This guest blog post is provided by the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, which aims to improve the skills Canadians need to adapt and succeed at work.

In today's knowledge-based economy, businesses that develop their employees' skills will reap the benefits. Improving essential skills can help boost the productivity, innovation and overall competitiveness of your business. It is never too early or too late to start investing in your employees.

How to do it

Integrating essential skills into your business practices does not have to be time consuming or complicated. To help you get started, use Taking Action: A Guide that outlines a step-by-step process — including helpful strategies and useful tips — for developing and integrating essential skills training in the workplace.

Identify needs

The first step in developing an effective training strategy is to create a skills development plan using worksheets and checklists such as the Organizational Needs Assessment. It can help you:

  • Identify the skills required for your business
  • Identify the skill strengths or areas that may require improvement among your staff
  • Make informed decisions about training and learning in the workplace

Implement a plan of action

Once you have completed a needs assessment, identified your employees' training objectives, and considered the most effective way to engage your staff, it's time to implement your essential skills training plan. Here are a few tips:

  • Assume a leadership role and lead by example
  • Gain employee buy-in by making the training relevant to the job and focusing on the needs of your employees
  • Limit barriers to develop and secure employee participation — participation fosters ownership, improves credibility and encourages employees to become champions of the program

Whether you are just starting your business or planning for growth, implementing either a targeted or broader program to boost essential skills can help your business prosper.

To learn more about essential skills and to access helpful guides, checklists and worksheets, check out the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills' website.