In this article, we define what workforce readiness is and explain why it’s important when hiring new staff. We also explain how you can bolster the readiness of current employees. If you’re an employee yourself, you’ll find tips for how to improve your own workforce readiness.
What is workforce readiness?
Workforce readiness is the ability of an individual to be productive and effective as a member of society. Whether it’s getting a job, starting a family, buying a home, or continuing their education, workforce readiness ensures that people can move forward and progress in life.
You can tell someone has a high level of workforce readiness when they can do the following:
- Get a job, keep a job, and excel in their position
- Be independent in all aspects of their life
- Continue education without any hiccups
- Start a family with stability and knowledge of what’s ahead (which requires more than just workforce readiness)
When it comes to hiring, though, you may be more interested in specific soft skills or abilities. Try using a checklist to see if new recruits are workforce ready.
Why is it important?
Workforce readiness is important when staffing your business because you want to ensure you have employees that can be successful and work well with your team. Work readiness ensures a productive, successful life as well as a positive contribution to society.
Workforce readiness includes many different skills, such as literacy, numeracy, technology skills, and health knowledge. It is important to teach workforce readiness skills because if a person does not know how to read or write, for example, then they are unable to function well in society. This can lead them to become trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, which could have been avoided with the help of proper education.
In the same way, if an individual does not have health knowledge, they may be more likely to get sick. Then, when they get sick, they will be unable to work and contribute to society, which leads to a loss of income for that person and their family.
Work readiness helps both employees and employers by teaching people the skills they need to maintain a stable, productive life. This ensures that everyone can contribute to society in the best way possible.
How do employers build workforce readiness?
It’s not enough to teach workforce readiness skills only for new employees. Employers need to make sure they are promoting readiness in their current staff as well. Here are a few ways to do that as a manager:
- Offer work experience – Offering internships and other programs that allow employees to gain real-world work experiences is a good way to build workforce readiness, especially for students. These experiences will teach students what it means to work in the real world.
- Offer educational opportunities – Even if a person has the skills, they might not have access to other education or training that can improve their workforce readiness. Offering educational opportunities for employees is a good way to help your staff develop and succeed.
- Hold regular meetings – Good communication is key to a ready workforce. When employers meet with their team regularly, they can offer training and education, discuss skills and techniques for getting things done, and provide coaching opportunities to improve individual performance.
- Be supportive of employees’ personal lives – It is important to be supportive of your employees whether or not they are working. Being supportive of a person’s life outside of work is a good way to build workforce readiness. It enables employees to have a life that is balanced with their personal needs and professional goals.
Because times are always changing, it’s important that you also help your employees adapt.
There are many ways to support workforce readiness. You can teach your employees these skills or promote them at work. Some examples are listed below:
- Share articles on workforce readiness with employees via social media
- Host an event for staff members about it
- Invite guest speakers to talk about it at your company’s events
- Educate managers about how they should assess their employees’ workforce readiness through training and coaching
- Provide financial assistance for job seekers who want to learn more about workplace literacy
By improving your staff’s understanding of workforce readiness, you will not only help them achieve their professional goals but also enable them to contribute more fully to society. If your workforce struggles because of COVID, you may want to take extra steps to prepare for recovery.
Tip: Check out our article on ensuring a successful and ready workforce during and after COVID.
How do you improve your workforce readiness?
No “cookie-cutter” approach works for every organization and individual. However, when looking to improve your workforce readiness, areas to focus on include:
- Access to education and training – The more education and training a person has, the better. When looking for work, ask what sort of training opportunities are available for someone in your position.
- Preparing for employment and starting a career – Preparing for anything (a job interview, starting a family, etc.) is all about being prepared. The more you know and the better you can handle new situations, the better off you’ll be.
- Being comfortable with technology – Technology continues to change every day, and that includes how we communicate and get things done. If you’re not comfortable using computers or other technologies for communication and productivity, you will have a harder time getting ahead.
- A good work ethic – If you want to be successful in life, you need to have drive and dedication. Work ethic is the ability to complete tasks and not give up when times get tough. Employers appreciate employees who can roll with the punches and keep going.
Another way to check your readiness level is to grade yourself on this workforce readiness checklist. This will give you a good starting point for areas to work on.