Workplace Literacy and Numeracy training: the impact on your business

Workplace communications cycle of life

We take a broad definition of literacy and numeracy.

Literacy: The written and oral language used in life and work. This includes reading, writing, speaking, listening and communication. These skills are essential for good communication, critical thinking and problem-solving. Literacy includes building the skills to communicate (at work) for speakers of other languages.

Numeracy: The bridge between mathematics and real life. This includes the knowledge and skills needed to apply mathematics to everyday family and financial matters, work and community tasks.
Sometimes the impact on your business is quite clear. In manufacturing, for example, there is often a close link between literacy and numeracy and more efficient, lean practice. For service industries, the link may not be as transparent or as easily quantifiable but it is very much there. Here are some comments from managers about the effect of literacy and numeracy in their business context.

  • “My staff have to make complex decisions based on their understanding of our policies and what they have understood and articulate these effectively to our clients.”
  • “When investigating an incident, the first question I ask is how well the employee can read.”
  • “He’s a fantastic employee but his written work just doesn’t meet expectations.
  • “They are the frontline of our business and how they communicate with clients is a big factor in whether we keep those contracts in place.”
  • “We want people to take on further training and more responsibility at work but I’m not confident that they have the literacy skills in place to be successful with this.”
  • “Mistakes are costly and we need to avoid wasting time redoing work when misunderstandings have occurred.”

Have a look at our testimonials to see what employers say about the benefits of training.

The first step is understanding how developing skills will make a difference to your business. Once you have a clear idea of the business drivers and how these connect with your business’s goals and values, you can start building the case to put support in place. These early discussions are really important in shaping how a programme develops and getting buy in from board level to the shop floor. For your business, it is about …?

  • managing risk
  • raising productivity
  • promoting team work and engagement
  • supporting people to take on further training / promotion
  • building successful client relations
  • … other?

The Skills Highway website created by The Department of Labour has some useful background information and resources for employers. It is a great place to find out how similar businesses to yours are addressing these training issues. Click here to link to Skills Highway.

From here, we can look at building the business case for getting upskilling happening and developing a strategic response. Contact us on (09) 309 0615.