Wednesday, 13 August 2014

How do you educate your employees?


A colleague of mine has just returned from our office in India. He was leading our sales office for six months and now is heading to another of our sales offices – this time in Hungary. After I asked him about his Indian experience, he told me that it was nice, but six months was enough. It made me think about my six-month stay in India some years ago; also visiting the sales office of our company.

It was actually just a few months after it was started there. But compared to my colleague's reason for being in India, mine was completely different – I was “criss-crossing” India with a backpack during my time off from work spent traveling around the world. And when somebody asks me what my favourite part of the world is, I say “Every country and culture is very unique and beautiful, but Nepal and India are my favourites”. When it comes to this “love or hate attitude” that most foreigners visiting this part of the world acquire, I am definitely on the “love” side.

Cultural differences


However, my experience was not related to working; it was a totally different story. My foreign working experience was in the USA, and coming from Europe, the cultural shock was obviously not as huge as going East. And this is where the real differences come to the surface in a very visible way. The “be on time and have everything planned” western way of thinking, the “Yes-No-Maybe” gesture to your question in India, “TIA – This is Africa” in Africa, the extreme politeness in East Asian countries while negotiating compared to the “let's get straight to business” mentality of the American way... The list could go on and on.

Our company has offices in Europe, UAE, India, Malaysia, Kenya, the United States and Jamaica and most of the employees are in contact with each other every day. Different nations with different customs and religions and, not to forget, while English is our official corporate language, all of our different accents sometimes create funny situations on both ends of the phone line during our sales briefs or conference calls. However, no matter what country we are from or what religion we have, it is mutual respect for each other that creates a good working atmosphere. Add in the possibilities for professional career growth on top of that, and we are looking at one stable international company with very low fluctuation of employees. And this is what every HR Manager can certainly be really happy about.

Learning and Development


But this is not the end of the story, of course. Besides a good working atmosphere and professional growth opportunities, there is another important thing every company should have in its “HR portfolio” – training and education of its employees. Some companies use specialized training departments, but many multinational companies have created corporate universities to further support the development and education of their employees. Some prominent corporate universities include Charles Schwab University, Disney University, General Electric's Crotonville, McDonald's Hamburger University, Motorola University, Oracle University and University of Toyota.

This new approach was designed to align a company’s training arm with the organization's vision and strategy. Corporate universities can range from a training department looking to brand its offerings to divisions of companies that offer accredited degree programs. Sometimes the focus of a corporate university is on making the outsourcing of training a core competence, while in other cases the training is developed by a team of learning professionals within the organization. Corporate universities offer a powerful model for learning that compels learners to grow and develop. Most importantly, they can have long-term positive effects on a company's financial health and stability. 

Recent advancements

There already have been many studies on how to create a working corporate university and different approaches might work for different companies. New models are being created and old models are being improved. Ever-important themes for discussions in connection with corporate universities, learning and development include:
  • alignment of the corporate culture to strategy and long-term vision
  • importance of and changes in the 70:20:10 and ADDIE models
  • the digital revolution in learning processes
  • and how to maintain a sustainable model of internal development and proactive training.

These are some of the topics we will be discussing during our upcoming webinar “Corporate Universities: Learning and Development” on November 19. What are the current hot topics you are currently addressing at your Corporate University?


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