i) To change careers.
ii) To "grow" within their chosen career.
iii) To start a company.
This made me wonder, what is it that these people are not getting at work that they choose to come to school for? I mean, it is a severe burden to work full time and go to school at the same time. Some could argue that it is for getting a certificate or a brand name. Through numerous discussion with my peers I have come to believe that most of these people are here to satisfy an intellectual curiosity.
This brings an interesting question to the fore - If this intellectual curiosity could be satisfied at work, how much value would it add to the corporation? The problem statement then becomes
How do the corporations channel the intellectual curiosity of their employees into productive outcomes for the company?
The success of the company/organization depends on collective learning. A wide variety of courses can be offered - from Finance to innovation management. It may be even possible to team up with some other companies to start a joint class/training session.
- Decide on a course offering for a semester (or a quarter).
- Schedule a regular class (say every other week) where employees can enroll by choice (not through management directive). They have to enroll for the entire course and not just one class.
- These classes should be led by experts within the company. For instance, Finance classes can be led by the Corporate Controller.
- The class will be graded by the peers (anonymously, if preferred) based on the quality of contribution to the class. For instance, a student can bring a real life case to be discussed.
- Greater co-operation and cross-functional participation as colleages spend time together discussing challenges and issues not directly related to their own functions. Hence, the functional agendas don't get in the way of an objective discussion. This will increase trust between the colleagues from different groups and make for a more cohesive organization.
- The performance doesn't have an impact on the job, salary or position. This allows the employees to be creative and inventive in their approach to solving problems.
- Since not all employees sign up for going to school, this allows broader workforce participation in learning and development.
- Find a small group of participants interested in developing a common skill (say communicatons/project management) set.
- Start by setting up a weekly lunch/after hours "class".
- Determine the value of the class and improvements required through peer feedback.