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Corporate universities have many advantages over training departments and decentralized learning and development activities organized by different business units. The most commonly cited benefits include:
Strategic alignment with company goals. “The best corporate universities are strategic, mission-driven and designed to achieve specific business objectives,” says Mark Allen, Ph.D., editor of The Next Generation of Corporate Universities: Innovative Approaches for Developing People and Expanding Organizational Capabilities (Pfeiffer, 2007).
Employee recruitment, retention and engagement. Deloitte LLP’s corporate university has become “a tangible symbol,” says Bill Pelster, managing principal of talent development. “When we go to campuses to recruit, people can see what we’re talking about,” he says, adding that opportunities for learning and growth are credited for increasing employee engagement.
Consistent quality and message, especially globally. In 1993, Whirlpool Corp. created a corporate university to ensure global consistency in training. “The other advantage is our methodical approach to leadership development,” says Tammy Patrick, global director of Whirlpool University.
The author is a freelance writer and former HR generalist and trainer in Wixom, Mich.
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