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How Bristlecone created a culture of self-directed learning

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Customer Since

Bristlecone Group (A Mahindra group company) is a leading provider of AI-powered application transformation services for the connected supply chain. The 25-year-old business employs a consulting-driven approach, with more than 12 global hubs and 2,500+ consultants.

The company has always had an entrepreneurial culture, focusing on encouraging its employees to focus on self-learning and driving their own career paths. Bristlecone was even awarded a Gold Award for “Excellence in creating a culture of continuous learning and upskilling” by the Economic Times in 2022 and came in second in the National HRD Network People First Ace Awards in 2022. Both awards demonstrated its commitment to L&D as a company. In 2023, Bristlecone won the Cornerstone APJ RAVE Award in the “Learning Experience” category for their exceptional learning and talent strategy.

Bristlecone’s goals

Bristlecone’s goals

Bristlecone wanted to advance its learning efforts further still, taking a proactive approach to deepen learning and improve its L&D processes and culture.

So Bristlecone adopted Cornerstone to transform its employees’ learning and development.

Why Cornerstone

Prior to adopting Cornerstone, Bristlecone requested feedback from its workforce about the employee experience. Career growth was a highlighted area for improvement, and so the company set to work. Bristlecone wanted to build a learning culture that consisted of a healthy mixture of both self-led learning and mandatory training. The company also wanted the employee journey to align with individuals’ goals as well as with the Bristlecone meta-competency framework. They created that framework to map out the different levels of work, the corresponding work output, the behavioral goals and the competencies that are required to meet these goals.

To achieve all of this, Bristlecone needed a platform that could provide employees with access to personalized content that helps the workforce hone their skills. The platform also needed to provide learning in the flow of work, promoting their self-led learning culture that’s so core to Bristlecone’s entrepreneurial philosophy.

With this in mind, Bristlecone turned to Cornerstone. After the initial pilot began in July 2022 — with a 15% adoption rate and an extremely positive reception — they rapidly rolled out the platform to the wider company with a current adoption rate of 75%.

Bristlecone Group had three significant initiatives with Cornerstone. They developed a communication plan to promote the benefits and features of the Cornerstone portal. They also built a detailed orientation plan around usage, leveraging internal social applications. Finally, they developed a strong governance model that regularly updated stakeholders on the progress of L&D within the organization.

The results

Philosophy of learning

In alignment with Bristlecone’s culture of “Staying Relevant, Empowerment, Responsibility & Ownership,” they align all training to employees’ individual technical, functional and behavioral goals. Employees scan the organization’s expectations of them and identify their skills gaps to choose the competencies that will help them meet their goals, and the goals are specific to each level. This alignment enables the company to reach the 5th level of Kirkpatrick’s model of training evaluation through a role-based, meta-competency learning framework aligned to goals. Meta competencies empower individuals to acquire other competencies that will help them achieve their goals, generating a return on investment for the business.

Meta-competency-based learning pathways and journey

Bristlecone has curated level-based technical, functional and behavioral pathways and journeys that have gained over 20,000 searches. These pathways and journeys are able to develop organization-wide competencies in effective communication, leadership skills, project management and digital competencies. Their learning is tied back to the goals of the employees during performance evaluation. Bristlecone also developed pre- and post-measurement smartcards for all pathways and journeys.

Employee learning skyrocketed

Learning engagement rapidly increased, with the number of employees using the platform for multiple days rising from 60.63% to 73.76% between September 2022 and February 2023. The platform boasts 8,500 consumption hours, an impressive 4x the headcount of Bristlecone’s workforce, amounting to at least five hours of learning per person. In this way, the company used Cornerstone to deepen its entrepreneurial spirit, encouraging employees to be constantly learning. Monthly average users are at 64%, with the content completion percentage at 68%. And the current adoption rate is 75%, which is the highest among other group companies.

Learn anything, anywhere

Bristlecone used the Cornerstone Microsoft Teams integration to make learning materials immediately accessible, both on desktop and on the go. The company has learned that 20%–30% of employee learning is taking place on mobile devices, indicating how Bristlecone has empowered employees to learn from wherever they want. Learning even rose over the year-end holiday season with 25,751 course completions, showing continued employee initiative to learn.

Personalised learning

Bristlecone used Cornerstone to curate content that aligned with its in-depth meta-competency for every level of work. This provides employees with highly personalized learning journeys depending on their interests and jobs. The approach has shown clear value to employees, with 1,912 learners engaging in multiple days of active engagement. With Cornerstone, Bristlecone also introduced “nudges,” encouraging employees to finish courses they had started and to continue to engage in learning on a regular basis.

Learning becomes part of the day-to-day

Bristlecone blocked out 10 minutes of time at 10 o’clock every day so that employees could fully concentrate on their learning. Another learning opportunity is called "My Day Friday," where the organization encourages everyone not to set up meetings after 1 pm on Friday to allow every employee to learn and grow in their roles. They also created Campaigns such as KnoWember Pragya, a month-long learning festduring the month of November, and community-based learning to promote peer-to-peer learning, such as Slack groups.

Gamified approach and credit-based framework

Finally, with Cornerstone, Bristlecone also gamified learning with points, badges and leaderboards, personalizing experiences even further and driving even greater self-led engagement. They have a learning credit framework system that recognizes top learners with an intrinsic and extrinsic reward system of credit points that they can exchange at the marketplace.

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Bristlecone Group (una empresa del grupo Mahindra) es un proveedor líder de servicios de transformación de aplicaciones basadas en la IA para las cadenas de suministro conectadas. La empresa, de 25 años de antigüedad, emplea un enfoque basado en el asesoramiento, y cuenta con más de 12 centros globales y más de 2.500 consultores.

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