Training is out! Learning is in! The concept of the corporate university has taken over the reins in the corporate world. Don't miss these invaluable experiences from global giants like Motorola, Ford, Polaroid and General Motors. An exciting new feature in the Human Capital's series on "Benchmarking HR".
Wait till you convert a handful of raw data into ratios and percentages that can be tracked.L
earning organizations. When benchmarking the corporate university. Disneyworld and Dell are the rare examples. professional associations. and many are experimenting with instruction via computers. intranet. However. satellite and other delivery methods. trade magazines. The process needs an overdose of benchmarking.remaining competitive in the global village. The concept refers to a company's centrally managed umbrella of in-house or off-site training initiatives. the aim is to systematize training as a function. the role of the traditional university is changing too. Others operate in a virtual environment where learning materials are delivered electronically. maximise investment in employee education. Several companies are entering the education business to keep up with changing technology and demands from customers and employees. line managers. It would be killing not to make use of training metrics to measure your training function against those of other companies. Distance education is increasingly regarded as a
Several companies are entering the education business to keep up with changing technology and demands from customers and employees.. Its one thing to decide on launching a corporate university. Disneyworld and Dell are are seen as benchmarks in customer service training and computer education and are even preferred over traditional educational institutions as centres of learning. So. In the USA of the late eighties. Another reason is that companies want to take responsibility to develop the right educational experiences for people. The next step is analysis. As a natural corollary. intellectual capital. one could count about 300-400 companies who had invested in the concept of a corporate university. the term "virtual" does not imply learning delivered via electronic means only. but doing it with panache is not a cakewalk. the road is long and wide.. The list is endless. Employee development is taking on entirely new dimensions. in top companies across the globe. Particular emphasis must be placed on identifying performance gaps that exist within your organization and that of the 'best practice' organizations. In most cases. This is when the fun begins. his skills are being scrutinized like never before. you can move to the next step. Many related issues will
very important medium of instruction for the corporate university and the trend is growing. From this. Disney University and McDonald's Hamburger University are examples of corporate universities that have campuses in the traditional sense where employees can attend regular training classes. In fact. Best practice in benchmarking suggests that your first step should be to decide what to benchmark. And not surprisingly. identify the factors most critical to performance in your organization and identify specific units of measurement for them. Another reason is that companies want to take responsibility to develop the right educational experiences for their people rather than just passively sending them to continuing education programs. Most companies that launch a corporate university have rather simple objectives. so can I.
Benchmarking for the corporate university
The grass is always greener on the other side.. But the end result is always one . specially those who prefer to partner with universities in implementing employee development programs rather than make heavy investments on their own. About 40 percent of Fortune 500 firms offer training programs designed and delivered in-house for employees. or organizing of information. even product catalogs. The latest fever enveloping the training world is the 'corporate university'. There could be unlimited options here competitors. suppliers. or develop workforce employability. Metrics can help by allowing comparisons across organizations and industries. knowledge workers. i. annual reports. Each organization has its own specific needs. If he can do it. identifying benchmarking partners. Two thirds of companies with universities have classroom facilities.e. This is also where you need to concentrate on the presentation of your findings. There could be wider goals like driving change in the organization or propagating a desired cultural ethos. the training professional is under the microscope. that figure has multiplied four to five times. It is becoming more of a partner and consultant to corporations. Today. The hottest buzz words of today are opening up new avenues for HR to evolve as a multifaceted catalyst for business growth.
While the vast majority is conducted by internal staff. FTDC's annual operating budget is $10 million. UTC pays 100 percent for books and tuition upfront. an amount that jumps to $1 billion if time away from the job is included. Completion of individual development plans is keyed into individual bonuses. For a manager. Disney University is moving away from the idea of having one place for education.000 square feet. Ten percent of bonus is based on the employee's ability to get the training he needs. employees do not have to wait weeks to be reimbursed for education expenses. There is 'money-back' guarantee if the course does not achieve the promised objectives.
United Technologies Corporation (UTC) provides employees with a standard tuition reimbursement benefit. corporate services and a school of leadership that goes across all other disciplines. VU provides specific skills-building courses within each of these schools. Ford's goal is to provide the required training for every employee. The minimum number of training hours per employee is pegged at 40 hours annually. for a bachelor's. This figure can be as high as 120 hours for a single employee. FTDC offers more than 350 courses including general business. proves the Motorola University. master's degree or Ph. received by an employee at an accredited institution.
Volvo University is made up of five schools: sales and marketing. 5% of the bonus is based on making sure that his team gets the training they need. The long-term goal is to have university classrooms. employing 400 professional staff members. Employees have online access to IBM international technical conferences and even a bookstore. computer application and management development. As many as two-thirds of Ford employees (more than 100. technical. aftersales. Every new entrant spends the first two days on the job at a 'Disney Traditions' class.
. philosophy and concepts of quality guest service. The company also pays for half of all time off needed to attend classes. a profit center catering to business needs of various units. Disney University handles all skill-building and behavioural training. the company plans to deliver at least 30% to 40% of its training via technology. every year. skills-driven learning. In addition to orientation. The university is run as an independent business operation. Extensive Lotus Notes training modules. What's more.
Technology is the primary driver at IBM Global Campus. Employees are encouraged to use internal networks to develop professional relationships with 'dispersed mentors. Training is increasingly decentralized. Discipline-specific training is handled by HR managers. Size does matter. FDTC functions as a profit centre.D.
Disney University has come to be known as one of the most admired training organizations in the world. in support with the centralized training organization. Here. or satellite campuses.COMPANIES REINVENT LEARNING : BENCHMARKS
Motorola University is the most widely benchmarked corporate university in the world. Everyone in the company is required to submit a development plan. making it one of the largest training facilities in the world.000 employees) attend courses annually. The corporate intranet is used as a vehicle for just-in-time access to continuous. employees learn about the Disney history. Network-based learning is a critical part of that strategy. the company gives 50 shares of company stock. a $100 million global service business operating through 99 sites across 21 countries. Ford's worldwide headquarters for training is a state-of-theart complex occupying a massive area of 296. in every business unit. up to a maximum of three hours per week.'
The Fairlane Training and Development Center (FTDC). complete with tutorials and multimedia courseware are available online. technical. By 2002. some computer and technical training is outsourced.
Chick-fil-A is a restaurant chain. Courses are delivered through a Virtual Learning Centre using a high-tech. Now this is real learning. employees can take part in online discussions. The Leadership Institute has revamped Polaroid's training department completely.at their desks. and the emphasis is on delivering business-relevant education.000 in operating costs during 1997. marketing and finance. GMU plans to have working associations with functional colleges that will serve its global customers for their employees and business partners. any employee interested in leadership skills can enroll in the program. The Virtual Learning Centre. integrated process for all employees. Courses are distributed on diskette. Course information is emailed directly to all eligible employees. Training and development systems in the company focused on executive education and leadership development.
General Motors University (GMU) oversees training for 650. the corporate university has returned to its executive training roots. After six to eight months. reporting to the human resources department.
At Aetna. Shell has developed an organizational knowledge base in partnership with consulting major Arthur Andersen. Learning is a continuous. With the Virtual Learning Centre. The company has an inovative intranet program called The Shell Learning Center Knowledge Management System.leadership. The company largely uses inhouse professionals as faculty for its training programmes. Outsourcing allows for cost savings and more flexibility in scheduling classes. the company saved more than $900.
. business and engagement . user-friendly electronic system meant to make learning simple and direct. that has achieved milestones through its training initiatives.000 employees is designed and delivered training professionals within the strategic business units. As a first step in this direction. An important part of this is the Institute's Leadership Development Initiative.000 employees. Though mainly geared for supervisory levels. that allows employees access to corporate knowledge and information in three critical areas . Training has been decentralized. and updating training records are all done electronically. The Institute also acts as a cost center within the company. One way of identiftying training needs is through an annual seminar. Like most corporate universities. The courses taught in these colleges will be designed in close cooperation with operations people from General Motors.
The Polaroid's Leadership Institute offers a wide variety of courses ranging from conflict management to labor law and project management. there is a six week long orientation training that covers everything from Chick-fil-A values and culture to making its products. video and over the Internet. GMU combine instructor-led courses with distance learning opportunities and intranetbased training. Most formal learning for Aetna's 40. which are live at times. The training department uses outside vendors to provide the bulk of its stand-up training. CD-ROM. which offers a variety of courses over the Eli Lilly Virtual Information System (ELVIS). An employee can create his own training package tailored to his specific needs. For a fresh restaurant operator. a program aimed at providing leadership and development skills to Polaroid employees. More interestingly.COMPANIES REINVENT LEARNING : BENCHMARKS
The company's Global Learning Alliance is a process designed to allow employees uniform access to information and courses around the world. operators come back for advanced programs in various functional and self development areas such as leadership.
The Learning Center at Shell projects itself as a clearinghouse for best practices company-wide. Enrolling for courses. where front-line people are asked what they would like to see accomplished and where the company can improve.
In benchmark examples of the corporate university. Some organizations suggest the use of the name 'learning center' or 'institute' instead of university. catering to the organization's business needs would be an ultimate path to progress. they use poets and comedians to build courseware.mission. Critical here is the strategy used to report the results across the organization. corporate universities run as profit centers. Employees are encouraged to regard training as a stepping stone to career development and are rewarded for passing courses. H C
appear that go beyond mere training. v Encourage all individuals involved to commit themselves to the process. and the identification of opportunities for improvement. which are necessary to get the job done and strategic course contents. and it still works like magic. one finds traces of strong commitment of top management towards development of the workforce. too. designing a comprehensive. training courses. working closely with various business units and responding to their unique learning needs. Eventually the corporate university can become self-funding. in these companies.. but as for Saturn. At most corporates where the corporate university concept has succeeded. Leaders suggest that the corporate university should be allocated adequate resources for running the operation professionally. Motorola University works on the basis of structured learning system design. with the total training function under its umbrella. Business strategy is the key driver of all learning efforts. The audience of the corporate university must be the entire workforce. which will cover longterm goal setting. values and culture of the organization. the corporate university is a structure separate from the HR function.. They do not believe in universal ground rules. Functioning as an independent profit center. because learning systems extend beyond the narrow concept of training. Some of these would include aligning of learning experiences with company vision and goals. and measuring the value and impact of training. It makes a lot of sense. Courses reach out to wherever the organization is operating and expanding. which cover the whole spectrum of the workforce should be developed or outsourced to external trainers or institutions. In time. while training simply relates to effectiveness at one's individual role. v Drive benchmarking with perseverance. Now that is quite a bunch. It is equally important for the benchmarking team to consider the implications of the results. The realm of a learning centre is the
. Selection of vendors for outsourcing training delivery should be a careful process. partnering with local institutions and organizations. v Communicate goals and strategies to all. In most successful examples. linked to the needs of the target groups. performance-based curriculum. Initially the cost could be budgeted for at head office but in time the training costs can be recovered from the business units.
Coming down to the brasstacks
Strange how little things make the big difference. creating company-wide consistency in training initiatives. v Set up and maintain communication channels. courses are transportable via a variety of delivery modes. Experts recommend that the organization should determine the mix between tactical course contents. In fact. Best practice corporate universities are not afraid to experiment. v Define a realistic timetable and action plan. The generally accepted ratio is 20% strategic and 80% tactical. They are flexible enough to meet the needs of diverse groups operating in various countries. To drive benchmarking results across the goal line:
v Obtain full participation from management.