Building a Corporate University

Jul 15, 2014
Building a Corporate University

One of the major initiatives for corporations in 2014 is to create a Corporate University. Which means, that if this is a priority for your organization, you’ll want to understand the nine steps needed for building a successful Corporate University. However, before we jump in, we should first discuss what a Corporate University is.

Is it to combine all learning activities under one umbrella? Is it to create a “cool” name for activities that are already taking place? Or is it to be a member of the approximately 3700 Corporate Universities that are estimated to be in existence?

I don’t think so. According to Mark Allen in The Corporate University Handbook, a Corporate University is “an educational entity that is a strategic tool designed to assist its parent organization in achieving its mission by conducting activities that cultivate both individual and organizational learning, knowledge and wisdom.”

Simply put, it’s about developing employees to improve employee and organizational performance to achieve organizational results. If we use this definition as the backbone for creating a Corporate U, we can easily define nine steps for success.

Steps for Creating a Corporate University:

  1. Support
  2. Vision, Strategy, Goals
  3. Funding
  4. Audience
  5. Learning Needs by Audience
  6. Supplier Selection
  7. Technology
  8. Measurement
  9. Communication

Many organizations give their Corporate Universities clever names and create University logos. While this is encouraged to promote the University brand, it is not the starting point but rather comes at the end of the process.

However, if you can include these nine steps when you embark on creating a Corporate University, you will find your University to be more successful, and thus is better able to support the organization’s goals and strategy more effectively and efficiently.

Detailed steps can be found on our white papers page.