Corporate Education: A Practical Guide to Effective Corporate Learning

Lindsay Ryan

First Published in 2010 by Griffin Press 168 Cross Keys Road Salisbury 5106 Australia Copyright © 2010 Lindsay Ryan All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher.

National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry Ryan, Lindsay Corporate Education: A Practical Guide to Effective Corporate Learning ISBN 9780646528120 Includes index. Bibliography Employees - - Training of - - Australia. Employer-supported education - - Australia. Vocational education - - Australia. Technical education - - Australia. 331.25920994

Cover design: Milestone Design

Preface Acknowledgements Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Introduction The Changing Corporate Workplace The Strategic Importance of Corporate Education Case Study: South Australia Police Adopting a Strategic Approach to Corporate Education Case Study: Textron Corporation v xi 1 16 33 58 65 86

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Developing a Corporate Education Learning 93 Culture Case Study: Parente Beard Pennsylvania 110 The Strategic Management of Corporate Education Programs Case Study: ETSA Utilities Delivering Corporate Education Programs Case Study: A Learning System for Corporate Education Corporate Universities Case Study: Woolworths Limited Measuring the Impact of Corporate Education Case Study: A Participant’s Perspective 115 134 143 165

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

172 189 197 218

Chapter 9

Chapter 10 Corporate Partnerships with Universities and Education Providers Chapter 11 Reviewing Your Organisation‟s Corporate Education References Index



Preface The Global Financial Crisis has had a swift and significant impact on many organisations and their standard mode of operating. As a result, many of the traditional approaches to business operations are changing, including learning and development. Much of the learning and development in organisations has been ad hoc and centred on the development of employees as individuals. However, many chief executives and senior managers are starting to look at corporate education and training from a different perspective. In particular, many are now investigating their organisation‟s expenditure and seeking ways to improve the return on investment from corporate training. Many are also starting to recognise the strategic role corporate education and training can have in their organisation and the impact the learning and development has on their organisation and not just on individual employees. The purpose of this book is to provide chief executives, senior managers, line managers, human resource managers, chief learning officers and training managers with practical information and relevant cases studies to assist them to better understand the role and potential of corporate education and training. The book draws on my 20+ years in the design, delivery, coordination and management of corporate education and training and reflects my passion, experience, observations and research of effective corporate education and training programs and strategies. I use the term „corporate education‟ as an overarching term to reflect the growing strategic importance of corporate education and training. When approached from a strategic perspective, corporate education has the potential to transform an organisation and facilitate the development of a distinct competitive edge for an organisation in an increasingly competitive global business environment. Not only is corporate

education a means for an organisation to develop the knowledge, skills and capability of employees but also the depth, culture, capability and capacity of an organisation. Chapter One, the Introduction, discusses the growing importance for organisations to adopt a strategic approach to their corporate education and training. The chapter presents a definition of the difference between corporate education and corporate training in order to encourage a more holistic and strategic approach to corporate learning and development, with an emphasis on developing organisation capability. This compares to the traditional approach by organisations where training is a predominately competence-based activity. Although corporate training continues to evolve in its role and methods used, there is still a tendency for training to be treated as a series of events and a tick-the-box exercise. The term „corporate education‟ is used to elevate the importance of corporate learning as a strategic and continuous activity that should encompass every employee in an organisation. Chapter Two explores the growing importance of corporate education and employee learning and development from the perspective of the changing corporate workplace. The discussion briefly considers the different generations now in the workforce and some of the characteristics of the different generations that can influence their approach to corporate learning. The chapter also discusses the ageing workforce and the implications this will have on workforce planning and the growing imperative for corporate learning. Chapter Three discusses the strategic importance of corporate education as an investment rather than being treated as a business expense. Instead of organisations approaching corporate training as a function undertaken by necessity, corporate education adds a new dimension of thinking to employee learning and development with benefit to both the organisation and the individual participants. This chapter also explores some of the outcomes reported by organisations that

have adopted a strategic approach to their corporate education, including: greater employee retention and attraction, more effective succession planning, enhanced knowledge management and facilitating innovation in an organisation. Chapter Four introduces the Corporate Education „Iceberg‟ model as a means of contextualising formal corporate education and training (above the water-line) blending with informal and workplace learning (below the water-line). The discussion in this chapter centres on the need for organisations to develop a strategic approach to their corporate education and a number of strategies and suggestions are provided to assist organisations engage and involve employees at all levels to participate in corporate learning and development. In particular, this chapter highlights the importance for all corporate education and training to align with the corporate goals of an organisation and for these goals to cascade through the different levels of an organisation to the respective learning and development goals by departments and individuals. Chapter Five discusses the importance of developing a corporate education learning culture as organisations continue to play an increasing role in the lifelong learning of their employees. This chapter also explores a number of factors that are essential in developing and sustaining an effective corporate education program, especially the role of managers, from the chief executive to senior managers and an employee‟s line manager. Chapter Six looks at the strategic management of corporate education and the elements that contribute to the successful development, implementation, coordination and management of corporate education and training programs. The chapter suggests mapping learning strategies in an organisation and using a matrix to identify the types of learning programs required for different discipline areas and different operating levels in an organisation. The discussion also considers the importance of identifying and consulting with key stakeholders

during the planning and development stage for a corporate education program. Chapter Seven discusses many of the practical issues involved in delivering corporate education programs from the perspective of: who, what, when, where, how and, importantly, why. Program delivery options are also considered, including face-to-face, online and blended learning approaches as well as the importance of blending formal learning with informal and workplace learning. In addition, the chapter presents some learning tools, techniques and resources that organisations can use in the delivery of their corporate education programs. Chapter Eight draws on global research of corporate universities to assist organisations make an informed decision on the role and feasibility for investing in establishing a corporate university as a means of developing, delivering, coordinating and managing its in-house corporate education, training and development programs. The chapter provides background information on the history and growth of corporate universities, a definition of corporate universities and an overview of the role of corporate universities. The discussion outlines some of the benefits as well as some of the shortcomings of corporate universities. Chapter Nine looks at issues associated with measuring the impact of corporate education and includes discussion on Kirkpatrick‟s Four Level Model and Phillip‟s ROI method. As well, the chapter presents some guidelines for organisations to consider when measuring their corporate education programs and encourages organisations to use a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures. In addition, employees should be encouraged to assess their own performance regarding their approach to learning and the impact of the learning on their performance. Chapter Ten recognises that organisations rarely have the resources to develop and deliver all their corporate education

and training programs in-house. This chapter explores corporate education partnerships with universities and education providers and provides guidelines for planning and selecting a corporate education provider. In particular, the chapter explores a number of factors identified from global research that are vital for transforming the arrangement from a customer-supplier situation to a corporate education partnership. Factors discussed include: senior management commitment, developing trust and openness in the arrangement, having a shared vision and clear goals for the corporate education program and the role of regular communication between the organisation and its education provider/s. Chapter Eleven draws on many of the topics and key points covered in the book to provide a framework for undertaking a comprehensive and systematic review of an organisation‟s corporate education. The chapter includes a template for analysing the demographic profile of the workforce, with an emphasis on the education and training qualifications of employees. The corporate education review includes both quantitative and qualitative questions for assessing an organisation‟s strategic approach and performance in corporate education. In addition to the eleven chapters there are seven case studies that provide further insight into the application of corporate education and training in a number of organisations. The intention of the case studies is to highlight and demonstrate the relevance and application of corporate education and training in different contexts. The case studies include a police/community safety organisation, a commercial conglomerate, a professional services firm, a utility and a national retail chain. There are also two case studies that provide an insight from a participant‟s perspective of their experience in a corporate education program and the observations of an associate on the elements of an effective learning framework based on their observations and experience

in working intimately with a number of major organisations in diverse geographical regions.



The purpose of this book is to assist organisations develop their understanding of the concept of corporate education and the often untapped potential that corporate education can have on the culture and performance of an organisation. Managed from a strategic perspective, corporate education can be deployed as a means of identifying and guiding the future development of an organisation and ensuring an organisation has the people and depth of capability it needs to achieve sustainable business success. Corporate education can also be used as a source of fresh ideas and innovation to assist an organisation to continually evolve and maintain relevance to its market, as well as identify new customers and market opportunities by harnessing the knowledge, skills and capabilities of employees. Corporate education is emerging as one of the most influential, dynamic and effective means for an organisation to: Retain existing employees; Attract new employees; Develop the capability of the organisation; Develop the skills and capabilities of employees; Actively engage employees with the organisation; Build cooperation and collaboration among employees; Build and/or reinforce the culture of the organisation; Facilitate innovation: new products, new services, new markets and/or new channels to market. It is intended for this book to be a practical guide for chief executives, senior managers, organisation development managers and human resource managers by providing insight, thoughts, ideas, examples and understanding of the potential for corporate education in their organisation. The idea and content for this book emerged from global research undertaken during the development of my PhD thesis on the strategic management of university-corporate education partnerships. This research is combined with over 20 years experience and observations of effective corporate education programs in

Corporate Education: A Practical Guide to Effective Corporate Learning

leading and successful organisations. My experience also includes over seven years as the head of the corporate education unit of a major Australian university. In this chapter we will define the difference between corporate education and corporate training, distinguish between competence and capability and discuss a number of workplace issues that make corporate education a growing imperative for virtually all organisations. Defining The Difference Between Corporate Education and Corporate Training It is important to clarify what is meant by the term „corporate education‟ as most organisations tend to think of corporate education as corporate training. Corporate training programs are often competency based and usually related to the essential training employees need in order to operate certain equipment or perform selected tasks in a competent, safe and effective manner. The focus of corporate training is on developing the competence of employees to be able to do things effectively and, ideally, efficiently. The outcome of a corporate training program is a participant who is either able to operate a piece of equipment or perform a specific task, or not, according to predetermined training criteria. If the trainer assesses the participant as being competent, the participant usually receives a certificate confirming their compliance with predetermined criteria. The primary role of corporate training is to ensure an employee has the knowledge and skills to undertake a specific function for an organisation to continue operating. Fundamentally, corporate training is centred on knowledge transfer, with an instructor teaching or demonstrating how to undertake a particular function and the student learning and demonstrating they can apply what is known to assist an organisation to maintain a functional operation. Corporate education, however, adds another dimension and depth to training by involving learners as participants in


the generation of new knowledge that assists an organisation to develop and evolve, rather than maintain the status quo. Corporate education focuses on developing the capability of an organisation to be able to do things and, in particular, the right things in order to be a sustainable and successful organisation. In the future, organisations need to assume the majority of their leaders and development will come from within the organisation, rather than from external sources. This will occur due to the shrinking pool of skilled people and growing competition for suitably qualified, experienced and skilled employees. When organisations do appoint leaders from external sources their role will most likely be that of change agents. Corporate education involves a facilitator, rather than an instructor or trainer, to engage participants and encourage them to think about the what, how and why of what they are doing and to challenge their current paradigms. In particular, corporate education is centred on introducing learning techniques for employees to think about where their organisation is heading, potential new opportunities for the organisation and new and better ways of doing things. While the role of corporate training is to develop the operational competency of individuals, the intent of corporate education is to promote the development of capability of both an individual and their organisation. The following diagram, Figure 1.1, demonstrates the distinction between corporate training and corporate education. The circle represents the total corporate knowledge within an organisation. The horizontal arrow represents the role of corporate training in reinforcing and maintaining the skills and competence of employees. The organisation continues to move forward, often with more employees undertaking the prescribed corporate training programs or employees undertaking training at the next level of competence. Complementing the horizontal arrow is the rising arrow that represents the role of corporate education in raising the level of thinking in an organisation,

Corporate Education: A Practical Guide to Effective Corporate Learning

challenging traditional approaches, exploring new ideas and developing new knowledge. In this diagram, while both arrows start from a common base, over time corporate education evolves new knowledge, thinking and learning within an organisation that expands the amount of knowledge contained within an organisation. In the growing „knowledge economy‟ this new knowledge can be a significant asset and a vital source of new business opportunities and intellectual capital for organisations.
Corporate Education: Develop and evolve knowledge and corporate capability. Corporate Training: Reinforce and maintain skills and competence.

Corporate Knowledge

Figure 1.1 Corporate Education Vs Training Obviously an organisation needs a combination of both corporate training and corporate education. Corporate training ensures an organisation can maintain its existing operational performance and effectiveness. Corporate education is the means of harnessing the knowledge, skills and capabilities of employees to assist an organisation to grow and evolve and, occasionally, to take considered, quantum steps in its development. Competence Vs Capability Another way of thinking about corporate training versus corporate education is in the context of competency and capability. The vast majority of corporate training programs are centred on developing the competency of employees.


Competency is the ability to perform an activity well, and consistently, that is at the core of an organisation‟s competitiveness and viability. By comparison, corporate education is centred on developing the capability of employees. Capability reflects the combination of resources, skills, learning and experience that enables an organisation to operate proficiently and with an advantage over competitors. Organisation capabilities are the fundamental building blocks for developing competencies. A simple example of competence versus capability is the activity of driving a car. Most people are familiar with the process of obtaining a driver‟s license, which usually requires completing a written examination of their knowledge of the road rules and then demonstrating their competence of being able to drive by undertaking a practical driving test under the watchful eye of a driving examiner. To demonstrate competence, an individual would need to ensure they can drive and steer the vehicle, comply with road speed limits, use appropriate indicators when turning or changing lanes and are alert to other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians as they undertake their journey. The capability dimension with this example includes the above skills as well as the knowledge, experience and skills to recognise the challenges of driving in different situations. There is a difference between driving in daylight compared to night driving and driving on a fine sunny day compared to overcast wet conditions. Different driving skills are required when driving in a metropolitan area compared to an open road or country area, as well as on a dirt road compared to a bitumen road. In addition, the preparation for driving to a country area is likely to be different to that for a metropolitan trip, perhaps including checking oil and water levels and tyre pressures before starting the journey. In this example, capability means a person having learnt either through trial and error, perhaps a mishap with their car or

Corporate Education: A Practical Guide to Effective Corporate Learning

a breakdown in an awkward location, or through an advanced driving program providing practical information and guidance on different types of driving situations and driving hazards. The person‟s knowledge, skills and experience informs them to think about the type of driving journey they are about to undertake and to make the appropriate preparation and, when necessary, relevant defensive action to prevent an accident or other misadventure with their driving. The real difference between competence and capability becomes apparent when operating in an environment of certainty and uncertainty. An organisation draws on its competence in known or certain business environments by using proven and familiar processes. However, an organisation harnesses its capabilities in order to respond in an effective manner to unknown or uncertain business situations and environments by drawing on the resources, learning and knowledge of the organisation. Given the expansion of globalisation, new technologies that leapfrog predecessors, increasing levels of competition in virtually every industry, as well as the growing global competition for skilled workers, this creates a challenging and uncertain scenario for managers and leaders and highlights the need for organisations to approach their corporate education, training and development strategically. I have been involved in the development and customised delivery of countless corporate education programs in a diverse range of corporate settings and found each organisation has its own distinct requirements and learning outcomes for their corporate education and training programs. Each organisation is unique and the role of their corporate education program depends on the strategic priorities of each individual organisation. For example, over the years I have observed corporate education playing an integral role in the strategic development of organisations in such aspects as: Building management and leadership capability;


Succession planning; Identifying future leaders and testing their capabilities in different projects and settings; Establishing a minimum and consistent level of capability at a senior management level; Facilitating innovation: generating new ideas in products, services, markets, distribution and channels to markets, as well as time-to-market for new products and services; Building corporate culture; Bringing senior managers from multiple global operations together to facilitate greater collaboration across the organisation. Engaging Employees Corporate education can act as a stimulus for engaging employees with their organisation. Research by Gallup (2006) investigating the effect employee engagement has on teamlevel innovation and customer service delivery had some disturbing revelations. The research explored employee responses to a range of factors related to innovation to see which of the factors differed more noticeably between employees who were engaged and those who were not engaged. The findings indicated that only 29 percent of employees were engaged with their employment. Another 56 percent of employees were not engaged, while 15 percent were actively disengaged, unhappy and actively spreading their discontent to fellow employees. The Gallup research identified three types of employees: Type 1 – Engaged employees who work with passion and feel a profound connection to their organisation. These employees drive innovation and contribute to moving the organisation forward. Type 2 – Not-Engaged employees who essentially “checked-out” and are sleepwalking through their workday, putting-in time, but not energy or passion, into their work.

Corporate Education: A Practical Guide to Effective Corporate Learning

Type 3 – Actively Disengaged employees who are not just unhappy at work, but actually busy acting out their unhappiness. These employees undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish. Based on the research findings, if a typical organisation has only just over a quarter of employees actually engaged in their work, the first priority should be to ensure it does not lose the engagement of those employees. The next step is to try to increase the number of employees engaged with the organisation, that is, try and engage some of the 56 percent of employees who are not engaged. Corporate education can play an integral role in reaching out to employees and making a positive contribution to engaging them with the organisation, their work and colleagues. Gone are the days when managers are the only ones who have ideas and all the other workers clock-on and leave their thinking and intelligence at the front gate. Corporate education is a means of involving employees in their organisation, directly seeking their input, helping them to understand the challenges the organisation is facing, as well as potential opportunities, and encouraging them to contribute ideas through discussions in corporate education programs and virtual learning formats. Ideally, corporate education should provide a non-threatening environment in which employees are free to suggest ideas, discuss various ideas, contribute their thoughts and think out loud without fear of repercussion or their ideas being subject to judgment and dismissal on the spot. The implication here is for organisations to seek ways of involving employees in various activities that contribute to engaging employees with their organisation. This can include providing employees with a sense of control over their workplace by giving them the flexibility and autonomy to make day-to-day operating decisions that impact on them. Consulting with employees before major decisions are made is another way of demonstrating respect for employees and valuing their input. The more employees feel their work and


ideas are valued, the more they feel engaged with the organisation. An additional benefit for their organisation is the development of an environment that nurtures open innovation, where employees contribute ideas to the organisation and make suggestions for developing new products, services, processes and possibly new markets for the organisation to consider. Promote From Within Another means of engaging employees is to demonstrate opportunities for career development and progression from within their organisation, rather than regularly advertising positions and appointing people from outside the organisation. In fact, organisations that do not promote suitably qualified and experienced employees from within send a message that it prefers to explore the market place to see if there are any external candidates who might be better than any internal candidates. There is also a strong possibility the organisation lacks depth in its ranks or underestimates the potential of their employees. This can have a negative impact on morale, employee engagement and the perception employees have of their organisation and influence their view that the only road to career progression is outside the organisation. Needless to say, upwardly mobile employees start to see their current employer as just another paragraph in their CV. A 2006 study by Booz Allen Hamilton found that 57 percent of departing chief executives were replaced by internal candidates (BRW, 2007). While this is a commendable figure, what is more interesting is that internally promoted chief executives in Australia created, on average, a 21 percent shareholder return compared with 17 percent created by chief executives appointed from outside the organisation. It would be reasonable to suggest this performance would be similar for many other employees promoted to more senior roles within organisations. For a start, people promoted within an organisation already know the culture and aspirations of their organisation and are likely to already have an understanding of the requirements and expectations of a particular role before

Corporate Education: A Practical Guide to Effective Corporate Learning

they even apply for it. This means, appointees successfully promoted to a new position do not have to spend time getting to know the organisation, the values, culture and political environment, the position and everything that entails, as well as products, markets and key customers. Therefore, employees promoted from within their organisation can usually hit-theground-running considerably faster than an externally appointed person. Anecdotal feedback also indicates that internally promoted employees tend to be more loyal as they appreciate the opportunity their employer has provided in giving them a chance to demonstrate their capabilities at a higher level. As such, they are usually determined to demonstrate to their employer that the right appointment has been made and they are the right person for the job. Another benefit is that many internally promoted employees do not see the opportunity as just another career progression on their CV which they can use as leverage when they apply for their next position in 2-3 years time. This means greater stability in the leadership of the organisation and consistency in decision-making, which often produces stronger financial performance for an organisation over the short, medium and longer-term in contrast with a short-to-medium term focus by those treating the position as a stepping-stone to their next career advancement. Global Integration The shrinking labour pool and growing competition for skilled, qualified employees is not restricted to just one country or region, but is a growing global issue. This is a reflection of how the world is changing and the increasing interconnectedness of countries and businesses. I first became aware of the growing inter-connectedness of the world in 2006 while attending a conference in the United States. While discussing recent issues, challenges and developments of the time with fellow delegates at the conference, I started to relate that what I had been experiencing


in Australia was somewhere around 10-14 days behind what my colleagues had been experiencing in the United States and Canada. This new age of inter-connectedness is largely facilitated through the continuing developments in information and telecommunications technologies. However, it highlights the need for organisations, regardless of where they are located, to have employees with knowledge, skills and capabilities consistent with their global standards and expectations. Every business, even a small corner shop or a taxi cab, is affected by developments and competition emerging on a global basis. While they operate on a localised basis, they are affected by the growing number of franchise outlets and systems that are often part of global networks. I have ridden in a taxi that resembles a technology-connected office-on-wheels. While driving me to an airport, the driver was also organising a pick-up two hours ahead as well as his first pick-up the following morning through two mobile phones and a computer booking facility. This global inter-connectedness highlights an even greater need for organisations to manage and plan their workforce. This has particular importance in regard to workforce demographics so as to be able to have employees across the age spectrum and not distorted towards an aged workforce, as well as having a workforce that is skilled, capable, flexible and adaptable to changes and opportunities in the business environment. Increasingly, corporate education is becoming an investment, not a cost, to ensure an organisation has a workforce with the knowledge and skills to survive and compete while evolving the capability of the organisation to meet and even anticipate future threats and opportunities for the organisation. Age and Learning There is emerging research and experience that highlights age is not, and should not be, a barrier to people learning and

Corporate Education: A Practical Guide to Effective Corporate Learning

having the opportunity to participate in corporate education, training and development programs. Some managers and executives have the view that spending money on training older employees is a waste of time and resources. Anecdotal research among some human resources managers finds that for many older workers seeking training their request has only around a fifty percent chance of being approved once they reach 45 years of age. Once workers turn 50 years of age the chance of having their request for training approved tends to drop to around 20 percent likelihood of being supported. However with skills shortages now occurring in many industries, perhaps these managers will reconsider the untapped potential of mature employees. Alternately, as these managers and executives start to get older they might have a different view and consider corporate education and training programs to help them evolve their knowledge and skills and remain relevant to their organisation. Mature workers accumulate considerable knowledge and skills in their lifetime in the workforce. However, the growing use of new technologies, new processes and new ways of operating can often leapfrog ahead of employees if they do not receive regular training and development to keep them current. Age is irrelevant as long as employees of every age are provided with the opportunity to learn and apply their new knowledge and skills. Every employee should have a tailored development program aligned with their performance management that identifies their learning and development needs and provides structure to ensure they receive the appropriate learning program. Corporate education programs, regular training, information update sessions, workplace challenges and special projects can stretch, develop and evolve the knowledge and skills of employees, regardless of age. Employees also respond well to having a new skill or concept demonstrated to them and then giving them the opportunity to practice and apply what they learn. Studies also find that once mature employees grasp and understand what they are learning,


they tend to retain information better than many of their younger work colleagues. Another benefit of retaining and maintaining mature workers is their above average commitment to their employer and their work ethic. Research finds older workers often have the lowest levels of absenteeism among the demographic profile of an organisation‟s workforce. Individual Learning Styles It is important to recognise that each employee is different and their approach to effective learning and development is also different. Organisations tend to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to corporate training and development, especially with the move to online learning during recent years. Online learning, and other digital learning media, provide considerable flexibility for supporting the learning and development of employees, but need to be seen as tools to aid learning and not the corporate education solution. Online delivery of corporate education programs can provide greater access to learning for employees and the breadth of content and embedded resources and links can be enormous. However, some employees take time to adjust to non-traditional learning and a blended approach that combines online with face-to-face learning, supported by other learning infrastructure such as a mentor, can help employees to expand the options for effective learning available to them. Therefore, when working with employees to construct their individual development plans, each employee‟s particular learning style and preferences needs to be considered in the context of the organisation‟s strategic development plan. Learner-Driven Program Content Traditionally corporate education and training has involved a group of employees attending a class and receiving instruction or participating in a facilitated session led by an instructor or

Corporate Education: A Practical Guide to Effective Corporate Learning

lecturer. This approach assumed that the session presenter was a topic specialist who had greater knowledge and skills on a particular subject than the program participants. This traditional approach is rapidly changing. The amount of knowledge and the pace at which business, markets, technology and our understanding of business concepts continues to evolve is gathering momentum. It is impossible to be a master of everything, even in a well-defined area of business. Technology is also allowing people to access information at anytime from any source that has posted information on the web. The information may not always be totally accurate but it does expand the breadth of information readily available on a particular topic. This highlights the importance of assisting employees to develop their skills to search for information, to be discerning and question the validity, credibility, reliability and source of the information they access rather than accept the information as given. Having gathered new information and knowledge based on their workplace and life experience, as well as from other sources such as industry publications and a network of industry and social contacts, employees increasingly are being encouraged to contribute and share that knowledge with their fellow employees. This is leading to greater learner-driven content in corporate education, training and development programs. Encouraging learner-generated content in corporate education programs has the benefit of ensuring the content is up-to-date as well as engaging employees in the learning process as employees learn, in a structured manner, from their colleagues. This can give the corporate education program content more relevance to the employees‟ workplace in contrast to standard off-the-shelf programs with generic content. Employees participating in developing and contributing to the content of corporate education programs


increases the level of „ownership‟ of the learning experience, both for the person contributing as well as those receiving the program content. Having employees contributing to the content of programs can help in developing employees with a depth of knowledge and expertise in certain areas as well as assist with knowledge sharing and retention within organisations. Summary There are already some organisations that have discovered the potential of adopting a strategic approach to corporate education. Looking beyond the surface at the performance of successful organisations, large, medium and small, there is a strong likelihood you will find a higher than average commitment to corporate education, training and development of their employees. As each organisation is unique, so too is the purpose of their corporate education program. The role of corporate education ranges from providing a means of identifying future leaders and facilitating leadership development, to assisting with succession planning and developing, evolving or reinforcing the culture of an organisation. However, a consistent outcome corporate education delivers in virtually all organisations is the development of organisational capability. A key issue for organisations that do not embrace corporate education and the learning and development of their employees will be the increasing difficulty to attract and retain good employees. Instead employees will be attracted to organisations where they have the opportunity to learn and continue to develop their skills and knowledge. In the next chapter we will look at some of the global issues impacting on industry and adding to the imperative for organisations to adopt a strategic approach to corporate education, training and development.

Corporate Education: A Practical Guide to Effective Corporate Learning

This material is an excerpt from the book Corporate Education: A Practical Guide to Effective Corporate Learning by Lindsay Ryan

Published by Griffin Press Copyright © 2010 Lindsay Ryan ISBN 9780646528120

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