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Essential Skills – Employers

Integrating essential skills programming into the workplace helps employers build an efficient, effective, and adaptable workforce that is ready to meet the demands of the 21st century workplace.

The following resources are meant to help employers understand essential skills, discover essential skills gaps, and implement solutions that help to prepare employees to meet the challenges of the future while achieving success in the present.

Understanding Literacy and Essential Skills in the Workplace

Investing in Essential Skills: Can Your Company Stay Ahead of the Learning Curve?

Workplace Literacy and Essential Skills: What will your Return-On-Investment be?

Don’t Think Essential Skills are Important? (Video):Essential skills are essential for building the workforce of the future. Invest in your workforce through undstanding how these skills are important to your workplace:

A Guide to Understanding Literacy & Essential Skills in the Workplace: Understand how today’s jobs are changing and how to embrace the needs of the future to maintain a workforce that is prepared and relevant.

Business Results through Essential Skills and Literacy: This guidebook and related workshop materials provide the context and practical information as workplaces prepare to meet challenges facing industries and sectors.

Issues in Workplace Skills Upgrading – an Educator’s Perspective: Issues facing workplaces are universal, but the solutions are unique to invidual situations. Discover the major issues and consider some of the solutions that have worked elsewhere.

Essential Skills in the Workplace: What’s in it for you? Finding and keeping workers with the knowledge and skills to get the job done is critical in today’s workplace. Without the right skills, your workplace may suffer.

Profiting from Literacy: Creating a Sustainable Workplace Literacy Program: This report provides information to help employers of all sizes create, imporve, and evelautation workplace literacy programs.

Literacy at Work: Information for Employers about Reading, Writing, and Math Skills (by Chandra McCann, Okanagan College): Find out what you can do to help your employees succeed and your business become profitable.

Integrating Workplace Essential Skills into Curricula: A Process Model: This manual, prepared by Alberta Wrokforce Essential Skills, outlines a six-step process model for integrating essential skills into a workplace training program curricula.

HRSDC Essential Skills Profiles

These profiles describe how workers in various occupations use each of the key essential skills. Each profile includes: a brief description of the occupation; examples of the taks that illustrate how workers use essential skills; and complexity ratings.

The profiles are available on Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s website.


Organizational Needs Assessment: Provides a framework for conducting a basic essential skills needs assessment for your workplace. Use this tool to help discover the gaps in essential skills and identify which skills may require updating.

Making the Connection: Effective Ways to Link Training Needs to Organizational Goals: Begin with developing an effective training needs assessment when building a workplace learning strategy that aligns with your organization’s strategies and goals.

Building a Better Workplace: Potential Survey Questions: Determine the training needed in your workplace to develop the essential skills on which to build employee and workplace success.

Hiring Checklist: This tool is designed to support employers’ hiring decisions. Discovering which essential skills a potential emplopyee brings to your workplace is important.

Workplace Survey: This tool helps employers identify potential essential skills issues and areas of strength in the workplace.

Workforce Retention

Job Enhancement and Essential Skills: This tool helps employers and practitioners support the development of essential skills in the workplace through job enhancement.

Training Activities: This tool is helps employers incorporate essential skills into workplace training in both formal and informal training scenarios.

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: Literacy’s Impact on Workplace Health and Safety: This report summarizes the results of a two-year research project that examined the impact of literacy skills on health and safety in the workplace.

The Canadian Workplace

Communication in the Canadian Workplace: Part One – The Interview (Video)

Communication in the Canadian Workplace: Part Two – Resolving Workplace Conflict (Video)

Essential Skills – Vocabulary Building Workbook: This workbook is designed to help improve vocabulary and includes words that are commonly used in the Canadian workplace.