Clif Bar doubles down on its commitment to self-directed learning
Clif Bar & Company believes in being a “different kind of company.” This same ethos has helped fuel its unique approach to self-directed learning: equipping employees with the right tools to take charge of their own development and growth.
Clif Bar’s learning and development team wanted to build a dynamic culture of learning. But doing so required overcoming a reliance on manual processes and a lack of centralized learning content. Thanks to the powerful combination of Cornerstone Learning and Cornerstone Content Anytime (CCA), Clif Bar brought “Epiphany Labs,” its learning hub, to life. And since then, it’s where all the learning magic happens.
Reinforced cultural synergy. “Cornerstone’s reputation as an employer really vibed with our culture,” expressed Jennifer Freitas, Clif Bar’s director of learning. While not a “result,” per se, this says a lot about the importance of cultural alignment in decision-making processes.
Improved learning strategy. “We focused purely on the mechanics of learning and less on building a holistic learning strategy,” said Freitas. “Now, we can focus on the ROI of delivering quality learning to our people.” The biggest benefit of a learning management system is the ability to scale learning to meet employees’ development needs while also being able to measure the impact of that strategy.
Strengthened leadership. “In 2020, we launched a new blended learning leadership program, called ‘Leader Trek,’” explained Freitas. Clif Bar used on-demand content from CCA to supplement its instructor-led training to offer a more flexible and comprehensive learning program, especially useful with people working from home during the pandemic.
Increased engagement. “A lot of new on-demand content comes with every Cornerstone Content Anytime quarterly update,” said Brandon Hodges, Clif Bar’s learning and development specialist. “And because the production quality of Cornerstone’s content is amazing, our people see real value in it and are coming back regularly for more.”
Supported remote learning. “I cannot imagine not having our learning hub during the pandemic,” expressed Freitas. “We used it for everything, from employee onboarding to leadership training to remote working seminars to stress management workshops.” This helped the company continue to support employees in a remote workforce environment.
Addressed evolving learning needs. “The pandemic has taught us a lot about how to address employee needs in a more thoughtful way,” explained Hodges. The most popular course titles in 2019 included “Use Stories to Engage Your Audience” and “What Makes a Good Story?” while in 2020, employees gravitated to “Watch Out for Burnout” and “Reduce Workplace Anxiety.”
Clif Bar is already devising new ways to amplify the company’s self-directed learning culture:
- Encouraging employees to leave ratings and feedback to the coursework Boosting completion rates for eLearning courses
- Creating closer alignment between on-demand content and live learning sessions
- Building learning journeys focused on developing greater skill agility
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Coats: Thread manufacturer helps employees sew their own career path
Coats is the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer. At home in more than 50 countries, Coats employs 19,000 people across six continents. Coats’ pioneering history and innovative culture ensure the company leads the way around the world: providing complementary and value added products and services to the apparel and footwear industries; applying innovative techniques to develop high technology Performance Materials threads and yarns in areas such as automotive, composites and fibre optics; and extending the crafts offer into new markets and online. Headquartered in the UK, Coats is a FTSE 250 listed company on the London Stock Exchange. It is the Official Thread Supplier to the Royal Shakespeare Company. Coats prides itself on its pioneering attitude and has a vision to provide employees with an environment that offers them growth to reach their maximum potential. In 2013, the company implemented Cornerstone Learning Management and Performance Management to help drive this vision forward and to modernise its way of doing compliance training. However, in 2016, internal feedback showed that more people sought developmental training too and Coats needed a solution. Why Cornerstone? Coats had been using Cornerstone’s solutions for several years with successful results in compliance and performance management, so it was a natural decision for it to want to make use of Cornerstone’s Learning Management platform more broadly. Around the same time, Cornerstone had also recently introduced its Content Services offering, which allows companies to have a one-stop shop for delivering content that’s carefully curated and from the world’s leading providers. Coats implemented Cornerstone’s Content Services offering in 2017 to complement its existing Cornerstone solutions, as it knew it would allow the company to deliver developmental training quickly and effectively. It wouldn’t require Coats to manually upload any content itself, which could have slowed down the process, and it liked that Cornerstone would manage the content updates too. Coats also knew that its people would need to be able to search for and filter learning content to find what they want, and Cornerstone’s Content Services platform would allow this and also enable it to create specific learning playlists for people to ‘follow’. The Results Global content bank: By implementing Cornerstone Content Services, Coats has enabled cross-country learning for its staff around the world. Its employees can now access more than 5,000 pieces of learning content, on a variety of subject areas and in up to 12 languages. Improved compliance and internal communication: Cornerstone Learning Management allows Coats to track and ensure that its workforce is compliant in essential areas such as anti-bribery, competition law, ethics, data protection, cyber security and more. Cornerstone Content Services is also helping the company provide further information and education on internal changes, such as through a new playlist on change management. Greater employee collaboration and productivity: Cornerstone Content Services is driving innovative ways of learning and greater employee collaboration among its workforce. After seeing the playlists on the platform, the Coats Digital and Technology team asked to create a playlist to answer frequently asked questions about its new service portals. This playlist meant the Digital and Technology team could direct employee queries to the playlist, allowing them more time to carry on with strategic tasks Enablement of self-directed learning: Through Cornerstone Content Services, Coats employees now have access to learning content from more than 30 learning content providers, including Skillsoft, Skillpill, CEGOS and Litmos Heroes. Employees can now take charge of their learning journey beyond just compliance, while Coats can also ensure talent readiness among its people and grow its leadership pipeline.
Transforming performance reviews in the face of massive disruption
Esquel Group implemented a continuous feedback system through check-ins, simplified performance reviews and ratings, and centralised learning for employees with Cornerstone OnDemand Esquel Group is a global textile and apparel manufacturer headquartered in Hong Kong. Founded in 1978, the business has continued to expand with leading textile innovation and producing garments for many of the world's top fashion brands. With around 35,000 employees globally, Esquel has manufacturing facilities located in China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and merchandising offices servicing markets worldwide. Responding to a rapidly changing world With its company heritage as a supplier to the retail clothing manufacturing industry for over 40 years, Esquel wanted to transform its operating model to address rapidly changing market conditions in the geopolitical and business environments. They wanted to break with traditional practices and focus on placing the employee at the center of their organisation, examining performance management processes which needed to more accurately align with their strategic goals.. "As digital transformation modernises the retail industry, we needed to deploy new systems to manage core HR processes and talent management," said Chapman Liu, HR Project Manager, Esquel Group. Similar to many organisations, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 had a significant impact on Esquel. With stores closed and production halted around the world in the early days of the pandemic, the company was forced to pivot operations quickly to address global demand for products such as face masks. Why Cornerstone? The effects of the pandemic also led Esquel to change its performance review process, as the roles and professional goals of thousands of employees changed virtually overnight. The company suddenly needed managers to have ongoing visibility into employee productivity, development and morale as well as ensure that employees understood workflow changes and their role in achieving company objectives. "We needed to share real-time insights about employee performance and skills gaps across the organisation to help the business become more agile at a critical time," said Liu. Esquel turned to the Cornerstone talent management solutions it implemented in 2017 and leveraged the Cornerstone Performance check-in feature to accelerate their transition to a continuous feedback model in only three months. The company also utilised Cornerstone Learning to centralise learning resources and make it easier to create development programs tailored to individuals or organisational skill gaps. As HR Project Manager Chapman Liu points out, "We were able to successfully transition from making shirts to making a difference with the commitment of our employees. Cornerstone's solutions allowed the HR department to support the massive changes that Esquel faced in 2020 and move forward with a structure that will help us provide valuable insights to improve how the business operates." The Results Annual review structure replaced by continuous check-ins. Cornerstone Performance enabled the company to stay connected with over 6,800 employees throughout the year, providing consistent feedback rather than just a yearly assessment. Since adopting this process, Esquel has reduced the timeframe of reviews to just three months and optimised its ratings system. By establishing regular, recorded check-ins, department leaders set clearer work goals and connected more frequently with employees when it was needed most. Cornerstone Performance empowered department heads to schedule informal catch-up sessions with subordinates, review work progress, and develop action plans. Check-ins that were saved in the system could then be used for more formal annual performance reviews. Clearer view of employee performance. Regular check-ins enabled department leaders to measure progress and provide guidance to help employees reach their goals. The company also gained a more comprehensive view of common employee development needs and skill gaps. Professional development planning simplified. Department leaders can adapt training plans to business needs, employee skills and any new processes deployed in the future. Performance management and development resources accessible on a central platform. Esquel's HR department can use Cornerstone's platform solution to monitor employee usage and unlock insights about performance to improve overall business operations. With Cornerstone Learning, Esquel can also create new review templates for all department leaders to use and provide training from a unified platform, which is crucial in the current environment.