It is becoming a great tradition to tell the stories of some of our amazing team members in the blogs under the umbrella “Profile of the month”. We kicked off with Sarah Spence, sharing with you all her incredible successes within the business. After that we had Gary Evans who spoke up about gender balance and how he manages modern challenges as a team manager. And now, I am delighted to introduce you to Andrea Sennett, Senior Content Partner Manager, EMEA, who has been part of the Cornerstone family since 2013. Hope you enjoy this conversation between Andrea and myself.
I’m responsible for… acquiring new partners in the content ecosystem and ongoing management of our Content ecosystem in EMEA.
I got here… thanks to Gary Evans! He used to be my client in the olden days when I was at Thomson NETg and he was at Direct Line (20 years ago!). He pinged me an email on LinkedIn pretty much 7 years ago and you know the rest!
My typical day… it’s so diverse. I can be talking to potential new partners, handling pricing negotiations with our partner network, speaking to internal teams about what we offer, working with Content Operations’ to get partners ready for sale or presenting to clients! Not one day is the same as the next and that’s what I love about it!
My most memorable moment… shaking Princess Diana’s hand as she opened a hospice when I was 11 years old and went to see her with school. Closely followed by sitting less than 5 meters way from Bill Clinton at a charitable dinner.
The worst and best part of the job… honestly, I adore my role here. As naff as it sounds… I am going to say the worst part is having to use Salesforce! Clearly the best part to me are the people. Pretty much everyone I work with internally and externally are simply awesome.
My funniest/worst and best trait… my dislike of bad manners 😊 and I am not afraid to tell someone when they have been rude! My best trait is tenacity and willing to have a voice. Watching Adam Grant I realised why I am so very often underestimated… I am a ‘Disagreeable Giver’ and proud to be one!
How come you’re so good at giving presentations? I know what I don’t want to listen to, and I try not to put others through it!! People buy from people and even though I am not in direct sales that fact has always stuck in my mind. I work to understand my audience and aspire to never read a deck, only have it as a background filler! I like to tell a story.
Why do you think W@C is an important network? I was told early in my career: “You need to realise life isn’t fair”… My response, “It doesn’t mean I can’t aspire for fairness!”. At the time, that moment taught me that speaking out like that was actually a career limiting move for me! Fairness in my mind comes from the heart of everything in life, not just being female. To have a network like W@C that I can be part of to channel that voice and progression towards fairness gives us a collective voice and helps us to be heard.
If you want to join the Cornerstone family, check out our careers page and apply for your dream job today!
Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.
7 ways to put DEIB at the centre of your recruiting strategy
“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”® – Verna Myers The conversations around diversity in the workplace have evolved over the years. As our society has changed and opened up, how we talk about “diversity” as evolved too. Now in the workplace, we also talk about equity, inclusion, and belonging alongside diversity. Together, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) help create workplaces where all types of people can thrive. To continue creating a workplace your people love, it’s important to recognise your personal limitations. As Duane La Bom, chief diversity officer at Cornerstone, puts it in an episode of the HR Labs podcast , “There are two types of diversity: The type you can see, like race, gender, age. And the type you can’t see, like nationality, religion, sexual orientation.” Kimberlé Crenshaw, a lawyer, civil rights advocate, philosopher, and leading scholar of critical race theory, dug into the concept of personal limited viewpoints when she developed the theory of intersectionality, “a metaphor for understanding the ways that multiple forms of inequality and disadvantage sometimes compound themselves.” There’s just so much you’ll never see. From a practitioner point of view, we must think differently to consider the invisible factors affecting DEIB in our strategy. How recruitment is foundational to an effective DEIB strategy To ensure your people are happy and feel they belong, DEIB must be at the core of your recruiting strategy, including candidate experience, company brand awareness, and external and internal recruitment. Then as you build your company’s culture and values, DEIB will touch every aspect of the company. A data-driven approach can guide you as you implement an effective recruitment strategy in your organisation. “The common myth in traditional recruiting was that by using narrow education and experience requirements in the job description, your business was 'discerning,' and more likely to attract top talent,” explains Sarah Spence, Senior Solution Consultant for Cornerstone in EMEA. “Thankfully, the link between discernment and discrimination is now better understood — alongside the critical and far-reaching benefits of employing a diverse workforce. It is now up to each business to update their 'selection' processes in order to recognise the true value in their candidates.” Spence shared the following seven takeaways to help you evolve your recruiting strategy to increase your DEIB. 1. Set goals and define what DEIB looks like in your company. Be realistic with your region and the culture around you. Ensure that you set inspirational but also achievable goals and include the whole organisation in that vision. An internal newsletter can be a very powerful tool for aligning your entire company. Also user surveys can provide you with a deep audit on what your people feel has been happening until now and where they want to see the company go in the future. 2. Embrace empathy. We all know that receiving an apology is one of the most healing experiences we can have. Every company and person should embrace the idea of being kind, apologising, and accepting failure. This is how we will be able to innovate while applauding the people who helped the organisation thrive. 3. Form diverse interview panels. This is a very efficient way to start implementing your organisations DEIB goals. Populate the panels with members from different races, ages, religions, backgrounds, etc. from all across your organisation. This will not only improve your hiring processes but also set an example and show your workers that you have a strong commitment to them and to DEIB. 4. Revisit your application workflow and job descriptions. Have people from around the company (maybe start with the people on your interview panels) apply to open positions and determine how inclusive your hiring flow is. Ask recently hired employees what could be improved and what was great. Revisit your job descriptions, keeping an eye out for biases like how we use certain words, and work with the copywriter in your organisation to make them more inclusive, relevant, and efficient. 5. Deliver ongoing DEI training. Get your Talent Acquisition (TA) team and hiring managers to take unconscious bias training. Support them if questions come up and ensure they have the right interview skills. A lot of hiring is based on potential, and unconscious bias is the enemy of potential, so we have to learn to see our own unconscious biases. 6. Create a safe space to give feedback. Having a community within your organisation where people can share how they feel is very powerful. And that extends to your applicant tracking system too. Candidates need a place to share feedback on how the process was, good or bad. And of course, if your processes are automated, your TA team will have time to debrief with managers and get into the experience during the interview. More importantly still, ensure that the feedback collected is acted upon to drive a fairer and more inclusive environment for all future applicants. 7. Know your Employer Value Proposition (EVP). Work with your marketing team and ensure you are elevating your EVP. How is your social media footprint? Check Glassdoor and Kununu regularly and respond to all feedback. Enable your CEO and leaders to show your company values online with vlogs and social posts. Add employee testimonies on your career page and blog so that you can create a newsletter for your talent pool. If you want to learn more about improving your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, listen to this episode of HR Labs.
Agility: The leader and their key role!
Nothing is worse than an organisation caught up in silos, processes and red lines. These days, the focus must be on agility. In other words, each organisation must develop its ability to adapt quickly to its environment – it is a question of survival! The most common mistake when we talk about agility is to summarise agility in one characteristic. In reality, there is no such thing as one agile method, but multiple methods, and multiple aspects to consider. It's not enough to just create a new team with a name that sounds like "Silicon Valley". One of the key factors that is often overlooked is the commitment and personality of the leader at the head of the organisation. Leaders play a strategic role: they can encourage agility or on the contrary, sometimes despite intentions, slow it down. We all know about DNA. It is the molecule that has all the characteristics of a being. Scientists, Christensen, Dyer and Gregersen attempted to define the DNA of an innovative organisation and found that the starting point is the personality of the founder or manager of the team. If it is oriented towards innovation, the latter will naturally tend to surround themself with creative profiles. The company will then encourage questioning, observation, collaboration and experimentation. And beyond these practices, it will stimulate a real culture based on the following strong principles: · Innovation is everyone's business, not just R&D · Breakthrough innovation is encouraged · Project teams are small, agile and structured · Intelligent risk-taking is encouraged In short, as we can see, the starting point of an agile and innovative organisation is first and foremost the personality and commitment of the leader at its head. Let us remember the words of Peter Drucker: “Leadership consists of raising a person's vision to higher heights, improving a person's performance to higher standards, building a personality that abolishes ordinary limitations.” If you want to develop your high potential leaders by equipping them with the skills to motivate, engage and manage teams, you can find out more here. This blog was originally published in the French Cornerstone blog.
Artificial intelligence will humanise work, not replace it
Artificial intelligence: “Humans are far from having lost their place in business” Today we are inundated with articles, interviews and Tweets about artificial intelligence (AI) from people who aren’t aware of the technological reality. They simply shamelessly tap into an imaginary world of competition and submission in order to generate more and more emotion and clicks. As an AI expert, I wish to shed some light on what is involved in the development of these new tools, which may turn out to be more human than one might think. Because the reality is: what we call artificial intelligence is just a succession of specialised tools, each one dedicated to the optimisation of a single repetitive task. A classic example is medical imaging, where an algorithm will analyse hundreds of images for a specific cancer in order to propose a diagnosis to the doctor. AI is nothing more than what we decide to make it. A human technology that has the potential to relieve employees of daunting tasks… Above all, AI makes it possible to automate often repetitive, sometimes thankless, actions that were previously carried out by employees. We must put an end to the preconceived idea that we would put the majority of human activity in a company into the hands of machines. AI must be approached as a technological opportunity that frees up employees’ time and helps them to make decisions. …and to bring value to employees and the company Employees will therefore be able to concentrate on other, more “human” tasks, where they will have more added value. On the one hand, they will be able to focus on their creativity, innovation and analysis; on the other hand, they will be able to devote themselves to human relationships and communication, whether internal or external. For example, a nurse will be able to spend more time with her patients. In this way, AI gives back meaning to work, an essential demand from younger generations. A phenomenon that will increase with the maturity of the technology Opaque in its operation, AI is a tool that requires interaction in certain aspects similar to that between humans. The solutions known to the general public are still far off from maturity. Indeed, the main goal of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) is to keep users captive by not providing them with steering tools or justification. However, it is necessary to ensure that humans and AI understand each other on both the questions and the answers! Collaboration with humans is a crucial issue for enterprise solutions, the progress of which will positively affect the reality of work. Let’s not be naïve, job losses caused by AI will occur. But the reality will be far from the predictions of some thinktanks or theorists announcing the elimination of 30% to 90% of current jobs. Humans are far from having lost their place in business. With the development of AI solutions at work, employees will turn to more rewarding activities and goals for more fulfilling careers. Hungry for more AI blogs? Read my opinion on what AI can bring to HR.