The best known of the corporate universities is probably Hamburger University operated by McDonald’s. Hamburger University was opened in 1961 to train McDonald’s personnel about restaurant management. Hamburger University boasts more than 80,000 graduates. While this is not a university in the academic sense, it is an educational facility that teaches true vocational skills. With the advent of online education, more organizations are looking to create their corporate universities to save on training costs and promote workplace culture.
Steps to Creating a Corporate University
For a corporate university to be successful, there needs to be a lot of strategic planning involved.
- A governing body needs to be established to make decisions for the corporate university. These individuals will function like boards of a traditional university. They will be responsible for acquiring funding for the university as well as designing the university curricula. The board members should be ambitious individuals who are committed to building and maintaining the university.
- There needs to be a clear outline of the objectives of the university. Often these objectives can be derived from the organization’s vision and mission statements. The more focused the goals, the fewer people the university is likely to serve. However, if the objectives are too broad, it is unlikely that the university will be able to service the specific needs of the organization properly. There needs to be a balance.
- The governing body needs to determine who the stakeholders and target audience are for the curricula. Is the university intended for all employees or just senior management? Are there enough subject matter experts in the organization to assist with content creation?
- The next step is to determine how the needs of the audience will be met. In other words, how will the training be delivered? A smaller organization may want to create instructor-led training modules. A larger organization should consider scalable options like online learning. Consider the infrastructure and resources available to the organization at present and what it will take to bring it up to par for either option.
- Determine who will create the course content. Does the organization have enough training and development professionals to support content creation, or will they need to hire instructional designers?
Once these five issues have been worked out, the board can then communicate its plans to stakeholders and begin creating the curricula. The board members will need to continually evaluate their curricula against the original vision and mission, perhaps expanding them as the organization grows.
Branding Your Corporate University
Board members should also be sure that the course materials match the organization’s brand. In many cases, corporate university settings are a new employee’s first stop before entering an organization. This is an opportunity to get new employees acquainted with the organizations’ culture.
E-learning offers corporate universities the ability to brand their learning with their company themes, colors, and templates. Trakstar Learn is a learning management system that gives your organization full control over the style, branding, and content of your corporate university. It also offers learners and trainers the option to work on content from any mobile device. Request a demonstration of the Learn platform. See for yourself how easy the Learn LMS is to use.