20 Feb UP Skills for Work Case Study: Friesens Corporation
This fall, 15 workplaces across Canada ran UP Skills for Work soft skills workshops with their employees through our Workplace Delivery pilot program. Friesens Corporation in Altona, Manitoba was one of them.
Friesens is Canada’s largest printer of hardcover books and includes school yearbooks among its products. In November 2018, a select group of workers from Friesens’ manufacturing team participated in UP Skills for Work workshops on Accountability, Teamwork, and Time Management, as well as an Introduction to soft skills workshop. The workshops were delivered by experienced facilitators from our local partner organization, Opportunities for Employment.
Friesens’ Staff Development Leader, Dana Bergman, points to the company’s longstanding commitment to a continuous improvement culture for its high level of employee engagement.
“Friesens uses a variety of training tools across our company to enhance our employees’ experience,” said Bergman. “There is no shortage of staff looking to improve their skills.”
For example, Bergman says that a significant number of new staff come from warm-weather climate countries. This necessitated an added lesson plan to existing in-house classes on how to dress in layers for the cold weather, avoid frostbite, and adjusting the thermostat at home.
Bergman further explains that Friesens employees each enjoy ownership in the company as part of their benefits plan and this contributes to everyone committing themselves to positive outcomes and training opportunities to bring them about. “It got participants to reflect on how what they do has an impact on others around them. It got them to commit to doing things differently and work beyond their silos to achieve success.”
Bergman speaks enthusiastically about Friesens’ partnership with ABC Life Literacy Canada to deliver additional in-house training.
“ABC’s UP Skills for Work pilot helped us fill a gap to improve important soft skills, particularly among manufacturing staff, that help us better meet our customers’ needs,” adds Bergman.
Bergman identified two key learnings that she thinks have stayed with her team since the UP Skills for Work workshops several months ago. First, participants learned to think more about how their behaviour affects others. Second, participants learned what they can do to be positive role models at work in regards to their accountability, time management, and teamwork skills.
Because of the pilot program’s success, Bergman hopes to continue to deliver UP Skills for Work soft skills training to her team at Friesens in 2019.
ABC Life Literacy Canada looks forward to continuing to collaborate with Friesens, and other forward-thinking employers in our workplace literacy efforts in 2019 and beyond.