Corporate universities Featured

6:21am EDT March 22, 2005
Mergers and acquisitions, marketplace changes and employee turnover often make business owners feel out of control when it comes to future profitability and growth. Textbook answers point to one major fact for surviving -- and thriving -- in today's mercurial environments: Be ready and able to move quickly and nimbly.

So when the inevitable changes appear, how can you be prepared?

One way is by making sure your work force -- from leadership to sales to production -- is ready with the knowledge and skills to move the company forward toward greater success.

To do so, consider a corporate university. A corporate university is a well-planned training and development initiative that addresses the organization's current issues and provides measurable results. Self-directed e-learning, traditional instructor-led classes, distance learning initiatives and on-site and off-site curriculum are developed with specific issues in mind.

Dennis Ulrich and Charles Mackey, executive directors at Tri-C's Corporate College, have worked on establishing corporate universities for American Greetings, Oswald Cos. and The Davey Tree Expert Co., among others. Ulrich offers the following suggestions for companies considering a corporate university solution.

1. Establish your objectives and goals. What's the purpose? What do you hope to accomplish?

2. What are the operational practices and guidelines that your organization needs to operate within? For example, who will manage the project? Will it be someone from the staff or will you use a consultant? What are the infrastructure requirements? Do you have the facilities and technology to run the university on site or will you need to investigate partnering with an outside organization?

3. How will you assess and measure the impact of the corporate university programs?

Source: Tri-C's Corporate College, 866.806.CORP, or