From New York to North Africa: Crotonville Trains GE’s Future Leaders

From New York to North Africa: Crotonville Trains GE’s Future Leaders

April 03, 2014 at 12:04pm

Search the Internet for “Crotonville,” and you will find that it is a small quiet suburban village not too far from New York City, nestled in the Hudson River Valley. But for GE, “Crotonville” embodies a fundamental company ethos that believes continual, high-quality employee training and development is central to the organization’s success.

Within the company, Crotonville is the informal name for the John F. Welch Leadership Center at Crotonville – the company’s leadership training university that was founded in 1956 as the world’s first major corporate university. The 59-acre main campus hosts thousands of GE employees and customers each year. Thousands more attend Crotonville leadership courses around the world.

As part of a major new initiative for GE in North Africa, the company is, for the first time, bringing more than 15 Crotonville training courses to the region, particularly Algeria and Egypt.

Nibal Tantawy, HR Leader for North Africa, explains that the courses will support GE’s activities in the region, which will see a year of execution and customer intensity, thereby placing a premium on employee skills development and talent management. “Bringing Crotonville courses closer in North Africa is a step forward in helping employees build their own development plans,” she says.

GE employees will now be able to attend in the following courses New Employee Orientation, Leading in a Matrixed Organization, Inclusive Leaders Workshop, Hiring the Right People, Influence Skills, Presentation Skills and Change Acceleration Process.

Among those providing these trainings is Richard Berry, a professional trainer for more than 15 years, including eight years of teaching many these Crotonville courses to GE employees across the Middle East, Africa, Turkey and Eastern Europe.

In early March, Berry led the ‘Leading in a Matrixed Organization’ course to a group of GE employees in Egypt “there are a lot of young, curious and talent in MENAT, and that for me is always a breath of fresh air. The culture and challenges of this region are also interesting,” he says.

He notes that the ongoing training and development of employees is so important to GE because the Crotonville courses “give GE leaders and employees the time to learn and reflect on their own skills and how to improve.” Participants and their supervisors also know the value of these courses, which are “designed specifically to help participants take what they have learned and immediately implement it on their projects and with colleagues and customers.”

Supervisors also have a role in maximizing the value of the courses, Richard says. “The best thing that leaders can do is make a personal effort to reach out to each of their people who have received training – particularly those who have taken leadership training courses – and continuously engage with them to put what they have learned into action.”

With the initiative to bring Crotonville courses to North Africa, Richard says this can have a positive multiplier effect because when training is brought to where people work, “employees see that learning at GE is something organic and close to them. Seeing classes happening close to you allows you to overhear discussions and see the trainings happening. This makes them more available in the eyes of employees and deepens their drive to join in this ongoing learning experience.”

Course participant Yasser Elbadawy, who works in Power Generation Services, Middle East and Africa, GE, appreciated the convenience of having the training in “our own office,” adding that the close-to-home location provided a “good opportunity to network with people from other businesses.”

GE supports human capital and leadership development across the region. For more on these activities, click here.

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