Government of Canada has identified a set of Skills for Success – the foundation for all other skills and enable people to evolve and adapt to change at work, in the community, and at home. The Skills for Success are used in every job to varying degrees and at different levels of complexity. People with solid literacy skills experience much higher rates of employment than people with low literacy skills. They also receive higher incomes.

Enhancing skills creates benefits for employers, too. Employees with stronger literacy skills are more successful at work and contribute to an improved bottom line. Yet the number of people who struggle with literacy skills has increased to almost one in two in the past decade. As a result, these Canadians may be unable to meet the skills demands required in today’s workforce.

Here’s why literacy skills are so crucial in the workplace, and why businesses should invest in employee skills training.

Improve bottom-line performance

Investments in employee skills training can translate into substantial gains in workers’ skills and job performance, meaning that it’s in an employer’s best interest to invest in their workers’ skills.

Literacy skills help employees work more accurately and efficiently, leading to better work quality, service and productivity gains. Having the skills to understand complex communication helps employees better understand instructions, warning labels, and procedures. This creates fewer errors, accidents and waste – ultimately producing cost savings for the company.

Skilled employees are also more likely to feel more fulfilled at work, which leads to better job retention rates – and an improved company reputation as a great place to work.

Build confident, capable employees

Workplace technology and business processes are constantly changing. Without the foundational Skills for Success, such as adaptability, communication and problem solving, employees may find it difficult to adjust to these changes. These types of skills provide workers with the confidence to expand their knowledge while complying with the newest workplace standards and regulations. The entire risk assessment process also improves when employees have better communication skills.

Experience better mental health

Workplace mental health is the well-being of an employee, and impacts how we think, feel and react when at work. If an employee is living with mental health challenges, workplace stress can contribute to the challenges and worsen its effects.

One study found that workers who had undergone skills training were nearly 25 per cent more likely to report a reduction in their work-related stress than those who had not.

More literate employees have a clear understanding of their workplace responsibilities, work better together as a team, and enjoy improved labour-management relations. They’re more fulfilled at work and can help move the entire organization towards corporate goals.

Improving literacy skills in the workplace

The benefits that literate employees bring to the workplace are numerous, including more company productivity, better retention rates, and greater revenue. Skills for Success Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of the key skills needed to succeed at work and in life. Visit SkillsforSuccessDay.ca for more information on how to get involved.