As the chief learning officer, you must be the driving force to push your company’s productivity to higher levels. To truly empower your organization, be proactive, not reactive. Follow this agenda and you will succeed:
- Include all your employees, not just the managers or professionals: Do not neglect the rank-and-file employees who truly determine your bottom-line success. Individual contributors are the ones who build customer relationships and put quality into your product or service. Employees get inconsistent messages as to their worth to the company, especially if training in areas such as quality assurance is targeted only for exempt employees, or only for those in certain departments.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel: Make sure your training adds to the knowledge that employees already have from their college training. (This includes both two-year and four-year graduates.) Company training that is low-level or just duplicates what employees already learned in college is a waste of time, money and resources. Any training that overlaps available formal college training should show insight into applications to company projects or should push the expertise to a higher level.
- Utilize those with two-year and four-year degrees: It is essential ensure that all managers understand the advanced level of graduates of two-year community colleges and technical institutes. Graduates of two-year associate degree programs have expertise that often overlaps with four-year graduates and should be treated as professionals in their own right. Two-year graduates must be targeted for the same training as four-year graduates, and be utilized and paid accordingly. For example, technicians have a level of theory and math that overlaps with engineers. Utilize associate-degree graduates to help design and implement your training programs. They might have valuable expertise in fields such as advanced manufacturing, quality control, computer-aided design and statistical process control.
- Incorporate local community colleges: Use local community colleges as an integral part of your corporate training strategy. Many community colleges provide regular and custom-designed short courses for corporate clients, sometimes even on-site. These include customer service, e-commerce, quality assurance, project management, technical writing, telecommunications and computer network technology. For example, the community colleges in the Dallas area offer advanced degree programs in telecommunications and semiconductor manufacturing technology. Joint partnerships between local industry and the community colleges can be key to your overall corporate training strategy.
- Your overall agenda must be coherent and unified, not piecemeal: Include all departments, and all levels and types of employees. Although specific training may be targeted for certain functions (such as marketing or manufacturing), all training objectives must be a part of a “top-down” design to be truly effective.
By following these steps, you—the CLO—will truly empower your enterprise to soar to new heights.Glen Spielbauer has more than 25 years in the electronics, semiconductor and robotics business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.