There has been a lot of discussion lately about decent work, and what that looks like for both employers and employees. Employers are trying to figure out how to recruit and retain staff, and employees are looking for jobs that don’t just pay the bills, which is on the forefront of most people’s minds, but also fulfills their life goals. A recent article in the Financial Post by Candy Ho, chair of the board of directors of CERIC, advocated for businesses to “partner with career development professionals to improve employee engagement and retention and connect to untapped talent pools.”
When I think about my grandfather’s career journey, this was a normal practice at the time for him and many others in the Greatest Generation. As a new graduate, he entered the front door of Confederation Life in Toronto, and worked there until his retirement in the mid 1980s, working his way through different departments, sometimes laterally, sometimes up the latter. I realize there are so many factors at play that gave him the ability to do so, and that isn’t a reality today, but good employers are realizing that they can’t afford to not invest in proactive career development and career management for their staff.
-Brad Whitehorn, Associate Director
Our colleagues at EdITS, publishers of the CAPS (Career Ability Placement Survey) share with us a case study where an employer took the fairly straightforward step of having their staff take an assessment to help identify their training needs. The CAPS is traditionally used for career exploration and vocational rehab, but it works perfectly in a career development setting.
The Bellwood assembly plant, of Borg-Warner Automotive Inc., administered the Career Ability Placement Survey (CAPS) to measure job success and identify work-related areas that need improvement. The CAPS measures eight cognitive dimensions: Mechanical Reasoning, Spatial Relations, Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Ability, Language Usage, Word Knowledge, Perceptual Speed and Accuracy, and Manual Speed and Dexterity.
Employees in most industries are required to adapt to new technology and must be trained in a variety of tasks that may extend outside their formal role, or job description. For this purpose, the CAPS functions as an efficient and comprehensive training and development tool for Human Resources.
The Life Skills program was developed to provide employees with help in basic skill attainment, such that a strong foundation could be established in order to increase their capacity to learn new skills more quickly. This was seen as a critical component of the company’s strategic learning initiative, designed to increase their ability to adapt to changing market conditions by leveraging their human resource capabilities.
All employees who were eligible for a promotion take the CAPS. Reading and basic math skills were emphasized because the trainers believed that improvement in these areas would positively influence performance related outcomes, as well as improve trainees’ personal lives.