Corporate Universities: Where Employees Go Back to School… at Work
Many people continue their education at some point in their life, but how many of them do so while at the office? And no, I'm not talking about technical training for machinery or other job-specific tasks, but about people learning to do better at work, no matter what their job, and in their personal lives.
Training in the Marketing Industry
At PCMU (PostcardMania University) in Clearwater, FL, classes are in full swing. Only PCMU isn't a typical university; its students are its employees. PostcardMania, directed CEO Joy Gendusa, is one company that has joined the ranks that are all the rage-corporate universities.
PostcardMania University consists of two staff academies; one at its Corporate Headquarters and another at its Manufacturing Facility. The academy curriculum is based on the Hubbard Management System. The purpose for all students [employees] is to get the chance to become more competent employees who are better equipped to do their jobs and deal with customers. According to Gendusa, a nice byproduct seems to be happier employees who are confident in their job security.
Jorge Flores, the Supervisor over PCMU, says in any given week about twenty employees study in the academies. Amanda Ouellette, PostcardMania's Production Services Manager, was one of the first students out of the 160 employees to enroll at PCMU, and has found the study program beneficial – not just at work but in her personal life. She has been taking advantage of the classes steadily since February 2006.
“After doing the first course about how to study more effectively, I immediately started working on getting my GED, which is a major accomplishment for me. The training I've done has also absolutely helped me on the job. I started out as a Customer Service Representative and have been promoted up to Production Services Manager. I think to be successful in a company you need to keep an open mind and learn and continue to grow with the company and as a person,” stated Amanda.
Likewise, in a small town of slightly more than seven thousand people in Montana, PrintingForLess.com is reaping the rewards of its corporate training program. PFLU consists of an intense ten-week, full-salary introductory training curriculum for employees; and then nine additional weeks of on-the-job training.
Those who train at PFLU become Technical Service Representatives, the customers' main contact, dealing with everything from pre-press to sales. After graduating from this program, employees can also study in the once-monthly training sessions about various topics, or take up an independent subject that may help them at work such as Adobe Photoshop.
Everyone at PrintingForLess.com, from students to executives, profits from PFLU's curriculum making it a growing experience for all, including the customers. Marketing Manager, Daniel Gaugler, says the company definitely benefits, and then extends those benefits back to the employees.
“[Our training program] is pretty rewarding as a company. There is increased productivity-definitely. It's a double win: the company attracts great employees because of the training program and the company retains great employees.”
Brand Names Also Train
Corporate Universities (CUs) are a growing trend in companies. Corporate Universities are anything from a pumped up training department to a degree granting branch of major companies. Denise Hearn in her article 'Education in the Workplace: An Examination of Corporate University Models' cites these statistics: “In 1993, corporate universities existed in only 400 companies. In 2001, this number jumped to 2,000. This number is only expected to grow in the future. Although changes in the economy may alter that growth to some extent, this trend is still receiving attention from such companies as Walt Disney, Boeing, and Motorola.“1
According to Global Learning Resources, Inc. (www.glresources.com) corporate education has become a strategic function in the 21st century. They claim that in the best organizations, education is no longer the first to be cut back in a downturn. Rather, best-in-class corporate education is making a difference to the bottom line.
Good corporate education has an impact on:
Many of the United States' biggest companies and best-known names train their employees to some degree. McDonald's offers higher salary to those who complete training in their restaurants, with compensation directly related to the amount of responsibility an employee can competently take on after completing various levels of training.
Similarly, Checker's/Rally's, a fast-food chain based out of Tampa Florida, is very dedicated to helping their employees master on-the-job techniques. Indeed part of the mission statement declares “[…] to foster a culture where employees are well-trained and well rewarded and franchisees are supported in their endeavors to better the brand.”
Clearly “back to school” programs aka Corporate Universities are going to continue to grow in this country, to the benefit of all – including the economy. With the benefits that these corporations are experiencing from having their own on-site universities, they are eager to carry on their education-based employee programs well into the future.
Karla Jo Helms is a published author and the Vice President of Public Relations for PostcardMania. Since joining the PostcardMania team, she has expanded the company's prestige in the media world as well as helped to expand recognition for its philanthropic pro-bono division. PostcardMania, recognized as one of the nation's fastest-growing privately-owned businesses by Inc Magazine, is a full-service postcard direct mail marketing company. Services include graphic design, printing, highly-targeted mailing list acquisition and mailing services with FREE marketing advice. PostcardMania helps small businesses all over the country to expand through the use of direct mail marketing techniques.Visit their web site at www.postcardmania.com