We all wish to be great. At least the high achievers among us. Sometimes painstakingly and physically sickening as it might be. We trod through academia expecting or maybe just assuming albeit confidently so that success in that world transcends into the world of work. Then few years later, unable to qualify for a mortgage, and several coffees that you genuinely don’t like later you realise you might have just called that one wrong.
With that said, one might wonder how zero out of 10 in an exam could have changed history, at least my iteration of it. While at university I was fortunate to observe two of the most knowledgeable and impressive minds in the most ‘out of character’ and contra academia packaging. I say contra academia simply because that packaging soon had to be updated to reflect the expected norm for a senior member of that niche community. But how refreshing it was to see an attempt to go against the grain and represent a type of thinking that existed outside of the walls that often produce academic zygotes.
It is at this point that I am left to think that maybe that type of brilliant mind may have given me zero on my exam script. Zero for postulating vehemently that training supports the organization, is critical to the retooling of employees, propels the organization past its competitors and sets up employees for individual and team rewards and recognition. Outside of quality sentence structure and the insertion of multisyllabic references and quoting scholars of the field, I would have scored little for accuracy. Maybe just maybe a mind that wandered a bit off of the beaten track would have written a red pen. “Nonsense. Clearly your lack of real world experience equally matched by insufficient reading has led to this unbalanced excuse of an argument”.
Maybe with that failing grade and my now ingrained desire to argue down to half marks to round off a 25 out of 25 would have led to a frank coaching session, lecturer to student. At that point, right in that moment, in that conversation would have been the conception of a better HR Manager. I would have learnt that training is often used as a quick fix, a panacea of sorts for organizational ills just trained away. Training is really just done to be in line with ‘best practice’ but as budgets are squeezed, there is sufficient reason to cut training because the value it serves is minimal to adding real value and returns to the organization. Best practice is a reasonable characteristic for cutting. One of the biggest answers that should have been on my script is that training is often used when a critical look at systems, policies and procedures would be too intensive a process and may politically send the wrong message.
I guess I’ll accept my grade but the lecturer can’t get off scot free. By now it suggests to me that training is really an investment in the organization but never in the curriculum was the concept of calculation of return on investment introduced discussed. I’m pretty certain that amidst my strategically placed afternoon naps I never saw the legacy of a formula for ROI calculation on the whiteboard. Maybe it’s not me. Or maybe it is. Maybe it was discussed in a classroom but I just picked the wrong one.
Submitted by Mr. Shane Howell, BSc (Hons), MSc
CEO Profiles Caribbean Inc.