By Natanya Rutstein
If the purpose of your corporate university (CU) is to leverage its vast strategic potential as opposed to merely addressing operational and functional training needs, there are three foundational elements which should be firmly in place before you even think of beginning. They are:
- 1 – A Clear Mission and StrategyFirst, you must understand the purpose(s) for which the CU is to be established. Armed with the knowledge of your ”raison d’étre” you will be well-positioned to deliver on your mandate. Your mission and strategy should be formulated together with top management and aligned to the overall organisational strategic plan. This in turn must be clearly communicated throughout the organisation and understood by all. A carefully thought through business case and marketing strategy will ensure that you achieve this. Regular review and re-alignment is then essential to remain relevant and sustain your contribution to the attainment of organisational strategic objectives.
2 – Solid Governance Structures
Due consideration must then be given to a suitable system of governance that will create the link to key stakeholders and decision-makers within the organisation. The ideal governance structure is one where the top executive and the next level of senior leaders work together with the Chief Learning Officer to craft the CU’s vision for developing a competitive advantage through the development of employee knowledge and skills. Be careful not to fall into the trap of selecting the board members based on their perceived stature and level of support. Rather, make your selection based on the level of the candidate’s industry knowledge, experience, networking capability and creative input that he/she can bring to the table.
3 – Align Learning Paths
The strategic capability of a CU is further strengthened through the alignment of all programmes, tools and facilities with customised learning paths. These learning paths are a reflection of the relevant competencies and skills required for each job and the different functional areas within the company and promote the blending, sequencing, and pacing of all learning activities. The learning journey of each employee can then be individualised to reflect their preferred mode of learning and to provide the right training at the right time for the right people. At McDonalds Hamburger University, learning paths and curricula have been developed for different jobs and levels of management, each one building on the required level of knowledge and skills.
The Talent Hub is Learning Paths International’s partner in South Africa and can assist you to use their methodology to build your learning paths.