Corporate University

The corporate university is fast growing in popularity among companies aiming to boost performance with top quality executive development programs. A good corporate university is a key contributor to employee satisfaction and retention: it motivates them, supports their career goals and rewards them. The organization wins with a better overall working environment and by ensuring the right people are coming up the ranks into senior management roles.

Corporate training managers, tasked with establishing and/or running a corporate university, have an extremely challenging mandate. Where do you start, how do you keep going - what exactly does it take to guarantee a successful corporate university?

What you need

Here are a few key factors for a successful corporate university:

Organizational buy-in: A corporate university is a complex undertaking and organizational buy-in from the very top on down is absolutely vital. This ensures you get all the necessary resources and helps you gain the trust and enthusiasm of staff.

Vision: The overall vision for the corporate university must include a clear link between the whole corporate training package and the strategic business goals of the company.

Know-how: The corporate training team, particularly the Chief Learning Officer, need the right stuff. This includes:

  • Strong knowledge of the latest trends and techniques for high-impact executive education, including onsite (classes, workshops, symposia, etc.), e-learning and blended programming
  • The skills to integrate these techniques into management skills training
  • Full understanding of the internal and external environments that programs must train people for
  • A strategy to meet the management development needs of individuals as well as the company’s present and future management and leadership needs.

External partners: Companies extend their corporate university capacity by partnering with good business schools to offer a wider variety of programs in different ways. On top of that, your corporate training team members can keep their own knowledge sharp through top-level training at partner business schools.

Where to get it

So how can corporate learning professionals ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need for a successful corporate university?

Corporate training management programs: In addition to providing direct partnerships on program design and delivery, some business schools offer talent management training especially for learning managers. The best management training programs help learning managers to:

  • Assess the current corporate training offer (whether a corporate university or not)
  • Understand executive education in relation to business and strategy
  • Run the corporate university with a business approach
  • Know the latest developments in corporate learning, including how to leverage technology
  • Network with other learning leaders to share best practices
  • Learn to effectively market and brand the corporate university

Good business schools take it one step further, by offering team training for the corporate university managers. By training together, they gain stimulating team-building along with the critical knowledge and skills described above. They develop a cohesive language, strategy and approach. Put this all together and they have what it takes to establish and run a successful corporate university.

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