Summary: Our next step in building a Corporate University is to determine resources. You must take into account the costs, staff needs, delivery systems, locations, and marketing before going to your executive team for funding.
You’ve taken the time to assess learning needs and possible delivery methods across the board, removing the “nice to know” and taking a hard look at the “need to know”. Now you must consider the resources you’ll need to make it all happen, not only from a cost perspective but also to paint a picture of how big the enterprise is going to be.
When it comes to staff, a Corporate University is a difficult proposition. It’s hard to know how many instructors you’ll need or how many people you’ll need to manage those groups. But it’s worth an estimate in the very beginning. Look at first things first: what is it going to take to develop and design all of the training? How much of your assessment indicates you’ll need e-learning designers and how much indicates you’ll need classroom or self-paced instructional designers? Typically, a combination of the two types of designers will create a flow between content and online development. You’ll also need a person to manage that group and its project flow. One way to make an estimate on this staff is to find a consultant who is willing to divulge how long it should take to create certain courses – and go from there.
Next, look at your classroom delivery needs. From the cost perspective, it is sometimes more feasible to pick instructors from the field, that is, those people who have a natural ability to coach or teach others. In addition, consider the possibility of rotating instructors – work out a deal with certain business units to use their key people for a week a month to teach classes if necessary. Will you need to regionalize your training based on the number of people who are not close to the corporate headquarters? This may also require more instructors in more areas. When you’re looking at instructors, think about the possibility of hiring experienced training professionals who can develop courses as well as teach them – this will save time and money.
What about delivery systems? How will people register for courses, look at the course catalogue, record grades, and take online courses? A Learning Management System (LMS) can help you do all of these things, but be sure to understand what you want to do with your LMS before you buy it. You don’t want to have to add features to the LMS as you go along because this can be quite costly. If you don’t need to customize, can you buy an LMS “off the shelf” or is your IT department skilled and staffed enough to build it themselves? Remember that an LMS is more than an online grade book – it can manage learning plans to keep job groups mobile, track required training, like compliance, and deliver online training to the most remote populations. In any case, you’ll also need someone to manage the LMS, so be sure to place that in your staff resources.
When it comes to training locations, you must look at the population. If most people in the organization are concentrated in one area, you obviously only need one training center. But if you have an organization that has a multiple location network, you’ll have to think about creating training space for those groups. First look at available space that the organization already owns or leases – corporate architects can do wonders with spaces and sometimes the cost may be less than leasing a new space. Do you want the training center to simply meet the need, or does it need to be a state-of-the-art facility? These are all considerations that you’ll need to make before moving forward.
Finally, think about marketing your University. Is the marketing of the University, its courses, and its benefits something that you and your staff can do on your own, or do you want to involve an internal marketing department? If your organization contracts its marketing to an outside firm, find out how to get a consultation on cost and time. Remember that you’ll want the marketing of the University to mix in with the overall marketing of the company, so be aware that you may have to develop logos, signage, color palettes, websites, etc, for any aspect of the University that faces your clients.
These are the major considerations when determining resources. If you look at all of these aspects, along with your needs assessment, you should be able to present an accurate cost-benefit analysis when you take the next step, obtaining buy-in.