While many colleges and universities offer non-credit programs, professional development sessions, and employee training courses, few have made them profitable. The cost to recruit students is high and many institutions don’t have strategies to turn one-off enrollments into repeat enrollments.
Target mid-level employees, not executives
Partnerships with local employers for training courses has long been a strategy of the University of Delaware Lerner College of Business. Most business schools focus on executive education in pursuit of the revenue and prestige associated with serving high-level executives. But University of Delaware administrators made a conscious decision to serve employees at the mid-level. While they don’t offer the same high-level visibility within an organization as executives, they provide a long-term opportunity to serve employees continuously throughout their emerging professional development—not just at the apex of their careers.
Personalized, executive-style coaching key to re-enrollment
For the Lerner College of Business, emulating the personalization of executive coaching is the key to turn a potential one-off training session into repeat enrollments. All training proposals offered by the Lerner College of Business come with embedded personal coaching, a perk previously reserved for executives. While employers can balk at the initial price point, they remain interested to invest in career coaching from one of the institution’s faculty experts. Mid-level employees value the experience so highly that their employers often see a boost in performance as a return on their coaching investment.
Following the training engagements, employees universally rank their personalized coaching sessions as the most valuable portion of the experience. Employers, who noted the benefits to productivity and workplace engagement for their management staff, begin to see coaching not as an expensive line-item in their training contract but rather a must-have element of their management development.
The Lerner College of Business found that 70% of repeat training engagements requested additional coaching in subsequent engagements. Not only did the personalized experience retain training customers, those repeat engagements included coaching, perhaps the most profitable form of training for the institution.
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