Customized programs tailor content to business needs
As the parent company to nine pest management companies (including Orkin) with more
than $1 billion…
(Jul 25, 2014) — As the parent company to nine pest management companies (including Orkin) with more
than $1 billion in revenues, Atlanta-based Rollins Inc. knows the value in strengthening leaders within the company.
Link To Articlehttp://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/print-edition/2014/07/25/customized-programs-tailor-content-to-business.html
That’s why, three years ago, Rollins hired Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business to help leaders and potential leaders hone
their skills as part of the Rollins Leadership Development Program.
Georgia State helped Rollins develop a customized executive education program specific
to the Rollins business and culture, according to Henry Anthony, Rollins vice president of human resources.
“This program is for multi-unit leaders who are performing at a very high level —
ones who are seen as having long-term, significant impact on our company — because
this is a significant investment,” Anthony said. “Through last year, 70 key leaders
from all our brands have completed the program. We wanted the participants to immediately
utilize the learnings from the program, so we put them into teams of four that were
assigned real work projects at the end of the program. Their research and recommendations
from these projects were presented at a later date to senior management, which provided
many very practical solutions to several key business issues.”
Rollins is one of many companies that have started looking to institutes of higher
learning to provide tailor-made professional education training for its employees.
Though some business schools and colleges have long provided customized versions of
their executive education programs, in the past five years those schools have increasingly
received requests by Atlanta-area companies to design specific programs for their
The programs are in high demand because they help a company develop the leadership
skills of its top talent while at the same time addressing real-work challenges and
opportunities, according to Dan Stotz, senior director of executive education for the Robinson College of Business.
“Custom executive development programs are popular because the company’s senior executives
and the university’s top professors work together to design and launch a program that
is a blend of several topics — such as strategy, leadership, and innovation — with
the intent of addressing strategic issues that are critical to the company’s future,”
The most common requests Robinson College receives are for custom programs around
the topics of leadership development, project management and Lean Six Sigma. Currently,
however, the hottest topic is business innovation, Stotz said.
“Companies are looking for ways to create new value for their customers while at the
same time developing a new competitive advantage in the marketplace,” Stotz said.
Custom programs are typically designed for employees who have been identified as “top
talent” — typically upper-level managers or vice presidents who will be playing a
key role in the company’s future. According to Stotz, typically 16 to 24 employees
participate in a company’s custom program with the client paying anywhere between
$5,000 and $7,000 per person for a four-day program with the cost varying depending
on the amount of customization required. In addition to Rollins Corp., Robinson College
has also provided custom executive education programming for the Atlanta Falcons, Cox Enterprises Inc., Regions Financial,MARTA and T-Mobile, to name a few.
More than 500 executives participate in Emory University executive education programs, many of whom come for more than one program session
over the course of the year, said Lisa Kaminski, associate dean of executive education at Emory’s Goizueta Business School. Though
nondisclosure agreements prevent Emory from sharing client names, Kaminski said 11
of Georgia’s 25 Fortune 1000 companies are clients of Emory Executive Education.
Clients/students pay anywhere from $1,995 per person for a two-day program to $5,995
per person for a four-day program, Kaminski said, adding that custom pricing is dependent
on many factors, including duration, number of participants, degree of content customization,
number of sessions and program location.
“We currently engage with our clients to run 20-30 custom programs in any given year,
ranging from three days to several weeks in length, depending on the client’s needs,”
Kaminski said. “In addition to these custom programs, we offer nine open enrollment
programs focusing in key business functions and leadership subjects. The subject matters
covered in our custom programs vary widely, as we work closely with our clients to
determine their precise needs and ensure that the content is custom for the specific
audience in the classroom.”
The reasons clients seek customized professional education business courses naturally
varies, said Michael S. Salvador, director of executive education programs for Kennesaw State University’s Michael J. Coles College of Business, which has been offering customized executive
education programming since 2009. However, there are generally a few common reasons
behind a request for the programs.
“As a result of the ongoing war for talent and the economic incentives associated
with long-term retention of their best-performing employees, organizations perceive
high value in targeted, customized mid-career educational investments,” Salvador said.
“[Also], many organizations are proactively engaged in strategic workforce development,
i.e., the programs they are asking us to develop and implement are uniquely tied to
a specific, funded strategic imperative. In addition, we are finding that many organizations
favor in-house or customized programs because proprietary content (e.g., financial
statements and strategic plans) can be introduced for more effectiveness; this, of
course, is not possible in a generic program offered to the public.”
The very nature of customized programs is to allow the strategic objectives and program
content design dictate the medium for the delivery of the material, Salvador said.
Therefore, some are full in-classroom, instructor-led courses while some may be fully
online programs. Many, however, are hybrids of both, he said.
Such is the case at Georgia State, where custom programs follow a “Play- Practice-Purpose”
instructional design platform, according to Stotz. Employees begin the process by
learning through play, an online experience, and then they go to the GSU Buckhead
Center classrooms to learn through practice in a real classroom experience. They then
learn through purpose — a field experience — where they work with a leadership or
innovation coach for a period of three to six months to use their new knowledge and
skills to complete a strategic project that is critical to the company’s future.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.