A friend of mine once told me a story about his days as a sports reporter:

“I looked through the viewfinder at the four impatient women staring at me. I asked again for their indulgence while I silently cursed the boss who thrust the brand-new camera at me and said, ‘Get a photo for the story you’re doing.’

“It was a fair enough request, since I did it all the time while working as a journalist, but that was back in the days of film cameras. This particular incident involved the very first digital camera I had ever seen, let alone tried to use while having people sitting there waiting, and waiting, for me to figure the silly thing out. Eventually I got a usable photo, but not without a great deal of frustration. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing!

“I kept thinking that if I had the right training, if I actually knew what I was doing, it would have been a simple, quick process ­– not the painful, drawn-out affair it became.

“On the heels of that debacle I was sent to a cover a major sporting competition with the same camera. It was less than useless for shooting action but I didn’t know that until I tried. I didn’t get a single sports action shot for my articles. My productivity from that event was severely diminished because I wasn’t trained how to compensate for the camera’s shortcomings.”

My friend isn’t alone in thinking that there’s a correlation between training and being more productive. Just look at some of the results from a recent Conference Board of Canada study. The study — Workplace Learning in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Effective Practices for Improving Productivity and Competitiveness— found that benefits of workplace learning for organizations include:

  • Increased output of products and services
  • Reduced time per task
  • Increased quality of work
  • Increased profitability and competitiveness
  • Improved ability to adapt and change

Benefits for the individual include:

  • Improved job-specific skills
  • Improved leadership and management skills
  • Improved technical/technological skills

It’s easy to see from these results how training could have helped my buddy. It’s also apparent that training can help anyone and everyone in the workplace.

Training – it’s a small investment with big returns.