Why is Workplace Proficiency important?
What could have gone wrong?
Have you considered that your school-leaver employees aren’t geared for the workplace? It is a common misconception that matriculants or school leavers are proficient in the workplace. However, this, unfortunately, is not the case in today’s working environment.
There are great reasons for this. Among these reasons, the poor quality of education and the technological advancement in today’s workplace seem to be the greatest contributors towards the divide between expectation and reality.
For instance, you ask your stock controller to do a stocktake but you discover that the numbers do not match the listed stock on hand. The problem you now face is determining where the error lies. Is it input error or is it human error [stock controller cannot calculate correctly]? Having your supervisor determine where this error lies now, will take up precious time that could probably be better spent.
Another good example would be if a foreman on a construction site asks the day labourer to plaster a wall, but this labourer cannot read and thus cannot tell the difference between concrete and plaster mix, it is also very likely that he cannot perform basic calculations and will not know the ratio of water to plaster mix. The effect will most probably be a waste of material and time.
Getting back to the point. It is foolish to assume that the matriculants you employ automatically are able to perform the necessary tasks your company requires.
In today’s workplace environment, it has become absolutely critical to have employees who are proficient in both cognitive and communication skills. To ignore this fact most certainly will be detrimental to the future of your company.
So what are the benefits of better workplace proficiency?
Communication assists with understanding.Improving your employees’ workplace communication proficiency is a great way to better the understanding needed both in giving, and completing of tasks or jobs. Imagine being able to entrust your vision to your employees and having the assurance that they understand and will implement it just as you would have. From your employees’ point of view, being able to understand the company, management goals and it’s aims, will instill in them a deeper trust and thus will make them less suspicious and far less likely to be influenced negatively.
Good communication allows for a harmonious working environment.The ability for people to communicate with each other and be understood is often underestimated. In the workplace, among co-workers, it leads to a more positive work environment because it eliminates much of the frustration found in environments where understanding is poor. Whenever there is tension among co-workers or the workplace it is usually because there is a lack of effective communication. Workers who feel like their needs are not met or are ignored outright, will probably feel disrespected and unappreciated. This will lead to a rise in tension and an increase in conflict. By improving employees’ workplace communication, conflict and tension may become the exception within a company and not the rule.
Certainty of a task inspires confidence in your workforce.There are many people employed today, that lacks the confidence and ability to effectively communicate with their co-workers. They are often misunderstood and perceived as being disinterested, disrespectful, or unfriendly. No matter which position you hold or which industry you are in, the skill to effectively communicate with everyone around you is of the utmost importance. With modern technology the need for effective communication has increased exponentially, the extent of being able to communicate and understand now do not just extend to other people but also to the tools used in the workplace. A worker who cannot read will not be able to perform basic tasks with a computerized system or will make, sometimes fatal mistakes even after being shown how to operate the equipment on numerous occasions.
Communication Proficiency in a few. How it benefits co-workers.Workers who have completed training in workplace communication and numeracy will inevitably share their knowledge with their fellows. In this way the benefits of training just a few workers could have a major positive effect on the rest of your workforce. Some employees struggle in a formal training environment and are much more accepting of learning from a co-worker directly. Your workers will become far more engaged at work, thus improving production and all but put a stop to safety incidents.
Better communication equals increased productivity.Workers who understand and share your company’s vision and the role they could play to make it a success, might offer alternatives or find inventive solutions to improve production and or product quality. This in turn improves your profit margins and lowers wastage of material and man-hours.
Let’s train for the right reasons
The good intent behind regulated skills development has become ambiguous and as a result, over-regulated. It has become so difficult to do the “right thing” that many companies now opt to not be involved at all. This is certainly understandable, but does it address the need of the employees from a practical perspective?
It is also true that our workforce is mostly made up of individuals who never matriculated for various social and economic reasons; people left school and entered the workforce, some of them functionally illiterate and therefore unable to progress in their workplace and in society. The need for workplace proficiency training among these members of the workforce is even greater.
It is within the power of companies, and also individuals with means, to make a massive and lasting change in the lives of their employees. In return, they not only gain trust and understanding, but also efficiency, gratitude, and loyalty.