Increasingly, organizations are realizing the power of making their employees a partner instead of merely a subject in development. Let’s not pretend that it’s easy — this shift in thinking requires overhauling content libraries to be more consumer-grade, adjusting company policies to adopt continuous performance conversations and more. But there is one step that is an important gap: how to deal with the expectations for growth and reward.
More recent generations have brought a marked shift from merely wanting to be satisfied in their work to an attitude for continual development and growth. Gen Z and Millennials see their roles as opportunities for development. What do they do when they don’t feel challenged and rewarded? They leave because the mere act of moving to a new company presents more opportunity for growth in itself than looking to the available development resources at a company.
Understandably, hiring firms have been exasperated since this requires more than just updating your talent management system or changing the frequency of check-ins. This means actually changing the way that work is done. The good news is, technology can step in to help build the important partnership to harness and unify the energy of employees and the organization to drive meaningful development.
Decomposing and decentralizing growth opportunities
The opportunity to develop through work has been inhibited to some extent by the definition of work itself. Roles have been built to be very static: you have a list of responsibilities, key tasks, skills, relationships and key performance indicators housed underneath a title. In many cases, the opportunity to actually practice, demonstrate and perfect these aspects are often limited to actually advancing into that role. But what if we broke up the role and allowed development-hungry employees the opportunity to shadow, practice, and assist in completing tasks as a means to grow?
New technologies like talent marketplaces or career exploration tools promise to do just that. These tools are essentially recruiting tools turned toward employees to allow them to explore where they can take their experience and skillsets. However, it’s important to recognize not all employees define progression the same way. Some employees define progress as moving into new roles and some see progress in incremental growth whether large spurts or small. The bottom line is we won’t solve the problem in maintaining the development of employees if we just dress up old tools for internal promotion in new facades — we must provide continuous, iterative growth opportunities.
To create this type of structure, providing feedback and further growth opportunities can’t only be managed by talent management teams alone. The model just wouldn’t scale. Managers, SMEs and other leaders in the organization are key in engaging and developing the workforce along this continuous path. However, they need to be equipped with tools to have structured conversations, content to help build their own coaching abilities and ways to prescribe development resources to employees. Again, skills come in here to help identify people with high aptitudes, connect them with workers who want to develop and focus their efforts meaningfully.
Development in the flow
We’ve already discussed learning in the flow of work, but it’s time to introduce its close cousin, Development in the Flow of Work. The market has many options for productivity tools, many of which monitor tasks. There’s immense potential here to capture meaningful, timely feedback on defined tasks (which again can be tied directly to our backbone of skills).
Let’s unpack this. Imagine if you are working on a project with a team and you deliver a milestone. The completion of the task in the project management system prompts an email to your team to provide you a quick rating and feedback. A handful of teammates provide feedback that your work was high quality, but you could have done more to minimize risk in completing the milestone. That data is now available for a development conversation with your manager, personalization of your development in your talent management system and a recommendation of new tasks you can take on to practice.
Sure, there are considerations to make this consistently meaningful and useful, but the underlying principle is there is an opportunity to deliver feedback as close to the time of performance as possible to help encourage additional growth. But also, the matrixed nature of work almost requires it. Managers have poorer and poorer visibility as individual contributors work with more and more teams. The manager needs better, more timely data to also assess fairly and coach meaningfully.
Safe spaces to practice
Technology is perhaps most promising in enabling more close-to-live opportunities to practice. When considering the employee experience, it’s important to think about how employees can practice, experiment and innovate on their work in places that are safe to fail. For instance, video practice tools are abundant in the market with the ability to practice privately, with a manager or with a team. Exemplary videos can be maintained in a library to teach others about new concepts or techniques.
Even the implications of more emergent technologies aren’t fully understood. Many mistake virtual reality as just another modality of content. They aren’t completely wrong on that front — but they also don’t understand the massive amount of data generated in a single 10-minute VR session makes it a prime assessment and practice tool. One particularly interesting, but heart-wrenching, VR scenario available in the market is learning about how to fire a direct report. In the scenario, the direct report reacts to your talk track, and even cries with certain lines. This practice scenario is difficult to simulate but is critical to get right in real-world situations.
Combining these technologies with hackathon-style formats can also be powerful. The concept of setting aside a week or so for teams to self-form and develop entrepreneurial concepts within the context of an existing company has rapidly permeated tech engineering in software companies. But what’s stopping, say, a marketing organization to do the same? To experiment with the thought of how to do work differently, employ new skills, use new technologies, develop cheap prototypes and pitch ideas to a “panel of VCs.” Members of each team can experience new roles for a week, practice new responsibilities and maybe even discover new passions. Oh yeah, and they can get feedback through Development in the Flow and plan their future development.
Why these criteria
The focus of Human Capital Management (HCM) technology in its early days was to scale existing top-down operations. In the meantime, the nature of work has dramatically shifted, and tech has failed to keep up, especially in how to capture the inherent energies of employees to develop themselves.
To meet the immense challenges of preparing for the rapidly transforming nature of work, employees need to also own and have resources to prepare themselves. With the organization involved to help shape that energy in a meaningful way, there’s less waste with ineffective content or misguided efforts. The hope of a promotion isn’t enough anymore, the new generations of the workforce have said that loud and clear. A carefully constructed set of footholds will help keep employees engaged, retained and growing.
This post originally appeared on Toolbox HR.
Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.
Citadele: Investing in a culture of learning and individual performance management
Citadele Group is an innovative, full-service financial group for both private individuals and companies. The Group offers a complete portfolio of banking, financial and private capital management services in the Baltic states. Citadele’s mission is to provide more opportunities to its clients by redefining modern banking – it aims to change the meaning of current financial business with innovations and an outstanding client experience beyond the formal frame. With the goal of becoming the Baltic banking champion, Citadele offers multiple career paths and a variety of professional development opportunities for all its employees. Our new path towards ambitious and modern goals also demands a change within our employees’ learning and performance tracking model. Improved tools and solutions are needed to streamline Citadele’s employee progression processes across 37 offices. Why Cornerstone? Recognising that employees are its most valuable asset, Citadele made sure that employees are the top priority in the process of change. Bearing this in mind, Citadele had three key requirements during the search for its talent management solution: the system needed to be easy-to-use; it needed to have the option to involve employees in individual goal-setting; and it needed to track feedback on an ongoing basis and provide tracking for necessary compliance training. The system also needed to feature engaging and motivating content to help Citadele boost talent retention rates. After considering 20 other vendors, Citadele chose Cornerstone OnDemand as it ticked all the required boxes in terms of being both an established SaaS platform and a well-developed system that adhered to all of Citadele’s needs. After considering 20 other vendors, Citadele chose Cornerstone OnDemand as it ticked all the required boxes in terms of being both an established SaaS platform and a well-developed system that adhered to all of Citadele’s needs. The Results Increased productivity. Since implementing Cornerstone Performance, Citadele has seen an improvement in its employees’ performance. The simplified goal-setting, monitoring and continuous feedback system means that employees feel more confident and more motivated at work. That in turn has led to increased productivity levels. According to Citadele’s recent feedback survey, more than 95% of employees expressed satisfaction with the system. Streamlined performance processes. Before Cornerstone, all records regarding employees’ career, training, obligatory certifications and performance appraisals had to be integrated manually. With Cornerstone Performance, managers now receive detailed analytics at the click of a button, meaning that employee goals, training activities and tracking have become optimised and tailored to employees’ needs. Enhanced employer reputation. Citadele strives for the status of best employer in the Baltic region. Partnering with Cornerstone has helped Citadele to attract and retain even more talent in the industry Full compliance visibility. Compliance training was one of the key requirements for Citadele. Since implementing the Cornerstone e-learning module, the company is now confident that all its employees have the necessary training to meet the industry’s compliance requirements. Citadele is also able to successfully track completions in order to meet deadlines. Motivation and passion for learning. Implementing Cornerstone Performance has helped Citadele to significantly raise the ambition and motivation of its employees. Necessary changes in individual performance management have pushed Citadele forward regarding its learning culture. Since then, the company has selected Cornerstone’s e-learning as its next module, in addition to the already launched Cornerstone’s Performance Appraisal System. This will allow each employee to choose their most convenient way to learn, integrating learning into their everyday work.
Announcing the Convergence 2021 featured speakers: Dan Levy and Malala Yousafzai
We’re counting down the days to Cornerstone Convergence 2021. Get ready to join over 20,000 talent professionals on November 16-17 from the comfort of your laptop at this 100% virtual and completely free event. There’s so much to look forward to at this year’s event, but we’re especially excited to announce this year's special guest speakers, Dan Levy and Malala Yousafzai! Levy is an Emmy® Award-winning writer, actor, director and producer best known for his work on Schitt’s Creek. And Malala is the Co-Founder of Malala Fund, a recent Oxford graduate and a Nobel Prize laureate. To get you even more excited, here are two previews of their can't-miss Convergence sessions. Meeting the Moment with Dan Levy We give rise to our greatest work when we embrace the strengths that lie in our individuality and build a shared vision for something better. Join this session to hear Dan Levy share his personal journey of using creativity to overcome obstacles and Meet the Moment. Register to see Dan Levy A Moment with Malala What does it take to move forward in the face of adversity? To pursue a higher purpose, in spite of targeted violent backlash? When Pakistani education activist, Malala Yousafzai was just 15 she learned the answers to these questions as she recovered from an assassination attempt by the Taliban. Join this session to hear Malala share her story of personal resilience and collective purpose in driving global education for girls everywhere. Register to see Malala Even more excitement at Convergence 2021 The next year of work will be all about turning change into opportunities for everyone. Check out a sneak preview of just a few Convergence speakers and informative breakout sessions. Bold Thinkers Dealing with Microaggressions and Healing from Workplace Trauma – Featuring Minda Harts, CEO of The Memo LLC More Bold Thinker sessions led by Jason Lauritsen, Laurie Ruettimann, David Wilson, Josh Bersin and others. Customer Spotlights Delivering skills-first careers powered by AI – From Deutsche Post DHL and Alstom More strategies, tips and advice from the Cornerstone and Saba community in our Customer Spotlight track, featuring Dell Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, Nespresso, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and more. The Content Channel The World Premiere of Seat at the Table – A Cornerstone Original Series Other sessions focused on leading innovations in learning content from top providers such as Cornerstone Studios, TED, ITProTV and Mind Tools. Daily Keynotes Conversations with industry luminaries and Cornerstone executives about reimagining work and Cornerstone’s vision for leading the way. Join us at Convergence and Meet the Moment Convergence 2021 is your opportunity to get inspired, find “ah-ha” moments, connect with your peers and explore the future of work (and your role in it). As a talent leader, you're connecting what your people need to your organization's evolving goals so everyone thrives in this moment. We’ll see you there!
CGL: Improving learning and performance capability through advanced digital solutions
Communities often need help when their quality of life is affected by crime. Homelessness, drugs, alcohol and domestic abuse all have an impact on the local area and this is where the CGL (Change, Grow, Live – formerly known as CRI) steps in. Every year, more than 120,000 people across England and Wales receive assistance to get back on their feet. At CGL, full-time staff and volunteers work to encourage and motivate people to take control of their lives. CGL now has more than 3,000 staff and 1,000 volunteers in more than 160 regional centers. With so many employees across a wide region, keeping track of their progress was proving to be difficult. Previously, there were instances where notes were lost, handwriting was illegible, copies were not being shared, and many of the action points from the meetings were missed. CGL knew they had to address this by empowering its employees and volunteers by implementing a unified talent management solution. Why Cornerstone To overcome its reliance on paper-based records, CGL decided it had to go digital. It chose the talent management tools from Cornerstone OnDemand, selecting Cornerstone Learning and Cornerstone Performance solutions. The solutions enabled CGL to standardise its recordkeeping across the organisation. What happened in one office needed to be replicated in another, even if it is hundreds of miles away. So, for the first time, the performance management process was exactly the same across the country. Through Cornerstone, CGL now has the ability to deliver, track, view and report on all learning and development progress across the organisation. In turn, it brings unity and consistency to all its training modules. Furthermore, through Cornerstone’s cloud-based talent management software, CGL was able to empower its employees and volunteers through learning and development, as well as foster a more aligned performance management process throughout the organisation. The sharing of best practices developed a powerful team of employees and volunteers that could provide the best possible service to those that CGL works with. Results Created central access to learning. Cornerstone has provided CGL with central access to learning and development from any device. It has revolutionised the way that CGL is able to quality assure and monitor both individual and overall service performance. Improved Customer satisfaction. Sandra Eden, Development Manager at CGL in the Midlands, said “Quality performance reviews contribute to positive outcomes and achievements, improved staff engagement and customer and stakeholder satisfaction. The quantitative and qualitative detail driving everything that we do is now easily accessible at the click of a button.” Standardised performance reviews. CGL constructed a thorough marketing plan to prepare for the roll out of the new system across its workforce. With tailored emails outlining clear benefits – both from a line manager’s perspective and frontline perspective, uptake in the first week was 15 percent. So far, just a few months after rolling out the service, 1,791 performance reviews have been created across CGL. Increased employee and volunteer engagement. The newly introduced Welcome Page on the training site has had an immediate impact. An internal Stonewall diversity survey generated only 17 respondents prior to using Cornerstone; three days after a message and link were posted on the new hosting site, the number of respondents rose to 82 – a 482 percent increase. Kevin Crowley, Executive Director – Quality, Governance and Innovation at CGL values the visibility he has over the organisation. He said, “Using Cornerstone to bring performance development online has really given us a powerful tool to more closely align learning with performance and ensure our staff has the necessary skills and knowledge to provide the best possible service to those we work with. We have been able to build up a national picture of our strengths, and can identify and share good practice to ensure continuous improvement across the organisation.”