Real examples from Workplace Education Manitoba files show clear benefits to organizations who invest in improving the Essential Skills levels in their workplaces.
The benefits of Essential Skills training are most often widespread – with their effects often felt throughout the organization and even extending beyond the workplace.
A few of these case studies:
Essential skills coaching improves work quality and reduces stress by instilling confidence in employees and management
Two new administrative workers at a not-for-profit organization quickly found themselves overwhelmed by their job tasks, especially planning events and writing Board reports. The problem was recognized by the Executive Director and the wheels were put in motion to clearly identify the needed workplace Essential Skills training, and then develop and implement the training – all with input from the Executive Director and the two employees.
An Essential Skills coach was hired to deliver the training using authentic workplace tasks and materials for greater relevance and practicality.
The result: two more highly-skilled employees who were much more confident in their work and positions AND an Executive Director with greater confidence that future event planning and report writing would not only be of higher quality but done more efficiently and with less stress.
Identification of need Application of targeted training = Positive outcomes.
When 85% of workers failed the internal Quality Certification exam at a major aerospace company, an assessment uncovered a need for Essential Skills training.
Immediately following the delivery of a brief, narrowly-focused program of Essential Skills upgrading, the test results were reversed: 85% of the workers passed the exam.
Certification training helps an experienced ironworker communicate the logic behind procedures and safety precautions to improve the self sufficiency of his crew.
Carl has a wealth of experience after more than four decades of employment as an ironworker. That’s why some were surprised when he jumped at the opportunity to take optional certification training when ironwork became a recognized trade.
As a foreman, Carl is responsible for developing the easiest, most efficient way to get the job done. Carl took the training because he was curious about the logic behind the procedures and safety precautions he’d previously learned only through experience.
“Before the certification training, “ says Carl, “I wasn’t always able to explain to my crew why it was the best way to do it: I just knew. Now I can explain it and that will help them to make those decisions themselves next time.”
If people are an organization’s greatest asset, are their training needs being met?
After many successful years as a delivery driver for a large construction company, George’s position was scheduled for phase-out. As a valued employee, management supported George’s wish to move into a shipper/receiver position for the same company.
The transition was a rocky one. George found the multiple, often conflicting demands from insistent customers difficult to deal with and he began experiencing symptoms of extreme stress. An Essential Skills assessment revealed that problem solving and communication training could help.
Along with communication techniques, George learned a systematic approach to sorting out problems and evaluating priorities, enabling him to cope more effectively with the demands of his new position.
If you’re looking for better predictability of positive returns, invest in Essential Skills.
A large, high-tech manufacturing firm planned to launch a High-Performance program to improve efficiencies across the company. This program involved forming teams of workers representing expertise from all levels to focus on improving productivity and adaptability.
Management realized staff would need Essential Skills training for this program to be truly effective. Teams would need skills such as effective listening, note taking, facilitation, problem solving and management of group dynamics.
In partnership with Workplace Education Manitoba, a 30-hour training curriculum was developed and delivered. In just six months, company officials report one team’s work resulted in a $250,000 savings for the company.
Essential Skills training can make an organization’s tough times a little easier – and improve the good times too!
Within the extremely competitive call centre industry, one company frequently reviews staff training needs as part of its goal of continuous improvement. Even though there were no glaring performance concerns, the company decided to include Essential Skills training for their new workers.
A needs assessment determined that effective call centre work requires a full range of oral communication skills, including speaking with confidence and providing clear and concise information using listening, questioning, reiteration and problem-solving skills.
Unexpectedly, infusing Essential Skills into the existing training for their new workers resulted in a decrease in customer dissatisfaction rates. Company officials were doubly pleased because increased customer satisfaction is often associated with higher employee satisfaction and retention.
When internal transfers occur in your organization, make Essential Skills training a strategic first move.
A local manufacturing company adopted a commitment to promoting from within to fill vacant supervisor and management positions. Employees previously working in operations were moved into more senior positions but soon the company discovered a problem with their written communications skills.
These rising stars had superb technical knowledge but struggled with spelling, grammar, punctuation and clear writing. This resulted in reports and documents that frustrated the reader, were difficult to understand and carried the potential for costly or even tragic errors.
Workplace Education Manitoba conducted an assessment and determined that what was needed was brief instruction in business-writing techniques with a focus on clear language. It took just ten hours of instruction to equip the employees with the skills they needed.
Training is – or should be – an ongoing process to ensure everyone can meet changing job and task needs.
Samantha’s employer, a small service-based company, gave her a new project assignment that involved creating, tracking and reconciling the project’s budget. Samantha was eager for this increased responsibility.
The project costs were calculated and adequately funded. However, when faced with creating a detailed budget that included scheduling payments and tracking the cash flow, Samantha was stumped. These tasks required numeracy skills she did not have.
Through an evaluation, Samantha’s employer found that her value to the company was worth the investment in skills upgrading. He brought in an Essential Skills coach who guided Samantha through the process of designing and implementing a detailed project budget, periodically offering support in tracking its activity over the project’s successful duration
Changes to work processes to increase productivity are only possible with adequate levels of Essential Skills.
A large manufacturing firm planned to increase productivity by moving to a production line process called Demand Flow Manufacturing (DFM). This requires workers to move from station to station to help out when bottlenecks in production occur in order to keep the line moving.
Supervisors realized that in order for a move to DFM to be successful, a number of workers on the line would need improved Essential Skills, including reading and interpreting documents at each new work station. The manufacturer provided training to enhance these skills, resulting in a successful transition to their new production process.
Absenteeism, grievances, workplace friction: are these symptoms of an Essential Skills issue?
Despite a 25-year employment record at a medium-sized company, Bev had become increasingly uncooperative with the assignment of new tasks. Absenteeism became an issue and she started filing a large number of grievances.
A union representative determined that Bev’s problem was likely literacy-related. Based on an Essential Skills assessment, a training program was put in place and within three months, Bev’s improved skill level and resulting change in attitude allowed her to be a highly-effective and valuable contributor in the new work process and routine.
A custom computer skills training curriculum improves a large company’s efficiency and reduce costs.
A large company wanted to improve the efficiency of their information management system to reduce costs. The company decided to computerize processes and create electronic versions of documents such as drawings as well as equipment and specification manuals.
Three years later, an internal review questioned staff’s ability to effectively store, retrieve and use information electronically. Even though employees had access to in-house training sessions, progress was slow, A number of employees at all levels were still using and circulating hardcopy documents, while only a handful of people were accessing materials electronically.
When Workplace Education Manitoba was contacted, their Essential Skills assessment soon determined that many of the employees did not have the baseline computer skills required to be able to absorb the new training procedures and software. A custom training curriculum designed specifically to meet the company’s needs was developed and the company was quickly able to reach its goal.