When society ain’t so smrt, what does it mean to your talent pool?

homer 1I’ve talked about it before and I’ll talk about it again because I don’t think we’re beating a dead horse just yet – it may be time to include education as part of our organizations’ CSR strategy.  Now there’s more solid research to prove my point, thanks to the latest report from the Conference Board of Canada, “Western Canada – Productivity, Competitiveness, and Potential”.  I love it when I’m right…. 

In a previous post, I talked about how executives feel that in the future, the War for Talent will be more about a society lacking the right skills and not about an aging workforce.  Perhaps it’s time that Corporate Canada steps in to fill this gap, lest it rest on its laurels thinking that the government will address the problem. 

The Conference Board report states that labour productivity is determined by these key inputs:

  1. Global Forces
  2. Business and Policy Environments
  3. Innovation
  4. Investment
  5. Human Capital

It’s pretty intuitive that all these factors impact productivity and HR folks know that human capital has a large impact on productivity.  We don’t expect the job the be done well or customers to walk away satisfied unless we have the right employees on hand, doing the right thing, at the right time.

Although the Conference Board didn’t include an exhaustive list on how our workforce can become more productive, they did make it clear that university or apprenticeship completion rates are a strong predictor of future of productivity.  The crystal ball shows that our future talent pool isn’t particularly talented.  They reported that “the adult literacy skills of 4 in 10 working-age Canadians are inadequate” .  A few more insightful quotes from the Board: 

  • “Educated people not only make healthier life choices but also contribute disproportionately to business innovation, productivity, and national economic performance.”
  • The Canadian education system “lacks focus on work-based skills training and lifelong education that can be fostered outside traditional academic institutions”.

If you increase literacy skills, create systems to encourage the completion of university or trades programs, and increase training and education within the workplace, you’ll have a more innovative and competitive organization.  That’s the type of CSR work that sounds right up HR’s alley.


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