Denver Public Library: Putting Learning Front & Center for Employees
28 September 2021
Established in 1889, the Denver Public Library (DPL) serves almost 4 million visitors and circulates 9.5 million items a year. Employee learning has always been integral to the library’s operations; DPL has had a training program in place since its founding.
Yet with only a small learning program staff of two, keeping up with the demand for training—and high volumes of paperwork—was challenging. All training was done face-to-face, and it was tracked through an Access database, which never delivered a comprehensive view of learning across the entire organization. One person was also tasked with producing an expensive, paper-based training calendar four times a year. “We were doing 300 face-toface classes a year and processing 2,500 paper registrations by hand,” said Jennifer Lay, learning program specialist at DPL. “It was time consuming, and the mountains of paper were ridiculous.”
In the search for a solution, the library received proposals from 12 vendors and conducted an in-depth review of four learning management systems (LMS). Cornerstone OnDemand’s flexibility was a significant factor in DPL’s final selection. “What really shone for me with Cornerstone was its versatility,” said Lay. “It was the only product we looked at that gave us the flexibility to handle our multi-faceted training program.”
While reviewing the Cornerstone Learning Cloud, DPL also connected with other Cornerstone users. “I heard that Cornerstone was continually improving and making functionalities available based on customer feedback,” said Sandra Smith, learning manager at DPL. “My network was telling me that Cornerstone listens to customers and is responsive to their needs.”
DPL conducted a creative rollout of the Learning Cloud, sending out top ten lists, creating an e-learning scavenger hunt and conducting in-person classes. On launch day, they took balloons, snacks and user guides to every department. “We used different styles for our rollout to meet different styles of engagement, for baby boomers and millennials and those in between,” said Smith.
Dramatically increased training opportunities and attendance. With the Learning Cloud, branded myTRACKS, the library has increased training opportunities by 700 percent. Employees previously disinterested in training are taking advantage of the expanded offerings, and DPL has seen a 435 percent increase in training attendance. “The number of employees accessing training has skyrocketed,” said Lay. “They love the ability to do e-learning in house.”
Even the facilities staff are getting involved. Recently, an HVAC technician volunteered to teach library employees about the intricacies of their 538,000 sq. ft. Central Library. “People who were never engaged before are now interested in training,” said Smith. “With Cornerstone, they can find things on their own. They don’t have to wait for a paper product or a face-to-face class to start learning.”
Advanced engagement of millennial employees. The Learning Cloud has been a critical tool for engaging the library’s millennial employees. “Millennials want to be motivated and challenged in the workplace,” said Smith. “Cornerstone allows us to give them an individualized learning portal. It’s a one-stop-shop for them, where they can not only learn but also share that learning with their colleagues.”
More efficiently tracked training. Now managers can assign training key to improving on-the-job performance, as well as create real-time reports showing which trainings have been completed and when. “Previously, managers couldn’t review statistics,” said Lay. “The Learning Cloud’s reporting capabilities allow us to see who is being proactive in their skill development.”
Put learning front and center. By increasing on-demand and face-to-face learning opportunities, and providing an easy-to-use individualized tool, DPL has communicated the importance of ongoing learning for all employees. Employees also know that they are responsible for their professional growth. “Cornerstone helps us put learning front and center every day,” said Smith. “We’re giving employees the opportunity to develop new skills and be prepared for changes coming in the workplace.”