A partner on your journey
Datasheet

A partner on your journey

Implementing Cornerstone Xplor is simple. Once you’ve configured your LMS, your branding settings, users, permissions, and content are all automatically pulled from your LMS to power the functionalities of your new self-directed development portal. From there, you’ll have dedicated support from both our services and product teams to help you configure Cornerstone Xplor for your organisational initiatives. Download this services datasheet to learn more about how we can better support your experience with Cornerstone Xplor.

Talent Strategy

A partner on your journey
Datasheet

A partner on your journey

Implementing Cornerstone Xplor is simple. Once you’ve configured your LMS, your branding settings, users, permissions, and content are all automatically pulled from your LMS to power the functionalities of your new self-directed development portal. From there, you’ll have dedicated support from both our services and product teams to help you configure Cornerstone Xplor for your organisational initiatives. Download this services datasheet to learn more about how we can better support your experience with Cornerstone Xplor.

4 tips to managing diversity and gender equality in your company
Blog Post

4 tips to managing diversity and gender equality in your company

If you want to generate success in your company and work in a harmonious environment, then you need to consider each and every one of your employees, get to know their interests, and offer them the best treatment and commitment. However, one of the most important principles that should be commonplace in every organisation is the equal treatment of employees (regardless of gender, race or religion). Gender, for example, should not be a factor that influences how we treat our workforce. Having a gender equality policy shows employees that they are valued and that the company is serious about ending discrimination. Having a fair remuneration policy that is not distinguished by the employee’s gender, but by their job position and their development within the company is an important step towards gender quality too. Opt for a gender-diverse workforce Having more gender diversity in a company is very positive and not just for the company’s own benefit. In fact, the UK could boost its GDP by 9% if the female employment rates matched with Sweden’s for instance. The challenge for HR departments is to successfully and strategically find and enrol more women in their business. It could solve a real problem, breaking barriers of gender discrimination in the workplace and promoting equality within the company. Equality between your workers is essential It is important to not only review the salaries of your employees, but also other professional aspects such as career plans and promotions, ensuring that there are equal opportunities for both men and women. Equality will undoubtedly be a motivational element for employees, regardless of their gender, as having clear objectives is a contributing factor in maintaining employees’ interest levels Strike a balance between work life and family life Fostering harmony between work and family life is key to attracting and retaining talent. It can contribute to the company culture, and to a positive attitude and collaboration amongst employees. Another important point is not to make sweeping generalisations about different genders, and instead to consider the specifics on a case by case basis. Employees need to see that their family life is considered and respected. They will appreciate this and it will likely improve company loyalty in the long run. HR must ensure gender equality in their company HR’s role is essential in managing and promoting gender diversity within the business. They must ensure that the motivation and commitment of their employees is strengthened, which, in turn, strengthens the workforce overall and benefits the entire company.

7 ways to put DEIB at the centre of your recruiting strategy
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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!
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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
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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.

Boosting learning adoption with engaging and personalised content I Client Spotlight
Video

Boosting learning adoption with engaging and personalised content I Client Spotlight

Client Excellence Awards: Volvo talks about its ‘Performance Touchpoint journey
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Client Excellence Awards: Volvo talks about its ‘Performance Touchpoint journey

Volvo won the Visionary in Performance Management Award at this year’s Client Excellence Award at Cornerstone Convergence EMEA. Here, Veronique Seurat, Capability Manager for Talent & Performance Management at Volvo Group HR, discusses the company’s transformation journey with Cornerstone and how Volvo changed the mindset of its employees and made performance a priority.

Datasheet Recruiting Suite
Datasheet

Datasheet Recruiting Suite

Digitalisation and innovation in recruitment | Client Spotlight
Video

Digitalisation and innovation in recruitment | Client Spotlight

Fresh Thinking: How to Thrive in the 2020's
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Fresh Thinking: How to Thrive in the 2020's

Getting the best for the best: Recruiting top talent in the age of disruption
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Getting the best for the best: Recruiting top talent in the age of disruption

As any Recruitment Director can attest, overall lack of digital skills across Europe is a common theme. For instance, we know that whilst countries such as Norway (27%) and Spain (31%) show the greatest difficulties in acquiring new digital talent, but on average an incredible one-in-five of businesses still face this serious challenge. The truth is that the most successful Recruiters work a bit differently. They align with Executives and understand business objectives, and where new talent needs to come from. Challenging as this may sound the process is a creative one, as it involves using both traditional and non-traditional resources and a network of established contacts to identify and attract talent. As such, the best Recruiters are often favoured among all other HR personnel and would consider their own jobs most fun of all. Yet, the talent crunch is a serious one. As part of broader initiatives with the European Commission, IDC estimated an IT talent gap of over 500,000 employees across the continent. This has a major impact on business and will have significant implications for recruiting too. After all, the war on talent did not materialise overnight and its impact is being felt across countries and verticals. This blog looks at the key DOs and DON’Ts that any recruitment professional should keep in mind going forward, based on the European wide results and the country specific insights we gleaned from this year's research. DOs Open up the recruitment process to make it inclusive and expansive Expand the recruitment sources to include specialised agencies, referrals and traineeships that can reach more candidates with the right skillset but likely with a different mindset that will bring new ideas which can prove crucial for the long-term success of the business. As an innovative recruitment professional, you can understand the value of University Trainees and social platforms as means of bringing top talent into the team that can be both a good fit but also disruptive and innovative. Consider of on-boarding as a key part of your role in bringing success to the business Design a recruitment policy that carefully plans the transition and onboarding process after the hire. This is necessary, and it is your responsibility as well to make sure that your hard work in getting the right candidate into the organisation is not impeded by a poor on-boarding experience, which can affect the new recruit's engagement and employee experience. Nurture and build up a strong alignment with the Line of Business teams and the rest of HR department when discussing new hires and their entry into their respective teams. Expand the recruitment criteria you apply for new roles and think outside the box Looking for successful candidates by concentrating on criteria that have worked effectively in the past is a safe way to recruit. Nevertheless, adjusting to the changes in the workforce and enlarging the recruitment net to capture more and different skills, can be a force multiplier for the business. As a recruiter, you must start seeking out skills like exponential thinking, problem solving, and focusing on diversity. Playing the safe game, when the war for talent is raging, can no longer be the go-to strategy for any recruitment professional. DON'Ts Don't look for the perfect candidate and work with wider HR and LoB to build up skills Our research shows that "on-the-job" training is the preferred way to enrich an employee's skillset, but this can be too narrow a view, with so many new tools available today. You know better than anyone the new hires and the recruitment requests of your business. As a recruitment professional, you need to start collaborating with the wider HR department and the line of business managers to come up with a comprehensive development plan for new hires, that will be diverse and varied in resources and modes. Don't limit your role to "talent requisitioning" but help new hires reach their potential As the Recruitment Director, your role should go far beyond setting job ads and conducting interviews with candidates. You hold a uniquely important role in designing your employer brand which can be a major attraction to top talent. Recruitment directors have an excellent view of the talent market, they understand the background and skillset of new colleagues and they know what characteristics the business is looking for in a candidate. You can be the driving force behind the employer brand your business is creating and that can happen only if you get more involved in the end-to-end employee experience of your organisation. Don't fall for the platform trap 47.3% of recruiters flock to job platforms for fill open positions within their organisations. Although job platforms are important sources for new candidates, the best recruiters recognise that the 'best fit' for a new opening does not always have to be filled with external talent – much latent but qualified talent may exist within the organisation. In fact, IDC-Cornerstone OnDemand studies from 2017 and 2016 show that internal employee mobility heavily contributes to employee happiness. This is also why it isn't a surprise to find that companies who focus on ‘personal development’ and ‘company culture’ are also more likely to show higher performance in terms of revenue and profit. We all know that the wave of digital transformation has been putting pressure on businesses right across Europe. But how much do we know about the actual level of impact and the overall reaction to this pressure? In a unique new study, IDC worked together with Cornerstone OnDemand to understand how this is impacting organisations and discovered a range of different strategies being implemented to deal with some of these internal pressures. Whether it’s the availability of talent or recruiting for the age of disruption there are many new challenges facing organisations today. [check out the results from the study here] DOs: Open up the recruitment process to make it inclusive and expansive Consider of on-boarding as a key part of your role in bringing success to the business Expand the recruitment criteria you apply for new roles and think outside the box DON'Ts: Don't look for the perfect candidate and work with wider HR and LoB to build up skills Don't limit your role to "talent requisitioning" but help new hires reach their potential Don't fall for the platform trap

How AI can help managers be better coaches
Blog Post

How AI can help managers be better coaches

More and more people are searching for purpose in the workplace. Recent research from the Cornerstone People Research Lab (CPRL) found that globally, 66% of employees said meaningful work was “extremely” or “very” important when choosing an employer, and in order to find meaning in what we do in the workplace, we often turn to our peers and managers. A good manager is someone who can provide guidance and support to help employees be the best they can be at work and to do this successfully, managers must have an understanding of each employee’s work and goals to be able to effectively guide them to a solution. Essentially, they must become coaches. Coaching employees to success Management styles have evolved over the years, and there is no right way to manage a person but one increasing trend being commonly adopted in the workplace is coaching. Instead of offering advice or mentoring, coaches will ask questions to understand ongoing work and goals, such as: What parts of your job are most interesting and rewarding? What areas are you finding most challenging right now? What are you doing to reach short- and long-term career goals? How can I help? These open questions allow for employees to really think things through, fuelling meaningful conversations about their career and uncovering potential barriers or challenges. It allows managers to have a better understanding of employees’ goals while letting employees seek out actions on how to achieve those goals. But in order to know which questions to ask, managers need to first understand the employee themself – what skills they currently have, their interests and professional aspirations. All of which can be challenging to keep up with if managers are not in constant contact with employees or if employees change their goals over time. But this is where AI can help. AI as a coaching tool Effective coaching requires a personalised experience from the coach but in large organisations where managers are dealing with lots of people, it can be challenging to keep up with each and every employee’s professional goals, especially if they change over time. Plus, new employees may come along with completely different skills and aspirations. By feeding an AI solution with employee data, whether it’s lifted from their CV, LinkedIn profile or previous training courses they’ve taken, managers are able to quickly profile their employees, identifying their skillsets and gaining an overall better understanding of how they want to progress in their career. The Cornerstone Skills Graph, for example, is a skills taxonomy of over 53,000 unique skills pulled from job positions across a variety industries, which organisations can leverage to instantly match skills across people and job roles within the organisation. With this information, managers are able to form more personalised questions to coach employees in their career. And given that AI also has the ability to provide personalised recommendations based on the data, managers are also better equipped to help employees progress in their career. Coaching is one of the many hats that managers wear, and a strong coaching culture can bring many benefits to the organisation with the right tools and data. Managers certainly aren’t superhuman and cannot solve every single issue or challenge that employees have, but with the help of AI they have the power to uncover deep skills profiles for their employees, keeping them engaged in the workplace and driving them towards success. For more information on how to utilise AI in your organisation, visit the Cornerstone Innovation Lab for AI.

How consolidating HR data can create value for the business I Client Spotlight
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How consolidating HR data can create value for the business I Client Spotlight

James Wilson explains how to manage managers – a balancing act
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James Wilson explains how to manage managers – a balancing act

We ask James Wilson when its right to step in to help out managers and when to step back so managers can grow.

Kickstarting the business. Driving engagement and creating manager coaches
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Kickstarting the business. Driving engagement and creating manager coaches

A short video on how to measure the social climate of your organisation using pulse engagement surveys, and leverage check-ins to develop true manager coaches. Interested to learn more? Contact us at: info_UK@csod.com

Know your ATS from your CRM: Keeping up with HR jargon
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Know your ATS from your CRM: Keeping up with HR jargon

Digital transformation has been making headlines for some time now, and a previous study from IDC and Cornerstone showed that more than eight in 10 companies consider HR to play a very important role in ensuring those strategic projects are successful. Often, they also include the digitalisation of HR itself, or some of its components. This is why it’s important for HR professionals to keep up to date with the HR software lingo. What do we really mean when we talk about HRIS, Talent management, Learning management or Applicant Tracking? Are those terms out of date, and if so, why are they still commonly used? Join us in this series of four blogs to explore those top-level categories and see what is behind them. What is an applicant tracking system (ATS) or recruitment software? An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps manage the entire recruitment process, acting as a one-stop-shop for internal and external recruiting within companies. It can manage both active and passive candidates and helps to ensure companies have the best chance to attract, hire and retain talent. Recruiting can be very competitive and it’s important that applicants have a user-friendly, simple, and responsive experience throughout the recruitment experience. Using an ATS is an excellent way for companies to improve the candidate experience in recruiting, as the recruiting software helps elevate brand awareness through company-branded portals, makes it easy for recruiters to maintain a regular dialogue with applicants throughout the hiring process, and makes it simple for potential candidates to see and apply for a job through mobile-friendly software and personal welcome pages and candidate portals. In a time when candidates are the ones with the power to pick and choose, this fast, easy and personalised candidate experience is vital and if you want further tips on how to help attract top talent, you can read our new thought-piece “Talent is taking you on”. Not only does an ATS have benefits for candidates, it also helps make recruiters' jobs easier and more automated. Recruitment software can help HR teams manage candidate sourcing and talent pools more simply, by automating areas like the CV-selection process and bringing the best talent to the top of the pile, rather than having recruiters sift through CVs manually, which has historically been quite time-consuming. This automated CV selection through ATS software can also help recruiters avoid recruitment bias – whether intentional or not. Sometimes people can be discriminated against in the hiring process due to personal attributes such as age, race, gender, nationality and more. In some cases, this is due to the recruiter’s experiences, but it can also be due to a subconscious bias where the recruiter doesn’t realise they are behaving in a discriminatory way. Biases can also be subtler than this, such as a recruiter dismissing a candidate because of a place they have previously worked. In having software that helps sort CVs for them, recruiters will be presented with the best candidates for the role on paper, regardless of their personal background, work history and more. This type of candidate selection can be based on specific keywords but are increasingly using predictive analytics for higher precision and efficiency. Aside from these benefits, ATS software also helps recruiters with: Candidate referral management; insights and data on time-to-hire; pre-screening and self-assessments for candidates; simplified and GDPR-compliant applicant data management and tools for creating hiring reports for management teams. Another very important function managed by recruiting software is about ensuring ongoing communication with potential and existing candidates, which is why the ATS acronym is often followed by CRM – Candidate Relationship Management. It helps keep a talent pool up to date, and makes sure existing candidates are kept aware of the status of their application. If recruiters often complain about ghost candidates that do not answer their solicitations, the truth is that ghost companies are almost a “normal” situation for candidates that never hear back from them once they’ve sent their applications. The benefits of ATS software don’t stop with the recruitment process either, as it can also help support the onboarding process. There’s no point in having a slick candidate experience during the recruitment process, only for people to join and find that the onboarding phase is a mess – both processes must be linked. Recruitment software can help provide ‘pre-boarding’ information for newly hired employees in their candidate portal, such as company information and policies, and allows the HR team to immediately engage with new hires. These features help turn an excellent candidate experience into an excellent employee experience too. Recruitment software can be highly beneficial for companies looking to overhaul their hiring process so that it is more engaging for applicants, simpler for candidates and recruiters alike, and provides more data on the recruitment process. Thinking about the impact of an ATS software, it’s important to consider why your organisation needs to overhaul recruitment processes and whether there are features or capabilities that the current system is lacking. Start to determine what your main recruiting priorities are in the next 12 months and decide what software would help with your process overhaul. Ask yourself, “Is my recruiting team completely isolated or is recruiting a true part of my global HR and Human Capital Management strategy?”. Having a tool that can be expanded to other related processes such as employee data management, succession planning, performance management and learning and development can help simplify your overall HR management. Who uses ATS software? Applicant tracking system (ATS) software can be useful for many different kinds of people and in many different ways, but generally speaking it is used by people who facilitate and manage the hiring process within companies, and also by those people who are applying for jobs at companies. People who might use ATS software include (but are not limited to) recruiters, talent acquisition business partners and hiring managers. These people will use the software to review candidates’ applications maintain talent pools, arrange and analyse interviews with applicants, upload background documents relevant to the hiring process, invite existing employees to apply for new roles they may be suited for and score candidates during the hiring process. HR directors and other senior HR people also use ATS software alongside recruitment and hiring managers to make their roles more automated and to simplify the candidate hiring experience. They are able to use this software to approve requests from hiring managers and sign relevant documents, review the candidates applying for roles at the company and manage workflows and dialogues between different people during the recruitment process. Recruitment software doesn’t just have benefits for those doing the hiring. Candidates applying for jobs also use ATS software throughout and beyond the hiring process. For instance, existing employees – or internal candidates – are able to use the software to view job descriptions for roles in the company, upload their CV and apply for roles via internal career portals and view the status of their job application during the recruitment process. From this point of view, recruitment software can also be used for internal mobility, as the difference between internal and external recruitment is now often blurred. For external candidates who are newly applying to the company, they use ATS software in the same way as internal candidates, but in additional ways with added tools and benefits. External candidates are able to add details about themselves into the system while managing their data in the system throughout the entire hiring process. Similarly, they have the ability to partake in video interviews and apply for roles through more sources such as LinkedIn and external career sites. These functionalities mean that recruitment software makes the hiring process easier to manage and, in some cases, faster for both those involved in recruiting and candidates alike. It also ensures that both parties are able to be kept up to date with the status of an application, reducing the chances of silent periods or ambiguity for candidates in particular. For all involved, ATS software translates to easier communication, more effective hiring, and streamlined administration processes. Hiring can be fully automated where it needs to be, and it provides a holistic HR solution for recruitment. Recruiting people can often be a highly competitive process and the way companies manage the hiring process can determine whether a candidate will accept a job offer or not. By using ATS software and HCM platforms more broadly, companies can improve the recruitment process to ensure a seamless candidate experience – and when it can be the difference between securing great talent or losing it, it’s better to play it safe! Take a look at our Cornerstone Recruiting webinar to see how we’re helping companies overcome their recruiting challenges and ensure they’re getting the best talent. If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, why not read our other posts in this series, on LMS (Learning Management Systems), TMS (Talent Management Systems) and HCM (Human Capital Management). And if you would like to find out more about how you can help progress on your own digital transformation journey, take a look at our resources here.

Liggy Webb, and her work with Cornerstone
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Liggy Webb, and her work with Cornerstone

Mental health Post COVID19 : post-traumatic stress disorder CHAPTER 2 | Institutional support. The start to social recovery.
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Mental health Post COVID19 : post-traumatic stress disorder CHAPTER 2 | Institutional support. The start to social recovery.

Prepare for what is to come | The government must help everyone. Through the UK’s healthcare system, there are programmes to support mental wellbeing, but is this enough to support every individual during the COVID19 pandemic? Does everyone know and understand the support they have access to? Mental health support should be accessible to all – no matter what you earn, and there should be a database of professionals and vulnerable citizens. I realise that it is not easy to just create a new programme from scratch, but every single citizen should be informed about these services, which are available online and over the phone. Most of us received an SMS from UK_Gov saying we need to stay home. These kind of communication strategies could also be used to share mental health support, tips and tricks to stay sane. We do know the physical consequences of COVID19 on our health: fever, breathing difficulties…but do we yet know the extent of the impact of being isolated for months? It can affect mental state but also our bodies if we don’t stay active, don’t do sports in the capacity we can or get fresh air and a little bit of sun. If we do not get into good habits and make them part of our everyday, we could be seeing the biggest increase in mental health issues or even suicides. Our NHS is saturated. And again, this is global. Dr. Fabiano Di Marco, working at the Hospital Papa Giovanni XXIII in Bergamo, spoke on The Daily podcast, saying “It’s like a war” (link to the episode) and as such we need to treat this way. And it is not only people that stay at home may need support for their mental wellbeing but also key workers who are playing their part in saving lives, often under extreme levels of stress and exhaustion. We owe them help and we owe them our support now but especially when this is over. Companies need to understand who their employees are and if their families could be impacted by this. 24/7 phone support should be provided by the HR teams, sharing links to NGOs or even private counselling. As with most taboos – and mental health is one – speaking up and normalising it is the first step. Home is not always a safe space |This is hard to read and accept. Abuse is worrying. We all are being contained in a small environment, and this could be dangerous for vulnerable people. How can we help them? First, we need to acknowledge it and the idea of home = safety is something we need to rethink. NGOs + HR will be more important than ever | As we said before, NGOs should be a part of our support network. We might see a rise in innovative ideas, mixing technology and science to help those with post-traumatic stress after this experience. But employees also need to play their part, as should HR. It is that time in which employment lawyers and Human Resources professionals need to show how they can help. At Cornerstone we have opened a portal called Cornerstone Cares and translated it into five languages to give free access to relevant content to everyone in the world. We think HR professionals need to step up and help employees to stay safe, sane, and healthy in this hard time. Working remotely is mandatory for most industries now and to ensure productivity does not decrease, impacting the financial situation of organisations, we need to provide training. It is proven that those communities that are constantly learning are those that have high adaptability to change. We also know that diverse communities are more innovative and creative, and if there was a time to be innovative that time is now.  We spoke to Faye Vassiliades, M.A, Clinical Psychologist and she said, “as the world fights back the tremendous impact of the pandemic, we will soon face the reality of a “brave new world”. In the years to come, resilience will encompass the principles of proactivity and adjustment at the individual and organisational level.” If we are facing a “new world” we might need a new way to communicate and support our employees through this phase. TIPS TO EMBRACE YOUR EMPLOYEES DURING AND AFTER THE CRISIS Send constant updates to your employees Communication should be positive and supportive Ensure access to the HCM system for all your employees Make your HR professionals available for a virtual chat Allow them to connect with each other in the online communities Enable check-ins so managers can have chats with their teams Reward those teams that are proving to thrive and grow in this hard time Allow your employees to feel scared and ask questions Get the CEO or General Manager to run a conference call with the whole team to share updates Give your teams access to online training to manage stress and build up resilience Speak up and share how you are struggling Be kind and try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes Give your teams access to 24/7 call centres for support Explain what metal health is and invest in getting rid of preconceptions Ensure the families of your employers are safe too Offer voluntary days for employees to help a charity or local project Allow your employees to take your pets to work Look at performance and make remote employment more flexible Invest in the infrastructure for future crisis Understand your limits and reach out to other companies, NGOs or government help if needed

Projet SIRH et dialogue social : les clés de la réussite
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Projet SIRH et dialogue social : les clés de la réussite

Stress awareness – Six ways to avoid burnout
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Stress awareness – Six ways to avoid burnout

April is Stress Awareness Month and this has been held every April since 1992. Healthcare professionals across the country join forces to increase public awareness around stress and how it can be managed. There is certainly a greater recognition than ever before of the need to promote well being in the workplace and employers are being urged to treat mental and physical health with equal importance. The 21st-century health epidemic The World Health Organisation has dubbed stress as the modern-day health epidemic. The fallout from workplace stress has a huge impact on global well-being as well as on our overall economy. For a multitude of reasons the pace of modern life has accelerated. In a rapidly evolving world of too much choice and overwhelm it can be challenging to establish a healthy balance. Everyday pressures can build up and affect our stress levels without us even being aware that it is happening. The creep of burnout can be insidious. What is ‘burnout’? Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when an individual feels overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands. The American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger coined the term ‘burnout’ in the 1970s. He used it to describe the consequences of severe and high ideals in ‘helping’ professions. Burnout, however, can affect anyone, from stressed-out careerists and celebrities to overworked employees and homemakers. Whilst elevated stress isn’t a mental health problem in itself, it can often lead to anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide. It can also lead to physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease and joint and muscle problems. Personal stress levels Understanding your own relationship with stress is fundamental in terms of your personal well-being. Take time to ask yourself the following questions: What are my stress triggers? Stress management starts with identifying your sources of stress and developing strategies to manage them. Lack of control, interruptions, frustration with technology, an overwhelming to-do list, changing priorities, information overload and other people’s behaviour are all common triggers. A constructive way to identify your triggers is to make a list of the situations, concerns or challenges that activate your stress response. Take time to identify and write down some of the top issues you are experiencing in your life right now. You may notice that some of your stressors are events that are actually happening to you while others may even be your mind creating scenarios before they have actually happened. What happens to me? Too much stress in the body can trigger a range of physical and psychological responses. Everyone is unique and stress affects people in different ways, from palpitations, headaches, energy dips and mood swings, to highlight just a few examples. It is important to understand what happens to you so that you can identify the warning signs of burnout and do something about it. How do I manage my stress? Everyone has a different way of managing their stress levels. Some of the approaches you choose may not be helpful, such as drinking alcohol, smoking, or reaching out for sugary or fatty foods. Focusing on healthier ways to manage your stress levels will be far more effective in the long term. The first step to eliminating unhelpful coping mechanisms is to be aware of them and start to replace them with something healthier. It is easy to make excuses and give in to reduced willpower, however this is the time you need to choose healthier coping mechanisms. Exercise; getting some fresh air, drinking water, spending time with friends, hobbies, having pets, mindfulness and music can all be effective and positive alternatives. Five ways to avoid burnout 1. Set personal boundaries Personal boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and managing unnecessary stress. Having healthy boundaries is about knowing and understanding what your limits are. To set healthy boundaries you need to know where you stand by identifying your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual limits. You must consider what you can tolerate and accept and what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed. Boundaries are a sign of a healthy relationship and also a sign of self-respect. Putting yourself first also gives you the energy, peace of mind and positive outlook to be more present with others and be there for them. It is essential to give yourself the permission to set boundaries and work to preserve them. 2. Be aware of your everyday energy It is important to bear in mind that personal energy is not just about physical energy. Consider a more holistic approach by looking at these four key areas and ask yourself the following questions: Physical energy – how healthy are you? Emotional energy – how happy are you? Mental energy – how well can you focus on something? Spiritual energy – are you true to your purpose and personal values? Being aware of how much energy is in your personal tank and creating moments of sanctuary within your day will help you to replenish your resources and maintain balance. Self-care is essential. 3. Practice mindfulness The term mindfulness comes from Eastern spiritual and religious traditions. It is a very old concept and is a key part of Buddhism and also appears in Hindu writings. A great deal of scientific research now shows that the mindful approach to stress, anxiety and mental health is a very helpful and popular way of dealing with and diffusing high levels of stress. Mindfulness refers to being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment, as well as taking a non-evaluative and non-judgmental approach to your inner experience. It is essentially about being present and noticing what is around you. So often, if you are not careful, you can find yourself racing through life in a mad dash and not taking time to stop and relish the experience! What is the point of that kind of existence? 4. Unplug yourself It is becoming increasingly obvious that our world is developing an unhealthy attachment to technology and mobile devices. FOMO has been recognised as a recently emerging psychological disorder brought on by the advance of technology. It is an acronym standing for the expression ‘fear of missing out’. This is used to describe that feeling of anxiety, which many people experience when they discover that other people are having fun together or are being successful at something. Unhealthy and unrealistic comparisons are then made. FOMO can manifest itself in various ways, from a brief pang of envy through to resentment and a real sense of self-doubt or inadequacy. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a while, including you! 5. Sleep well Lack of good quality sleep can affect your memory, judgment and mood. Stress levels can increase when the length and quality of sleep decreases. Sometimes you may find yourself lying in bed worrying and feeling anxious, which can make it almost impossible to relax enough to fall asleep. The brain chemicals connected with deep sleep tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones. When you don’t sleep well, your body keeps producing those hormones. The next day, you may end up feeling even more stressed and then the following night you find it harder to fall asleep, and so the cycle continues. Poor quality sleep can take its toll on both your physical and mental health so it is essential to understand how to invest in quality sleep. The complimentary book at the end of this article on avoiding burnout will offer you some useful tips and advice on sleep. 6. Get creative – it’s time for fresh thinking Neuroscientists have been studying many forms of creativity and discovering that various creative activities can be beneficial to mental health and boost your mood. When you are being creative, your brain releases dopamine, which is a natural anti-depressant. A recent study in the Journal of Positive Psychology indicated that engaging in a creative activity just once a day can lead to a more positive state of mind. Additional complimentary resources If you would like a complimentary copy of Liggy Webb’s bite-sized burnout book, please send her an email! Don’t forget to also sign up to Cornerstone’s special Mental Health Awareness week Webinar with Liggy Webb on Thursday 16th May - click here to register!

TalentLink, the Choice of the Smarter Recruiter
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TalentLink, the Choice of the Smarter Recruiter

In the changing world, Recruiters still need to hire as normal. TalentLink helps you do just that! Find out more by booking your personalised demo today. 

The 2 things all great candidate experiences are built from
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The 2 things all great candidate experiences are built from

A great candidate experience works like background noise. It adds emphasis and ambience to why your organisation is the right place for candidates. If it's anything less, though, it becomes a bothersome distraction that recruiters are always fighting. For a successful recruiting strategy, candidate experience must be as front and centre for recruiters as it is for candidates. Two organisations that truly understand this are Wiltshire Council and Epson. While they operate on different sizes and scopes, Wiltshire Council and Epson partnered with Cornerstone to better their candidate experience in two distinct but related ways — create recruitment resiliency and consistent branding. How Wiltshire Council created and agile, resilient recruiting strategy during a pandemic As the unitary authority of Wiltshire in South West England, Wiltshire Council delivers over 350 different services to their community. And that community is not small. According to Georgina Bliha, talent and resourcing manager for Wiltshire Council, "We advertise, on average, around 2,000 roles per year." Her team then has to processes and evaluate over 6,500 applications. And while COVID-19 has led to a few team members' reallocations, this hasn't slowed down her team. "So all of a sudden recruitment demands for social care and public health were at an all-time demand," says Bliha. With TalentLink from Cornerstone, Wiltshire Council automated offers and contracts plus reminders and notifications to "absolutely amazing" results. Bliha explained, "Both improvements reduced our time to offer. But also the time it took the team to create a contract reduced from about half an hour to an average of ten minutes." That saved Bliha's team 20 hrs of work a month! The improvements also led to an 83 per cent increase in employment contracts sent out in 48 hours of the start date agreement. Those weren't the only positive impacts Cornerstone had on the Wilshire Council candidate experience. With the need to pivot to virtual interviews a must, the move was nearly seamless. Bliha says (emphasis mine), "For the first time ever, we have achieved 100 per cent success rate in obtaining the right to work before offer of employment." While other organisations have spent organisations scrambled to adapt to the new demands of fully remote work, Wiltshire Council had the luxury of creating a methodical roll-out plan with Cornerstone. "Every time we rolled out something new, we provided managers with a user guide and quick links. With really really get buy-in from our managers," says Bliha. Bliha attributes Wiltshire Council's success to the integrated TalentLink system. "When you make one change in the system, you can immediately see how that functionality can be used elsewhere," she continues. "It opens opportunities up in the system and has this continuous knock-on effect. It saves time. It's a lot easier and a lot more time effective to make other changes as well." Wiltshire Council has had so much success with TalentLink that they're expanding their agile recruiting strategy to create an internal specialist pool focused on upskilling their people because candidate experience is more than just external. You can hear the full Wilshire Council story here. How Epson focused on creating an authentic employer brand and increased traffic by 400% Since the 1940s, Epson has been at the forefront of technology, with a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers to 3LCD projectors, watches and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovation. It also cares deeply about its employees and making Epson a great place to work. That is where Amy Edwards comes in. As Employer Brand Manager, Edwards responsibility is to identify all the things that make Epson a great place to work and promote this message both internally and externally. "Employer brand really describes an employer's reputation as a place to work and what we offer current and potential employees, as opposed to the corporate brand, which focuses on products and what we offer our customers and partners," explains Edwards. The "employee value proposition," is a set of values and offerings provided by us in return for the skills and experience that an employee can bring to the organisation." With people spending most of their time at work, they want to be sure that where they're working really aligns with their values. "78 per cent of people will look into a company's reputation before applying for a job," Edwards continues. "And 88 per cent of job seekers believe being part of the right culture is important." That need to align with the company culture doesn't disappear once a candidate becomes an employee. It remains just as crucial to long-term employee retention.” When Edwards started Epson's employer brand journey, the first thing she did was to survey the employees. "I really wanted to make sure that building an employer brand was something you could touch. You could feel. That you really got a sense of what it was like to work at Epson as a business. But it also had to be authentic. It had to resonate with our employees and connect with our values. To create a strong employer brand, you have to know what people think about you, the good and the bad.” There are many aspects that go into building an employer brand and its brand values. For Epson, this included: Gathering employee feedback Internal and external reviews Aligning and evaluating key messages The company’s management philosophy The company’s Principles of Corporate Behaviour All this work has paid off for Epson. One of the great things about harnessing your employer brand is that you can do so much of it for free. According to Edwards, "You actually don't have to pay a lot of money to put your brand out there and make people aware of your reputation as an employer." The work that Epson has done has led to a 400 per cent increase in page views on its Glassdoor page.  You can't build a great candidate experience if you don't have a strong employer brand. They go hand in hand. Like Epson, you need to put in the work or as Edwards says, "You need to get the base of the cake right before you can put the icing or sprinkles on top." You can hear the full Epson story here.

The future of work is here. How will your manufacturing company keep up?
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The future of work is here. How will your manufacturing company keep up?

Webhelp
Case Study

Webhelp

BEST TALENT: FASTEST ROUTE TO SUCCESS Webhelp builds on Cornerstone TalentLink to implement comprehensive recruitment solution. Making business more human – that’s Webhelp’s mission. By committing to make business more human, Webhelp undertakes to increase customer satisfaction and to develop business solutions that add value to even the most successful companies in the world. As a strong partner to its customers, Webhelp offers a wide range of services from customer experience solutions through social media support to payment management. Hundreds of brands place their trust in Webhelp on account of its people, its corporate culture, its innovative capacity and its technologies. With Webhelp, they benefit from the commitment and experience of over 60,000 game changers in more than 140 locations in 35 countries. Webhelp is the European market leader in its industry and has its sights set on global leadership. For queries or more information, please contact Webhelp directly at +49 (0) 91193390 or kontakt@de.webhelp.com. At a glance: The benefits of Cornerstone TalentLink for Webhelp Personalised recruitment processes: Tailored workflows for applications Talent at a glance: Extensive reporting options All-important data protection: Definition of user rights Focus on talent: Webhelp’s need for a comprehensive recruitment solution Before Webhelp decided to go with Cornerstone TalentLink, the company relied on distributed recruitment solutions. After acquiring a Group company that was using a standalone tool, Webhelp deployed multiple recruitment tools in parallel. These offered very limited functionality, however. Anything that went beyond contacting applicants, assigning status and publishing offers or rejections was simply not possible with the old system. The tool did not allow Webhelp to define its own application workflows, assign specific user rights to HR managers or create comprehensive reports. The capabilities of the solution clearly fell short of Webhelp’s requirements. HR management at Webhelp also knew that the only way to attract the best talent is to offer applicants an appealing recruitment process that is tailored to each candidate’s needs. This called for a tool that not only placed the talent centre stage, but also met the company’s wide-ranging requirements. During their search for an appropriate solution for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Webhelp learned about the positive results other regions had experienced with TalentLink. In the UK and South Africa, for example, Webhelp had already been using Cornerstone solutions with great success, contributing to both recruitment personalisation and workflow efficiency. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE TALENT – PERSONALISING RECRUITMENT PROCESSES Webhelp has been using Cornerstone TalentLink in the German-speaking countries of Europe since August 2019. In order to implement the solution, the Webhelp project team established a roll-out roadmap together with Cornerstone. Firstly, the new and rich software functionality was presented to employees through workshops and internal training sessions. “Many of us were not initially aware of just how many options TalentLink offers. The workshops really helped us to get to know the extensive tools and familiarise ourselves with the new software. Cornerstone provided excellent support during this time,” affirms Lisa Trümper, Regional HR Manager Recruiting at Webhelp. The new functions benefit both the applicants and the company. On the one hand, Cornerstone TalentLink allows Webhelp to make its offering more personalised. The company can now assign specific user rights to every recruiter, which means that employees are able to view the applicant information that is relevant to them in accordance with their role and responsibilities. The high degree of personalisation that Cornerstone TalentLink offers extends to the many recruiting and onboarding workflows that can be defined. For example, HR managers can decide which steps should be included in an application process. This allows Webhelp to align the workflow with actual needs and ensure that talent is always selected in accordance with comparable standards. Companies can therefore tailor the recruitment structures to the applicants and adapt them if need be. “Before we could only click on offers or rejections – now TalentLink allows us to accompany the talent throughout the recruitment process. This allows us to engage with applicants and new employees on a personalised basis,” continues Trümper. Companies that want to specifically develop and motivate talent and build loyalty to the company over time must be able to respond to individual wishes and career path aspirations. The comprehensive reporting functions are particularly valuable for Webhelp. They help the HR managers maintain an overview of the applications received and track the status of talent. This makes it easy for them to see which step of the recruitment process an applicant has reached at any given time. And since TalentLink provides feedback reminders, the solution ensures that no steps are missed and that contact with the talent is maintained. At the end of the day, all applicants will have been offered an optimum candidate experience. PERSONALISED CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE AND CLEAR EFFICIENCY GAINS Once the Webhelp HR managers had become familiar with Cornerstone TalentLink, they were delighted with the range of functions and options enabled by the new solution. The comprehensive reporting tools make it much easier to track many different applicants and their current status. By defining their own application workflows, recruiters can offer their talent an application process that is tailored to their needs and clearly differentiates Webhelp from the competition. As a result, applicants can look forward to a positive candidate experience from the get-go and managers find it easier to source the best talent and build long-term loyalty to the company.

WEBINAR: Making Performance Management Engaging and Motivating
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WEBINAR: Making Performance Management Engaging and Motivating

In this webinar we explore how Cornerstone Performance can help you move beyond painful performance management processes to rethink the way you engage and motivate your employees.

What is the difference between a manager and a leader?
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What is the difference between a manager and a leader?

Are the terms manager and leader not the same? Logically, if my boss directs the office they are the manager but also, the leader. In fact, in an ideal situation, managers are leaders. But this is not always the case. So what’s difference between a manager and a true leader? 1) Managers manage the present, the leaders look to the future Managers are focused on completing the work there is to do now, but leaders look at the big picture and ask the right questions. How will this activity help us meet out quarterly targets? How does this fit with the general plans of the company? Is this helping people with their career goals? These are the questions that a real leader considers constantly. 2) Managers monitor people or activities, leaders make a real contribution There are managers who manage people and managers who manage projects, and each has specific responsibilities. Sometimes the leader is not always being shouted about, but it is the person to whom everyone turns to for guidance and advice. They are the ones that actively and effectively participate in the resolution of problems and the achievement of objectives. This is the kind of person to watch and promote to managerial roles. 3) Managers tell people what to do, leaders guide people to success If you are a checklist manager, then you’re probably not a leader. If you tell people to follow a checklist and tick items off that list then you are not leading. A leader inspires and helps others to succeed and this sometimes involves intervening, while other times it means to simply to let things evolve on their own. This is a leader’s call to make. 4) Managers will issue directives for each activity, the leaders are willing to relinquish control Leaders praise deserving colleagues and realise when a person is ready for greater responsibilities and a possible promotion. Managers may be tempted to keep activities and projects under control. Leaders understand when someone is ready to flourish and they celebrate this. 5) Managers care about numbers, leaders care about people The numbers are important and anyone who says otherwise is being unrealistic. But they are not the only thing that matters. It is likely that the manager will complain about an employee that is unable to keep up, while a leader will ask them if they have any problems and will try to offer a solution. Obviously, both leaders and managers will have to fire a person that is not suited for a role, but leaders will try to solve the problem first. Ignoring problems will not make them go away and this attitude will push the best people to leave. Managers are focused on achieving the objectives, but leaders see the team as a solid and will ensure that there are no hidden problems under the surface. If you oversee a project or a group of people, stop and think about how you behave. Are you acting as a manager or as a leader?

Case Study Deutsche Post DHL Group
Case Study

Case Study Deutsche Post DHL Group

Delivering Skills-First Careers Powered by AI Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) is the world’s leading logistics company. DPDHL is made up of a family of close-knit business divisions all working together to meet customers’ needs. For DPDHL, it is important to focus on what excellence looks like in this digital world and how its people can adapt to that change. With the pace of change moving at incredible speed, and new skills becoming increasingly vital in today’s world of work, DPDHL turned to AI to help align skills with future challenges for the business. A major part of DPDHL’s 2025 talent strategy is identifying the skills currently in the team today and uncovering potential skills that are relevant to tomorrow. One of the biggest challenges tied to this objective is how to bring in a skills ontology that can reflect the differences between deskbased roles and field roles, such as those handling and delivering parcels. This is where AI comes into play. Why Cornerstone? DPDHL turned to Cornerstone’s skills ontology offering – an AI-powered skills engine that identifies capabilities within the organisation, which can then be matched to jobs within the company and pinpoint potential skills gaps. In choosing the right partner, DPDHL set out clear objectives to answer both the needs of its employees – fluid career paths – and the needs of the business – retaining its talent and futureproofing itself. DPDHL is introducing Cornerstone’s technology to see what the next career move might be for an airside handler or supervisor in a warehouse, using AI to pinpoint the transferable skills. Once the skills are out on the table, the employee will then choose what they’d like to develop in order to move up or across into a new career path, opening up many possibilities and mapping out their future with the company. Choosing this strategic skills-first approach to development means that employees at DPDHL are continually growing and learning, setting career paths that are not necessarily linear, and instead completely personalised to them. The Results A structured career path. Beyond matching employees to opportunities, DPDHL aspires to offer employees a way to keep career development in sight on an ongoing basis – from planning future roles to receiving suggestions to develop the necessary skills. Millions saved on external recruitment costs. As employees are able to envisage their future at DPDHL, fewer are leaving and there is a decreasing need to hire externally. In fact, DPDHL anticipate a drop of more than 10% in external recruiting resources, saving millions. More visibility to internal recruiters. DPDHL enables its recruiters better visibility of the wider internal talent pools beyond received applications for a position. That way, employees will have a way to “raise their hand” if open for new challenges and recruiters will be able to see their matches without a need for an active application. Both a talent magnet and talent developer. DPDHL wants its people to grow, and for that to be celebrated. It may feel hard on managers when employees move teams and departments at first, but in the long-term, people are engaged, their experiences are improved and the business is overall more efficient and effective. Sense of purpose. Thanks to AI and Cornerstone, employees will be engaged and feel like they have a sense of purpose in the workplace, which is one of the most important attributes that people look for in an organisation today. Plugging the skills gap. From a HR perspective, AI allows DPDHL to identify skills gaps which otherwise would go unnoticed until it is a bigger problem. This better prepares the company for the future and as a result, DPDHL becomes a more sustainable business in the long run.

Cornerstone Xplor walk-through - UK
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Cornerstone Xplor walk-through - UK

The world of work requires a new approach to help employees upskill. Cornerstone Xplor helps to put the right insight and tools in your hands so you can do more to create a workplace that works for everyone. With Cornerstone Xplor — you can have a more connected, more progressive work system with a deeply personalised experience that empowers each individual to adapt, grow, and succeed together.

10 things leaders need to know in the new normal
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10 things leaders need to know in the new normal

#AIForHR : Four ways how AI will impact HR
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#AIForHR : Four ways how AI will impact HR

As the Director of Data Science for Cornerstone, I get asked many questions about Artificial Intelligence and the impact it is having in our world. The most common concern amongst HR professionals is to see their function becoming dehumanised over time! For the past few years, HR departments have invested a lot of time and money in changing their internal perception be more approachable and reliable, regaining the trust from their employees. Terms like “human-centric” have been very relevant in this new way of serving the organisation, being there strategically for the C-Suite and offering transparency while empowering employees to own their development with Human Capital Management systems that enable the staff to realise their full potential. This new technology is usually seen as something that will reduce the human factor of any topic it is applied to. And let’s be honest, the risk of being perceived as too process driven, automatised and less human is a concern in the industry. Nonetheless, as a Data Scientist I am convinced AI in HR is, in many ways, going to make HR more personal, human and more relevant for our people. AI can understand human language Without being too technical, AI allows the user to express him/herself in his/her own natural language. It means that AI allows employees to freely present themselves and describe their wishes with their own framework and vocabulary, without worrying about an official company framework, usually composed of a limited nested list of validated terms. More than saving time for employees, it helps the employee to give a far more accurate view of themselves and allows AI HRIS give a tailored experience. AI in HR can make suggestions, but not decisions Even someone as passionate about data like me knows that humans are very complex and therefore AI cannot make impactful decisions in the HR department: whom to hire, whom to assign a specific learning plan, who needs a promotion… What does AI do for HR then? Thanks to Artificial Intelligence we gain access to information – yes, it may make a recommendation to improve different processes - but AI is not intended to make the final decision. This takes us to a scenario in which the Talent Team can focus on people because AI is taking care of administrative tasks and helping to improve processes with smart suggestions, leaving the final decision to us- humans. A more personalised relationship with employees Today, we do not have enough hours in the day and HR isn’t any different! Most of my clients struggle to support their employees like they intend to. But thanks to AI, we have tools that recommend opportunities and allow intelligent searches that improve the employee’s autonomy which is very much linked with the human-centric approach we have seen our clients invest in. This autonomy starts with empowering our employees to ask themselves questions like: what could be my next job? Which skills am I missing? How could I learn them? Can I talk with someone that did a similar move in the past? With HR spending less time on processes and employees being more autonomous, they can be expected to improve their relationships with informed and efficient discussions. Reduction of bias & stereotypes Diversity and Inclusion has proven to be a priority this year for most organisations, even within our client base our “Unconscious Bias” training was one of the most requested this year as my colleague Mark Lamswood explained in the blog “ Why Content and … why now”. AI is helping tackle this big issue by ensuring that data such as gender, school prestige and age is being ignored by the algorithm, l focusing only on the more relevant and non-bias information like: skills, past experience, career development wishes.... Something that can't be done by humans. These new technologies are democratising access to career coaching, making personal development more ethical and objective, while reducing network effects. Without being naive about the risks of downsizing, HR has a lot to gain from AI. As part of our commitment to innovation we are working very hard from the Paris-based Innovation Lab to make Artificial Intelligence more and more relevant to our clients. We have created an eBook you can download here about “Realising the True Potential of AI in HR”. Hungry for more AI blogs? Read my opinion on what AI can bring to HR.

Blog: Performance Management has passed away – may it rest in peace
Blog Post

Blog: Performance Management has passed away – may it rest in peace

Have you experienced it too? That there are too many goals that have not been reached at the end of the year? Many of us have been victims of it, the traditional American performance process, where goals are set and evaluated by a manager who rates us. It is often in the form of a 9-box grid where every box says something about how the manager thinks we have performed in the past year. The headlines often say "achievement" and "potential", sometimes "performance" and "behaviour". Sometimes there are different rules for how important each of the parameters is. Sometimes performance is valued at 70% and behaviour 30%. In some modern companies, each parameter is worth 50% each. Either way, the desired outcome is that people behave in ways that maximise results and profits for the company. Emphasis is put on increasing performance and results, and on how to measure how well we meet set and numerical goals. The development of your salary is directly affected by which box the manager thinks you should end up in. For every box, there is a corresponding salary box, which also depends on what role you have within the company. If changing your role in the company does not lead to a higher salary, there is no reason to change your role, right? Your manager has most likely talked about you and your colleagues with other managers to “calibrate” your evaluation, just to make sure that there aren’t too many high achievers. Instead, they are aiming for an even, normative curve (Bell curve) where scores are populated in the middle, where people perform just like the large majority. A curve that has as many high scores as low scores. The curve must be even, we cannot have too many high achievers who get higher salaries than everyone else. The discussion between managers sometimes gets heated, because everyone wants to be able to put as many high marks as possible on "their" employees. Managers bargain with each other to decide who can set what scores and sometimes trade scores to make it as fair as possible. Every department’s curve has to reflect the accumulated curve of the whole company. Being in the middle of the 9-box grid means that you are basically just like everyone else in the company. For the curve to be even, 70% should be in the middle. The problem is that no one wants to end up in the middle of the 9-box grid. Everyone thinks that they are better than that, and when given an “average” score, he or she gets disappointed and unmotivated. Because of this, managers tend to set marks that overall are higher than they actually are, creating an illusion that people are a bit better. This doesn’t work as it destroys calibration. Engineers can easily understand how the process works (when you can measure goal fulfilment in numbers, it is possible to calculate exactly where each person ends up on each parameter), and people are evaluated and put in boxes as if they did not have feelings, expectations or dreams. Social pain is an inevitable consequence when we are directly valued and compared with other employees - we have received our annual verdict. This is how much you are worth to us. We have the power and knowledge to judge you as a human being, and it’s directly proportional to how much income you generate in the short perspective. Goals are set with a focus on the highest possible profit and return. We usually think that 8-10 goals per employee is a reasonable amount of goals for the coming year. It is a top-down process, where employees are assigned their financial goals that they are expected to achieve during the annual goal cycle. A review with a manager happens, halfway through the cycle, to make sure that we are on the right track. If we are a modern company, we may even make sure that we discuss the goals with the employees, before they are finally set. The manager asks how well the employee thinks that she or he will perform. Some "stretch" in the goals is desired so that each employee won’t be lazy during working hours and truly will perform. Reaching goals should be a bit difficult. Nevertheless, since employees know that they will be evaluated on goal fulfilment, they will not want to set too high goals so that they do not reach them. Rather you want to set lower goals to make sure that you will reach them. The reasoning could go something like this; “my salary depends on it and I have promised my family to go to Thailand this year, so I really need that bonus ...” How do we actually see people in our organisations? It seems like employees are seen as just cogs in the machinery. A machinery created by a bunch of savvy people who are more similar to engineers than psychologists. The above description has been the reality for years for many companies in Sweden and in some organisations, there are no changes in how goals are set and how employees are evaluated. Some might have “improved” the processes by increasing focus on behaviours and adding in a couple of extra “coaching conversations” instead of the mid-year review. However, it is still built on the same old performance management foundation. Occasionally one can hear HR managers talk about how they “now added an extra discussion”, or “now we foremost discuss the development of the employees in our performance reviews”. Still, the manager does the evaluation and the power imbalance, that you have to be friendly with your manager, to not risk a bad evaluation, is still present. The manager still has the power and can anytime make sure that you lose your job. Just like in the 1940s and 1950s, when Taylorism was at its worst. Back then people thought that to be successful, someone needed to decide exactly how everyone should work, and there were “intelligent” managers who decided how the workers should carry out their work. The goal was obviously to maximise profits and the CFOs were highly valued. But what exactly is a successful business today? Is it to maximise profits and shareholder value? Or, are there other, more ethical values today, such as the impact on society, the climate, and people, that affect how we lead our employees and our organisations? Paradoxically, it seems that the companies that have lowered the performance requirements and the profit ambition, are the ones that make the most money, as a direct consequence of the reduced pressure and the increased well-being of the organisation. When people are given the freedom to reach their full potential, amazing things happen. Self-organisation happens when you stop preventing people from being their best selves at their place of work. Today, most employees are knowledge workers and cannot be evaluated on the value of how many products he or she delivers per unit of time. Instead, it is the quality of our ability to innovate that becomes important. Douglas McGregor, who was a Leadership Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management wrote a book in the late 1950s called "The Human Side of Enterprise." In the book, he presents his theory of human views X and Y. Human view X, states that people are lazy and unmotivated, if not rewarded, or punished (carrots and sticks). The human view Y, states that people want to perform and work, due to intrinsic motivation, to become the best they can and realise their full potential. There is no need for carrots and sticks. What is interesting is that the way we see people, X, or Y affects how we design our management processes. If we think that people need to be controlled and guided, then we will design control models, based on the corresponding human view. But if we instead believe that people by nature want to work and are motivated by themselves, and also want to take great responsibility, then there will be no need to control processes and approval flows, except in some cases. People who behave in X-ways do so because their managers treat them in X-ways. Can we once and for all agree that the Performance Management process described in this text, has no place in our companies? That it reflects a dusty and outdated view of people and leads to bad behaviours, politics, sharp elbows, competition, and individualism instead of teamwork, collective responsibility, common direction, and happy, performing employees? Can we once and for all bury the 9-box grid, numerical goals set in a top-down process, and bonuses as a reward for achieving fixed goals on an annual basis? And let’s get rid of the calibration process, assessment of employees by managers, and the engineering human view? We no longer work just to get paid, as we did in the past. The number of repetitive tasks that employees perform decreases, and today many tasks can just as easily be performed by a robot. In fact, many of the tasks that previously required a human, have today been replaced by robots and automated systems. Instead, we need to be creative, find new solutions, and invent new products and services our customers want and need. All to be competitive and continuously develop the organisation in a world that is constantly changing. Next time we will look into how to increase motivation and performance without the old performance management process.

Case Study Papyrus
Case Study

Case Study Papyrus

Papyrus uses Cornerstone OnDemand to improve market competitiveness and unify brand Business challenges and objectives Established in 1895, the Papyrus Group has seen a significant amount of change in the paper market, but none as significant as the dawn of the internet and digital media. As digital communications grew, the paper market began to shrink, and by 2008, it was shrinking 5% yearon-year. Although Papyrus was maintaining profitability, it was losing market against digital and needed to act quickly to maintain its place. The Papyrus team knew that motivating its internal team was a key way of improving competitiveness and maximising sales despite the adverse market. However, at the same time, the team was working to effectively integrate a number of acquired companies into one coherent operating body and present a unified face to the market. Consequently, Papyrus needed a solution which would: • Encourage and reward performance across the organisation • Unify disparate companies across 20 markets into the Papyrus brand “Since 2010, we’ve known that the market was going to become challenging for us and we’ve been evolving our strategy ever since, helping us to stay profitable and continue to provide the best possible service to our customers,” said Christian Carlsson, SVP HR, Papyrus Group. “We knew that staff motivation and encouraging the best performance was critical to our success, so we needed a system which would support progress to this goal.” Why Cornerstone To maximise agility and stay as cost-effective as possible, the Papyrus team focused on cloud solutions for its new performance management system. After whittling the list down to two vendors, Papyrus chose Cornerstone Performance and Cornerstone Compensation. “The Cornerstone team understood our needs and their products were configurable, which was valuable for us,” continued Carlsson. “For example, we could brand the solution as Papyrus rather than Cornerstone, reinforcing our brand image across Europe.” After signing the contract in July 2011, Cornerstone conducted workshops and user testing with Papyrus, adapting product design to fit the needs of the business. Papyrus went live with Cornerstone Performance in January 2012 and rolled out Compensation in February 2012 to its top leaders. Cornerstone’s products are now helping to create a unified identity for Papyrus and drive its competitiveness in an adverse market. The Results / Business Impact Papyrus has now unified its HR Performance processes to present the brand as one entity rather than a group of acquired companies. Employees have a clear understanding of how their work is evaluated and how they can progress. In January 2013, 95% of employees completed their reviews. Papyrus also gained: • Motivation: 83% of staff declared that they have a good understanding of how to develop their competencies • Enablement: The solution was operational in seven months, and 1,500 users went live simultaneously, allowing Papyrus to capitalise on benefits quickly and compete more effectively • Productivity: The Papyrus team have European consistency (across 20 markets) over employee competency – whilst locally-sensitive targets can be set, all staff are evaluated by the same system • Company Profitability: A unified and rapidly deployed performance and compensation system has meant that the company has come together and is moving in the same direction, improving competitiveness. “Our evaluation procedure is now a rolling and ongoing process,” continued Carlsson. “We can set objectives at the start, before doing a mid-year review in summer, later revisiting goals in winter before setting objectives again.” Papyrus Group now has a transparent and consistent view of performance across Europe where any anomalies can be quickly recognised and corrected. Cornerstone Compensation is being used to track how Papyrus rewards its top leaders – the top 100 leaders in the organisation. For example, any individuals in this group who have a low performance score but are receiving high compensation can be identified and appropriate action taken. HR is now a much more streamlined process, with one system and set of processes minimising administration for the company. “Using Cornerstone has given us a way of making sure that our top leaders are evaluated and compensated consistently across Europe, helping us to maintain competitiveness and unify our brand during a challenging time,” concluded Carlsson. “Although it’s too early to evaluate the overall business success, we’re confident that we’re now supporting and making the most of our number one asset: our people.” Future plans In future, Papyrus is looking to use Cornerstone Learning Cloud to handle training and development within the group, driving innovation and maintaining excellence across Europe.

CC18 Best-selling author Liggy Webb talks resilience
Video

CC18 Best-selling author Liggy Webb talks resilience

Following her keynote, Liggy Webb, CEO of The Learning Architect and best-selling author, discusses the importance of resilience at Cornerstone Convergence EMEA.

Close your eyes and dream big! What AI can bring to HR
Blog Post

Close your eyes and dream big! What AI can bring to HR

Convergence day 2: Technology can empower people to be extraordinary
Blog Post

Convergence day 2: Technology can empower people to be extraordinary

Our first fully virtual Cornerstone Convergence is now in the books! On Day 1, presenters introduced all of the future opportunities that working in the new normal promises, and Day 2 speakers continued the conversation, highlighting the role that technology will play in empowering people to be extraordinary in the new world of work. The day was bookended by two awesome keynotes, starting with our Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Heidi Spirgi, and concluding with the inspiring Adam Grant, organisational psychologist and host of the WorkLife podcast. Jam-packed in between were hours of information and engaging sessions, networking, learning and fun—let’s dig in! People Can Be Extraordinary—Opening Keynote from Heidi Spirgi Heidi’s keynote was a great jumping point from the introduction of Cornerstone’s new mission and vision shared yesterday by Cornerstone CEO Phil Saunders in his opening address. She acknowledged that yes, the world is changing but that we can choose to be a driver of that change or become a victim of it. Decide to be extraordinary—to adapt, create, learn, grow, change. To become unbound. So, what does it mean to be extraordinary? Heidi shared this video to explain it further. Our first fully virtual Cornerstone Convergence is now in the books! On Day 1, presenters introduced all of the future opportunities that working in the new normal promises, and Day 2 speakers continued the conversation, highlighting the role that technology will play in empowering people to be extraordinary in the new world of work. The day was bookended by two awesome keynotes, starting with our Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Heidi Spirgi, and concluding with the inspiring Adam Grant, organisational psychologist and host of the WorkLife podcast. Jam-packed in between were hours of information and engaging sessions, networking, learning and fun—let’s dig in! People Can Be Extraordinary—Opening Keynote from Heidi Spirgi Heidi’s keynote was a great jumping point from the introduction of Cornerstone’s new mission and vision shared yesterday by Cornerstone CEO Phil Saunders in his opening address. She acknowledged that yes, the world is changing but that we can choose to be a driver of that change or become a victim of it. Decide to be extraordinary—to adapt, create, learn, grow, change. To become unbound. So, what does it mean to be extraordinary? Heidi shared this video to explain it further. Technology plays a key role in meeting these needs, and Heidi shared how Cornerstone is tapping into emerging technologies to deliver a more modern, personalised, intelligent and uniquely human people development experience. Tools like blockchain, skills ontologies, AI and machine learning are no longer buzzwords. They enable people to become extraordinary, and allow employees to be understood, guided and belong. Heidi closed out her session with an inspirational message. “The world will change after this pandemic but human ingenuity can change it for the better,” she said. People can be extraordinary and can be unbound by yesterday’s constraints. And when people are unbound, when people are extraordinary, they can deliver extraordinary results.” Hitting the Digital Transformation Highway Our EMEA attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Vincent Belliveau, Cornerstone’s EMEA Chief Executive, on how HR plays a crucial role in helping organisations not only navigate uncertainty, but also accelerate through it as they embrace digital transformation. Vincent emphasised that while it can be an enabler, no amount of new technology or innovative approaches will work if they are not fundamentally people centric. He then shared four priorities that will accelerate HR transformation. Help your company adapt to the new ways of work. Develop a strong skills strategy—it’s business-critical. Get behind the power of data to speed up decision-making, increase efficiencies. Embrace automation in order to make space for people to grow or try something new. Vincent closed by urging attendees to put their people first at every stage of change and to “never take your foot off the pedal” of transformation. Emerging Tools for Transformation Empowering people to be extraordinary requires giving them the tools to do so. In the Performance and learning: The key to unlocking people potential session, a panel of Cornerstone customers including Kristy Touchet from Home Bank, Patrick Sorensen from GSI and Lorie Hess from The Bama Companies discussed how combining the performance and learning platforms has been a game changer for employee development—even during COVID-19. “Development doesn’t stop during tough times, in fact it’s more important than ever,” Lorie said. But employees aren’t the only ones that must be empowered to be extraordinary—HR teams need the right technology as well. In How to leverage AI to create an exceptional user experience, Cornerstone’s own Lars Eichhof and Duncan Miller shared their recommendations for AI, machine learning and automation. These tools, they said, are tackling the challenge of scanning an increasing volume of candidates and choosing quality talent among them. Our first fully virtual Cornerstone Convergence is now in the books! On Day 1, presenters introduced all of the future opportunities that working in the new normal promises, and Day 2 speakers continued the conversation, highlighting the role that technology will play in empowering people to be extraordinary in the new world of work. The day was bookended by two awesome keynotes, starting with our Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Heidi Spirgi, and concluding with the inspiring Adam Grant, organisational psychologist and host of the WorkLife podcast. Jam-packed in between were hours of information and engaging sessions, networking, learning and fun—let’s dig in! People Can Be Extraordinary—Opening Keynote from Heidi Spirgi Heidi’s keynote was a great jumping point from the introduction of Cornerstone’s new mission and vision shared yesterday by Cornerstone CEO Phil Saunders in his opening address. She acknowledged that yes, the world is changing but that we can choose to be a driver of that change or become a victim of it. Decide to be extraordinary—to adapt, create, learn, grow, change. To become unbound. So, what does it mean to be extraordinary? Heidi shared this video to explain it further. Technology plays a key role in meeting these needs, and Heidi shared how Cornerstone is tapping into emerging technologies to deliver a more modern, personalised, intelligent and uniquely human people development experience. Tools like blockchain, skills ontologies, AI and machine learning are no longer buzzwords. They enable people to become extraordinary, and allow employees to be understood, guided and belong. Heidi closed out her session with an inspirational message. “The world will change after this pandemic but human ingenuity can change it for the better,” she said. People can be extraordinary and can be unbound by yesterday’s constraints. And when people are unbound, when people are extraordinary, they can deliver extraordinary results.” Hitting the Digital Transformation Highway Our EMEA attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Vincent Belliveau, Cornerstone’s EMEA Chief Executive, on how HR plays a crucial role in helping organisations not only navigate uncertainty, but also accelerate through it as they embrace digital transformation. Vincent emphasised that while it can be an enabler, no amount of new technology or innovative approaches will work if they are not fundamentally people centric. He then shared four priorities that will accelerate HR transformation. Help your company adapt to the new ways of work. Develop a strong skills strategy—it’s business-critical. Get behind the power of data to speed up decision-making, increase efficiencies. Embrace automation in order to make space for people to grow or try something new Vincent closed by urging attendees to put their people first at every stage of change and to “never take your foot off the pedal” of transformation. Emerging Tools for Transformation Empowering people to be extraordinary requires giving them the tools to do so. In the Performance and learning: The key to unlocking people potential session, a panel of Cornerstone customers including Kristy Touchet from Home Bank, Patrick Sorensen from GSI and Lorie Hess from The Bama Companies discussed how combining the performance and learning platforms has been a game changer for employee development—even during COVID-19. “Development doesn’t stop during tough times, in fact it’s more important than ever,” Lorie said. But employees aren’t the only ones that must be empowered to be extraordinary—HR teams need the right technology as well. In How to leverage AI to create an exceptional user experience, Cornerstone’s own Lars Eichhof and Duncan Miller shared their recommendations for AI, machine learning and automation. These tools, they said, are tackling the challenge of scanning an increasing volume of candidates and choosing quality talent among them. Learning Will Drive Work in the New Normal The “new normal” isn’t quite “new” anymore, Cornerstone’s Jeff Miller, CLO and VP of Organisational Effectiveness, and Kimberly Cassady, CTO, pointed out in 10 things leaders need to know in the new normal. “We need to be proactively making change before we have to reactively make or respond to it,” Jeff said. What does that look like in practice? Jeff and Kim offered these 10 recommendations: One other critical ingredient for the new normal? Learning. In a panel discussion on Creating A Scalable Skills Development Culture, Vincent Belliveau connected with Meredith Taghi, from Deutsche Post DHL, Nina Bressler Murphy, from Novartis Learning Institute and Loh Gek Khim, from the Singapore Skills Framework. The conversation focused on how “skills are really the currency of the future” to power people development that in turn powers organisational growth and business transformation through skills mastery. Global Industry Analyst Josh Bersin echoed the importance of skills in his session on High Velocity Learning in the Pandemic Every individual, every employee, every manager and every executive must understand that there is a transformation going on in their jobs, in their individual lives, in their companies and their business models. And learning is key to transformation. For learning to be effective, organisations need to rely on the right content, the Cornerstone Content team explained in Delivering the right content to the right people at the right time. As we adapt to the new normal, professional skills training is essential and learning must be accessible anytime, anywhere. The key takeaway? Employees need to be equipped to adapt and prepare for the changes in their personal and professional lives—our content offering has the courses to enable your employees to do just that. Already, clients are using content to more effectively reach learners with timely, relevant resources. In How to engage learners in a rapidly changing world, a client spotlight session featuring Bancorp, Hulu and Davita Kidney Care, customers shared how they’ve used content to cope with the pandemic and ongoing social issues. Bancorp, for example, introduced a playlist of courses to train employees and managers around racial bias. Hulu, meanwhile, has recently rebuilt its learner experience to model its consumer platform, creating a more intuitive and easy-to-use platform for their employees. Building a Resiliency for Change—and the Future As employees accept the “new normal” and work towards embracing it, mindset and organisational culture will be foundational to empowering them. In his session, Building mindfulness, resilience and mental wellbeing skills in a changing world, Joe Burton, founder of Whil, shared some of the key stressors, both big and small, that occupy employees’ minds today. But, there is a way to cope with these anxieties: practicing mindfulness, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. “Employees need to bring these skills with them every day,” Joe said. “Cornerstone and Saba, through the partnership with Whil make these skills attainable.” Closing Keynote by Adam Grant on Creating a Culture of Productive Generosity To wrap up day 2 of Convergence and the conference as a whole, organisational psychologist, bestselling author, and host of WorkLife, a TED original podcast, Adam Grant took the virtual stage to share his tips for nurturing givers, who are essential to a positive—and resilient—organisational culture. Adam stated a simple goal for organisations: Recognise the importance of people who believe in generosity and care about each other—they aren’t values you should leave at the (home) office door. If we can do a better job supporting and nurturing givers (and shielding them from takers), we’ll move towards a world where people can build better relationships and strong communities, and get more work done, too. Thanks for an inspiring keynote to end Convergence, Adam! Exploring, Networking and Learning In between sessions, attendees today also took time to explore Cornerstone and Convergence sponsors (thank you, sponsors!). In the virtual expo hall, sponsors including JazzHR, Kokoroe, XOS and many others shared engaging videos about their products and answered questions via live chat, from explaining how to use certain features to sharing origin stories about their company name. As part of the Explore Cornerstone feature, attendees learned about Cornerstone’s products too, scheduling demos and speaking directly to product experts. There was plenty to learn, and plenty of ways to engage, from getting involved with the Cornerstone Foundation, an organisation service nonprofits around the world, to applying for a client RAVE award! Our favourite part of exploring? Seeing attendees exchange recommendations in the product chats! And That’s a Wrap of #CSODConf20! With this first ever virtual Convergence behind us, we eagerly await our next opportunity to connect with all of you. Until then, we’re so grateful that you’ve joined us on this journey. Let’s take a look back on some of our favourite social moments of the day. We’ll see you again soon!

Cornerstone Among First Organisations to Achieve ISO 27701 Gold Standard in Data Privacy
Blog Post

Cornerstone Among First Organisations to Achieve ISO 27701 Gold Standard in Data Privacy

At Cornerstone, we’re on a journey to continuously demonstrate our commitment to data privacy and people protection. Today, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve been awarded the ISO 27701 certification for our Privacy Information Management System. Considered to be the first globally recognised privacy certification, and aligned with GDPR, ISO 27701 is an extension of the gold standard in security, ISO 27001. It requires organisations to adhere to a structured framework of information security and personal data protection requirements and outlines practical guidance for managing privacy programs. “With this new certification, we are bringing the power of people protection to all of our clients across the globe,” explained José Alberto Rodríguez Ruiz, Global Data Protection Officer at Cornerstone. “We are focused on offering all organisations we work with the reassurance for how we handle their data, providing compliance reporting and career protection. Ultimately, this enables our clients to also gain the trust of their employees.” Achieving ISO 27701 was a top priority for Cornerstone after it was enacted last fall, and it was performed in a short amount of time. “We believe this certification marks a key milestone for both us and data privacy in general,” said Jose. “It’s about more than protecting data: we protect the data to protect the people”

Corporate Wellness: how to encourage a healthy lifestyle amongst your employees
Blog Post

Corporate Wellness: how to encourage a healthy lifestyle amongst your employees

An office worker will spend most of the working day sitting down whether it’s in front of their computer, in a meeting or in the canteen at lunchtime and, over time, this can cause many problems both physically and mentally. As an employer, part of your duty is to care for your employees, helping them to be as productive and healthy as possible. In fact, a growing number of companies are pushing for wellbeing initiatives in the office, even if it’s just something simple, such as encouraging group lunchtime walks or offering free exercise classes. By offering these initiatives, companies will not only see an improvement in their employees’ professional performance, motivating them to continue growing and developing, but they will also improve their employees’ satisfaction rates and overall employer brand. Here are five of the most common practices to help promote health and wellbeing in the workplace: Desk exercises Small simple tricks when sitting at a desk can help to improve posture. Focus on stretching and straightening the back every time you’re sat down so that your muscles are not straining more than required. Always make sure that you’re not resting your head on your hands and ensure you’ve set the computer at an appropriate height to avoid neck pain. Technology can also help to encourage activity. Smart watches or wristbands usually have activity sensors that can alert the user when they have not moved for a while. This can also become a fun team activity. The owner of the wristband alerts the rest of the team that it's time to do some exercise and together they can perform arm stretches, torso rotations, squats or neck stretches. Gym fees Offering financial help to pay for gym fees or offering flexible compensation plans can also be a great way to get your office employees moving more, as well as encouraging team building within departments. This idea fulfills two objectives: the first, to encourage the most reluctant of workers to go to the gym and be active and, the second, to create a relaxed work environment. Including physical activity in employees’ day-to-day helps them to keep in shape, as well as relieving work stress, helping them to rest better at night. Mindfulness Wellbeing isn’t just about physical exercise. One of the biggest trends that has increased over the years is the practice of relaxation or mindfulness exercises. As with physical exercise, there are several mindfulness and relaxation initiatives you can offer our employees. Some offices might hire a professional to come in and give wellbeing sessions, others might implement a corporate wellbeing plan that encourages employees to attend relaxation, mindfulness or yoga classes on a weekly basis. These techniques can help employees better deal with daily problems, improve concentration and learn to face challenges, without too much pressure, stress or self-demand. Physiotherapists We have already talked about the postural problems caused by sitting at our desks but let’s not forget that there are also many workers whose day-to-day work involves a lot of physical activity or standing up for long periods of time which can cause many muscle and joint problems. Companies can help their workers improve their muscle or joint problems by hiring a physiotherapist that regularly goes to the office to treat employees. Or, working with a clinic near the office, so that staff can make appointments when they need it. Healthy diet How many times have you heard that the best accompaniment to exercise is a healthy diet? This is one of the key points to consider if you want to launch an effective corporate wellness plan for your company. If there is a shared canteen in the workplace, try to make the menu as balanced, healthy and adapted to dietary needs as possible, including healthier options that are less calorific. If there isn’t a canteen, companies and offices can also hire dedicated food companies that prepare healthy food menus to distribute in the office. So this can also be an option. You can also organise talks on healthy cooking, what to eat at what time of year to make the most of seasonal food, how to adapt diets to allergies, etc. Although there are lots of initiatives out there, it’s important that you tailor these to your workplace needs. Ask staff what they want to get out of their workplace before incorporating any big changes. That way, you’ll have expectations to work towards, as well as improving the relationship between you and your employees.

Diversity in action: women's leadership
Blog Post

Diversity in action: women's leadership

Cornerstone Convergence is always the highlight of my year and, last year’s conference stood out in particular for its enlightening ideas around HR innovation. Valuable food for thought came not only from the keynotes of our CEO Adam Miller, innovation guru Jeremy Gutsche and resilience expert Liggy Webb but also from the countless breakout sessions throughout the two days. One of the sessions that I found most inspiring was the session titled, “Diversity in action: women’s leadership”. The session was led by two representatives from Sodexo, Tamsin Vine, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Learning and Development, and Diana Vivan, the company's Learning Technologies Manager, who talked about how the company went through a reality check and decided to activate a program aimed at strengthening female leadership. The Women’s Leadership Program at Sodexo was created in order to develop and increase women’s leadership skills through online training courses, networking and webinars. It was incredible to hear how an international brand was able to implement an engaging strategy and for this strategy to impact the company’s diversity and inclusion mindset. Sodexo used Cornerstone OnDemand’s learning tools to help streamline the program. The Sodexo Women's Leadership Program: setting high standards As explained throughout Convergence 2018, diversity and inclusion initiatives can help improve employees’ performance. For Sodexo, respecting the values of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities and translating them into actionable items is important. Everyone in the company became accustomed to the new corporate guidelines that would help them develop a culture that respects differences and highlights ideas, perspectives, experiences and individual talents. Sodexo was also one of the first companies to have signed the Charter of Diversity to combat all forms of discrimination through targeted actions, as well as the promotion of a fair presence of men and women at both the operational and management levels. Sodexo has always paid particular attention to gender balance and the development of women and their leadership skills. It was precisely for this reason that the company decided to promote a series of initiatives including training, mentoring programs, creation of networks on gender balance and development of ad hoc awareness campaigns, and the results have been astonishing. The latest data shows that the number of women in senior leadership roles increased from 17% to 32% in 2017, and more than 50% of board directors are now women. Closing the gap The gender pay gap has been a hot topic in the UK, particularly as the deadline for companies to submit their gender pay gap statistics is looming. According to the latest Global Gender Pay Gap Report, it will take approximately 108 years to close the gap! And with this month marking International Women’s Day, it’s good for companies to think about how they approach gender divides in the workplace and whether they’re truly empowering women. Initiatives such as the one undertaken by Sodexo are so valuable and inspiring for organisations. By implementing these practices and developing a culture of inclusion, companies can work towards shrinking, or even closing, their gender divides.

Ensuring the Skills to Restart Your Business
Video

Ensuring the Skills to Restart Your Business

In this video you'll find advice and recommendations on how to identify skills gaps in your organisation, and develop your employees for the future. Interested to learn more? Contact us at: info_UK@csod.com

How CSR can help to attract and retain talent
Blog Post

How CSR can help to attract and retain talent

The philosophy of corporate social responsibility, or CSR, in the business world has gained momentum within the past 10 years or so. Companies are assuming responsibility for the effects they produce at a social, economic and environmental level, and are committing themselves to increasing positive impact and reducing any negative impacts. Organisations that have CSR initiatives will often be favourably positioned against competitors. However, the effect CSR has on the company itself is often overlooked, especially in talent management. In light of this, here are four reasons why CSR contributes to the selection and retention of talent: Recognition of employee welfare One of the main areas that CSR addresses is the welfare of employees and the employee experience. The workforce is made up of stakeholders who act as company ambassadors and are fundamental in influencing the outside world’s perception of the company. Therefore, if employees see that an organisation values their contribution and broader external causes, rewards their efforts and cares about providing a good work experience, they are often more inclined to stay with the company. Aligning company and employee values Jobseekers are looking for opportunities that provide more than just a competitive salary. According to Deloitte, the millennial generation seek culture, diversity and flexibility in their workplace when looking for roles, as well as clear alignment of business leaders’ priorities – and one way to tick these boxes is through CSR efforts that align with candidates’ values It also positions the organisation well against competitors that may not be committed to the same principles. The competitive edge In addition to the positive effects CSR has within the company, we cannot forget about its external effects. A study by Unilever, found that a third of consumers are choosing to buy brands based on their social or environmental impact, suggesting that organisations that have CSR campaigns, and work to fulfil their social and environmental duties, gain an advantage over the competition, since their customers will be more willing to consume their products or services. CSR also requires employee assistance Companies often exercise their CSR efforts through initiatives such as employee volunteering, which help to support causes that matter to the company and the corporate culture. Volunteering can make employees feel useful and satisfied, contributing to their sense of self-fulfillment, as well as fostering their happiness in their work. In the past, companies would only focus on the economic benefit of CSR. Today, if they want to become important figures in the global corporate landscape, companies must take responsibility for their internal and external environment, and make efforts to have a positive influence on both. The modern workforce recognises and demands much more from employers than ever before, and CSR should be taken seriously within a talent management strategy.

How Metso fuelled innovation through employee learning with Cornerstone
Blog Post

How Metso fuelled innovation through employee learning with Cornerstone

Metso is a world-leading industrial company that helps enable modern life, offering equipment and services for the sustainable processing and flow of natural resources in the mining, aggregates, recycling and process industries. Metso’s unique knowledge, technical know-how and innovative solutions are key for helping drive their customers’ success and this technological excellence all stems from its people. However, with 13,000 employees across 50 different countries, aligning learning and development is quite a challenge. Knowing that curiosity, and the knowledge that this helps build, is paramount not only to Metso’s culture but also ensuring it continuously offers its customers new and innovative solutions, Metso realised the need to better facilitate this with a coherent learning and training system for all its employees. That was how to help build a real competitive edge. All for one and one for all Having established a global learning and development team from different locations and businesses to define all the necessary criteria, Metso needed to find a system that could meet all of these requirements and deliver a variety of learning and development training. The system needed to provide governance, whilst also offering a combination of traditional learning and modern, digital learning approaches, such as social learning. With Cornerstone OnDemand, Metso found that everything they needed was there and all in one single platform to easily aid Metso’s desire for greater co-creation and collaboration among employees. The result? Innovative learning for greater innovation Metso has now enabled self-driven learning, granting all of its employees access to learning opportunities and ensuring that they can incorporate this into their everyday work. With different kinds of content on offer, employees can pick and choose what learning and development is important to them and contribute to overall business goals as a result. Being able to now easily share their expertise and knowledge and learn altogether has also helped to create a real culture of sharing and innovation, helping feed Metso’s culture of curiosity. Managers now have a clearer overview of employees’ development and Metso is now on the way to having global records on all training, ensuring transparency and governance. This has also enabled management to steer and follow up on competence development in a much more systematic way and drive critical business topics, such as customer centricity. This is just a taste of what Metso has achieved with Cornerstone. If you want to read more, download the full story here: https://www.cornerstoneondemand.co.uk/clients/metso

How NATS uses Cornerstone to improve employee capabilities and help achieve its 2030 vision
Video

How NATS uses Cornerstone to improve employee capabilities and help achieve its 2030 vision

NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services, has seen a significant improvement in employee productivity, engagement and overall capabilities since it transformed its learning culture with Cornerstone. As technology, traffic, competition, politics and society change, NATS has evolved to ensure it is fulfilling its purpose of advancing aviation, keeping the skies safe now and in the future. Destination 2030 describes the type of company NATS want to be and how it will meet the expectations of its customers, regulator, shareholders, employees and wider society. Helen Fuge, Head of Learning and Early Careers, explains how NATS is supporting its employees to develop the right skills, so they can continue to fulfil their purpose, both now and in the future.

How to be more sustainable in the office
Blog Post

How to be more sustainable in the office

Sustainability is one of the most important challenges of today. Our attitude towards how we treat the planet has changed considerably and people are now more aware of their need to be socially responsible and are actively adopting environmentally friendly measures such as recycling and using public transport. This changing attitude around sustainability and caring for the planet has now reached a level where we do not only want to be more sustainable at home, but we strive to implement these practices at work as well. In fact, recent research found that millennials ranked sustainability as a top priority when evaluating the company they work for. If your organisation is looking to hire new talent, shouting about the sustainability initiatives you’ve implemented may be a driving factor towards talent applying to your company. However, if you haven’t yet investigated sustainability measures, fortunately, there are many, relatively simple, ways you can implement eco-friendly initiatives in the office. Here are some ideas that you can start applying in your office environment today: Recycle: The simplest initiative that can make a big difference is recycling. Most offices will already have recycling bins for paper, cardboard and plastic, but what about computer hardware or old office furniture? There a many office items that we tend to throw away without considering whether they can be reused or recycled. However, there are services available that can help. Charity shops, local councils and computer waste services, for example, are available in most cities and can arrange to pick up your old office equipment for free. Replace lights with motion-sensor lighting: There are many areas in an office where motion sensors can replace the light switches. Motion sensors are able to detect when there is movement, ensuring that the lights are only on for a limited amount of time. Having motion-sensor lighting in the office means that we don’t need to remember to turn off the lights at the end of every day, helping to save on time and energy. Switch off devices in the office: Lots of office workers will unintentionally leave their computers on, even once they’ve gone home — the same can happen with screens and computers in meeting rooms. Employees can also get into the habit of putting their computer in sleep mode rather than switching it off properly — putting your PC into sleep mode will still use more energy than if you switched your PC off completely. Remind your employees to switch off their computer every night through posters or leaflets distributed throughout the office. Use renewable energies: This initiative may require a little more work. Powering your office equipment, heating appliances and light sources with renewable energy from solar panels, for example, can significantly reduce your carbon foot while and energy costs. Speak to your building manager to see if installing renewable energy sources is feasible in your office. The commitment to sustainability offers a two-fold advantage to companies. On the one hand, employees work more comfortably and are happier with the operation of the company, making them more productive; on the other hand, it paints a positive image of the company’s attitude towards sustainability and demonstrates that the company is serious about the future.

How video interviewing is improving recruitment efficiency I Client Spotlight
Video

How video interviewing is improving recruitment efficiency I Client Spotlight

Hur skapar man engagemang i en hybridvärld?
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Hur skapar man engagemang i en hybridvärld?

In Remote Working, We Trust
Blog Post

In Remote Working, We Trust

With further lockdown restrictions being imposed across the UK, businesses are once again having to set up operations for home working and to manage a remote workforce. Unlike last year, when the coronavirus first took its toll and remote working came about quite suddenly, organisations should now be more or less armed with the tools for a remote office. But when it comes to managing employees remotely, there is evidence of organisations taking it a step further. As discussed during this episode of the Today in Focus podcast, some organisations are seemingly using remote working as an opportunity to “spy” on their employees. Some going as far as to install surveillance technology to monitor employees’ actions on their devices or screensharing applications to check whether their employees are really working from home. Whether these types of monitoring services are necessary or indeed measure an employee’s quality of work remains questionable, but there’s a bigger concern – is there a lack of trust between employers and their people? The importance of trust in the workplace All industries and organisations require some amount of trust in one way or another. Whether it is between your employees, your suppliers or your customers, trust is what keeps a business moving and is fundamental for making business decisions. It acts as one of the most important communication drivers between two parties and can take some time to develop, but only a second to eliminate. Think about when you order something online for a specific delivery date, for example. The company makes a promise to you that it will arrive on your chosen date, and because of that, you put your trust in them for it to arrive. But when it ends up not turning up on time, your trust in that company or brand quickly diminishes, resulting in you potentially never ordering from them again. Similar scenarios can take place between people in the workplace too. Let’s say you’re a manager and you give a task to one of your peers during a meeting. A week later, you ask for the completed task, only to find that the employee has forgotten to do it. Naturally, your trust in that employee is jeopardised, leaving you unsure as to whether you can trust them with another task. But whilst one wrong foot can put a spanner in the works when it comes to trust between employees, it can be rebuilt quickly if both parties are honest and collaborative. This is where communication and having a culture of trust in the workplace is key. Developing a culture of trust A healthy, trusting relationship with colleagues, managers and executives often derives from certain behaviour patterns and qualities, such as reliability, loyalty, engagement and commitment. Ask yourself: am I listening to my employees, am I open to their ideas and suggestions? Am I setting my employees realistic goals and objectives? Am I treating employees the way I would like to be treated myself? All these questions can help set the standard for trust in the workplace. Even when working remotely, setting up regular calls with colleagues to discuss priorities for the week or simply having open team chats to spark brainstorms and ideas can further cement trust between colleagues because it provides an open environment for communication. Employers must also bear in mind the effects of the pandemic at this time and the situations their employees might be in – you could have colleagues that are home schooling their children, off sick or who simply need to step away from work for mental health reasons. Acknowledging the different scenarios that your employees might be facing during this time and having plans and support in place to deal with them can also help boost trust. Having those continuous and meaningful conversations with employees can also have a positive overall impact on an employee’s performance, driving further productivity for the business and keeping employees happy. So, whilst surveillance and monitoring technology might be needed in some organisations for regulation purposes, it doesn’t necessarily need to be used as a trust tool to make sure your employees are doing what they say they are when working from home. Keeping communication as open as possible, creating an honest environment by harnessing collaboration platforms effectively, as well as gaining regular feedback on how to improve the remote working environment, can all ensure trust becomes a natural behaviour in the workplace. Want to find out more about how to be productive when working from home? See our dedicated playlist on our free portal, Cornerstone Cares. For more tips on how to navigate the new normal, hear from our Chief Talent Officer, Kimberly Cassady and our Chief Learning Officer, Jeff Miller, as they discuss what leaders need to know in the new normal, in this video here.

Next Gen career mobility at Unleash
Video

Next Gen career mobility at Unleash

Matthieu Durif, Solution Consulting Director at Cornerstone discusses next generation career mobility and how the Cornerstone HCM solution supports career mobility within an organisation.

Q&A |Talent magnet: turn Employer Branding into your superpower
Blog Post

Q&A |Talent magnet: turn Employer Branding into your superpower

Taylor Wessing discusses how theyve driven an increase in learner engagement
Video

Taylor Wessing discusses how theyve driven an increase in learner engagement

Amiee Young, Talent Development Advisor, and Matthew Wilcox, L&D Manager, share why they chose Cornerstone, and how since the launch of the platform they’ve seen an increase in completion for compliance training and increased uptake of professional training.

Webinar Recruitment and Mobility - Connect your talent acquisition strategy with your company goals
Video

Webinar Recruitment and Mobility - Connect your talent acquisition strategy with your company goals

What next? Inspirations from todays challenges
Video

What next? Inspirations from todays challenges

The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted 3 very important dimensions not only in society, but also in a corporate world: what is essential, why we need collaboration, and how we can innovate. In this webinar, we'll see what we can learn from this experience to transform and face future challenges. Interested to learn more? Contact us at: info_UK@csod.com

Closing the ethnicity pay gap widened by COVID19
Blog Post

Closing the ethnicity pay gap widened by COVID19

Fresh Thinking: Winning the race with your recruitment strategy
Blog Post

Fresh Thinking: Winning the race with your recruitment strategy

“Humans are underrated”. Once uttered by Elon Musk, this now well-known phrase was also a fitting opener to Cornerstone’s latest #FreshThinking event held in the super stylish venue of Hush, Mayfair. You may have all the fancy bells and whistles but are you bettering or breaking your recruitment strategy? In a candidate-led market, you need to be maximising your technology to make it work better for you and also making the most of your other key asset, your employees. But how exactly can you do that? During three insightful roundtable sessions led by specialists from Alexander Mann Solutions, HR professionals and experts from across different industries discussed this very question. Here’s what they came up with. It’s not a one-man race First things first, how do you attract that great talent? Employer branding is key, building up brand loyalty and the employee experience. Having a values-based EVP will help but is not the solution to all your recruitment woes. It’s your culture that will really help you to stand out from your competitors. This is where using your employees as brand ambassadors is crucial – only they can really shine a light on your company culture, whether through their own social media channels, for example, or that ultimate promotion tool ‒ word of mouth. To do this effectively, you need your employees to be on board with the cultural journey and engaged with the brand. Don’t impose values, but let your employees have their say and share what they actually like about working there - they may come up with things you never thought of. Most important of all, be authentic. Passing on the baton But employer branding doesn’t just lie with HR, it goes across the whole company and HR needs to start thinking like a marketer. It should be a three-legged race with marketing and HR tied together. Now that you’ve decided on your message and values, it’s time to tell your story… effectively. Why not switch up your employer branding marketing with your corporate marketing? What’s the outcome? In the same way that you want to deliver relevant content and the right message to the right customers, even through the likes of programmatic advertising, the same principle should be applied to your potential employees. Not to mention, boasting your employer brand can also have a positive effect on your corporate brand. Quickening the pace with technology When it comes to the actual recruitment procees, automate where you can, particularly for high-volume jobs where there are just a few simple criteria, such as, availability, capability and desire. Technology at this stage streamlines the process and also helps to drive diversity through eliminating possible unconscious bias. However, for more specialised roles in particular, there comes a point where you need the human touch – AI tools can’t assess attitude and cultural fit – so make sure your hiring managers are also appropriately trained to keep it inclusive. Make recruitment a marathon not a sprint Don’t get off to a false start. Before you go ahead and automate, think of the impact first. Don’t focus on a one-point solution but take a holistic view, with your users placed at the centre. Otherwise, like an athlete setting off with no trainers, you may not even make it to the end of the 100m sprint. Technology can also boast the endurance and longevity of your recruitment. Did you have a strong candidate that was just pipped to the post for that role? Don’t let them fall through the cracks but ensure they filter through onto others’ radar. Similarly, don’t put up a barrier between recruitment and Learning & Development. Instead, these should work together as part of the same employee lifecycle. Data gathered from initial assessments should be fed into onboarding and further development, helping you to improve and personalise your new employees’ workplace journeys and careers. It will also aid internal mobility further down the line. Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be fit enough to reach that recruitment start line and be on your way to a winning strategy. Ready, set, go!

What you need to get started with Cornerstone Xplor
Datasheet

What you need to get started with Cornerstone Xplor

Getting started with Cornerstone Xplor is faster and easier than you might think. With its intelligent skills AI framework, your organisation can improve your people’s skill growth in record time. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for implementation. That and more is what you can look forward to with Cornerstone Xplor.

Empowering people in the age of agility
EBook

Empowering people in the age of agility

The largest obstacle facing business leaders today is not only navigating change in the face of uncertainty, but turning change into opportunity. It requires your organisation to pivot around emerging business priorities, to assess and develop critical skills and in turn, increase organisational change agility, in order to create a sustainable future. Because organisational agility has demonstrable results: Financial performance: 20% to 30% improvement Customer satisfaction: +10 to +30 points improvement Employee engagement: +20 to +30 points improvement Operational performance: 30% to 50% improvement To create an agile and adaptive organisation, you need modern talent strategies that can flex and shift to changing priorities so you can maximise workforce potential and empower your people to future-proof their careers. How Cornerstone clients across the globe are enabling organisational agility In this ebook you’ll learn how Cornerstone clients across the globe are using engaging content and personalised learning journeys to identify and close skills gaps, and to connect learning to people growth and business success. Specifically, you’ll learn how: Deutsche Post DHL scales skills development through artificial intelligence Pret a Manger puts people at the center of business success Clif Bar doubles down on its commitment to self-directed learning Electrolux maximises business impact through training employees, partners and customers Download the ebook today to learn how you can use modern talent strategies to accelerate workforce agility and help your organisation and your people thrive.

Blog: Alternatives to Performance Management that truly motivates people
Blog Post

Blog: Alternatives to Performance Management that truly motivates people

In the previous post, I wrote about the consequences of the traditional Performance Management process and what it does to our employees' desire to perform better and be motivated at work. How should we work with goal fulfilment and performance if we are not allowed to put the employees in a box, and put a label on them? We do want our employees to work efficiently and deliver value! Here comes the paradoxical truth. If we pressure people to deliver, we get a backlash, this is completely normal. If we instead let people contribute according to their ability, following their intrinsic motivation, skills, and will, in roles that are tailored to each person, we can expect increased conditions for achievement. Instead of controlling, measuring, evaluating, and assessing, we as managers, and HR, should dedicate ourselves to creating the best conditions for everyone to be able to perform optimally and feel intrinsic motivation, drive, job satisfaction, and commitment. We do this by communicating, getting to know people deeply, and really understanding what would make each person able to perform and feel good in the organisation. The performance process has many purposes. I have listed the most common answers (and what to do instead) in the table below, that has come up when I ask participants in my training to explain why they work with Performance Management. If the purpose is to give feedback and coach employees to higher performance, I recommend regular reviews and that the manager shows that he/she cares about the employee, and tries to create the optimal conditions. For example, you can have a shorter review every two weeks and a longer every three months. The form and how often you meet is not the most important thing, focus instead on involving the employee, and let them influence the agenda and what should be discussed. The focus should be on removing obstacles so that the employee can perform optimally. If the purpose is to increase performance by setting challenging goals, then you can for example work with the method Objectives and Key Results – you find some more information about OKRs here: https://felipecastro.com/en/okr/what-is-okr / It entails setting personal, relative goals that are transparent and linked to the company's overall goals. Thus, it is not about reaching a fixed goal, but about doing the best you can, given your personal conditions, to come as far as possible during the period. OKRs should never be linked to salary or rewards. They are there to increase performance, learning, and collaboration in the organization, and should not affect salary. If the purpose is to learn new things and develop employees, work with continuous learning every day, and make sure that a large proportion of what you do are experiments where you learn when you succeed, but also when you fail. Work across functional boundaries to further broaden learning and create good effects in the system through, for example, Buddy Systems (see the learning section of this blog series to learn more). If the purpose is to make decisions about compensation and benefits, use methods to set salaries that are not directly linked to goal fulfilment or determined by one or a few people with formal power. Let employees give input on how to do it and who has performed the best given established, transparent criteria for how salaries are set in your organisation. Perceived fairness must always guide the salary strategy. In the picture above you see some changes that we need to implement to work effectively with Performance Management, and what needs to replace the old ways of working. Think about where you are on the scale between From - To and how to move in the direction you want to go. Annual performance reviews are replaced by continuous meetings where employees are coached and receive feedback and help to remove obstacles for performance. Mandatory rankings are replaced by no rankings, because there are better tools to increase performance and goal fulfilment. The annual process is replaced by a continuous flow of check-ins for monthly or quarterly goals. The annual assessment performed by the manager is replaced by regular feedback from all employees. Rewards and feedback determined by managers are replaced by everyone determining the reward systems in the organisation. Career plans for just talents and high performers are replaced by career plans for everyone. Focus on moving up or out of the organisation, is replaced by being able to move in the organisation in a way that suits each employee's unique situation. Evaluation of the performance by the manager is replaced by everyone continuously evaluating themselves with the help of, for example, OKRs, and the purpose is to constantly improve, not to set a salary. Unclear, or lack of goals, no common direction is replaced by total transparency as to who has which goals and how the goal-setting process works. Evaluations directly linked to performance and results (if these are retained) are instead linked to behaviours, learning, and continuous development. These are just some of the changes taking place in the field of what traditionally has been called Performance Management. In the future it will become an integral part of good leadership in a culture where everyone works to improve themselves. To shape an organisation that creates value for the customer, in a more competitive way that brings out the best in people. In the next blog we will deep dive into the continuous learning organisation.  

Blog: What is T-shaped competence?
Blog Post

Blog: What is T-shaped competence?

Employees with a T-shaped competence can also be called specialised generalists, or generalised specialists - they have a broad general base that is complemented with expertise in one area. Sometimes we talk about pi-shaped (π) competence, or M-shaped competence, this is when someone has more than one expertise. A comb-shaped competence is when you have an expertise in many areas. The broad base is built up by working in areas which may not be your main task today, but where you are sharing knowledge with many of your colleagues, in cross-functional teams. You may, for example, work in pairs instead of on your own, and in this way learn each other's areas of knowledge. You do not become a specialist in your colleague's area but you can handle it well enough to, for example, cover for your colleague if he/she should be absent for any reason. T-shaped competence creates increased flexibility (agility) by making the individual more flexible in terms of what they can contribute with. Simply put, you become more valuable, when you can take on many different roles in your company, sometimes even in completely different functions than the one you usually work in. Flexibility in skills leads to a competitive advantage for the organisation because you are not so dependent on specific employees and their unique knowledge. Instead employees have a broader competence base and can be flexible in what they contribute and also where in the organisation they contribute. For example, if there suddenly is a need in a department other than the one I belong to, I can help them, because I have other skills. For the individual employee, it also works as an insurance, because if the organisation no longer has a need for my main job role, I can always contribute in another part of the company. Boundary Spanning We call T-shaped competence at the company level "Boundary Spanning". It is about breaking down the boundaries between different departments, functions, areas of expertise, and political and social groups within the company. It is also about taking inspiration from external areas of knowledge, other companies, and other cultures. All to create a constantly learning organisation that in order to continuously improve, seeks knowledge both within and outside the company's boundaries. Boundary Spanning is extremely important in order to increase understanding between different parts of the organisation and for the ability to collaborate in value streams. We need to understand what expectations, problems, and challenges other functions have, to be able to deliver the best possible value to both our external clients and between internal functions. Customer value is central in the agile world and everything we do that, in the end, does not directly or indirectly create value for the customer, should be stopped at once. We need to constantly improve ourselves to create high quality in the way we work, and in our products and services. Kaizen (Japanese: 改善, kai-zen, "improvement") is a business management term coined by Taiichi Ohno (大野 耐 一), the "father" of Toyota's production system. In Sweden, the word mainly refers to an approach to quality within companies, where activities are constantly improved through many small modifications. Anyone can become a Boundary Spanner in our organisations. It is about showing interest in what others are doing and creating cross-border collaborations. Some companies systematise working between silos in a Buddy System. Buddy System - a practice for creating learning organisations If we truly want people to start socialising between different functions and departments, we can formalise the work with a Buddy System. It works as follows: Suppose we have an organisation with 6 functions at a certain level: for example, IT, Marketing and Sales, HR, Finance, Purchasing, and Manufacturing. We can then create a cross-functional team with representatives from all these functions, who meet, discuss and work together regularly, maybe 1-2 times/month. In each team, there is a mentor who keeps meetings in order and makes sure the work runs smoothly. The idea is to exchange experiences, discuss current issues and establish contacts between the functions. So, in addition to their regular team, everyone is also a part of a Buddy Team. When all employees have a “Buddy” in another department, it creates informal contacts and has a fantastic long-term effect. The procedure is repeated in the whole organisation so that all employees have at least 2 teams. Topics that can be discussed and also worked on must be of interest to the other parts (on a company level) or affect the other functions. The Buddy Teams can be used for a lot of different purposes and you will see some suggestions in the picture above. Regardless of if you use Buddy Teams, or any other method to create a learning organisation, increased experimentation needs to be one of the most important principles. We do not know what the future will look like, the only thing that is certain, is that most likely it will not look like today. The only way to deal with an uncertain future is to try different ways forward and see what works. Tolerating failures is a must, when we have a high proportion of experiments as the only way to learn - so increasing Psychological Safety is also an important principle. But that's another chapter :)

Bringing people together through transparency – Scaling up the global employee data system at Sobi
Video

Bringing people together through transparency – Scaling up the global employee data system at Sobi

Maria Neveling, HRMS Manager at Sobi, talks about Sobi’s reputation as a transparent employer and why it needed a centralised employee data system for its 1,300 employees. Maria discusses the challenges of relying on a local system to process employee data from across the company worldwide and how Cornerstone helped to reinvent its system, bringing Sobi closer to its employees.

Challenges of Recruiting in a Changing World - a demonstration of Cornerstone Recruiting
Video

Challenges of Recruiting in a Changing World - a demonstration of Cornerstone Recruiting

Client Excellence Awards: How Survitec aligned its HR and business goals
Video

Client Excellence Awards: How Survitec aligned its HR and business goals

Survitec was one of the winners of our Client Excellence Awards this year at Cornerstone Convergence EMEA, taking home the title of the Transformational HR Award. In this video, Claire McNamara, Group HR Director at Survitec, talks about the company used Cornerstone to align its HR strategy with business goals.

Client Excellence Awards: Kuehne + Nagel reimagines its recruitment process
Video

Client Excellence Awards: Kuehne + Nagel reimagines its recruitment process

Kuehne + Nagel was one of this year’s Client Excellence Awards winners at Cornerstone Convergence EMEA, winning the title of the Advancement in Reinventing Recruiting award. In this video, Sandra Aasma, Global Solutions Manager for eRecruiting at Kuehne + Nagel and Oleg Barinov, Data Integration Specialist at Kuehne + Nagel, talk about how the company transformed its hiring process using Cornerstone Recruiting.

Cornerstone Recruitment | Hiring Dashboard
Video

Cornerstone Recruitment | Hiring Dashboard

Cornerstone Recruitment | Candidate Experience
Video

Cornerstone Recruitment | Candidate Experience

Delivering a world-wide go-live for Cornerstone Recruiting I Client Spotlight
Video

Delivering a world-wide go-live for Cornerstone Recruiting I Client Spotlight

Does a human or an algorithm make better HR decisions?
Blog Post

Does a human or an algorithm make better HR decisions?

We don’t need to point out that society is changing fast. The fourth industrial revolution, the information age, the digitalisation era, whatever you call this moment in time, has altered the way we think, learn, work and relax, and technology has played a major role in rewiring and adapting our way of thinking. This altered mindset has had a significant impact on our careers, in particular, and the directions they can take. Traditionally, career paths were in the form of a ladder. Employees would work their way up from entry-level to management positions, usually keeping within the same industry or department. But thanks to factors such as digitalisation, the free-thinking, open-minded generation and the rise of working conditions like the gig economy, you could say that our career paths have evolved into multidirectional highways. Careers can now take several directions laterally as well as vertically, meaning that HR plays an even more important role in career development and recruiting. But if HR is required to be more hands on in the future, and technology continues to advance in the way it is, is it better to hand over the decisions to AI? AI and career planning There are many theories and thoughts about how AI can help or hinder our career paths. The intelligence of AI means that many organisations believe that AI will always make better suggestions and decisions and it can reduce human bias which in turn improves factors like diversity. AI is also said to attract the millennial generation and decrease discrimination in the workplace. But AI is also seen as too invasive, too discriminative, if there are lots of poorly understood algorithms, and could create counter recruitment campaigns. Investing in AI to make decisions for your workforce is a huge commitment for HR and whilst many of the theories surrounding AI are subjective, it can be tough to know whether it will be a useful tool for your organisation and your employees. Employees want to get personal Employees are at the heart of every organisation and we all want what’s best for our workforce and to align with their thoughts. However, a recent survey by HEC found significant misalignment between employers and employees when it comes to using digital tools and technology in HR. The survey, which questioned HR managers, recruits and employees, found that whilst the majority of recruits and employees preferred human interaction with HR managers, senior level managers were in favour of using digital tools and algorithms to conduct HR activities like performance reviews and recruiting. Specifically, employees were not keen on the idea of social media audits, facial and voice analysis during interviews and digital monitoring of behaviour during working hours, yet managers were in favour of using these tools. But not all technology receives backlash from employees. In the survey, employees were in favour of tools such as video interviews in recruiting and online written assessments to conduct performance reviews. Limitations of AI When implementing AI and algorithms into organisational processes, in particular in recruitment, there are several variables that need to be carefully considered: data, recruitment criteria, ethical and legal implications. The data that you feed into the AI is crucial. If, for example, your workforce is predominantly educated males, then feeding this existing data will churn out results that are likened to that dataset. This can be a problem if your recruitment strategy is to employ people with more diversified backgrounds, for example. Furthermore, the ethical and legal issues surrounding data and AI, in the wake of GDPR is also something that organisations need to be aware of if they decide to implement AI into their recruitment strategy. Integration is key So, is it better to use a human or an algorithm to make HR decisions? The answer: integrate the two. Although AI is smart and capable of making decisions for us, ultimately, when it comes to choosing people and their career progression, the final decision should be made by a human. Although AI can do many things, learning to be a good leader, developing emotional intelligence and nurturing creativity are skills that can’t be replaced by AI. Originally published on HR Zone.

Driving Organisational Change Through Skills
Video

Driving Organisational Change Through Skills

Geoffroy de Lestrange and Sarah Spence discuss ways technology can help identify skills gaps, using technology and AI to implement skills management, and ensuring learning offerings align to company objectives.

Escape rooms: The new way to recruit?
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Escape rooms: The new way to recruit?

Whether it’s unravelling a mystery in a haunted house, cracking codes inside a military bunker or solving a murder in a boarding school, escape rooms have become a popular leisure activity across the world. The activity involves a group of people locked in a room, which is often themed, and the goal is to work together, solving riddles and finding clues to escape the room in a certain amount of time. The escape room industry is estimated to be worth more than £53m in the UK alone, with more than 1,000 escape room experience across the UK and Ireland. What began as a leisure activity with friends has begun to enter the corporate world and can be specifically adapted for recruiting. Using immersive experiences, that are far from the traditional job interview, are becoming more common as a way to attract candidates in organisations. And something like an escape room experience, although unusual, can be a good way to demonstrate a candidate’s qualities. Placing candidates in situations where they have to solve problems as a team within a specific timeframe allows recruiters to see their abilities such as communication, leadership, creativity and ability to work under pressure. Unlike traditional role-playing tasks, which can sometimes be complex for candidates to understand, escape rooms add an element of fun to the recruitment process, easing the pressure and nerves that some candidates may experience. Escape rooms can also help to foster team development and strengthen the relationships between employees. Helpfully, many escape room companies have a corporate option to allow this. Other organisations have also used escape rooms as a marketing tool. Audi, for example, created its own escape room to promote its e-tron cars. Teams were asked to solve puzzles using modern technologies like robotics, holograms and projection mapping, with the idea being that the room represents what the future might look like and how Audi’s e-tron technology helps. New technologies and globalisation mean that society has changed very quickly and the way we communicate and work with each other has evolved. When we recognise that the world around us is changing, we need to make sure that our workplace adapts, however big or small the change might be. For recruitment teams trying something new, escape rooms show that the organisation is willing to adapt and change according to the times and, you never know, it could help you prepare for the workforce of the future.

Fosway 9-Grid™: Cornerstone maintains strong offerings in the recruiting space
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Fosway 9-Grid™: Cornerstone maintains strong offerings in the recruiting space

It’s been quite the rollercoaster year for hiring and talent acquisition teams across the globe. From handling furlough to scaling up or down different parts of the business to meet fast-changing demands, recruiting priorities have certainly seen a lot of change in many organisations, including our clients. Our commitment and innovation in the recruiting industry in the past year has been recognised by leading European Analyst, Fosway, which has named Cornerstone as a Strategic Challenger in the Fosway 9-Grid™ for Talent Acquisition. Cornerstone’s position as Strategic Challenger shows that we have consistently kept pace in driving success for new and existing customers and that our solution is well placed to meet the often-complex needs of the most global, enterprise-scale organisations. Whether it’s introducing our clients to the power of AI as a way to streamline recruiting processes, or helping recruiters navigate and thrive in the post-Covid world, here at Cornerstone we have continued to support and help our clients, whatever the circumstances. Supporting customers through accelerated innovation in talent acquisition Our acquisition of Saba TalentLink in 2020 has proven to be one of the main drivers of our success in recruiting over the past year, allowing Cornerstone to accelerate innovation in talent acquisition, by onboarding a wave of best-in-class technology, people and recruiting know-how into our organisation. And some of our customers are already reaping the benefits of the combined expertise and resources from Cornerstone and Saba TalentLink. myjobscotland, for example, needed to quickly switch the format of how they hired, turning to a digital-first recruiting strategy (powered by video) during the height of the pandemic. TalentLink, and subsequently Cornerstone, stepped in to help with the transition, switching on core video components throughout the hiring journey – a change which ultimately saw myjobscotland accelerate its time-to-hire and improve its candidate experience beyond pre-pandemic levels. Wiltshire Council also optimised its recruitment processes during the last year, using TalentLink to deploy personalised dashboards for its recruiters that eliminate administrative burdens and offer a real-time view of their business, something which was crucial for improving recruiting KPIs.  Over in hospitality, Atlas Hotels also saw drastic improvements to its recruiting system, simplifying the application process to save time for hiring managers and candidates alike. The new process shortlists candidates based on their fit with the company’s values, rather than their experience from their CV, meaning that a higher percentage of people are hired from outside the industry. A key factor in creating diversity throughout the business. For the likes of Epson, TalentLink, now Cornerstone, was key to developing the company’s employer brand, as well as helping to match new roles to existing candidates through a single one-stop-shop platform. While Webhelp wanted to focus on a personalised recruiting process for its candidates, using TalentLink to define application workflows that are tailored to each candidate. Driving success throughout the employee lifecycle A candidate’s journey begins as soon as they reach the careers page on a company website, or come across a job advert, and talent acquisition is about ensuring each touchpoint provides value-added experience to the candidate. At Cornerstone, we help our clients recognise not only the importance of external recruitment but also the value of internal mobility and realising the potential of current employees to help fuel business growth. Cornerstone’s Recruiting solution allows organisations to automate their recruitment processes while ensuring they find talent with the appropriate skills and competencies. Our vision for skills will touch every part of the employee life-cycle – so watch this space for how skills will form the connective tissue between all elements of the people experience in the coming weeks and months, and our Recruiting solutions will be no different. Using the right technology, we believe organisations will be able to build, buy or borrow the skills they need to optimise their business and make data-driven decisions that contribute to company growth and success. To download the full Fosway 9-Grid™ for Talent Acquisition report, see here. For more information on Cornerstone’s Recruiting solution and how to build a resilient recruitment team, visit our Recruitment Hub. About the Fosway 9-Grid™ The Fosway 9-Grid™ is a five-dimensional market analysis model that assesses the relative position of solutions and providers in a particular learning and talent system market. It ranks these solutions based on their performance, potential, market presence, total cost of ownership and future trajectories across the market. The Fosway 9-Grid™ is a completely unique market analysis model, offering independent and unparalleled research and insights for the next generation of European HR, Talent and Learning markets.

How to Build a Resilient and Successful TA Function
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How to Build a Resilient and Successful TA Function

Inbound Recruiting, the methodology that attracts talent
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Inbound Recruiting, the methodology that attracts talent

Nowadays, things move more quickly than ever, people are better prepared, and competitiveness between companies is intense. In the current landscape, the traditional way of recruiting employees – contacting them one by one or publishing general job offers – is no longer enough. Apart from the time and resources they consume, traditional hiring processes do not guarantee that the ideal candidate will answer your call. It is therefore hardly surprising that many companies struggle to find qualified employees. This is where Inbound Recruiting as a methodology to attract talent emerges. One of any company’s main goals is to integrate the most qualified candidates in their work teams, and this revolutionary approach makes it easier to continuously attract the perfect candidates; candidates who will make the difference in a company’s business. What is Inbound Recruiting? After this introduction, you may be wondering what Inbound Recruiting is exactly. This advanced recruiting methodology starts by placing the focus on the candidate and adapting the strategy to the status quo. The Inbound Recruiting technique focuses on attracting the most suitable talent for your company by arousing the candidates’ interest in the company in order to hire them at the right time. Wages and working conditions are no longer the most important thing to employees. People who are really involved in their jobs also want to feel motivated and that they are part of something they believe in – and this is what will provide more value to your business. It’s not only about the titles and qualifications your candidates possess, but about their true involvement in what you do together. Features of Inbound Recruiting The main features of the Inbound Recruiting methodology, which will allow you to capture the ideal staff for your company, are very specific and guarantee positive results. Here is an overview of these features: The focus is always on the candidate The techniques of the Inbound Recruiting methodology are completely focused on the candidate applying for the job. The company takes care of generating empathy and creating the most attractive environment possible, thus arousing the interest of possible candidates. During the process, the candidate must always feel comfortable, motivated, and valued, so that their desire to get the job goes beyond simply being hired; they are choosing your company because it is your company, and because they really want to be involved with it. That is the key of the Inbound Recruiting methodology: being interested in the candidate so that the candidate is interested in you. “Candidate persona”: the company must offer an image that suits the ideal candidate it wants to hire Nowadays, sitting and waiting for the ideal candidate to knock on your door is a pipe dream. There are a huge amount of offers and people have many options to choose from. It is paramount to use social networks and to create a job portal on the company website, where visitors and potential candidates can register. In short, it is important to consider the online brand. In order to get the people you are looking for to register – and to filter out uninteresting candidates – everything must be designed with your ideal candidate in mind: the registration page, the forms, the promo videos, etc. But first, we must define the ideal candidate’s features and skills. This is what we call the “candidate persona”. It involves developing an outline of the perfect candidate for each recruitment process, and it is extremely effective. During this exercise, we must bear in mind that diversity boosts innovation. For example, if we recruit clones (a very common mistake), we will end up with working teams in which all members think the same. For this reason, we recommend recruiting people with their skills and potential in mind, and not just their experience. An efficient recruitment process that is adapted to modern times Implementing the Inbound Recruiting strategy attracts the appropriate talent and engages the most suitable candidates according to what each company needs at the time. This allows companies to hire people in a smart way and makes it easier to hire and subsequently onboard the ideal candidate in their job. Once a company applies and uses the Inbound Recruiting system, expenses can be reduced by up to 85% compared to traditional recruiting systems. And the result also maximizes the ability to hire the right people. Broad range of communication channels As we have already mentioned, social networks are an endless source of possible candidates. Not only do they enable you to find people who know your company through what you share, but they also allow you to track their profiles. Inbound Recruiting uses channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in the most efficient way and, thanks to candidate segmentation, the process is far more satisfactory for both parties. Stages of Inbound Recruiting All these features unleash all their potential during the four stages of Inbound Recruiting: Attracting visitors to your recruiting webpage. Turning visitors into suitable candidates for the company. Hiring the ideal candidate. Motivating all applicants, which will have an impact on your company’s image. After this, you should ask yourself the following questions: What makes your company different from the rest? What growth opportunities are you offering your employees? What makes the ideal candidate want to work with you and not with the competition? Giving these questions your best answer is also important for arousing the genuine interest of that ideal candidate you are looking for. You don’t know where to start? It’s very easy. Have a look at our recruitment software and devote your time to continued growth while we help you find the ideal candidate. Five examples of effective Inbound Recruiting The Inbound Recruiting methodology has been being developed for many years in countries such as USA and some European countries, primarily Germany and France. Large companies’ success stories confirm the effectiveness of this recruiting system, which will undoubtedly be one of the key things that will make companies stand out. 1. Google: the importance of creating empathy US giant Google is known for its innovative techniques, also with regard to its employees. Inbound Recruiting is one of the secrets of its exceptionally astonishing growth. Google creates empathy and has developed an image that leads employees to contact the HR department without prompting. Also, employees have their own voice, contributing what they think needs to be implemented (with regard to working hours, atmosphere, activities, etc.). This case is a great example of keeping the employees’ interest by focusing on their comfort and motivation. 2. Decathlon: digitalization and segmentation French chain Decathlon provides an example of how a company grow when it recognizes the limitations of the traditional system in time and switches to the Inbound Recruiting methodology. Every time there was a job opening in the past, the HR team had to perform a slow and costly selection of every CV they received, which did not always come from candidates who were suitable for the positions. By digitalizing and automating a large part of the process using the Inbound Recruiting techniques, Decathlon created a segmented database with the best possible candidates, which they could access when needed. 3. Apple: attractive brand image Apple is another good example proving the effectiveness of creating an extremely attractive brand image and applying Inbound Recruiting to attract qualified staff. They obviously get the best talent. They offer an attractive job website and forms, as well as motivating each employee and helping them progress in their career. 4. McDonald’s: internal promotion, flexibility and motivation A few years ago, this well-known fast food chain decided to change both its image and its strategy. They changed their corporate colour from red to green and started focusing on offering a very positive image of the company as a workplace where employees can grow professionally, by implementing the Inbound Recruiting strategy. Through their “three F’s” (Family/Friendly, Flexibility and Future) McDonald’s presents itself as a company worth applying for a job in, with internal promotion possibilities, flexible working hours and a focus on each candidate’s personal motivation. 5. Tesla: empathy leads to conversions Not only does this latest generation of car brand invest in the most advanced technologies, but it also applies this to all areas in the company. They have, of course, also applied the Inbound Recruiting methodology in HR. With well-established and very well-advertised corporate values, working for Tesla is a dream for many people. This fact allows the company to capture and onboard the best talent. Through the “Working at Tesla” section on their website, they openly share with their candidates how the company works and what they can expect working at Tesla. That enables them to generate a great deal of empathy and conversions. These big corporations can serve as an example to any company. Regardless of size, a company that uses traditional recruiting methods is using human, financial and time resources that are not adapted to the current situation and increasingly show their shortfall. The Inbound Recruiting methodology is therefore suitable for any company that wants to grow, as it can be used to attract, involve, and hire ideal candidates. This provides undeniable value in building the company’s success. If you would like to learn more about recruitment processes based on this and other ground-breaking methodologies, visit our recruiting portal. Here you will find interesting resources, such as a guide to boost resilience or a comprehensive checklist for recruiting technology buyers. Always learning with Cornerstone. This blog was orgininally published in the Cornerstone Spanish blog.

InternationalHRDay: How to help your employees during the pandemic
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InternationalHRDay: How to help your employees during the pandemic

Over the past year, workers and workplaces around the globe have faced very difficult times. From remote and flexible work practices to championing physical, mental health and well-being—HR professionals have led the way to keep employees and their workplaces safe and healthy. All of your hard work has not gone unnoticed. We – in Cornerstone - applaud you! Get inspired with some of our clients and our very own HR Team! Cultivating a sense of purpose We start strong with Kristen Shlossberg , HR Business Partner at Saint Peter's Healthcare System (Saint Peter's University Hospital), and their story. Frontline workers – the pandemic heroes - have made the difference during this time. To be able to cultivate a sense of purpose we need to feel that what we are doing is having an impact and is helping those that need us most. “Being in HR working in Healthcare in a pandemic has been a true challenge this past year, but we were able to rise up to it and we are so proud of our employees! We have true heroes working for us, who are truly inspirational!” Kristen Shlossberg. When the pandemic hit, we had all to adapt so fast, set-up remote processes and change our approach to success daily. In Cornerstone we believe deeply in the importance of being agile to drive innovation. As part of that commitment to our clients, this year we have launched our HR Innovation Lab in Paris from which we are supporting companies, such as DHL Deutsche Post in their digital journey. While we had to be reactive at first and find tangible solutions to new daily challenges, AI works in parallel to identify skills gaps in your organisation, which otherwise would go unnoticed. Knowing which skills you need to develop to thrive as a business even in constant change, and to enable employees to take ownership of their development, especially in fully remote times, means that employees automatically become better prepared for the future allowing the business to be more sustainable. "Nearly half of UK companies (47%) were using predictive analytics and/or making predictive analytics available in real-time to managers.” Mercer 2021 Global Talent Trends Survey As we can see from this report, AI is not a trend anymore it is a reality, and it is here to stay. If we get the software and automation right, we can focus on what really matters – the people! "To me, being in HR during the pandemic has meant caring for and supporting and prioritising these everyday heroes who fought through every adversity to provide groceries for the public. Whether their job was to cut fruit or work the cash register, our frontline workers’ needs came first for the HR team.” Taline Goorjian , Sr. Learning Technology Analyst at Whole Foods Market. We learn every day! Ensuring we support our organisations to be sustainable and adapt through learning and clear development, we are cultivating a culture of learning. More than ever, we want to ensure our employees feel that they belong and to feel purpose at work is the first step. Learning should be part of your DNA and AI should be there to help you offer a positive employee experience in the workplace. If we talk about weaving long-life-learning into the company culture, James Willingham from Thames Water has a very exciting story around cultural shift and digital change. To define the corporate values of our organisation is important as a first step, to amplify the vision we need to communicate and be transparent about which company we want to become. As James says, “building a culture of lifelong learning is a journey and we are at the beginning, but we are very excited about what is ahead of us and how lifelong learning is impacting our people and our company culture.” Those organisations that had done some pre-work before the pandemic hit had an advantage Nonetheless, this crisis has also been an opportunity to define those gaps in our employer value proposition and make it a priority from now on. It is all about the employee experiences. Using Lucas Kohlmann, Global Head of HR Strategy for Henkel words “People should have the same experience at work as they do in their private lives (…). It’s about easy access and removing barriers.” To a software provider like us, this requires innovation at the forefront and for our clients, an open mindset to redesign and rethink the way we conceive the employee experience. Our workforce is expecting modern, seamless, resolutive and easy-to-use solutions to get their tasks done. To make work easy! During the pandemic, we have seen many HR leaders rediscovering a new way to conversate and engage with the workforce. From giving full access to learning to the full range of employees and enable development while in furlough, to interactive and hybrid virtual classroom formats to stay connected in a meaningful way … we need to make work simple and smart. It is about supporting the business with a seamless experience. As Mark Schroeder , HR/L&OD Technology Strategist at Organic Valley says “I see my job as ensuring a deliver for the business employees that contribute to the success of the business to the greatest extend possible for that individual. I find that the employees are also looking to do this, and looking for the support to get it done.” We have big strategies, plans, and ideas at the beginning of the year that sometimes get lost in execution. During the pandemic we have been forced to be always tactical at first but strategic at the same time. In fact, we have been forced to change our business priorities and be agile. To have a successful approach that lasts, we need to include as Andrea Wareham, Chief people Officer at Pret is pointing out, those HR strategies to a holistic business focus. It is all about providing what the team needs and enable our workforce to be equipped. “Talent Management is where I belong (…), I have a responsibility in talent development to make sure our employees have what they need to be the best they can be. Having what they need could mean that leaders are equipped with the skills to develop others; that it's easy to find instructions on a new process; or that they can use the mobile app on their phone to access sleep meditation from Whil.” Carolyn Whittaker, Development & Training Manager at MGE. Rethinking our future It is great to take the time to celebrate our clients and their journey throughout the pandemic. We are here to enable the changes to happen and to partner with our clients to make their businesses creative, innovative, sustainable and agile. Stories like the one from Meliá Hotels International are a great example of how one modern, seamless and user-friendly learning platform can have a huge impact in very short time. Learning from one another is also something the right platform can accommodate and as Sonia Guisado, Learning & Development Partner, shared with her own words,” we’re also seeing employees from different roles and different locations interact with one another which is encouraging a real community feel and sense of belonging.” In order to rethink the future, we need to tap into our employees needs and understand their circumstances. We need an empathetic HR! As Carolyn Whittaker, Development & Training Manager at MGE says, to offer support you the employees is crucial “- whether their challenge is at home, at work, or with family. Cornerstone helps me help others and I’m so grateful to work for a company that makes it possible to offer so many amazing resources to our employees.” As any organisation, in Cornerstone we have also been drifted in this constant acceleration in which agility and adaptability have been core for us to thrive. Hear from our very own Alex Anders, HR Director for EMEA, what it means to her to be in HR. We would need more than a day to celebrate the great work from our HR teams! If you want to find out more about the exciting stories we just shared, visit our client portal!

International Womens Day: How companies can do more to advance gender equality
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International Womens Day: How companies can do more to advance gender equality

The days when women had to fight for the right to vote, the right to work and indeed the right to open their own bank account may be behind us, but even now full equality between the sexes is still a long way off. All the more reason to mark International Women’s Day, which takes place this year on 8 March. In many cases, women are not afforded the same opportunities as their male colleagues, despite holding the same qualifications. We still have a lot of ground to catch up in this area. So how can companies prevent this (sometimes inadvertent) gender inequality and offer genuinely equal opportunities to everyone? Women make up around 51% of the UK’s population, but they are underrepresented in many areas of life. From the gender pay gap to the gender care gap, the inequality that exists between men and women can quickly and easily be quantified. One example is the adjusted gender pay gap, which calculates the difference in earnings between men and women with comparable qualifications, jobs and employment histories. In the UK, the gender pay gap is 7.4% among full time employees and 15.5% of all employees. Similar inequality can be seen in the number of women in management positions. The CEO gender gap indicates that only 5% of senior jobs at big companies are held by women. This is not just a problem in the world of senior management either. In the UK government, only 34% of MPs are women. At a global level, this means that the UK only ranks at 38th place. Added to this is the fact that women are more likely than men to be carrying out unpaid care work, they are often left with the responsibility of looking after their children, for example, or family members in need of care. On average, women carry out approximately 52.4% more unpaid care work than men. As a result, they are often at a financial disadvantage, as less work at lower pay means lower pension contributions. What concrete action can companies take to advance gender equality? Many of these problems appear to be rooted in our society. But since we often find them creeping into the workplace, we have to ask ourselves: how can companies overcome inequalities in pay and work opportunities? A frequent argument for why women earn less than men is that women tend to be employed in lower-paid professions and/or on a part-time basis. This may be part of the problem, but it does not show the whole picture. The adjusted gender pay gap has been designed specifically to filter out these differences and compare the salary discrepancy in similar employment situations. In many cases, this outcome is based on salary negotiations – and not on a transparent, universally accessible policy indexed to qualifications and professional experience. But addressing this discrepancy will not be enough to increase the proportion of women at executive level in UK companies. Everyone knows that it will take time to achieve a fairer representation of women here. In the long term, though, it clearly makes sense to have more women on the management teams of UK companies. Why? Because for one thing, all-male teams are not reflective of our society. It has also been proven that the number of women on a team determines the collective intelligence of that team. A 2011 Harvard University study entitled “What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women” showed that teams with a larger number of women benefitted from greater collective intelligence. Having highly qualified women at the management levels of our companies has an impact therefore not only on the image of the company, but also on its success. Living diversity in today’s working world The demographics clearly show that our society is diverse rather than homogeneous. Companies should not ignore this fact, but should instead strive to reflect it in their workforce. If a company has made a commitment to diversity, it will have to make some adjustments at defining points to deliver on that commitment. Examples are being set here by a number of companies, including UK-based social media management company, Buffer, which commit to publishing every employee’s salary online to ensure fairness and media company, Sky and its Women in Leadership programme, which commits to engage 50% of women in leadership roles. The pandemic has also driven many UK companies to adopt flexible working models. Even companies with more of a conservative leaning, which had previously never given their employees the option to work from home, were forced to change their approach at very short notice. In the post-pandemic era, such companies cannot allow themselves to go back to their pre-coronavirus working practices. Their employees will have grown accustomed to the newly won freedoms and opportunities of working from home, and will not want to give them up. But in the UK in particular, while the home office trend has helped to advance digitalisation, women that had to balance childcare with work duties may have struggled, hindering diversity even more. Companies must mitigate this potential setback by laying the groundwork now, having open discussions about what needs to change. Diversity and inclusion are also high priorities for Cornerstone OnDemand. All roles have been re-considered and divided into levels in a bid to eliminate the gender pay gap. Employees that hold the same position receive the same salary and the same number of company shares. Differences only exist when it comes to bonus payments – but here too, the amount is determined by performance and not by gender. In addition, managers are judged on how they build their teams as part of their performance appraisal. Diversity and inclusion are important factors here. As Cornerstone wants its teams to be as diverse as possible, deciding between similarly qualified male and female applicants can be difficult and requires extremely careful consideration. No individual should be discriminated against based on their gender. Flexible working models and the opportunity to work from home have become established practices at Cornerstone. For us, set working hours are a thing of the past. Cornerstone employees can arrange their working hours around the needs of their children, so that parents can combine working full-time with family life. This concept has been very well received according to the results of the Future of Work survey, which Cornerstone conducts among its employees every three months. This survey gives us a regular opportunity to learn what our employees want from us and how we can make improvements over time. Equality is not just something that improves the lives of women. Men, too, can gain many benefits from the long overdue establishment of gender equal. Diverse teams increase collaboration efficiency, flexible working models enable more full-time positions, and transparent salary models mean fair pay for everyone. In summary, diversity is no longer just “nice to have”; it has become a must have for all companies. If you would like to find out more about the topic of diversity, I recommend reading “Get Diversity right! 3 things HR needs to consider” and “7 ways to put DEIB at the centre of your recruiting strategy” to learn about how to boost diversity in your organisation. You can also check out the latest series of the HR Labs podcast, which explores further topics and conversations within diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging. This blog was originally published in the Cornerstone German blog.

Keeping up with HR jargon: Talent Management Systems
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Keeping up with HR jargon: Talent Management Systems

HR software is now considered a strategic buy for companies who are transforming their (traditional paper-based) operations to digital, supporting their HR teams and enabling them to make better strategic decisions when it comes to managing people. As the tools change, so does the language, and new acronyms are creeping in. With the language of HR changing, we’ve created a series of blog posts to help explain the most common new forms of software, what they do and their benefits. This post explores the role of Talent Management System What is a talent management system? Talent management in general focuses on the management of people within a company and bringing the best possible value from employees. It’s the part of HR that is the most business oriented, and as such, the business has high expectations for its success. It’s no surprise then that most talent management activities directly link with the business’ goals – and if you want to know more about aligning your HR and business goals you can read Survitec’s story here. They involve (but are not limited to): the hiring, onboarding and development of employees; connecting employees and driving collaboration; managing performance, career development and succession plans; providing learning and retraining to employees and performing employee assessments, appraisals and compensation management. Talent management systems aim to make these talent management tasks more unified and integrated. Typically, they integrate key areas of talent management by using software to simplify and create one hub for recruiting, onboarding, performance and goal management, learning management, compensation and salary planning, career development and succession planning. They also reduce the admin time required from HR teams, and make talent management smarter through data, providing reporting, analytics and machine learning on topics such as goal management, performance management, talent pools, employee engagement, candidate management and more – all through one HR portal. Since talent management is centred on employees, talent management systems also provide a holistic view of employees and anticipate the future talent and skills needs across the organisation. Consequently, HR people in charge of talent management (often known as HR development managers, or HR business partners) are aided by talent management systems to offer advice and answer questions on a range of topics including: “How can I ensure my recruiting attracts the best candidates?”; “Does my onboarding contribute to higher retention?”; and “Do my managers have regular conversations with their teams?” Talent management systems are, of course, used by employees too – not just HR – and so it’s important that they are user-friendly. To be successful, any talent management software being implemented should have an excellent user experience, be accessible through mobile devices – not just desktop – and be fast. Companies should also think about elements that employees might be used to in their everyday tech interactions, like chatbots and recommendations through predictive analytics, which could further improve the talent experience. So, what are the benefits of implementing a talent management system? If companies choose well and integrate a successful system, they can expect benefits such as: Attracting top talent: Recruiting systems will be simpler and more efficient for recruiters and candidates alike, improving employer branding and reducing time-to-hire. Boosted employee motivation and engagement: Management will have a better means of identifying learning needs among staff and supporting their career progression – ensuring employees have greater job satisfaction and support. Management can also determine the best internal employees for leadership roles and ensure they are on track for those positions. Lowered risk of skills gaps: With a holistic view of employees, HR will be able to see where the company is at risk of having skills gaps, where employees need to bolster their skills to avoid gaps, and what kind of people may be best to hire to avoid talent shortages altogether. Improved talent retention: From an excellent hiring process, to slick onboarding, to seamless employee management – a good talent management system makes for a great employee experience and can improve retention. This also lowers costs associated with employee turnover and hiring. Greater business performance and client satisfaction: More engaged employees perform better, and better performing people keep clients happy and improve business performance. Improved HR processes: For talent management to be strategic, HR processes like onboarding, performance management, etc. must run smoothly. In addition, the talent management system has to include the most modern methods to engage employees: AI-based recommendations in training and succession, transparent mobility, ongoing performance reviews with regular conversations and social feedback. This optimises processes making them more efficient and effective. Watch Drax Group’s story for a real-life example of how a talent management system has helped to unite global employees as one team, engaged employees to push through digital transformation and ensured the right talent for the future. Who uses a talent management system? Talent management systems are used by any company that wants to better engage their employees. Since many companies invest in people (starting with their salaries), it makes sense for companies to also invest in a talent-centric approach that can bring consistency and broader benefits than a bigger pay cheque can. Used properly, these systems can bring many benefits to management, HR, and employees generally, such as better talent attraction and retention, improved goal management, fewer empty job roles, better business performance and more. All of these groups also feel the benefit of how the software-based system can tie together formerly disparate systems into one HR portal – creating a single hub for people management. So, we go back to the same categories of users as for HCM or LMS: The employees themselves need talent management software to access the required learning in their progression plans, share knowledge with each other, apply to open positions internally, give feedback on their peers and more. With so many of the talent management system’s benefits affecting this group, it’s important that they have simple, convenient, user-friendly, and mobile-ready access to the system at all times. Managers need talent management system access so that they can have a clear overview of their team, evaluate people’s performance, give feedback to others, assign training courses and more. The HR team needs an efficient system that gives them a comprehensive view of skills and competencies across the entire organisation, an ability to plan global activities (training, performance reviews and more), a means to anticipate and plan for skills gaps, and a way to manage the future workforce and recruitment for it. The C-suite uses talent management systems to have a consolidated view of all the company’s employees, to perform advanced searches of people within the organisation and their abilities (e.g. who has the best competencies to manage a new project?), and to plan a global talent strategy for the company. External partners, resellers and clients may also use a company’s talent management system in order to access particular information and to communicate with the organisation (for example, to be trained on new products or give feedback). As is clear, talent management systems can be used in many different ways and by many different groups within the organisation. From a strategic standpoint, HR and recruiting teams will use it the most, alongside management teams, but every employee within an organisation will end up feeling the benefits from it. It’s important, however, for those buying talent management software to conduct a proper assessment before investing in it to ensure they’re looking for the best possible system for their organisation’s needs. Strategic HR is a competitive market and new companies are popping up every day to help companies in the war for talent and employee engagement – so research is critical to make sure your company doesn’t end up with something unsuitable. A talent management system is also the best way for HR to measure the impact of its workforce on the business. Through advanced analytics tools, organisations are able to have accurate data and metrics on their employees. Success measures can be HR-centric (for example, figures around retention, employee happiness, recommendations, compliance risk reduction, etc.) but also business-centric (for example, being able to benchmark talent performance against other companies and being able to build a competency-based project team). If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, why not read our other posts in this series, on LMS (Learning Management Systems), ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and HCM (Human Capital Management). And if you would like to find out more about how you can help progress on your own digital transformation journey, take a look at our resources here.

Mental health Post COVID19 : post-traumatic stress disorder CHAPTER 4 | HR & Technology: communities and apps
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Mental health Post COVID19 : post-traumatic stress disorder CHAPTER 4 | HR & Technology: communities and apps

In this last chapter I want to bring social responsibility to the conversation. Social responsibility will be more important than ever, which we value highly as an organisation, so how did we manage this time of crisis? The quote above from Liggy Webb is an excellent summary all four chapters. This should be our mantra from now on – in fact, it should be our mantra whenever we are struggling. It’s not only relevant to us as individuals, these words are very powerful from an organisational and community point of view. Revisit your business: we always say HR should be supporting strategic business decisions. Bring the numbers to the boardroom and explain why remote employment can be beneficial. Bring in real ideas on performance management in time of crisis. Support the IT department in getting up and running. Be the bridge between the people and the business Your image counts: Employer perception will be a very important part in the future; the virus has accelerated this trend. HR needs to come up with creative ideas to avoid lay-off and increase financial growth. Technology can be a great ally here. as with collaboration and cross-functional projects Create inclusive policies: Inclusion will be more important because the impact of the virus is ultimately financial too and we need to ensure we are including everyone in the organisation in our plan. HR might need to revisit salary sacrifice schemes, for example. What is salary sacrifice? This is when an employee exchanges a specific amount of income before tax for a benefit like pension contributions or child care vouchers. Companies such as Salary Finance are offering very interesting products to combine this idea with financial well-being. Social media will quickly surface policies not fit for purpose, likely through Glassdoor and Kununu employee reviews. Monitor these during the crisis and post crisis to learn about your communities in the business and to improve those policies. Create surveys and measure the pulse in your organisation before implementing changes. Enable communities and let people share their story and heal. Again, this is where HR will work hand in hand with the business to enable those conversations and create safe spaces for people to share their concerns. To finish with a positive note, we need disruption and the challenges we confront in life make us better. Sometimes things happen and they force us to revisit what we were doing with more critical view and we gain a better understanding of our actions. We need to grief for the losses and look at ways we can avoid this happening again, learn from the circumstances and rebuilt. GOOD TRENDS WE SHOULD EXPECT Less commuting time, more quality time, better work-life-balance Less pollution due to less commuting, greener world Better strategy when choosing between face-to-face meetings and virtual ones, more time for your personal life, less travel Better time management, higher performance Increase in organisations allowing remote working, change of status quo Shift to online consumption, change in business model Shift of attention to the concept versus timing If you are hungry for more content on how to manage stress, resilience, check Liggy Webb’s BiteSize Book series here!

Minilektion - Agil Performance Management
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Minilektion - Agil Performance Management

Promoting a tonic culture: How to improve workforce happiness
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Promoting a tonic culture: How to improve workforce happiness

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, and with approximately one in four people experiencing a mental health problem each year, the promotion of improving your mental health has never been more important. Not only do people struggle with mental health in their personal life but work-related stress and depression has recently been called a “growing epidemic”. It is therefore time for organisations to act and improve their cultures to encourage a healthy and happy workforce. Yesterday, we were fortunate enough to have Liggy Webb, CEO of The Learning Architect, host a Cornerstone webinar on eliminating a toxic culture and the ways in which companies can encourage a healthy workplace. Her advice resonated with me, and so I thought I would build on her points and share some advice on how organisations can promote this notion of a tonic culture. But first, what is a toxic culture? Toxic company cultures are costing the UK economy £23.6bn per year and if we want to mitigate their impact, we need to know what makes a culture toxic before trying to fix it. Micromanagement, overworking and a lack of innovation are all key features that you will find in a toxic culture. Unrealistic demands that lead to burnout and employees feeling under appreciated will all impact morale, relationships, employee turnover and ultimately, business success. So, now we know a few of the toxic culture warning signs, how can organisations promote a healthier workplace and improve workforce happiness? Here are five tips if you’re struggling with a toxic culture: 1. Communicate clearly — As George Harrison once said, “gossip is the devil’s radio”, and this rings true when talking about clear and consistent company communications. If there are gaps in communication within your organisation, employees will talk to each other, often expressing feeling of concern or worry — letting their imaginations go wild. Leadership needs to listen to their employees and communicate from the top down. This will reassure and eliminate any niggling doubts which in turn, has a big impact on emotional wellbeing and mental health. 2. Be authentic — Be honest with your employees. Have honest conversations and set a good example. If your organisational values don’t translate into the behaviours within your organisation, then you can create an air of mistrust. See yourself as a role model and be authentic with your employees, this will add value and build confidence amongst your workforce. 3. Collaboration is key — Although flexible working initiatives are important to offer and are often a benefit to many employees, flexible working can contribute to loneliness. Consider how your employees are feeling in a remote working environment. Are you involving them enough? If not, create opportunities for them to collaborate. Encourage video conferencing and use workplace tools such as Slack or Skype for Business to motivate your employees. 4. Prioritise wellbeing — We all have a personal responsibility to take care of our health, but organisations can also contribute. When we think of wellbeing we tend to think of mental and physical health, but it also covers environmental and spiritual health. As Liggy mentioned in her blog on stress awareness, stress burnout is the 21st-century health epidemic. Organisations can support their employees by helping them manage stress, whether that’s allowing more breaks during the day, hosting yoga or mindfulness sessions or giving your employees the option of flexible working. By prioritising wellbeing, you and your employees will see an improvement in productivity and happiness across the organisation. 5. Celebrate success — We’re living in a world where everything is go, go, go, but sometimes you need to take a step back and celebrate your achievements. Organisations that demonstrate gratitude and go the extra mile for their employees will be rewarded with a positive workforce that is full of energy and passion. Congratulate your employees when they’ve achieved their goals and take the time to say thank you, it will go a long way. If you feel as though your organisation has elements of a toxic culture, think about implementing some of these strategies and start building a tonic culture.

RH : 5 conseils pour rassurer en période dincertitude
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RH : 5 conseils pour rassurer en période dincertitude

Smarter Recruiting – Top Three Technology Considerations for 2021
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Smarter Recruiting – Top Three Technology Considerations for 2021

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a year of twists and turns that have prompted changes across the business – recruiting included. But, actually, the business triggers – being agile, creating a great experience, more diversity – has always been a top priority in recruiting. These imperatives pre-date the pandemic and are now even more important for business success. Of course, recruiters now face new challenges when it comes to flexibility, remote working, wellbeing, among other things. Watch our video on the recruiter’s place in this changing world: Navigating and finding the right talent acquisition technology can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry, we have you covered, and suggest you look closely at these areas. The experience you are creating You must consider what your candidates are anticipating – as we know, our lives are full of intuitive technologies we have come to rely on. The standards and expectations are high. Also, in those first few interactions you are giving the candidate a sense of the type of employer you are, and this is particularly important in competitive hiring environments. Ask yourself: Is my careers site engaging and truly reflective of the employer brand? Modern applicant tracking There are many Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), but they must flex to your needs. Simply tracking applications and storing candidate details are not enough to optimise the recruiting process. Your ATS must support sourcing, increase engagement, help schedule interviews, include advanced analytics, like benchmarking and hiring metrics, and of course, seamlessly integrate with your careers site. Ask yourself: Beyond roles and rights for user administration and access, are recruiters and hiring managers able to customise their own views within the system to suit their preferences? Managing multiple recruiting requirements Centralising a process and approach should not come at the detriment of specific needs of a country, subsidiary, business unit or brand. You can avoid the complexity of having a myriad of technologies and keep consistency and costs under control. Creating a base will also ensure you can support scale and growth in your organisation. Ask yourself: Can recruiting teams in different countries, subsidiaries, business units or brands manage their own recruiting workflows, careers pages and can they cultivate their own candidate experience? We’re seeing increased scrutiny on technology investments, and it’s no surprise really. The pandemic may have accelerated transformation, but budget must be carefully spent, and the right partner must be carefully chosen. Don’t forget to not only look at the technology, but the company behind it too. In the final stages of technology evaluations, check your vendor is financially stable, can provide customer references and has proven implementation methodologies. For more information on how you can build processes of agility, authenticity, skills and learning into processes that support your recruiting resilience, visit our Recruiting Unbound portal.

Solving the recruitment challenge at SGN with Cornerstone
Video

Solving the recruitment challenge at SGN with Cornerstone

Raj Ghai, Head of HR Service Centre & Recruitment at SGN, discusses how the company turned to Cornerstone to help attract higher-quality candidates and improve the overall employer brand. Cornerstone now has a 97% adoption rate at SGN, processing over 700 requisitions since its launch.

TA Authenticity at Epson
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TA Authenticity at Epson

Epson discuss their Employee Brand and Talent Acquisition strategy.

Verzamel de beste medewerkers voor vandaag én morgen
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Verzamel de beste medewerkers voor vandaag én morgen

The Gender pay gap – where the problem starts
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The Gender pay gap – where the problem starts

Our EMEA Talent Director, Alex Anders, recently spoke to us about a topic she’s particularly passionate about: Diversity & Inclusion and the gender pay gap. We’ve now hit 2020 but it seems like this is an issue that is not going away any time soon. In this video, she explores how the problem of the gender pay gap starts right at the very beginning with recruitment. If you get it wrong here, the gender pay gap will always be there. So, what changes should your company be making and how else can your business better support greater gender equality beyond an equal salary? Check out this video to find out more.

Cornerstone Performance: Connect employee goals with business outcomes
Datasheet

Cornerstone Performance: Connect employee goals with business outcomes

Ensuring that all of your people are motivated and engaged can be challenging. You need them to find purpose in what they’re doing while aligning that purpose with your organisation’s goals. With its detailed insights into your talent landscape, Cornerstone Performance helps you quickly identify and mobilise employees to solve your organisation’s top priorities.

Cornerstone Learning: A complete learning experience for everyone
Datasheet

Cornerstone Learning: A complete learning experience for everyone

Today’s ever-changing business conditions require you to be adaptable, drive productivity, and continue to test the resiliency and growth of your organisation. To reach the level of agility today demands, you need to connect your people’s success to your organisation’s success. With Cornerstone Learning, you can deliver modern learning at scale to your people. And when you can connect your people, data, content, and systems, you’ll optimise your continuous talent development

Cornerstone HR: Better people data. Better decisions.
Datasheet

Cornerstone HR: Better people data. Better decisions.

By centralising HR record management and connecting data to skills, you can create a better experience for your people. A successful HR project requires quality employee and organisational data. With Cornerstone HR, you’ll give your employees and managers the ability to directly view and edit their data, equipping you with up-to-date information for better strategic planning. Your HR department can easily trigger essential processes and initiate key events such as developing improvement plans, tracking probation periods, and managing onboarding and offboarding.

Cornerstone Extended Enterprise: Reimagine how you engage your customers and  partners
Datasheet

Cornerstone Extended Enterprise: Reimagine how you engage your customers and partners

The rapidly evolving world of work requires you to be dynamic and adaptable. How you align critical stakeholders to your organisation is now an even more significant organisational demand. Built to be as flexible and unique as your business, Cornerstone Extended Enterprise helps you scale your organisation and ensure your external audiences are informed and adopting your latest offerings.

Meet the Future, Ready: A Guide for Talent Leaders Shaping the New World of Work
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EBook
Research

Meet the Future, Ready: A Guide for Talent Leaders Shaping the New World of Work

“Unprecedented times.” “The next world of work.” “The great reset.” You’ve heard these phrases repeatedly. And it’s true: The COVID-19 pandemic and other world events have radically changed how we work, where we work, and what employees expect from work. But in many ways, that’s a good thing — because a shift in the way we work has long been in the cards. Standing at the edge of a 5th industrial revolution, employees are now heading back to work after the most intense period of change the modern world has ever experienced. This also means organisations have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-build work in a way that works for everyone. And the future of work now lies squarely in the hands of HR and talent leaders. Like no other business leader, talent leaders hold the golden threadto reimagining the workplace for today — and whatever comes next. As agents of change, you have the opportunity to empower a more connected, collaborative, and future-ready workforce. The future belongs to organisations with the courage and mindset needed to reimagine how they work. To meet the future ready — with agility, resilience, shared purpose, and alignment — you must deliver a connected experience that creates value for people, and an environment that’s designed for collective growth and success. ​ This opportunity to redesign the way we work and pursue what’s possible may never come again — let’s not waste it. To help guide your path forward, we asked talent practitioners around the world – as well as renowned thought leaders from companies like The Josh Bersin Company, The Fosway Group and more – what they have to say about rebuilding a future that works for all. And what they had to say may just give you a new lens through which you view your organisation’s approach to work. Filled with proven strategies, revealing statistics, and practical examples, this guide will give you the insights and inspiration you need to meet the future ready. You’ll learn why (and how) you should: Make learning foundational to people and business growth Turn skills into your new growth language Connect skills development to career paths Let artificial intelligence (AI) do some of the heavy lifting Download the guide now to learn how you can rebuild a workplace that empowers everyone to adapt, grow, and succeed!

Build a resilient and skilled workforce
Whitepaper

Build a resilient and skilled workforce

How we live, work, socialise, and learn is changing. Skills and roles are rapidly shifting. Developing talent today requires more flexibility to meet the evolving nature of work and skills. So to ensure your organisation’s success today and going forward, you need a new model that empowers employees with tools for setting and developing meaningful goals and growth pathways. Cornerstone Xplor is that model. Download this report to learn more about Cornerstone Xplor and how it revolutionises the way organisations and their people learn, grow, and evolve their skills.

Deliver continuous, personalised learning for everyone
Datasheet

Deliver continuous, personalised learning for everyone

Training, skills, mobility, and succession are what drive the success of your people and organisation. With Saba Cloud Learning, you can put employees in the driver’s seat of their development and align learning with your organisation’s goals and strategies to increase performance, stay competitive, and improve employee engagement.

Cornerstone Recruiting: Hire and retain the best talent
Datasheet

Cornerstone Recruiting: Hire and retain the best talent

Tight labor markets make it challenging for organisations around the world to find and keep top talent. But the right talent management software can help your organisation be more than just competitive. Your organisation can find the best people, match them to their perfect role, and set them up for success with personalised onboarding. With Cornerstone Recruiting, you’ll have the tools you need to attract the best-fit candidates, uncover hidden talent, and save time and effort.

Generali: Investing in people through skills development and personalisation
Case Study

Generali: Investing in people through skills development and personalisation

Generali is an Italian insurance company and is among the top ten largest firms in its sector globally with over 55 million customers. The company operates in a fast-paced environment so is focussed on training and providing ongoing skills development opportunities for its people. However, when the pandemic and lockdown restrictions hit, Generali needed to find a way to pivot its people development programme, and with over 75,000 employees in more than 60 countries worldwide, this was not going to be an easy task. Beyond making learning accessible for everyone, the company needed to ensure that its learning was both engaging and personalised too. So, Generali created the We LEARN platform, a succinct global platform, powered by Cornerstone OnDemand, with interactive and high-quality courses that allows its people to access learning in their own time, from anywhere in the world. Employees can now tailor, personalise and take control of their own learning. Why Cornerstone? Generali needed a learning platform powerful enough to not only ensure learning content was accessible and easy to consume worldwide, but also pushed its people to learn and identify key skills gaps for a personalised learning experience. The company’s aim is to reskill at least 50% of the workforce by the end of 2021 and equip them to excel in their current and future job roles. To do this, it needed a common working space, that incorporated both interactive and social activities, via a platform that is easily accessible for all to help spread skills across the community. Generali required different levels of training from mandatory training for new starters to highly focussed training for new and emerging roles. Cornerstone’s Learning solution allowed Generali to create its bespoke We LEARN platform to meet these goals by enabling users to access learning tailored directly to them. The Results Prioritising personalised learning: The We LEARN platform is broken down in foundation courses, new role schools, new skills for evolving roles, readymade courses, and local training. This ensures specialised training routes for all learning needs. We LEARN helps Generali’s people to meet expectations through short and interactive ‘sprints’ allowing an agile and bitesize approach to learning. Closing skills gaps: All employees start their journey by undergoing a skills assessment to help them understand where the gaps in their knowledge are. Since implementing the programme, over 20,000 users assessed their skills and 200 new skills courses have been added, with 60 brand news skills identified. Diversified content for futureproofing: With the new role schools and new skills for evolving roles, Generali’s people can make sure that they are aptly equipped to succeed in their current role while futureproofing and preparing for any future changes. The platform is now filled with content for all needs including 5,000 titles on managerial and professional skills from Cornerstone’s Content Anytime offering. All content is available through webinars, set curriculums, shorter content, and gamification so learners can learn in a way that suits them while also having fun. Facilitates life-long engaged learners: In the space of just six months, Generali clocked an average of 21,000 monthly unique user logins and each user is accessing the platform just over 3.6 times per month on average. The platform is clear, simple, easy to use, personalised and inviting, as well as adding value to learners and prioritising their needs. The carrousel style content library with personalised recommendations allows employees to take control of their learning, see the importance and effectiveness of it and adopt it long term.

We LEARN at Generali. Reskilling at scale and speed.
Video

We LEARN at Generali. Reskilling at scale and speed.

Reskilling and upskilling topped this year’s L&D Global Sentiment Survey as key concerns in the profession – but how do you do both and at scale? Find out how Generali's We:LEARN programme achieved this globally in this video.

Gemalto discusses how they drove improvements in efficiency of managing training
Video

Gemalto discusses how they drove improvements in efficiency of managing training

Foster + Partners: Designing innovative learning through digital solutions
Case Study

Foster + Partners: Designing innovative learning through digital solutions

Foster + Partners is one of the most renowned and innovative architecture and integrated design studios in the world, responsible for outstanding architecture projects including the Gherkin and the Reichstag. In the architecture and design industry, learning is considered a key way to beat the competition, making knowledge and training a keystone in Foster + Partners’ business process, culture and overall success. All architects must complete 35 hours of CPD training to maintain RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) accreditation and Foster + Partners must also track new industry trends, tools and ways of working. Keeping up with a fast-paced industry and understanding new disciplines such as BIM (Building Information Modelling) was the challenge. The wealth of knowledge that Foster + Partners did already possess was also unstructured and dispersed across the organisation, causing difficulties in recognising skills gaps. As such, the team needed a centralised system to capture this knowledge and help staff learn anywhere, anytime, adopting the necessary new professional skills to maintain their RIBA accreditation and improve employees’ personal development. Why Cornerstone? More than simply introducing a learning platform, Foster + Partners wanted to ensure a high adoption rate and full engagement with the system. Foster + Partners’ learning and development programme was transformed to make it something their employees wanted to do. To do this, Foster + Partners needed a LMS which could be implemented and adopted quickly, but also offered flexibility to keep up with the ever-changing industry standards. The system had to be easily tailored to reflect the Foster + Partners brand, making it intuitive and simple but matching the company’s design pedigree. The platform also needed to put the focus on the user experience with a maximum of three clicks for users to reach the content they wanted. The Results Centralised and increased knowledge. With the new LMS, training and expertise from across the organisation are now available on one simple platform which can be accessed anywhere through any device. Employees have access to more than 300 hours of CPD events and content items to complete their mandatory CPD hour requirements and help maintain their accreditation. Beyond just technical skills, users can now also access personal, professional, technological and role-specific development training. Previously, there was no training for personal development. Higher employee engagement. The Cornerstone platform has had an impressive 90% adoption rate and facilitated a marked increase in training workshops uptake, with completion rates jumping from 312 to 2,122 in a 12-month period. Attendance at CPD courses has also greatly increased from 289 to 603 attendees. This in part has resulted from the highly intuitive and personalised user interface, with the creation of over 200 customised pages and most content being available in just three clicks. Ensured talent readiness. Employees who have not completed certain training can be identified on a reporting dashboard and remedied quickly. In the same way, this enables the easy identification of any potential skills gaps to help futureproof the success of the business. Improved cost effectiveness. The ability to better understand and predict where to invest resources has also streamlined processes and lowered administration costs for the Learning & Development team. This has also improved reporting to justify these investments on a business level to the executive suite. Boosted company profitability. The capacity to quickly identify any training or skills gaps also means that new initiatives such as BIM can be adopted and taken advantage of fast, improving the commercial competitiveness of the organisation. Improved employer branding. Foster + Partners has achieved Top Employer status from the Top Employers Institute for the first time this year.

Farmers Mutual Group (FMG): Evolving a forward-thinking new learning culture in a well-established Mutual
Case Study

Farmers Mutual Group (FMG): Evolving a forward-thinking new learning culture in a well-established Mutual

Farmers Mutual Group (FMG), New Zealand’s leading rural insurer, is relationship focussed and heavily invested in the rural communities it supports. It is equally invested in its own employees’ engagement, growth and development. Farmers Mutual Group (FMG), New Zealand’s leading rural insurer, is relationship focussed and heavily invested in the rural communities it supports. It is equally invested in its own employees’ engagement, growth and development. However FMG’s Learning & Development Team recognised that learning could contribute much more to the employee experience - and that their largely classroom-based approach to training wasn’t going to keep pace with employee needs or best support the success of the Mutual over the next 100 years. With the help of some powerful Cornerstone technologies, they’ve started to discreetly seed into the company a new culture of continuous and collaborative learning. This evocatively-named initiative is the team’s five-year strategy to evolve FMG’s culture to one of continuous learning. Their plan: To lead thinking and get ahead of learning needs, rather than be reactive and deliver training as requested. To make learning more fluid, more liberating - a continuous, self-directed, anywhere, anytime part of everyone’s workflow, rather than something structured and imposed from above. To instil in their own L&D team a vision and mission and better ways to measure their contribution to the company’s next 100 years of success. They haven’t, however, tried to change the landscape overnight. This is an evolution not a revolution. Instead, in a thoughtful plan set out over three carefully staged horizons, they’re progressively introducing new approaches - proving their success - sharing results - and partnering with colleagues to take Freedom To Learn forward step by step.

Fletcher Building: Transforming safety culture across a far-flung, high-risk business
Video

Fletcher Building: Transforming safety culture across a far-flung, high-risk business

Why Cornerstone Fletcher Building is an Auckland NZ-based global construction group with a heartfelt mission to see that everyone gets home safely every night. This is constantly challenged by the type of hard, high-risk, injury-prone work they do. Not satisfied with a safety incident rate merely on par with industry norms, they embarked on an unprecedented global learning and culture change initiative, made possible by their integrated Learning Management System (LMS) from Cornerstone. Business Impact: Engaged over 20,000 employees from more than 30 business units in 30 countries using 19 different languages in the company’s first-ever global safety learning initiative. Contributed to a measurable drop in the Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rates and spurred rollout of further eLearning initiatives.

Innovation, Flexibility and Intuition at DEME. Powered by Cornerstone
Video

Innovation, Flexibility and Intuition at DEME. Powered by Cornerstone

Hans Casier, Human Resources Director at DEME, talks about the importance of innovation at his organisation, and why Cornerstone’s flexible and intuitive platform aligns with the group’s goals and culture.

Coats: Thread manufacturer helps employees sew their own career path
Case Study

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.

Citizen M shares how Cornerstone supports their ambitious growth plans
Video

Citizen M shares how Cornerstone supports their ambitious growth plans

Annemieke Wachter, HR Director, talks about Citizen M’s ambitious plans to more than double number of hotels by 2020, and how Cornerstone supports those plans, providing a platform to recruit and develop the right talent to enable the organisation to grow.

Citadele: Investing in a culture of learning and individual performance management
Case Study

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.

CGL: Improving learning and performance capability through advanced digital solutions
Case Study

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.”

Nasdaq BWise: Improving and sharing knowledge, digitally
Case Study

Nasdaq BWise: Improving and sharing knowledge, digitally

Acquired by Nasdaq two years ago, BWise now forms the keystone for its GRC technology portfolio, offering leading software solutions for Risk Management, Internal Audit and Compliance. Knowledge is a key driver for BWise and training is an integral part of how the business works. BWise has to ensure that its own consultants, partners and through them clients, are always fully up-to-date with their knowledge of the products and that they are all sufficiently trained in using, configuring and maintaining the BWise system. Complex software implementation means that clients, in particular, require a lot of training. With products offered in a range of languages and 10 international offices; employees, partners and customers are also multi-lingual and dispersed worldwide. Previously, training and learning was not centralised, resulting in BWise being unable to properly share crucial knowledge. Clients would often only have access to outdated information, resulting in them using the system incorrectly Why Cornerstone In order to offer centralised knowledge and learning to its employees, partners and clients, BWise recognised the need for a LMS. Beyond formal learning, BWise also needed a system which could facilitate further, continuous training through a more interactive platform, where users and experts could exchange queries and information, creating a virtual knowledge community. The Academy manager had previously worked with many other providers but was won over by Cornerstone; demanding for BWise to use it when he was onboarded onto the team. Unlike some other providers, every aspect that BWise needed was integrated into one, simple solution, whilst also offering full functional flexibility. Initial implementation took less than six weeks, with BWise rst implementing Learning, supplemented by practical training and learning on the job and then Connect. This enabled BWise to create their collaborative virtual knowledge centre with different communities for users to ask questions and discuss topics. After all aspects of implementation were completed, Cornerstone has continued to listen to BWise’s suggestions and still does, maintaining a long-term relationship of support. The Results Centralised knowledge and training. All knowledge and training is now available on one single platform. BWise can provide consistent, relevant knowledge to the right person at the right time, where learning is driven by the user and their speci c needs. As a result of this, BWise has noticed a signi cant increase in the knowledge level of users, proven by assessment results. BWise has also witnessed an improvement in reporting along with better information management. Creation of a virtual knowledge centre. Despite users being dispersed worldwide, they now have full access to all training and learning materials through a virtual knowledge centre. Thanks to Connect, users also have direct contact with internal and external experts for the first time. Internal and external experts have a set number of hours per week dedicated to answering questions and posting documents, ensuring their quality and that they are always fully up-to-date. Improved client satisfaction. Cornerstone has enabled BWise to offer a fully comprehensive knowledge and training service for its clients that it previously was unable to provide. This was at the forefront of the demands from BWise’s partners and clients and has resolved previous issues of clients incorrectly using BWise products. Clients have been particularly satis ed with the look and ease of use of the platform. Facilitated a Certification Programme. Cornerstone has enabled over 100 of BWise’s partners to become formally certi ed in BWise software and to easily re-certify. Ability to identify industry trends. Based on what is being most discussed on Connect, BWise is now able to identify industry trends and requirements, as well as recognise what training and which products need changing and developing. Increased sales. The project never had any nancial objectives but, through offering this service, BWise is now also expected to sell more licenses, greatly contributing to company revenue as a result.

Banca Mediolanum: Embarking on a comprehensive talent development journey I Client Spotlight
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Banca Mediolanum: Embarking on a comprehensive talent development journey I Client Spotlight

Atlas Hotels: Upgrading recruitment to provide a premium candidate experience
Case Study

Atlas Hotels: Upgrading recruitment to provide a premium candidate experience

Why Cornerstone? Atlas Hotels needed a good quality applicant tracking service system to act as a recruitment hub. TalentLink, Cornerstone’s Recruiting solution, was able to bring more structure to Atlas Hotels’ recruitment process and offered greater ability to sort through candidates and identify suitable talent. It also offered the flexibility needed and could be configured to exactly what Atlas Hotels required. Having the ability to use integrations, such as DocuSign and interview scheduling tools, enabled Atlas Hotels to have all recruitment processes and tools in one convenient place, making TalentLink the one-stop-shop for everything recruitment. Atlas Hotels also needed automation in place so that every single candidate heard back about their application to help build a pleasant, simple and frictionless candidate experience, regardless of whether they were offered the job or not. TalentLink, provided the additional functionality and configuration to automate this experience to make it more personalised, without needing a huge amount of continuous manual input. The Results Better candidate experience: The application process has been drastically simplified, asking for minimal details and putting ease-of-use front and centre. With TalentLink, Atlas Hotels now has pre-written and pre-uploaded customised and branded templates for responses to candidates. All applicants are contacted about their application progress and receive responses tailored to them. Reduced time to hire: Atlas Hotels set a target of 25 days time to hire. Before implementation, the time to hire was 36 days, reducing to 24.4 days in just one month following the first stage of implementation and dropping to 16.3 after the second, resulting in more than a 50% reduction within the first year. Early feedback from managers shows candidates seem more engaged and fit with values more. Simplified structures and saved time: Managers no longer have to manually sift through CVs as the top ten candidates are automatically selected and sent to hiring managers for review. Applicants can also organise their own interviews with e-book system integrations, meaning managers are spending less time on admin and can focus on value-adding tasks. Increased manager autonomy: The benefits of TalentLink were seen first-hand by managers before even starting to use the system. Not only was there keen buy-in but managers have easily got to grips with the simple-to use system and they now have more autonomy as they are less reliant on support from the recruitment team. Driven diversity: Through automating the recruitment process there is less room for subjectivity and unconscious bias. Candidates are shortlisted by their fit with the company’s values and often CVs are not required for roles, granting a level playing field for every candidate regardless of past experience. Consequently, Atlas Hotels is now hiring a higher percentage of people from outside the industry, enabling Atlas Hotels to benefit from a more diverse workforce.

Admiral: E-learning easy and accessible to build future-ready workforce
Case Study

Admiral: E-learning easy and accessible to build future-ready workforce

Admiral Group’s story is one of rapid growth and innovation. In 1993, the then start-up had only 57 employees and no customers but has since grown to become a leading car insurance provider in the U.K. with operations in eight other countries. The company largely credits this success to its commitment to engaging and developing its people since day one. Now, with 9,500 employees across Europe, India, Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, it was clear that the company’s previous learning management system (LMS) could no longer support the scale of the company as it grew both geographically and in size. Admiral needed a cloud-based system that not only provided deeper insight and visibility into employee training needs and compliance, but also would be intuitive and easy to use. Having gathered employee feedback, Admiral realised it needed a solution that is as easy to use as services like Netflix, Facebook or Amazon. Why Cornerstone? Admiral searched for clear, in-depth reporting tools and a system that would encourage self-directed learning for its employees. Putting numerous vendors through their paces, Admiral chose Cornerstone to meet its learning and collaboration needs. Admiral took a smart approach by gaining employee buy-in throughout the process of implementing the new system. This made sure that there was a true understanding of the purpose of the system throughout the workforce, even before it was rolled out. It was also important to Admiral that its employees’ preferences were taken into consideration. Employees were surveyed and took part in focus groups to identify the features users both liked and disliked. Cornerstone could provide the user experience Admiral needed by ensuring the right content is easily accessible, by tracking progress and by facilitating collaboration. Admiral was set on creating a learning experience that its employees would truly appreciate and be engaged with – making Cornerstone the clear choice. Admiral made Cornerstone ‘theirs’ by renaming it iLearn and shaping the system from its employees’ perspective. The Results Increased appetite for learning. Comparing statistics from the first half of 2016 (when Admiral was using its old LMS) and the same period in 2017, its Cornerstone LMS, the total number of online courses significantly increased from 26,394 to 40,193. The average monthly unique users logging on to the system has grown by 81% from 2,454 to 4,457. Admiral has all this visibility through intuitive dashboards which are updated in realtime with manager and employee activity. Positive response to quality content. The quality is just as high as the quantity – demonstrated in the Reviews & Ratings functionality with the average rating of Admiral’s courses being 4.6 out of 5 stars. Moreover, Admiral can pinpoint areas of a course or assessment where employees are not getting it quite right. This level of detail helps constantly refine and optimise all learning content. Focus on employee experience. Admiral’s employeefirst approach and determination to find a solution that would capture the imagination of its workforce is a true demonstration of what Cornerstone looks to achieve when it talks about embracing the learning experience. Cornerstone and Admiral are aligned when it comes to creating an environment which promotes self-learning and discovery of content that drive development. Employee collaboration and knowledge sharing. In 2017, users have made a total of 975 posts in the iLearn Connect communities – a very positive start to achieving their goal of employees engaging in collaborative learning and knowledge sharing. Building a workforce that is future-ready. With the company growing at a high rate, Admiral’s strategic approach to learning and development of the workforce means it is better placed in the face of its competition. A more engaged workforce leads to better productivity, better retention rates as well as leading to a more attractive place to work.

4finance: lending a hand in talent management and learning
Case Study

4finance: lending a hand in talent management and learning

4finance is one of Europe’s largest digital consumer lending groups. Leveraging data-driven insights and automation, 4finance offers instalment loans, lines of credit and single payment loans, designed to meet customer needs. Headquartered in Latvia, with additional offices in London, Luxembourg and Miami, 4finance has grown rapidly, boasting operations in 15 countries and issuing loans worth over €7 billion in total. The company aims to continue its growth, offering simple, useful and transparent products to millions of its customers. As with much of the financial industry, 4finance’s HR processes and systems were basic. Learning was only taking place via external training with minimal content available, and administration tasks became a burden for the HR team. Each office used different methods of processing information, making global reporting challenging. Why Cornerstone? 4finance emphasizes it’s use of cutting-edge technology within its services, priding itself on offering the very best expertise to its customers. It was important that this messaging was echoed internally, treating employees as if they are customers. With this in mind, a one-stop-shop system was required to unify processes, making them more efficient and employee-focused. As a company who strives on growth, career progression was an important factor for 4finance. Cornerstone’s solution not only offered the necessary content to help employees improve their skills, it also offered the tools to help recognise skills gaps within the organisation’s and individual’s portfolio. The clear vision presented to the HR team with the employee and business front of mind made Cornerstone the number one choice for 4finance. The Results Award-winning internal training. Continued development has always been a key pillar at 4finance. LevelUp is a peer-to-peer learning programme implemented in Cornerstone, that allows employees to grow by teaching others the first-hand knowledge of the business. It empowers and connects employees, allowing discussions that spark new ideas. The LevelUp programme has earned 4finance several awards including HR Project of the Year and Best Productive Learning & Development Project. Better data management. Before Cornerstone, employee data was disordered, making it challenging to prove HR’s impact on the wider business. Now, 4finance has all its employee and HR data in one place, with the highest quality of data achieved. The centralised reporting system also allows for better cost-planning and budgeting as well as more accurate global reporting, giving HR an important seat at the table when it comes to wider business decisions. Improved efficiency. Cornerstone has given the HR team an opportunity to focus more on leadership development by launching a 360 Leadership Review for Group Managers. The whole assessment process is done via Cornerstone. As all the data was stored in the system, it alleviated much of the admin burden from the HR department. As a result, it was possible to identify the leadership gaps and improvement areas. Dedicated to learning. During the coronavirus crisis, where feelings of uncertainty thrived externally, 4finance used learning and upskilling to create stability and show their investment in people’s futures. Having access to learning during remote working also meant that employees at 4finance didn’t have to halt their learning and could continue to enhance their skills without physically being in a training room. Putting people first. “We put people first” is one of 4finance’s most treasured values as an employer and thanks to Cornerstone, the messaging has gained even more momentum across all offices. Employees can now take charge of their own career development, choosing their own training plans to follow, leading to more growth opportunities in the business.

Cartoon Coffee Break: WFH Reflections
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Cartoon Coffee Break: WFH Reflections

Editor's Note:This post is part of our "Cartoon Coffee Break" series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back every two weeks for a new ReWork cartoon. There’s been a rise in remote work over the past few years, and for good reason. Attracted to the flexibility that comes with working from home, many employees now do their jobs from the comfort of their living room, a coworking space or even a coffee shop. But the remote work lifestyle can be difficult to adjust to for employees and employers alike. How can you empower your remote workforce to be productive and feel connected to their colleagues despite the physical distance? Read up on how your HR department can give employees the support they need to succeed. Header photo: Creative Commons

Creativity in the Workplace: Working Towards Mindfitness
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Creativity in the Workplace: Working Towards Mindfitness

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainty - Erich Fromm Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and she was also the first person and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice in two scientific fields. One great bit of advice she wisely shared was to be less curious about people and more curious about ideas. This makes a great deal of sense especially as we now live in an Idea Economy where organizations operate in a highly competitive global environment. A big part of business success is about taking great ideas and turning them into reality faster than the competition. Fresh thinking, creativity and innovation fuel business success and deliver the all-important competitive advantage. So, what is creativity in the workplace? Creativity is about unleashing the potential of your mind to conceive new ideas. It is characterized by your ability to perceive the world in a different way and to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena so that you can generate better outcomes. Creativity is a useful tool for solving problems or exploring new and innovative ways of doing things. It is about seeking out new opportunities, to produce original ideas, and apply imagination and inventiveness. One of the key benefits of creativity in the workplace is that it fuels innovation, which is essential against the backdrop of globalization, migration, technological advancements and climate change issues. We now have the added impact of a global pandemic that is wreaking unprecedented disruption and chaos.The need to constantly review how we do things is essential. Explore new opportunities Innovation is an imperative to maintain our quality of life in these changing circumstances. Always doing things in the same way will only produce the same outcomes, which may not be relevant or useful. We are living in an age where fostering creativity and innovation will help us to overcome the challenges we currently face and, in turn, support our ability to not only survive but to thrive. Great leaders understand the power of creativity as a tool to unleash fresh thinking and explore new opportunities and solutions to complex problems. How to increase creativity Great leaders of the future will know how to creatively build an open culture for the exchange of ideas and collaboration. In my work with teams across industries and culture, I have found that empowered leaders have the ability to really set the tone for creative explorations. This leads to innovation, fresh thinking and even some unexpected solutions. These are my top three tips for fostering creativity in the workplace: 1. Build creative networks Encouraging collaboration in the creative process through building a creative network is so important. Working in isolation can stifle creativity and having a network each individual can reach out to and bounce ideas off is really stimulating, especially with remote working becoming more the norm. Build a network of empowered creative minds and your team will break through the status quo and drive innovation with enthusiasm. 2. Identify barriers to creativity To ensure that your team has the time and space to be creative, you will need to remove any barrier. If the barrier is time, mark off time in everyone’s calendar to collaborate on something fresh. If space is a barrier, open a new shared folder for ideas or start a chat chain where people can share ideas. Engage with your team to identify any barriers from their perspective and ask them to explore and suggest solutions. You don’t always need to have all the answers. 3. Support employee wellbeing The best neurochemical cocktail for most creative work is a high level of both serotonin and dopamine. This combination of neurotransmitters will help your team feel calm, creative and energized. It is important to reduce stress as it produces the hormone cortisol, which can counteract the creativity-boosting effects of serotonin. Encourage and support this wellbeing within your team with a combination of stress management, healthy eating, drinking water, sleeping well and exercising. Failing is part of the creative process Something else that is really important to remember is that failure is part of the creative process and provides one of the most powerful ways for your team to learn and grow. As Thomas Edison once said, “I failed my way to success”. If you punish honest mistakes within your team, then you will most certainty inhibit future creative potential. Set an example by viewing mistakes as learning opportunities and see them as stepping stones, not stumbling blocks. Cultivate a team narrative that says, “We don’t fail, we learn and that is all part of the creative process”. This is how great leaders can best support their teams to be truly empowered, creative and innovative. If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play - John Cleese For more Mindfit resources, check out free sample courses from Cornerstone’s Original Learning Series, Empowering Minds with Liggy Webb. Read about Liggy Webb's "Mindfit" model, or take a closer look at the first three elements in the model, a Resilient Mind, a Curious Mind and a Flexible Mind. Finally, keep an eye out for the next element of Liggy Webb's Mindfit model: A Kind Mind!

A Day in the Life of a Diversity Manager
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A Day in the Life of a Diversity Manager

The need for more diversity in Silicon Valley is no secret — recent demographic reports from large companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter show large gaps in both gender and ethnicity. Fortunately, companies are beginning to recognize the benefits of a diverse workforce, hiring HR managers, program leads and recruiters with the specific task of increasing inclusion initiatives. “A wealth of research shows that diverse teams perform better than non-diverse teams," says Carissa Romero, a partner at Paradigm, a startup that helps companies implement diversity initiatives. "They make better decisions and solve problems more effectively. Focusing on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace isn't just the right thing to do; it's also a smart business decision." To learn more about the rise of diversity-focused roles, we spoke with three individuals who have committed their careers to inclusion. Here they discuss their everyday challenges, current initiatives and best advice for other companies dedicated to increasing diversity. Carissa Romero Title: Partner at Paradigm, a startup that helps companies implement diversity initiatives How did you get involved with diversity and inclusion? I was attracted to Paradigm because they were drawing on a wealth of research in social psychology to help companies design diversity and inclusion strategies. I believe that I can make an impact on an issue that's both personal to me — I am a Puerto Rican woman — and that I'm deeply passionate about. What's the most challenging part about your job? One big challenge that we see many companies face is their reliance on referral hiring. Because companies' workforces are often homogeneous, if they don't find other ways to source candidates, it's going to be hard for companies to create more diverse teams. What current diversity initiative or past project are you most excited about? Inclusion Labs is a partnership with Paradigm and Pinterest that will allow us to conduct workforce research to identify and better understand barriers to diversity, test new strategies for addressing these barriers, and share publicly as much information as we can about what we're learning. What qualities make for a successful diversity initiative? A successful diversity and inclusion initiative is one that is data-driven, draws on what we know from social science research and is context-specific. Tina Sandford Title: Managing Director of International Field Delivery at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) How did you get involved with diversity and inclusion? Last June, we ran an inclusion and diversity survey, held focus groups and did a series of interviews. I've had the wonderful opportunity to lead this initiative. What's the most challenging part about your job? Balancing the demand and drive of those who want to get things done quickly versus those who are more conservative. We want to go slow in order to go fast; to do this, we have to be thoughtful and recognize that everyone has a different point of view. What qualities make for a successful diversity initiative? In a general sense, ask: What are you trying to achieve and how does that relate to your organization and employee base? It's not one-size-fits-all. What is your best piece of advice for companies trying to improve diversity? Keep an open mind and realize that everyone has a different perspective and values that drive where they come from. Melanie Goldstein Title: Diversity and Inclusion Product Manager at Kanjoya, a start-up specializing in emotion-based intuitive analytics What's the most challenging part about your job? Through our technology, I am constantly faced with the reality that unconscious bias is not a myth; rather, it exists everywhere, is culturally ingrained and can impact people's careers. What current diversity initiative or past project are you most excited about? We help clients understand precisely where and how bias is manifesting in their organizations. Armed with metrics for unconscious bias, our clients can convince even the most ardent skeptics that there is a problem, take data-driven action and make diversity an organization-wide commitment. What qualities make for a successful diversity initiative? Successful diversity initiatives have to be data-driven and led by a commitment to transparency. The ability to track and measure progress over time is also crucial. What is your best piece of advice for companies trying to improve diversity? It's imperative to address the entire employee lifecycle. To make lasting diversity improvements requires a continuous process of iteration and experimentation. Photo: Creative Commons

A Day in the Life of an Employee Experience Manager and Specialist
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A Day in the Life of an Employee Experience Manager and Specialist

The war for talent has companies of all sizes focused on creating compelling employee experiences that will not only help them attract top talent, but also prevent current star performers from exploring outside opportunities. As the idea of "employee experience" design has evolved, it's become focused on much more than access to great perks and a fun work environment. A recent study on workplace happiness by staffing firm Robert Half found that job satisfaction is most influenced by having a sense of empowerment, feeling appreciated and being able to do meaningful and interesting work. Many employers are hiring dedicated "employee experience" managers to ensure they can meet these expectations. We recently interviewed three such specialists to learn more about this emerging and challenging profession. Here's what they had to say: Kayla Rena, Culture and Employee Experience Manager at ParTech, Inc. (PAR) How did you get involved with employee experience management? I started at PAR about five years ago as a technical writer. I fell into my current role not long after I became the chair of PAR's employee-run culture committee. Our vice president of HR noticed that other companies had dedicated resources to improving culture and the employee experience and thought it was time for PAR to do this, too. I said I'd love to have that role and listed all the reasons I thought I'd be good at it. And here I am today! What is the most challenging part of your job? Initially, it was defining the kind of culture we wanted. The trick now is to "walk the talk" and to live the core values we have defined every day—otherwise, they're just words. Another major challenge is creating a consistent employee experience for our people, at all levels of the company and in locations across the globe, centered on having respectful and trusting relationships with team members and management. That is probably one of the most challenging things I've ever had to do in my career. What's your best piece of advice for other companies trying to improve their work environment? Top leadership must be totally bought into changing the culture for the better. Without that alignment at the top, it's very hard to make long-lasting, meaningful change. Change is hard, and it doesn't happen overnight. I recommend starting with small changes or focusing on areas where you know you can move the needle a bit and then build on that. Josh Blumenfeld, Employee Experience Expert at Espresa, Inc. How did you get involved with employee experience? I have a customer service and relationship management background, so I've always been very people-focused in my career. One reason I wanted to join Espresa is its mission, which is empowering companies to do more for their people. My role is primarily external-facing. I work with employee experience specialists, HR leaders, administrative staff and others to help them develop programs for building a better culture and employee experience at their companies. What current experience, initiative or project are you most excited about? Our company developed a platform that helps employers manage their on-site programs, events, team-building exercises and more to ensure those efforts are having the desired impact. One new initiative I'm excited about is a rewards and recognition program that helps companies acknowledge employee milestones, like work anniversaries or workplace achievements. Employees can choose rewards that are meaningful to them. What is the most challenging part of your job? Educating other employee experience specialists about the value of using technology to help them build and manage their programs. Employee experience is an emerging space, and many organizations have only recently started using tools like HR analytics. Another challenge—which I think most employee experience professionals face—is helping financial decision-makers understand the business benefits of investing in these types of programs and tools. Rebecca Webb, Employee Experience Specialist at Specialty's Café and Bakery What current experience initiative or project are you most excited about? Our company was recently acquired, and the new owners and leaders are motivated to build a culture that is not only customer-focused but also employee-focused. My manager and I recently finished analyzing our first company-wide employee feedback survey. I'm now creating a report to communicate the survey results, and explain what initiatives our department is working on and when. It's exciting because showing employees that you are listening to them. Making changes based on their feedback is crucial for significantly improving employee experience and engagement. I plan to share feedback reports consistently as we implement changes. What is the most challenging part of your job? My job is exhilarating, incredibly rewarding and always interesting. But it can be challenging not to take on too many things at once. When you first start in this position, you need to learn quickly what to prioritize based on the needs of multiple company stakeholders. Having patience, objectivity and the ability to build relationships, and consensus, with people throughout the company are useful qualities for this position. What's your best piece of advice for other companies trying to improve their work environment? Your team members are your most valuable assets. Ask for their feedback regularly and let them know how you intend to apply their feedback. Also, encourage and empower employees to lead and reward their efforts. If they fail, challenge them to try again. And when implementing any initiative or program, be sure to consider the potential impact of those changes on the company and its customers. Photo: Creative Commons

A Day in the Life of a Health Care Industry Compliance Manager
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A Day in the Life of a Health Care Industry Compliance Manager

Karen Shell watched intently when the Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearings in January for the next U.S. attorney general, a decision that could dramatically impact her day-to-day work. As the director of compliance for National Seating and Mobility (NSM), her interest in these hearings might not be clear at first, but Shell says a shakeup in the Department of Justice's philosophy and focus could seriously affect business. Monitoring changes in legislation and regulation is just one aspect of her complex role at NSM, a Tennessee-based company that designs one-of-a-kind mobility solutions like manual and power wheelchairs for disabled individuals and their families.“It's impossible to follow the rules if you don't know what they are and how they change," says Shell. “Plus, being unaware of a requirement isn't an acceptable defense." With plenty of important eyes watching, including the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG), Shell sees herself and her counterparts in compliance as revenue protectors. At NSM, the compliance team has its own space on the company' organizational chart, a wholly separate department from legal and human resources with direct, unfiltered access to the board of directors. According to Shell, it's important that the compliance officer maintain independence, so decisions can be made without competing agendas and influences. A typical workday for Shell involves creating policies, procedures and compliance training, identifying risks and auditing performance as well as serving as a confidential contact for all employees and leadership. We caught up with Shell to take a closer look at her unique experience as a compliance officer. Health care is a particularly difficult industry from a compliance perspective. What challenges have you experienced while building your career in this field over the past two decades? The major challenge has been keeping up with a constantly changing legislative and regulatory environment, along with changing technology and patient expectations. An additional challenge is presenting compliance as something more than just a necessary cost or a check box. My goal is to ensure that senior leadership knows we're here to support our greater corporate mission, not to hinder it. You mentioned changing technology. How does tech contribute to your daily efforts in compliance? Technology is an increasingly important part of our compliance program because we maintain client records and file claims electronically and we communicate with our clients and their medical professionals electronically as well. We have to be careful to keep that information secure, while meeting HIPAA and HITECH regulations. The benefit of electronic records is that we can use technology to put checks in place to help prevent false claims or more easily audit claims to identify non-compliance and improvement opportunities. We also use technology to train and inform employees. We can keep our compliance messaging fresh and make sure that compliance resources, like the compliance manual, are always current and easily available online. There's not an area of our business that isn't affected by technology, so we have to be sure we maintain compliance on that front, too. Why should business executives focus on cultivating a strong compliance program that doesn't feel like an afterthought for legal or HR teams? All companies, and definitely those in health care, operate in a complicated regulatory environment. A strong, proactive compliance program is needed to mitigate risks and to make certain the company stays within the guardrails while innovating and moving the mission forward. While a compliance department doesn't generate revenue, it's important that management understands that we're here to protect the business. The cost of operating a compliance program is far less than the extensive fines and penalties that companies might incur for violating laws and regulations. It's also important to recognize the value in having a certified professional lead the program. For example, I maintain my Health Care Compliance certification through the Health Care Compliance Association, which was established in 1996 to help navigate and translate the complex regulatory requirements. Can you share some examples of particular compliance challenges that you frequently face? How do you overcome those hurdles? Our Assistive Technology Professionals (ATPs) work directly with clients with disabilities. They provide mobility with very restricted reimbursement processes from insurance companies, Medicare and other payers. Because not every item we provide is a covered item, it's sometimes difficult for ATPs to understand why we can't just give our clients things for free when they're clearly in need. As much as we'd love to help, the wheelchair industry has an unfortunate history of fraud and abuse, so we have to be especially careful about maintaining compliance with the False Claims Act, beneficiary inducement and anti-kickback statutes. This can be frustrating, so it's important that I communicate not just what we can and can't do, but also why we have to do it a certain way. I explain that my job isn't to help them get around something, but to do whatever I can to help them through it. The ability to communicate how and why regulations apply to how we do business is important at every level. Everyone from the field employees to the board of directors should understand it. Is that why you created a training manual, a code of conduct and compliance manual for each layer of staff at NSM? Yes. It's important to provide employees at every level with an explanation of the laws and regulations that apply to what they do every day. Our training program helps them understand what they need to do to minimize the risk of non-compliance so that we can continue to provide great care for our clients for many years to come. Our Compliance Manual is a detailed tool to use for guidance, while the Code of Conduct outlines the behaviors we expect and the consequences for not meeting those expectations. Establishing very clear guidelines with open lines of communication for employees at every level is crucial. It's also the part of my job that I find especially rewarding. I enjoy being able to communicate with everyone, from the executives to part-time employees, and developing a level of trust so that anyone feels comfortable coming to me with questions or concerns. For more on healthcare compliance management, visit https://hr.cornerstoneondemand.com/compliance-healthcare-li Photo: Creative Commons

Dear ReWorker: What Belongs In the Employee Handbook?
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Dear ReWorker: What Belongs In the Employee Handbook?

Dear ReWorker: Handling Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
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Dear ReWorker: Handling Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

Dear ReWorker: I Haven't Had a Raise in Five Years
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Dear ReWorker: I Haven't Had a Raise in Five Years

Dear ReWorker, My husband has been working for the same company for over 25 years. None of the employees, including my husband, have received a raise in the last five years. The owner of the company keeps telling the workers the company isn't making any money; however, the employees have watched this same owner drive up in a brand new pickup truck, towing a brand new boat that he boasted about paying for with cash. This is the same owner who continually questions the morale of the company. What can my husband do in this situation? And, what type of advice would you have for this employer? Sincerely, Getting Impatient __________________________________________________________________________________________ Dear Getting Impatient, Your husband should brush up his resume, find a new job and quit. In that order. An owner that hasn't offered a raise in five years, complains about a lack of money while showing off his expensive purchases and can't see that his actions are causing low morale isn't likely to change. Now, of course, I should ask if your husband has asked for a raise in the past five years. If he hasn't, he should ask. The exception to this is if your husband is at the top of the pay scale for his profession and wouldn't be able to make more money anywhere else. Salaries should be based on market rates, and if you're already at the top of the market, you aren't going anywhere. The owner of this business sees himself as doing a favor to the employees—isn't it great that I gave you a job out of the goodness of my heart? Now, I'm all for small business owners, and I understand that they take risks, but they aren't doing it out of "goodness." They do it because it's the best way to be profitable. Your husband's boss wouldn't have his new truck and new boat without his employees. Yes, he provides them with jobs, but they help his company prosper. It might be scary to go out and look for a new job—after all, he's been there 25 years, and the devil you know is often better than the devil you don't. But, most companies are happy to have good workers and want to reward them. Looking won't cost him anything and if he doesn't find anything better, he should stay. As for advice for the owner—he's not writing me, but I'm always happy to give advice. I'd tell the owner to make sure to give his employees raises—there's little doubt that salaries should have been bumped up at least for cost of living over the past five years. The second thing I'd tell him to do is have his finances evaluated by a professional. Now, maybe he has a wife who paid for the new truck and boat and the business is struggling, but if he is paying for that with money the business earns, he needs an expert to take a look at his books. Why? By not investing in his employees, he's not investing in his business. Your husband probably isn't the only person considering leaving after being treated like that. Turnover is incredibly expensive—probably more expensive than his fancy new boat. It's not going to be so cheap to replace someone with 25 years of experience. Overall, he's making bad decisions based on short-term pleasure, and that's going to come back to bite him. Your ReWorker, Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady Photo: Creative Commons

Dear ReWorker: The New General Manager Is Cleaning House
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Dear ReWorker: The New General Manager Is Cleaning House

Dear ReWorker, I am a manager in a retail business and have been there for over six years. Recently, a new general manager took over, and she seems to be cleaning house and hiring her own team. I have found out that a supervisor (we'll call him John) that reports directly to me is being asked to step down and he does not want to. The GM targeted him because he said he wanted to leave retail and was looking elsewhere. His replacement is coming from within our district, and she is a "favorite" of my district manager. I feel this is just an ill attempt to promote her and find an easy spot for her. John has had no performance documentation or any write ups for performance. He is actually very good at his job and isn't disengaged. Can my managers and company do this? It's also important to note that I don't believe that my corporate HR knows the real actions behind this internal promotion and that someone is being pushed out to make it happen. Sincerely, Concerned Manager __________________________________________________________________________________________ Dear Concerned Manager, Short answer: Yes. They can do this. The only way it would be "no" in this case is if the new general manager targeted John because he was male and she prefers women. The question you didn't ask, but the one I will answer anyway, is should the general manager do this? The answer to that is more complicated. It is extremely common for new managers to bring in their own people. They've worked with them before, they know this person will bring good results, there's no time lost building relationships, and it's just more fun. But, it may or may not be good. If the previous general manager had a completely different personality and built up the staff around her personality or leadership style, it can be difficult to get people to change. If the new general manager got her job precisely because her boss wanted big changes, this can be the fastest way to do so. However, I think you should wait and see in most situations. Find out who will work well with you and who won't, then make decisions. Lots of companies don't allow a wholesale changing of leadership when a new big boss comes to town. In the specific case of John, though, he told people he wanted to leave. He told them he was actively job hunting. If you're the new general manager, and you have a supervisor who doesn't want to be there, no matter how effective he is at his job, and you have an employee you know to be great who earned a promotion and just needs a spot to open up, it makes a lot of sense to promote the person who wants to be there and let go of the person who doesn't want to be there . Lesson is this: Don't tell people you don't like your job and are looking to move on unless you're 100 percent sure they'll support you until you do leave. Your ReWorker, Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady Photo: Creative Commons

Digital Leadership: engaging employees, communication, & the long-term lessons to take with you
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Digital Leadership: engaging employees, communication, & the long-term lessons to take with you

We are facing unprecedented times. Between an economic downturn, massive furloughs, and fear for the health and safety of our communities, employees are feeling more uncertain than ever. Times of crisis and rapid change requires strong and effective leaders who are critical for setting direction, driving continuity, and motivating the broader organization. But, what does effective digital leadership look like? Join Jim Batz, Cornerstones Senior Manager of Learning and Development to learn: -The importance of instilling a strong digital company culture -The essential soft skills you need to be an effective leader -What Cornerstone is doing to effectively manage and engage a remote workforce Regardless of when things get back to “normal”, we know it will be a new normal. The digital transformation that takes place now will reap benefits today and long into the future.

Don't Be Afraid to Say, 'You're Fired'
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Don't Be Afraid to Say, 'You're Fired'

When people get promoted into a management role, the going phrase is that you now have "hire and fire" power. Almost everyone enjoys using his or her hire power — it's great to build your own team and see each individual employee grow. But fire power? Unless you're a cold-hearted person, you generally don't enjoy using your fire power — ever. But should you? If you think the answer is "no," consider the hiring and firing operations of the federal government for a moment — you're more likely to die than to be fired in a government job. Then, think about the level of service provided by most government organizations: Do you want to run your business with the efficiency of a DMV? Then don't fire anyone. But if you want to be better than that, you need to be willing to let people go when it's warranted. When "Fired" Is the Right Choice This doesn't mean you should just start firing people whenever you feel like it. So, when should you let someone go? Here are three of the most common reasons to warrant a fire: 1) The employee is a toxic person: A toxic employee may be a skilled high-performer, but is also someone who causes problems right and left. This person makes the whole office miserable. Your best employees don't want to work with a bully and will move on. Do you want to replace your good (and kind) employees when they quit? In addition to the bully, you may have a gossiper, a harasser or a generalized jerk. You don't need these people in your office if they impact company culture and workplace relationships, no matter how good they are at the technical side of the job. 2) The employee is a poor performer: Everyone needs training time. But, if that time has long since passed and your employee still performs below his peers, firing should be considered. How much time and money are you losing because your employee can't do his job properly? How much time are your other employees spending fixing his mistakes? Perfection isn't a standard that any boss should require and mistakes will aways be made — no matter how great you are at your job — but, if you have someone who consistently under performs after considerable coaching and mentoring, it's time to let that person go. 3) The employee lacks the skill set you need: If someone lacks the skills to do the job and the skills are not something that you can provide through training — or you've given ample training and the employee simply can't grasp the topic — it's time to let her go. This is often the most difficult fire for a manager to make, especially if the employee is a great teammate. If you're in this situation, you should let the person go, but it shouldn't be a standard "firing." It should be classified as a layoff, which means you're eliminating the position that she was doing and replacing it with a different job description. Offer help in the job hunt, give a great reference and a fair severance package. The Right Way to Fire People When you decide that you need to let someone go, make sure that you do it properly. The most important thing you need is documentation. For instance, if you want to fire someone for poor performance, but you've never documented anything about the person's need to improve, you shouldn't fire him or her. Likewise, you can't fire someone for being a bully if you've never documented a problem. Most importantly, if you do fire someone, communicate the reason to your remaining staff as honestly as you can. Some managers are afraid that if they fire someone, the rest of the staff will be fearful that they're next. This is only the case if you're not clear about why the employee was let go. Firing someone is never an easy thing to do (and rightfully so), but the best managers understand that it's an important skill set to have if you want to maintain a positive and productive workplace. You will have the opportunity to hire new people with the right attitude, performance and skills for your department, and the end result will be better performance all around. Photo: Shutterstock

Employee Handbooks: Out With the Old, In With ... What Exactly?
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Employee Handbooks: Out With the Old, In With ... What Exactly?

The employee handbook: every company has one, yet most employees never lay eyes on it after they get out of new-hire orientation. And who could blame them? "Today's employee handbook feels so antiquated," says Michael Molina, chief human resources officer at San Diego-based Vistage International, a membership organization that provides executive coaching to CEOs of small and mid-size companies around the world. "Let's face it," Molina says. "An employee handbook, you pick it up on day one and you put it down unless you have a question." Small wonder, then, why innovation-focused companies such as Netflix and Zappos have experimented with more compelling handbook alternatives -- such as colorful, engaging slide presentations that showcase the company’s values, vibe and culture and downplay rules and policies, reference them in other documents or leave them out altogether. San Francisco-based Zaarly, a startup that supports a network of local merchants in selling their crafts (think Etsy for service and merchandise) has taken the concept a step further: Listed in the "Rules for Work" section of its of new employee "handbook" is a provocative mandate: "We do not have these." Most companies may not go to the extreme that Zaarly has, but the traditional employee handbook that lays out employees rules and regulations certainly deserves a makeover. In an effort to recruit fresh-faced talent and create an engaged work environment, businesses are hoping that focusing on the good stuff (core values, perks, cool culture) will make the not-so-fun stuff (regulations, rules, fine-print) obsolete.  As Molina explains, "In general they are far less detailed and serve as an advertisement for new employees." But is that enough? Is there a happy medium to strike for companies that want to impress new hires with humor and personality, but also recognize the value of clear policy information on issues ranging from "WFH" (working from home -- a hot topic again) to social media policy to discrimination and fraud?  The "no rules" concept may not be for every company, or even most companies, but it doesn't mean existing policies can't be rethought. As Molina explains, some companies are adopting a two-pronged strategy: pairing a more compliance-heavy handbook with another focused on company culture. "You can have a great work culture and still have an employee handbook about ethical standards and computer usage standards, with great responses from employees," Molina says. So what does a successful two-pronged approach look like? Here are a few helpful rules of thumb: Describe the Real Culture of the Company -- Not One You Imagine "The handbook needs to be representative of the daily experience," Molina says. "You don't want to walk into a culture where everyone looks like a drone. When future hires walk in the door, they immediately get a sense of who you are as a company. You can tell them whatever you want in the handbook, but an employee smells the actual experience out very quickly. You have to be able to articulate that within a week or a month of what that environment is going to be like." He's right: According to data collected by The Wynhurst Group, 22 percent of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment. If new hires feel lost, they need more than a presentation or a pithy page to understand their new work environment. The culture of the place comes out if you'd like it to or not, just by being there. Don't Sweep the Important Stuff Under the Rug A truly no-rule environment can't exist in today’s workplace. Policy and procedure help protect both the employer and the employee -- and they shouldn't be ignored. There is room for people to be hurt and also skirt responsibility if rules are not set in place. No matter how old or experienced your employees are, lack of clear-cut rules can backfire. In fact, most ethical problems arise when employees have an out or an excuse, says Chris MacDonald, professor of ethical leadership at Ryerson College in Canada. With no rules, the "I didn't know" excuse can run rampant. "I think it's a gimmick to say you don't have a handbook," Molina says. "You can't operate without practices and policies and laws. So if a company wants to position itself properly, it has to set two things in place: something that tackles the culture and something that highlights the management practices followed. There are rules that you have to have in a company and they should be available to the employee. That being said, you must insure that the rules are representative of the daily experience in the workplace." Stick to Substance -- Not Slapstick It's important to attract and retain talent -- but even more important to stay genuine. Employees can see through the diatribe of a slick but substance-lacking handbook like Zaarly's. After all, the substance is what will hold the entire endeavor together. Yes, Zaarly throws around some fun and shocking phrases -- "You may speak to, call, email or have a meeting with anyone. Even if it's your first day. Even if you don't know their name. Even if they have a mustache," the handbook reads. But the piece also contradicts itself: calling for face-to-face communication as a tantamount practice while also encouraging employees to work from home or blast Skrillex if it makes them more productive. Furthermore it offers some tasteless jabs as other companies: "If you want to coast, we recommend you apply for a job at Craigslist." "I don't think a handbook replaces what you do day in and day out," Molina says. "I want new hires to feel as though they're coming to a place that is engaging and where the culture fits the company's values through the spirit of the right leadership and right energy. If whatever tool we use reflects that, then I think we've been successful."

Employers, It's Time to Let Go of the Unemployment Stigma
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Employers, It's Time to Let Go of the Unemployment Stigma

Those of us in HR don't like to admit it, but companies don't afford the same level of consideration to unemployed candidates or candidates with employment gaps as they do to working applicants. Sometimes, companies even prefer to recruit passive candidates that haven't applied for a job in the hope of attracting them. I guess we just love the thrill of the chase. Shame on us. What's more, even if we do show unemployed candidates' resumes to hiring managers, how many of us actually try to justify why great candidates find themselves out of a job? Do we argue with decision makers who claim that if the candidate was any good, she or he would already be employed? That stereotype holds no merit at a time when mergers and acquisitions are driving excellent workers to the unemployment line. In 2010, as part of the American Jobs Act, the federal government exempted employers from paying the 6.2 percent social security tax on wages paid to previously unemployed workers that they hired, and offered a $1,000 tax credit for every employee that they retained for a minimum of one year. While employers were eligible for this deal, I did the reverse of what employers traditionally do—I actively searched for unemployed candidates. And guess what? None of them were less competent than workers that left their other jobs to come on board. In fact, evidence for this is more than anecdotal. In its 2014 advocacy guide for employers, Deloitte cited a study that found “virtually no difference between the performance of those who had not held a job within the past five years, and those who had." The Benefits of Hiring Qualified Unemployed Candidates Now that the tax break has expired, there are still a number of advantages to hiring qualified unemployed candidates. For one, hiring managers have noted that this cohort had higher rates of retention than those who hadn't experienced the hardship of being out of a job, and Deloitte's guide confirms this. Companies who hire unemployed candidates “experience a more reliable and loyal workforce, as well as higher retention rates," it states. Lower recruitment costs are another benefit, because employers can source qualified candidates without paying premium recruiter fees when hiring someone who is unemployed. According to Deloitte's guide, hiring unemployed individuals also reduces hiring time by 50 to 70 percent since they're available immediately. And, because these workers are often experienced, there's a 50 to 70 percent reduction in time spent getting them up to speed as well. But a bias as deeply engrained as the one against unemployed job candidates is difficult to overcome. For example, LinkedIn experts have long advised candidates against stating that they're “actively seeking new opportunities" in their profile headlines because it signals their unemployed status. Nevertheless, a movement directed at overcoming the anti-unemployment bias is gaining traction. Together with two colleagues, we invented a hashtag, ONO (Open to New Opportunities), to make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to source, qualify and hire unemployed candidates whose value proposition might be exactly what your company needs. Look out for it, and take a closer look at unemployed candidates! Photo: Twenty20

An Employee's Guide to Successful 1:1 Meetings with Your Manager
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An Employee's Guide to Successful 1:1 Meetings with Your Manager

This will sound incredibly obvious but one-on-one meetings involve two people. This means that organizations need to spend equal time coaching both meeting participants. Now, it only makes sense to talk about how employees can make the most of the meeting. The one-on-one meeting isn't the same as a performance review meeting. Yes, the discussion will include performance, but the meeting is really about feedback. Employees want regular feedback - both positive and negative. It's not a millennial thing or a Generation Z thing. Everyone likes knowing they're doing the right things. And if an employee isn't doing something well, they want to know before it becomes a disciplinary issue or affects their performance review. Regardless of how often your company does performance reviews, no one wants to be surprised during their performance review. That said, one-on-one meetings are only as good as the conversation. That's why organizations need to provide employees with some training and guidance on their role during one-on-one meetings. Having a meeting where a manager just tells an employee stuff isn't productive. Employees need to come to the conversation prepared. Employees share responsibility in one-on-one meetings Organizations that encourage one-on-one meetings shouldn't put all the responsibility on managers to make them happen. Employees share the responsibility. It's true that when it comes to scheduling, employees are sometimes at a disadvantage because a manager will typically schedule the meeting. But there are a couple of things that employees can do to make sure the one-on-one is a top priority. Work with your manager to establish a schedule for your 1:1 meeting (e.g. every second Tuesday at 2 p.m.). If your manager is reluctant to do that... Bring your calendar to each meeting. At the end of a meeting, always suggest scheduling the next meeting. If that doesn't work... Wait a couple of weeks and ask for the meeting. An employee can pop into their manager's office and say, "Hey isn't it time for our 1:1? I wanted to make sure I didn't forget to put it on my calendar." Once the meeting is scheduled, employees need to dedicate time to preparing for the meeting. At a minimum, employees should spend some time thinking about their performance. Here are two questions to consider: What have you done well? Hold yourself accountable and answer this question first. It can be tempting to think about the negative. Don't sell yourself short. There are plenty of positive things to recall. What could you have done differently? Please note: This question didn't say wrong. There's a reason for that. There are plenty of times when we accomplish something, but it could have been done in a better way. Employees should be prepared to have specific responses and examples to both questions. It shows you spent time thinking about it. And it's possible that an employee will remember something their manager either wasn't aware of or had forgotten about. Preparation also means thinking about questions to ask during the meeting. These questions typically involve what's happening inside the organization or company goals. If the manager doesn't bring up company projects, it's okay to ask them if there any new projects you should know about. Employees might also want to provide their manager with an update on goals. Which goals are on track? Which goals might need revisiting? If a goal is off track, come prepared to discuss why, what it will take to get it on track, and whether the goal needs to be changed or scrapped. If your recommendation is to eliminate a goal, come to the meeting prepared to present another goal. It's possible you won't need it but come prepared anyway. Employees should give the company feedback So far, the focus of the one-on-one meeting has been on the employee's performance, goals, etc. The focus of the meeting will continue to be on the employee, but the conversation is going to shift. Employees should be prepared to offer valuable feedback to the company. Make suggestions on actions the company can take to improve. Tell your manager what support you need from them to accomplish your goals. Just like employees, managers want to hear feedback about their performance. Employees should consider using some of their meeting time to tell their manager what they do well. In addition, think about telling your manager the things that the company does well. All feedback isn't negative and sharing positive feedback with a manager tells them which behaviors to continue. Before ending the meeting, both the manager and employee should recap what they plan to do before their next meeting. Discuss where any notes from the meeting will be located - so both individuals have access to the information. A technology solution is the perfect place for this! One-on-one meetings are a shared responsibility Many organizations already train and coach managers on how to conduct a one-on-one meeting. Organizations should make the investment and do the same for employees. After all, they're one-half of the 1:1 meeting and need to take responsibility for their side of the conversation. Employee performance will improve when they're able to properly prepare and participate in the meeting. Â

Flat-Structure Organizations: Realistic or Impossible?
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Flat-Structure Organizations: Realistic or Impossible?

What's one surefire way to get an innovative and exciting new project sidelined? In one word: bureaucracy. Too much managerial overhead can slow down productivity and discourage creativity. To combat this, companies like tech company GitHub, gaming software developer Valve and W.L. Gore, the company that created Gore-Tex, have adopted a "flat" organizational structure that has very few (if any) middle managers or formal job titles. Rather than relying on a hierarchy of managers, these companies aim to give employees the ability to organize themselves around projects that need to get done. However, writes Klint Finley, contributor to Wired Enterprise, while a good idea in theory, "Critics say flat organizations can conceal power structures and shield individuals from accountability." In 1972, Jo Freeman, feminist scholar, speaker and author, wrote in her essay, The Tyranny of Structurelessness, “There is no such thing as a structureless group. Any group of people of whatever nature that comes together for any length of time for any purpose will inevitably structure itself in some fashion.” And recently, GitHub has been under fire from a former employee for these very issues, begging the question: is a flat structure a realistic option for businesses or do they just sound nice in theory? According to Dr. Richard Ronay, a professor at Columbia Business School and author of The Path to Glory Is Paved With Hierarchy, a company must choose the management style that best fits its goals and the personalities of its leaders. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering a flat organizational structure. Invisible Power Structures One of the issues with flat non-hierarchical groups that Freeman points out is that most of the time there are power structures at work, they are just invisible, and therefore aren't held accountable for their actions. Writes Finley, "Companies like GitHub and Valve are not necessarily 'structureless.' They have a top layer of management responsible for the big decisions." However, as former Valve employee Jeri Ellswort  told the Grey Area podcast, "Valve was a lot like high school." Said Ellswort , “There are popular kids that have acquired power in the company. Then there’s the trouble makers, and everyone in between.” The Right Fit A common way that flat structured organizations ensure that work always gets done without direct supervision is through hiring people who “fit the culture,” writes Finley. While company culture is important, regardless of the organizational structure, it can sometimes deter diversity in hiring. It's important to balance culture fit with bringing in people who have a fresh perspective.  Food for Thought While Finley points out that good and bad management can be found at any company, whether the organizational structure is hierarchical or flat, the recent comments from former employees of companies like GitHub and Valve show that company structures are extremely complex. H/T Wired Enterprise Â

At The Heart Of An Adaptable Organization Is Employee Well-Being
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At The Heart Of An Adaptable Organization Is Employee Well-Being

This article was originally published on Forbes.com, under Jeff Miller’s Forbes Human Resources Council column. Employee burnout hit an all-time high in 2020. I know I felt it. Toward the end of last year, I felt like that meme of the cat hanging onto a branch. It wasn’t unusual for me to work weekends and long weekdays. I’ve never been this worn-out — and I’ve been what you might call a workaholic for much of my career. This year, we need to be better about fighting burnout, even as many of the same things that made last year so challenging persist. And it needs to start at the manager level. As we're working to build more adaptable, flexible organizations, much of that work comes back to ensuring managers are not just managing tasks, but managing people — and fostering their learning, growth and success. After a year as tiresome and demanding as 2020, the importance of managers in supporting employees’ engagement and well-being has only increased. The challenge is that managers themselves have been just as burned out as their employees, making it harder for them to coach and support their teams. Doing better starts with this awareness: My exhaustion doesn’t just affect me and my health; it affects my team as well. From there, managers can focus their energy on making work better for employees by eliminating work friction, identifying and reducing the frequency of unproductive meetings and making the most out of individual check-ins. Implementing these three changes will have a ripple effect. Because employees will be less burned out, they will have more time and energy to focus on more meaningful, strategic work that will advance their personal growth — and the goals of the organizations. 1. Reduce Work Friction As managers, our job is to make it easy for employees to do their job and ensure they have the time, resources and capabilities to perform well. Otherwise, they confront work friction. Misaligned project goals, overwhelmed teams and rigid or outdated work processes are common causes of work friction. And according to a recent Gartner report, the amount of time employees spend trying to get around work friction generates about 3.1 million wasted hours annually. I realized this problem in my team recently, after asking for feedback. Overwhelmingly, their responses told me that I wasn’t doing enough to control the work coming in from other departments or leaders. I hadn’t been filtering these requests or adjusting their workloads accordingly. To reduce work friction, work with employees to outline their roles, answering questions like, “What are the deliverables, and who is owning them?” or “What is the timeline here, and is it realistic?” Don’t assume that employees have answers to these questions or that they have the time necessary to complete these projects. And always make sure to leave employees room to ask questions. Urge them to give you feedback as well. In my experience, the best managers ask their employees for feedback as often as they deliver it to their employees. 2. Be More Intentional About Meetings Since the pandemic, the number of meetings has increased, meaning there’s even less time to tackle projects. In one small 2020 survey, about 78% of employees said their meeting schedule is always or sometimes out of control and that upper management or their direct manager is responsible for creating crazy meeting schedules. In 2021, think about reframing meetings and their purpose for your team. Meetings should be used to brainstorm ideas, gather other team members’ perspectives to help make decisions or reflect on completed projects to learn how they can be improved in the future. If not used for one of these three purposes, a meeting could be replaced with an email. 3. Do More With Employees Check-Ins One meeting that managers should always keep on their calendars is check-ins with their teams. But here, the same rules apply: If you and the individual are simply using the meeting to deliver status updates on ongoing projects, that can be handled in an email. Instead, use this time to check in with your employees about higher-level issues and questions, like their feelings on ongoing projects and personal well-being. The uncertainty and stress of the past 10 months have put many employees in survival mode — a depletive mental state that makes it harder to think logically. In this headspace, employees will complete tasks just to check them off their to-do lists without considering why they are doing them, how they could be done better or even what they like about the work. But by asking them to answer these questions in one-on-one meetings, managers can help coax employees out of survival mode. Use these meetings to check in on employees’ mental and emotional health as well. I have a technique for this called “check up from the neck up” that I developed when teaching middle school. It involves asking my employees (or then, students) questions like “Where’s your head?” or “Are you OK?” This will bring employees’ attention back to these needs and provide managers with the information necessary to optimize their management style around any current struggles. A 2021 With Less Burnout Although 2020 is behind us, 2021 will likely contain many of the same challenges — meaning that, for many people, it will at times be overwhelming and stressful. If employees aren’t taking time to reset, that can negatively affect their focus, productivity and job performance. It’s a tragic, recurring spiral. In 2021, we need to break this habit, and managers hold the key to unlocking a new way of working. They need to help employees find a better balance between work and life and develop ways to manage their workload. Then, by reducing burnout, managers can ensure employees have more time and energy for more meaningful projects that contribute to their personal growth as well as the organization’s, such as improving individuals’ responsiveness to change so they can become better at managing disruption and help build a more adaptable, flexible organization. Want to learn more from Cornerstone CLO Jeff Miller? Read his thoughts on what companies stand to gain from infusing more positivity into their workplaces in the year ahead.Â

Helping Employees Find a Productive State of Mind
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Helping Employees Find a Productive State of Mind

Self-control drives workers to file that report, make a sales call or finish the meeting agenda, yet managers largely fail to consider its impact on worker productivity. They fret about meeting performance goals or building a product, but they ignore the motivating factors that individual employees need to deliver results. “In our own lives self-control is a big problem — yet it is largely absent from high-level discussions about worker productivity,” Sendhil Mullainathan, a professor of economics at Harvard, writes in the New York Times. In a recent study, Mullainathan and his colleagues set out to understand workers’ self-control on the job. They studied data entry workers in India. These employees were already well motivated in their jobs: they received 2 rupees for every 100 fields of data they entered. The researchers gave the workers the option to set a target for their work. If they entered 5,000 data fields, they would maintain the same pay rate, but if they failed to meet the goal, their pay rate would be halved to 1 rupee per 100 fields. Surprisingly many employees chose the target, saying it helped them stay productive. The option didn’t offer a better pay rate — in fact it made it possible for them to earn less, if they didn’t meet the target — but it helped them work harder, thus earning more. Mullainathan suggests that these workers craved a self-control mechanism to keep them productive. They’re looking at productivity as a state of mind, he says. A Call for New Measurement While data entry is a relatively easy task to measure, productivity in the knowledge economy generally lacks concrete metrics. For example, does extra time on a customer service call mean that an employee is being less productive? Or is she adding value by building stronger relationships with customers? A worker who responds to hundreds of emails all day long might feel productive, but the value of that work likely is less impactful than actually doing research or writing a report, for instance. “In general, organizations have not truly come to grips with how to think about productivity in a knowledge economy, let alone how best to manage it,” Jordan Cohen, a productivity expert with PA Consulting Group, tells Knowledge at Wharton. Managers don’t think twice about interrupting employees for an urgent request or to call an impromptu meeting, yet we know the growing amount of workplace disruptions adversely affects workplace productivity. In a study published in the Journal of Stress Management, employees who experienced frequent interruptions reported 9 percent higher rates of exhaustion; and it takes more than 25 minutes, on average, to resume a task after being interrupted, the Wall Street Journal reports. If managers think deeply about what individual productivity means, and how their actions play a role in it, they'll likely make decisions that won't set employees back. “How a company defines productivity will determine what infrastructure they build to measure and manage it,” Cohen says. “If they don’t really question the traditional assumptions around productivity, they end up with an industrial-era notion — simply that ‘more output with less input’ is better.” In other words, managers today need more subjective criteria for determining productivity. For lawyers, that might mean tracking how often others cite their briefs. For engineers, it’s not how many lines of code they produce, but the quality of the solution that the code creates. Once managers understand establish a semblance of measurement behind productivity, they’ll be better equipped to help those employees feel a sense of self-control.  h/t: New York Times

Hiring for Ethics and Integrity: 4 Tactics That Work
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Hiring for Ethics and Integrity: 4 Tactics That Work

Every company’s got at least one: that overly competitive, sour, power-hungry -- you fill in the blank -- employee that walks around with a rain cloud over his head, infecting every conversation he joins and inciting feelings of isolation, discouragement or doubt among his coworkers. It only takes a few such toxic personalities to infect company morale and, ultimately, the bottom line. Recruiters and HR managers face a daunting task when wading through the pile of resumes lying on their desks, in search of terrific talent and great character. So how do you spot these telltale signs of toxicity in the short span of a job interview and zero-in on important intangibles like character, honesty, ethics and integrity? We asked Anna Maravelas, author of “How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress” and a motivational speaker recognized for her ability to transform negative cultures into climates of respect and pride. From prisons to the financial sector, every industry has its share of jerks. And Maravelas should know -- she’s worked with many of them. But it isn’t all doom and gloom, as she found many of her favorite hiring tactics in the companies she encountered. Here are four that top her list. Surprise them with an ethical scenario Every job candidate has practiced the tried-and-true interview questions aimed at drawing out weaknesses or negative qualities. Today’s job candidates know how to turn a negative into a positive: “I’m just too hard working, too motivated, too detail-oriented…” they may say. But what about throwing in a question from left field that catches the interviewee off guard entirely? The CEO of a predominant design and building company Maravelas had worked with stuck out in her mind for a unique interviewing tactic. The CEO would interview candidates directly, starting off with warm, getting-to-know-you conversation. A bit into the interview, the CEO would then ask, “If we ever got into a bind with a client, would you be willing to tell a little white lie to help us out?” “If the candidate said yes,” Maravelas explains, “the offer evaporated. You really have to have a lot of integrity to say no.” Listen to how they praise - or blame - themselves and others Companies built on a culture of collaboration rely on team players to achieve their goals, so working effectively as a team and bringing a fraternal attitude to the table is essential. Thus, an effective way to tell if a prospective employee fits the team profile is to see where they give credit and place blame. “Ask candidates to talk about a time when they achieved something they were really proud of,” Maravelas says. “How much credit did they give others?” Is the candidate constantly saying “I, I, I” or referring to collective achievements she accomplished as part of a team? Does she refer to a great mentor or a close relationship with her boss as a contributor to her success, or is she constantly patting herself on the back? An alternative way to gauge this quality, Maravelas suggests, is to ask candidates about a time when they really tried their hardest, yet failed, and listen to how they assess their own responsibility in that failure. Tap into referrals from your best employees Current employees can be great resource in the hiring process, and their opinions should factor significantly into a hiring decision. After all, they’ll be the ones working with the new employee. One of Maravelas’ favorite companies relies heavily on the referrals of current employees who have been with the company for several years, tapping solid veterans to actively recruit prospects from their circle of friends and professional contacts. “If they have integrity and are known for their kindness and compassion, their friends probably are, too,” Maravelas says. “They probably don’t hang out with fakes." Trust your gut We’re often so focused on the person we’re interviewing, we may not be tuned into our own physiological reaction to them. Sitting back and asking ourselves how another person is affecting us is a valuable tactic for interviewers. If a candidate makes you feel uncomfortable or ill-at-ease, he’ll probably make his co-workers feel that same way. We may not consciously identify negative qualities right away, but we often subconsciously pinpoint an off-feeling that comes in the form of an awkward moment or the feeling of being manipulated. When hiring for integrity and character, the best bet is to go with your instinct. We gravitate towards those who make us feel good, and that quality will likely be reflected in the larger work environment. Adds Maravelas: “Really pay attention to how you feel when you’re interviewing someone else.” For useful resources on building talent pipelines and developing your 21st-century recruiting strategy, check our our recruiting lookbook.

How 2020 Accelerated Bringing Humanity to Business Leadership
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How 2020 Accelerated Bringing Humanity to Business Leadership

“I, like most people on this planet, have found [2020] to be an extremely taxing year,” Cornerstone’s Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer Heidi Spirgi shared with HR thought leader Laurie Ruettimann on a recent episode of the Punk Rock HR podcast. Spirgi and Ruettimann connected over video chat (so 2020) for Ruettimann’s popular HR industry-focused podcast to discuss how a year of intense change continues to put pressure on HR and on people leaders to rethink everything. The two shared some tips, including: Leaders Need to Be Authentic and Vulnerable Spirgi pointed out that while the inherent stress and uncertainty surrounding the global pandemic is virtually universal, it’s also extremely individualized. Every person who has been impacted by COVID-19 has their own unique experience with the virus—and everyone’s life has been in some way altered because of it. And that includes changes to work life. According to Spirgi, leaders must be among the first to acknowledge that lines between employees’ personal and professional lives are blurring, things are tough for everyone and everything is different than it was even months ago. Constant change of 2020 has accelerated the need for adaptive leadership, which requires leaders to cultivate self-awareness, express vulnerability and empathy and to listen and respond to the needs of their people. “Leaders need to tell the entire organization and their teams that they, too, are suffering—that they, too, are struggling,” said Spirgi. “It’s important for them to share that their world is incredibly messy; just like their employees.” Ruettimann agreed and noted that leaders are among the people still getting used to remote working and connecting with direct reports, clients, customers and other colleagues in new, or potentially exhausting ways. Don’t Let Zoom Fatigue Rule Your Work Life Spirgi shared with Ruettimann that even though she’s worked remotely for the last 15 years, 2020 proved (over and over, again) that Zoom fatigue is real. The constant pressure to jump on a video chat can impact employee engagement and productivity. Ruettimann added that things are different signing on to Zoom (or the video conferencing platform of your choice) in the physical sense, too—with some logging on from a couch or kitchen table instead of a boardroom or office nook. In order to combat employee fatigue and burnout, Spirgi recommends leadership teams encourage alternatives to video, including: going for walks during non-video calls, turning cameras off when not presenting and generally feeling comfortable declining a coworker meeting invitation—unless it's crucial to the outcome of a project or task. Blocking your calendar for life outside of work is important. And that goes for leaders, too. “Pre-Covid, pre-remote working, we did make [turning your camera on] mandatory during Zoom meetings because those meetings were fewer and farther between,” said Spirgi. “Being able to see people you work with is an important way to engage remotely—but the rate at which we hop on Zoom these days requires new rules.” Keep Making Everyday Work Life More Human Over the course of 2020, millions of people were also challenged with how to balance work life and home life: whether that meant typing with one hand while holding a toddler, conducting two Zoom meetings at once without crashing the WiFi and finding new ways to break up a day with activities like walks or meditation. In the process, Spirgi and Ruettimann noted, employees introduced coworkers (intentionally or not) to their personal lives. And as a result, people normalized incorporating very human elements into the work day, from exercising to cooking to walking the dog or putting a child down for a nap. This integration of humanity into business leadership is a positive development forged during a turbulent year. But, according to Spirgi, there’s plenty more work to be done among HR and business leaders in order to thoughtfully reverse engineer the best elements of remote work and bring them back to offices if/or when they reopen. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership or talent management heading into 2021, Spirgi said it’s clear “people just need to trust and connect and understand each other—and have visibility into the human side of us; not just the work side.” To learn more about Heidi and Laurie’s conversation on how leaders can help make the work experience more human, check out the full podcast conversation on PunkRock HR. Looking for leadership development resources? Inspire new ways of working with TED courses As a longtime Cornerstone partner and popular provider among learning teams, TED has taken its bold, innovative ideas and made them more actionable than ever before for work. Learn more and access sample courses on business-critical skills and topics by visiting the Cornerstone + TED Collections page.

How to Create Job Titles That Entice Modern Workers
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How to Create Job Titles That Entice Modern Workers

There are few things more deflating for employees than getting a perplexed look from their parent after they tell them about their cool new job. In the digital era, many professionals face the uphill challenge of helping their parents—or really any member of an older generation—understand the nature of their work. Of course, it doesn't help that many modern workers, especially those employed at tech firms and startups, have rather unusual job titles. But giving workers creative job titles (or letting them choose their own) isn't a just a fun new trend—it's a strategic recruitment approach. In a recent survey by Pearl Meyer, a compensation consulting firm, 40 percent of companies said they use titles to attract prospective employees, up from 31 percent in 2009. Rebecca Toman, vice president of the firm's survey business unit, told The Wall Street Journal that titles offer employers a way to show workers how they “can have an impact or make a difference." And in today's dynamic and innovative workplaces, nobody wants to be assigned a bland and dimensionless title that doesn't describe what they really do or that limits their potential. Below, we've compiled a list of a few unusual job titles, what they mean and why they are so attractive to candidates. Not only do the titles fit under LinkedIn's list of 20 top emerging jobs, but they also have these three things in common: These jobs are critical to the business; they can be challenging, but also rewarding; and perhaps most importantly, they require highly talented professionals to execute them. Let these inspire the next job description you write: Office Happiness Advocate Translation: I help my company build positive and lasting relationships with its employees by coming up with creative ways to engage them online and offline. The appeal: Who doesn't want to be known for making people happy? But this feel-good title has a real business purpose, too: No company can thrive if its employees aren't happy. "Workplace happiness isn't about behavior change, though that can be part of it. More pivotal are the leaders of happy companies, who we've found are better at infusing positive energy into their work and teams," says Dede Henley, founder of Henley Leadership Group. Data Wrangler Translation: I use complex software programs to make data more useful for my company to analyze and use in business decision-making. The appeal: Working with data is tough. Making it understandable to non-data people? Even more so. This title makes the person who wrestles and tames data sound legendary. "Companies like to play 'dress up,'" Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella told Business Insider. "By wearing the clothes, adopting the lingo, and mimicking the behavior of companies they want to be like, they hope to have some of the magic rub off on them." Developer Evangelist Translation: I work with technical and nontechnical people inside and outside of my organization to create new software products and bring them to market successfully. The appeal: An evangelist's role is to help people see the light. And convincing diverse stakeholders to buy into ambitious software projects takes a special person. "Evangelism creates a human connection to technology way beyond typical content marketing means because there's a face and a name relaying the story, expressing the opinion, and ultimately influencing a decision," enterprise technology evangelist Theo Priestly explains. Growth Hacker Translation: I develop and test new ideas for using technology in marketing, sales, product development, and other areas of the business to help my company reach more customers and generate revenue. The appeal: Originally coined by Sean Ellis back in 2010 when he was tasked with hiring new kinds of marketers at Dropbox, this title evokes a vision of a vast field of fertile, untilled soil. "I didn't want to get résumés from traditional marketing people," he explained back in 2015. "By calling it something else, you could say 'these are the important things.'" People Partner Translation: I make sure that our company has the right programs and processes to help all of our employees be happy and effective at work, and to make the best use of our talent. The appeal: Companies need help retaining their talent. And workers need to know their employer is invested in their success. Enter the people partner, who ensures that people are always a business priority. "Unique titles help create a positive environment for employees, but [leaders] should be true to their company culture when crafting new names for positions or departments," advises Michael Heinrich, founder of Oh My Green, an office food supplier. Pro Tip: Focus on Tasks—Not Title Next time you're looking to fill an open position, consider this before sharing a job title and description: The translations above focus on each role's purpose and responsibilities, not its title. Keeping things simple, and avoiding acronyms and jargon, can also help you get candidates excited. And when it comes to making sure your employees' parents understand what they do, invite them to bring their parents to work. Encourage employees to demonstrate firsthand what they do, give parents an office tour, introduce them to colleagues and take them to lunch. Whether you wrangle data or hack for growth, they'll want to see the impact you're having on your company and your teams. Photo: Creative Commons

How to Develop and Hire Leaders That People Want to Follow
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How to Develop and Hire Leaders That People Want to Follow

Some people are born leaders—naturally charismatic and able to attract and motivate followers to high achievement—seemingly without effort. But most are made. Such is the case with Scott Miller, who I recently interviewed for the Disrupt Yourself podcast. Miller oversees a thought leadership practice at consulting firm FranklinCovey and is the author of Management Mess to Leadership Success, an insider’s guide to the hard effort required to become a leader that people admire. He offers many insights into that journey, often gleaned from his own experience, that can help HR professionals make better-informed decisions when hiring, promoting and training leaders and improving leadership within their companies. Here are a few of them: You Don’t Always Need an Expert Miller started his career with the Disney Development Company; after four years, he was “invited to leave”—in essence, told he wasn’t a great fit. At that point, he realized that career disruptions were going to be inevitable, so he figured: Why not proactively explore new responsibilities and positions? He moved onto FranklinCovey, where he has since spent more than two decades, regularly changing roles every few years. In that time, he’s come to realize that there are jobs that require a specialist and others where a generalist is ideal. Leadership capacity is fostered in wide-ranging situations and experiences, and differs from domain expertise, he says. So when hiring or promoting a leader, don’t default to the top individual performer, he advises. Be open to considering those individuals with unconventional career paths and the generalists that demonstrate breadth rather than depth. They may bring skills and insights to the table that you never considered. Top Performers Aren’t Necessarily Good Leaders Miller was promoted to sales leader because he was the top salesperson. The team he led was made up of his former peers, many of whom had more experience than he did. But he quickly found that the bravado and competitive zeal that made him a great salesperson did not translate well to leadership. “I still liked the limelight. I wanted to win. I wanted to save the day,” he says. “And that’s fundamental learning: When you become a leader of people, you have to metaphorically turn that spotlight off of you and onto them.” This focus on group success requires humility, which is one of the most important qualities to look for in a leader, he says. That’s not to say you can’t still be confident—in fact, humility comes from confidence. But those who are arrogant and stuck on their individual strengths (and likely trying to mold everyone into their own image) will have a hard time succeeding. Instead, leaders need to figure out how to work with each individual to get them to perform to the best of their abilities. Everyone Needs to Learn How to Lead In fact, Miller says, many of his strongest natural qualities—like his bravado—needed to be jettisoned right away, while other skills—including maturity and selflessness—needed to be instantly put in play when he took over the sales team. But it didn’t and doesn’t work that way. Though an individual may have been an exceptional sole contributor for some time, when moving into a leadership role, they need training, mentoring and oversight if the transition is to be a smooth one. “Too often, people are lured into leadership roles, not led,” he says. Fortunately, today’s companies have greater access to management-focused training courses and systems and would be wise to provide those leadership resources to employees (most of whom want to grow professionally). Soft Skills Should Top Your List of Leadership Must-Haves Great leaders aren’t just great talkers—they’re also talented listeners. Frankly, they know when to shut up, Miller explains. In connection with humility, sincerely interested listening and empathy for others are people skills that HR professionals should seek to identify in employees under consideration for leadership advancement or during the vetting process for outside hires. Qualities like being a fantastic question-asker enable leaders to get to the root of a problem more quickly. True Leaders Are Happy to Let Others Shine Beloved leaders are not intimidated by smart, capable people. “I thought my job was to be the most educated, the most creative, the wisest, the decision maker, the know-it-all,” he says. ”[But] my job was to be the genius maker in the room.“ Genuine leaders are not afraid of being eclipsed by somebody else’s talent and are happy to allow subordinates to move beyond them. They Also View Failures as Learning Opportunities Finally, Miller summarized the qualities of his own best bosses. They “believed in me more than I believed in myself,” he says. They were patient, supportive, made a long-term investment in him and didn’t hesitate to have conversations that required courage and boldness. These leaders gave him permission to be himself and make mistakes. There is this adage that people are every company’s most valuable asset. But that’s not true. It’s actually the relationships between people, he explains. People don’t quit leaders who care about them. An HR organization that fosters the development of good leadership—leaders who leverage these interpersonal skills he describes to build meaningful relationships—creates a culture that not only attracts but retains great talent.   Â

How to Develop Leaders in Real-Time
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How to Develop Leaders in Real-Time

With a growing appreciation for the ‘70’ part of the 70/20/10 model, many organizations are promoting experience-based activities for leadership development. As a result, leaders at all levels are benefitting from special projects, greater visibility and stretch assignments to support their growth. Yet many organizations are only now beginning to realize that on-the-job learning doesn’t have to consist solely of specially orchestrated undertakings. Real work – the mundane activities and responsibilities that leaders routinely take on – has the potential to deliver developmental results as well. Not just learning by doing It’s not as easy as delegating an assignment and expecting that growth will follow. Effective talent development professionals understand that simply doing does not necessarily translate to learning. Mindless, rote, mechanical activity is just that: activity. It likely accomplishes something… just not learning. However, add attention to the mix, and suddenly that same activity can inspire powerful personal insights, a visceral appreciation of a best practice and significant behavior change. Better yet, the attention that can inspire this kind of learning comes in many forms. Attention to intention For everything you do, even routine tasks, ask yourself: what’s my goal? What’s the outcome I’m hoping for? What message am I sending with my actions? Is that the right one? When you pay close attention to your intentions, tasks become insightful and educational. Here’s an example: Delia is a call center director who is struggling to help Arman, a supervisor who reports to her, develop better team building skills. She’s sent him to EQ (emotional intelligence) training and has asked him to read a few books; but his employees continue to report a punitive and fear-based culture within the group. So, Delia took a different approach. She met with Arman and asked him to identify a few upcoming interactions he planned to have with his team. They discussed the importance of his responses. He determined the emotional or affective outcomes he wanted to achieve and set some intentions for his own behavior and actions that could contribute to those outcomes. With an action plan in place (and the right amount of motivation), he was able to approach his employees more purposefully and with greater intentionality… and learn in real-time from the different reactions and results he generated. TIP: pay attention to your intentions; let routine tasks be your teacher. Don’t overlook the lessons to be learned behind your actions and the results they brought about.  Attention to feedback Actively seek out feedback and pay attention when you get it. Talk to your colleagues and ask them direct questions about your skills and knowledge. Let those around you offer comments or suggestions. After all, they’re the ones you work with day in and day out. Consider this: Tanya is a manager for a small healthcare organization. There’s little formal leadership development available to her; but she’s not going to let that get in the way of becoming a better manager. So, she identified two specific opportunities for her professional improvement - communication and recognition of others - and actively sought out informal feedback during interactions with others. After making an assignment or sharing an organizational change with employees, she’d ask: How clear is that? What could I do to share information more effectively with you? During one-on-one meetings with her staff, she would ask: How appreciated do you feel for the contributions you make? What are you proud of that I’ve not recognized? With each response, she was able to adjust or enhance her approach and continuously improve her leadership capacity in real time. TIP: Seek out feedback. Pay attention to what those around you tell you, think about what they said to build on your skills and learning.  Attention to reflection When you invest the time and effort to reflect on your day’s tasks, you’ll find there’s actually a lot to learn. With reflection, you might realize there’s a better way to manage your time, or speak with one of your reports or report on your numbers. Think about this example: Manny is a senior vice president in a financial services firm with many director-level direct reports. Given his large span of control, Manny has found that he can make the most of his limited time with others by instilling a reflection/learning discipline. He asks the directors to spend a minimum of one hour each week extracting leadership lessons from their experiences. They can be significant or small; the key is to dedicate time thinking about it – because the lessons can’t sink in without the benefit of time and reflection. Some of Manny’s direct reports engage in private journaling. Others have started blogs that they share within the organization. Others create short videos. This way, each person leverages their day-in and day-out experiences for real-time leadership learning. TIP: Try journaling, blogging or setting aside time to reflect on your experiences. Talk it out to uncover lessons learned that improve you as a leader. In each example, the calculus of leadership development is Consistent Activity (daily actions and responsibilities that naturally play out in a leader’s life) + Attention (being aware of such things as intentions, feedback and reflection) = Real-Time Learning. So, no budget for leadership development? No sophisticated training programs? No time? No problem! Growth is available right within any leader’s job – if we give it a little attention. As corporate ladders fade into the past, career agility becomes the new secret to success! Use this quiz to determine your career agility quotient and get practical next steps for developing a growth mindset.

HR Analytics Is About Asking the Right Questions
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HR Analytics Is About Asking the Right Questions

In Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the world's greatest computer was asked for an answer to the ultimate question of “Life, the universe and everything." After millions of years of number crunching, the computer majestically proclaimed the answer to be… 42. It was not the edifying conclusion the audience had been waiting millennia for, but, as the great computer pointed out, that was because they had asked the wrong question: “Life, the Universe and Everything" just wasn't specific enough. It's a fitting lesson for HR people beginning their workforce analytics journey: ask the right questions. The accuracy of the data, the quality of the analytics, the figures you come up with — everything is irrelevant if you're not asking the right questions. Think About the Bigger Picture One of the problems with the type of questions HR professionals typically ask is the narrow focus — the question will address an HR concern, without considering how it impacts the business as a whole. So, while it may be useful to keep an eye on absence, diversity or engagement metrics, this transactional information will likely not get your CEO's pulse racing. What executives want to know is how these metrics affect productivity or profitability; they want to know whether there are particular areas of the business where these rates are higher, and why. Above all, they want information and insight into what changes they need to make to change future outcomes, not data about what happened in the past. But Get Specific While you need the put your questions in the context of larger business goals, you also need to be detailed about the question itself. If your analytics questions are as vague as “Life, the universe and everything," then the answers will be vague too. It will simply be a fishing trip – you might be lucky and catch something tasty or you might come up with nothing. So what is the right question? Clearly, that will vary between companies, but the key is for the question to be plugged directly into the matrix of the business. HR can't work in a vacuum, it needs to understand where the business pain points are, to appreciate both the outside market pressures and the inside forces impacting its line managers and leaders. HR is not short on data — though some areas may fall short on quality — so, you should be able to dig up some interesting revelations with this sweeping approach. Make a Group Effort HR doesn't need to work alone on developing the right questions. By working directly with other business leaders, you can work out the answers together in order to make a real difference in business performance. For example, if you have an issue with high staff turnover, then look beyond the figures to find out why people are leaving. Is there a particular division or location where churn rates are higher? Can you talk to those managers? Or perhaps churn rates are higher among women than men? Look through the exit interview data, and take stock of the gender ratio in management. Is there a high churn rate in an area of business that requires highly prized, in-depth knowledge of the business? It's possible that the people in this department don't understand how much they are valued at the company. Asking the right question is a great start on the quest for business insight. But whatever the outcome of the analysis, it's also vital that HR maintains and presents the information in a business-friendly and business-relevant manner. Photo: Creative Commons

ICYMI: Here’s What Workers Need Most From Their Leaders Right Now
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ICYMI: Here’s What Workers Need Most From Their Leaders Right Now

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation and, as with any company crisis, employees are looking to their leaders for support, compassion and reassurance. One major roadblock: there isn’t a clear road ahead. To help executives navigate these turbulent times and comfort their workforce, Accenture recently shared a study exploring what workers need most from leaders right now. Below are some of its key findings:  Build Trust With Your Employees Employee needs fall into three basic categories: physical, mental and relational. By addressing these in the following order, executives will be better positioned to earn their trust: First, fulfill employees’ physical needs by delivering transparent company updates that provide operational guidance and empowering staff to do what’s necessary to protect their health and well-being. Then, address their mental requirements, allowing them to adapt their work schedules to fit personal ones in this new reality. Lastly, meet their relational ones by making sure employees feel connected to each other and to their workplace. Reiterate Your Company’s Purpose and Values In this era of quarantines and social distancing, everyone is longing for connection. Reminding your workforce of what a company stands for can help to give them a sense of belonging. Get Organized and Stay Informed In any crisis, it’s important to immediately develop a company-wide solution and plan of action (in this case, it will likely require multiple meetings to address new developments). When carrying out these plans, assign different roles to every member of your leadership team so every aspect of your business is covered. Throughout the plan’s implementation, gather employee feedback from all areas of the organization. Use the information gathered from across the organization to inform management decisions and workforce engagement. Bring Compassionate and Caring Leaders to the Forefront Workforces will remember executives who took an active role in responding to a crisis. Be sure leaders that step up have what it takes to be empathetic and team-oriented. This way, when the emergency subsides, they’ll have an even greater appreciation for—and loyalty to—those who fought for them throughout the period of intense disruption. Invest in Remote Work Capabilities Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Accenture workforce research showed that less than one-third of all workers were able to make full use of their technology to effectively do their job. This crisis revealed who had already invested in these initiatives, and who did not. If your organization falls into the latter group, now is the time to act. Since we’re still not sure how long this crisis will last, it’s imperative to accelerate your company’s digital initiatives now. Communicate a Story, Not Data Points During times of confusion and uncertainty, people generally don’t take comfort in data. Instead, impart meaning—and relief—with stories and analogies that hit close to home. Aim to help employees better understand executive decisions and workforce circumstances. Don’t Let Your Future Growth Strategies Stagnate It may sound difficult, or like you’re ignoring what’s urgent, but try to make time to focus on getting your organization ready for the future. Even dedicating two hours every day will keep your organization healthy and your workforce hopeful for what lies ahead. Â

Introducing HR Labs, a Podcast From Cornerstone OnDemand
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Introducing HR Labs, a Podcast From Cornerstone OnDemand

Cornerstone is proud to introduce HR Labs, a brand new podcast that tells the stories of leaders who have seen the importance of employee development firsthand. Hosted by our very own Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Heidi Spirgi, HR Labs will be a four-part series featuring executives who have mastered the art and science of development, despite challenging odds. Find it on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else you listen to podcasts. On the very first episode of HR Labs, we’re telling Melissa Forte’s story. Melissa is currently the manager of talent and organizational development at SiteOne Landscape Supply. She joined the company about a year after it had broken away from its parent company, John Deere, and spun out on its own, going public in June 2016. Before SiteOne, Melissa spent 13 years at Rubbermaid, where she led talent development. Coming to SiteOne when she did was an exciting challenge—without a legacy brand to build off of, Melissa helped the growing company create a unified culture by leaning heavily on development. With no learning and development foundation to inherit from John Deere and a growth model based primarily on acquisition, SiteOne faced a major talent challenge. Not only did it have to define and establish a cohesive culture, it also had to find ways to retain the employees that came on board from various organizations. For Melissa, the answer to SiteOne’s challenges came in the form of gamified development. Enjoy this episode of HR Labs below. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hr-labs/id1482283780

Looking for Talent? You Can Find it in the Blue Ocean
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Looking for Talent? You Can Find it in the Blue Ocean

Brace yourself. The talent war didn’t go away due to the pandemic. It heated it up. COVID-19 didn’t ease the skills shortage. It exacerbated it. As Warren Buffet once said, “only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” Well, the pandemic tide rolled out, and based on conversations with hundreds of business owners the last few months, a lot of organizations are standing naked. One small business owner shared that, in 2019, he felt lucky if his company received 50 applicants from Indeed and 1 or 2 of them were qualified. This May, he posted a job and had 1300 applicants in less than 24 hours. He pulled the listing. His company simply wasn’t equipped to handle recruitment and screening in a high unemployment market. So, what does that mean for HR and recruiting teams? It might be time to rethink your hiring strategy—and reflect on whether the challenges you’re facing today are a result of COVID-19, or more foundational problems that have been there all along. “New Normal,” Same Challenges I first thought the small business owner’s story was an outlier but, surprisingly, I keep hearing it over and over. “We have 500 job openings and can’t get enough qualified applicants to fill a fraction of them.” Yes, you heard me right: record high unemployment and jobs remaining unfilled. In the case of the small business owner, the position was a sales job. It pays well and doesn’t require superpowers to do the work. What’s the problem? Employment brand really matters. Following a quick search of company reviews, I discovered this company consistently is rated in the low to mid 2s (out of 10). The pandemic didn’t fix bad management and bad culture.  COVID-19 also didn’t miraculously give workers new skills. In fact, the sudden need for work-from-home skills made the need for effective upskilling and reskilling programs all the more plain. Managing the family calendar was a walk in the park compared with juggling the boss, teams, clients and kids without ever leaving the house. Many workers used to have IT on speed dial. Now each remote worker is an amateur IT professional. Reserving a meeting room down the hall for your client appointment required little, if any, skill. Today, it’s an enormous challenge to lead, present, sell and participate in video meetings. Taking a New Tact: Blue Ocean Strategy All this labor market disruption creates a lot of noise and chaos. Reimagining and reinventing require a fresh approach. Fortunately, you don’t need to recreate the wheel to succeed. You can simply apply the principles of Red and Blue Ocean Strategy, created by W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne. Red oceans in HR refer to the conventional approach to recruiting labor. Fishing for talent in the red ocean views the labor pool as highly specialized and defined by years of experience and education. It relies on compensation and benefits to bait candidates. The competition is consequently fierce based on a limited resource mindset, which turns the ocean red. Hence, the term ‘red ocean.’ Alternatively, the ‘blue ocean’ encourages you to leave the competition behind and pursue an uncontested market. In other words, employers looking for talent don’t fish in the same pond as everyone else. Here are some opportunities available to business and HR leaders using blue ocean strategy: 1. NIMBY Recruitment. “Going to work” will certainly return (in some fashion), but working remotely is here to stay. That means that the labor pool for many jobs and industries is expanding from local to global. Commuting distance, public transportation, and relocation hurdles are disappearing. Economic recovery efforts are destined to be unequally distributed. What the shift means for HR and talent recruitment: A lot of very talented people live outside your red ocean. Accordingly, “fish” wherever the talent you need already is. Some very talented people can’t or don’t want to relocate. The blue ocean opens access to other remote communities too—disabled, minorities, and disadvantaged—who might not otherwise have access or the means to commute. Remote work makes it easier for employees to pick up extra hours and attract people who need part-time work but don’t live in your backyard. 2. Attract Candidates with Blue Ocean Perks. A May working paper by Erik Brynjolfsson reports that half of the people employed before the pandemic are now working remotely. Pre-COVID-19, the figure was about 15%. (In 2018, a U.S. Census Bureau survey found it was only 5.3%!) With all these employees working from home, perks like ping-pong tables, employee lounges, cafeterias, free coffee and snacks aren’t so attractive. So, what “blue ocean” perks might attract top talent? Consider helping employees work from home effectively and efficiently. Many remote employees still don’t have working computers, webcams, headsets, printers or fast internet connections. Figure out what kind of equipment and internet access they need—and get it to them. Help them replace their stand-up ironing board “desk” with an allowance for a functional desk and comfortable chair. Fraying these costs will help attract remote talent. 3. Think Experience, Not Technology. Historically, HR purchased technology to automate existing systems and processes—often at the expense of candidate and employee experience. And that technology, in turn, codified consistency and perpetuated red ocean hiring. In many cases, HR technology became a barrier, closing off opportunity and vision, separating HR from job seekers. Friction-filled, technology-dependent processes were used to test the resilience of job seekers to jump the barrier, using a playbook more aligned with competing for an appearance on “Survivor” than applying for a job. Blue ocean HR leaders will make the technology “disappear” by focusing on value creation instead of the technology itself. At one time, offering an online application was a competitive advantage. Today, the process is all FCDD-up (filled with frustration, confusion, disappointment, and distraction.) Fix it! Use technology that allows you to identify qualified candidates quickly—and without them submitting pages of non-essential information. Use chatbots, video, text, or automated responses to engage quickly and often. The same is true for using technology to new skill your existing workforce: use tools that deliver learning in the flow of work (say, as an employee is preparing for that daunting presentation?) to help recruit from within—as well as externally. It’s time to start fishing for talent in the blue ocean. Blue oceans introduce unbound opportunity, unexplored and untainted by competition.Â

Organizational Change is Constant: Here's How to Get Good At It
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Organizational Change is Constant: Here's How to Get Good At It

This article was originally published under Jeff Miller's column “The Science of Workplace Motivation" on Inc.com. The pace of change in business today is accelerating—fueled in large part by the disruption that new technologies bring. And research from McKinsey shows that companies are struggling to keep up. For leaders, that means taking a closer look at the way you manage change from start to finish. Whether the change comes in the form of a new software system, a merger or acquisition, or even just a small shift in process, how can you ensure your approach will lead to business success? In my experience, the challenge is often that leadership doesn't see the change process all the way through. I've written recently about Ann Salerno's six stages of change, and how effectively leading your team through the first four stages (loss, anger, doubt, discovery) will help everyone become productive again. But stopping there is a mistake. Stages five and six, "understanding" and "integration," require leadership to reflect on the change process. By spending time to track outcomes and debrief, the entire organization will be better equipped to transition smoothly when change happens again (and again). Start by Tracking the Impact At Cornerstone, we recently launched a new worldwide manager training program. Where before the training had been more individualized, this new format emphasized group discussion among new managers. We organized trainees together into online cohorts (kind of like chatrooms), creating communities for them to share insights, ask questions and respond to topics provided by a facilitator. Once we had successfully implemented the new program, we entered stage five of the change process: understanding. In stage five, you can be pragmatic about change and start to understand its impact. That means gathering as a leadership team to discuss the short term and long term features of the change. For our team, one short term feature was using our product differently. In the long term, we were facilitating cross-cultural discussions around management. Make sure this discussion about features happens out loud—verbalization allows you to avoid assumptions--as an individual or even by the group as a whole. And use specific terms: "Did this new manager system accomplish our goals?" is too open-ended. Instead, asking, "Did we implement a system that will connect managers across offices?" helped ensure we were all having the same conversation. Celebrate Your Team This part is simple: Recognize the individuals involved in the change process for what they accomplished. Change is tough for most people; getting to stage five successfully is a major feat. It doesn't have to be a party, just an acknowledgment that their hard work didn't go unnoticed. It's an easy step that will mean a lot to your employees. Hold a Thoughtful Debrief Stage six of the change process is an opportunity to look back and debrief. It's best not to debrief with the entire company because voices will get lost. Instead, identify the people who might represent those voices and invite them to participate. For our debrief meeting, we gathered the team that implemented the cohort system. From there, review the goals you set at the beginning of the process and ask: Did we get the outcomes we wanted? What can we do better next time? What were the unanticipated outcomes? For example, we hadn't anticipated how quickly managers would make themselves vulnerable in these cohort discussions—and achieve some honest, positive communication as a result. Finally, encourage people to be introspective, too: What did I learn about myself through this change? What did I learn about others and how they handle change? The person on our team who led this change had never done anything like it before. In the debrief, he talked about how the experience had showed him it's okay to ask for help—and he'd get help if he asked for it. His confidence rose as a result of that debrief process. The next time he faces a change, he might be more open to it. Psychologists call this resilience: a person's ability to adapt well to difficult events that change their lives. By seeing these final stages of the change process through, you'll start to build resilience not only in individuals, but make it part of your company's DNA—and over time, you'll avoid the paralysis and upheaval change can often bring about in favor of efficiency and productivity. Photo: Creative Commons

Peer Feedback: 6 Tips for Successful Crowdsourcing
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Peer Feedback: 6 Tips for Successful Crowdsourcing

As companies replace corporate hierarchies with flatter reporting structures, they're also decentralizing power in the performance review process by gathering feedback from colleagues and not just top executives. Crowdsourcing feedback and providing it on a continual basis, rather than in one lump package at the end of the year, allows employees to improve their work and receive recognition throughout the year. Better yet, employees favor reviews with feedback from their peers. Four in five employees think an accurate review requires a combination of input from managers as well as colleagues, according to the Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker study. “The arrival of the crowdsourced performance review is a welcome paradigm shift in the human resources industry,” says Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce. “An innovative, more complete system for providing team members with accurate, consistent feedback creates happier employees and more productive work environments.” Why Peer Feedback Is Successful Whether peer feedback stands on its own or as part of a 360-degree review, including employees in the recognition and feedback process creates a positive workplace environment. When all employees are asked to contribute praise and constructive criticism about their colleagues, it builds a culture of open feedback and supports collaboration, notes Karen Caruso. Crowdsourced evaluations also create a community of accountability where employees can make sure that employees are working on areas they need to improve, adds Caruso. "The first time I ever had a peer review I got the most valuable feedback I've ever received in an evaluation process," says Tim Sackett, president of staffing firm HRU Technical Resources and blogger at The Tim Sackett Project. "It was a punch to the stomach, but it made me focus and change more than anything I ever had in a corporate setting." A manager often doesn't see how an employee works on all of his projects and how he interacts with different teams, so having employees fill in the gaps, especially around an employee's collaborative and interpersonal skills, gives a complete picture of employee performance. Ninety percent of HR professionals say peer feedback is more accurate than manager feedback, according to the Employee Recognition Survey by Globoforce and SHRM. While the annual performance review still exists, companies are gradually incorporating colleague feedback into employee evaluations. According to the Employee Recognition Survey by Globoforce and SHRM, 85 percent of companies are currently using or would consider using peer social recognition, and 78 percent say crowdsourced recognition would be helpful to integrate into formal performance reviews. Advice from Experts: 6 Tips for Crowdsourcing Reviews Integrating employee feedback into performance reviews isn’t as easy as sending out an email saying, “We want to hear from you.” It requires a detailed strategy with the ability to respond effectively to employee feedback on the process itself. Here are some tips from experts about how to do it right. Outline the process. Joe Shaheen, managing principal of Human Alliance, a Washington, DC human resources consulting firm, suggests addressing these questions: "Who will be reviewing who?" and, "What type of feedback will employees be asked to give?" Clarity from the outset should be the priority. Identify characteristics of top performers. Is it more important for employees to hone their technical skills, be quick learners, excel under pressure or have collaborative spirit? Based on the priorities, encourage employees to frame feedback around what’s important, suggests Shaheen. Give continuous feedback. End-of-the-year reviews are helpful to show the progress of an employee and to provide a holistic picture, but it’s best to reward successes and address areas of improvement when it’s timely and relevant. Continuous feedback can come in many different forms, whether informal recognition/badging or as part of a more formal performance management process. Provide flexibility. Having structure and defining the purpose of peer-to-peer feedback is a must, but it won’t be successful without giving employees some freedom to provide feedback in a way that suits them, adds Shaheen. Make it a routine. Panay suggests building peer feedback into team meetings. For example, at the beginning of meetings LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner asks employees to share one personal victory and one professional achievement from the previous week. Starting meetings on a positive note and talking about the little things highlights the power of small wins, notes Panay. Keep managerial reviews. Crowdsourcing feedback is great for the many reasons already discussed, but it shouldn’t be the only source of performance evaluation. Think of peer-to-peer reviews as a supplement rather than a replacement, Mosley tells Inc. Employees want to provide feedback to their colleagues and their colleagues want to hear it. When the workplace revolves around the employee experience, integrating crowdsourced feedback into performance reviews can produce meaningful ways to motivate and engage employees in the long term.

PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Andrea Sennett
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PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Andrea Sennett

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!

The ReWork Bookshelf: 8 Must-Reads from Author Carol Anderson
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The ReWork Bookshelf: 8 Must-Reads from Author Carol Anderson

Editor's Note: What are our writers and experts reading? In this series, ReWork contributors share their“must-read" recommendations for HR professionals and business leaders. I read lots of business books, but anyone who has followed my writing knows I'm not terribly fond of popular business books; they simplify things too much. When organizations try to follow these books' recipes, they fail because they don't understand the underlying human concepts of organizational behavior. So, my reading list contains books that discuss original research into organizational behavior, specifically dealing with concepts most important to HR leaders: consulting, leadership and teams. Check out the first half of the list to find books that are easy to read and digest, and provide good information that is immediately useful and a little outside the norm for HR practitioners. Skip down to number five if you are looking for the most powerful—but more complex—books I have ever read. 1) Flawless Consulting by Peter Block Everyone is a consultant at some point, HR even more so. Block's chapter on dealing with resistance is powerful both in recognizing what resistance looks like, and then offering a simple method to diffuse it. 2) Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate and Compete in the Knowledge Economy by Amy Edmundson I started following Dr. Edmundson, a professor at Harvard Business School, when I was studying the concept of psychological safety and why smart people don't speak up even in a crisis. This single concept—psychological safety—gives HR practitioners a practical background in team behavior, and in turning problems into learning opportunities. 3) The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers by Gillian Tett Gillian Tett is an anthropologist turned business journalist who uses her study of culture to help organizations bust silos and improve performance. HR can and should be a connector. This book provides research-based arguments for why silos are counter-productive. 4) Repurposing HR: From a Cost Center to a Business Accelerator by Carol Anderson Full disclosure, this is my own book. I got tired of books about HR competencies that didn't provide practical “how to" advice for becoming strategic, so I wrote one. This book is helpful to HR teams that want to break down barriers, think collectively and add significant value to their organizations. As I mentioned earlier, the second half of this list contains the most powerful books I have read. They aren't necessarily easy to read and digest, but they are so worth the time. These books help put into perspective the challenges and hopes of human resource development. 5) Organizational Culture and Leadership by Edgar Schein MIT professor Schein is the father of organizational culture. Culture is a hot topic today, and this provides outstanding insight, grounded in research. 6) Organization Change by Warner Burke One of the most comprehensive and common sense models of organizational change. As an HR practitioner, I was frustrated by the number of external vendors that sell "change processes"—from Six Sigma to technology implementation to quality improvement. Their processes were good, but often not aligned with existing HR processes such as performance management. If you want to compete with the various “change agents" that tell organizations how to “change" (and you should) you have to understand change at its deepest level. 7) Leadership and the New Science by Meg Wheatley Wheatley describes how complex systems like organizations must be allowed to develop, rather than be controlled. The book offers solid ideas about how effective leaders can and should let go. I hope you find these helpful. I would love to hear stories about what you read and how it helped you. You can reach me at carol@andersonperformancepartners.com. Header photo: Twenty20

So What Does Hiring Look Like Now?
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So What Does Hiring Look Like Now?

Despite the staggering increase in layoffs over the past couple of months, some companies are still hiring. Amazon, for example, has hired more than 100,000 employees in four weeks and has plans to hire 75,000 more. In addition to increased demand for essential workers, like warehouse employees, pharmacy and grocery store workers and healthcare providers, there are several other industries adding to their ranks, from video conferencing and cybersecurity companies to video streaming and online gaming providers. But how, exactly, are businesses going about hiring when people can’t come in for interviews? Even those who aren’t currently hiring—but hope to a few weeks or months from now—will need to rethink the process. Here are the steps several companies are taking, as well as a few important reminders to consider. 1) Prioritizing Video for Interviews We conduct face-to-face interviews because that’s how we’ve always done it, but today’s technology gives us options. For many, working from home has become the new normal—even late-night talk show hosts are broadcasting from their living rooms (albeit with professionals pulling everything together). So trust in your ability to successfully conduct a remote interview via Zoom or other video conferencing platform. Don’t make the mistake that the Alignable CEO is making: refusing to hire until he can meet candidates in-person because of worries around cultural fit. You can assess cultural fit by asking insightful questions about past experiences as well as hypothetical workplace situations. It’s also helpful to explain how your office or site operates and how this role adds to the team or mission—then see if candidates respond with thoughtful follow-up questions. You should also be sure to have them meet the team virtually so that everyone gains a sense of who they’d be working with. Remember that a good cultural fit does not mean you’ll be best friends with this person. It means they will thrive in your work environment. Obviously, making an offer without meeting in real life isn’t ideal, but you won’t lose out on a top candidate because you chose to wait things out indefinitely.   2) Hiring Quickly If you’re offering essential services, you may need to hire quickly. Traditional methods, with multiple rounds of interviews and drawn-out processes, might simply take too long under the current circumstances. As a result, it’s worth reviewing your applicant path and removing any unnecessary layers for the time-being. Some companies are also turning to apps that allow candidates to record answers to interview questions so that managers can evaluate people more quickly. Those who genuinely need to expedite the process may want to explore implementing a more radical method: hiring on a first-applied, first-hired basis. This probably won’t be the right fit for many companies (as it tends to be limited to fairly entry-level employment), but The Body Shop reduced monthly turnover by 60 percent after it introduced the concept. So it’s worth looking into, especially if you’re having trouble hiring. If you need tech talent, you likely can’t afford to wait until governors give the green light for businesses to resume normal operations. (Not with Netflix, Facebook, Apple and Google hiring aggressively, anyway.) Luckily, as I mentioned before, you can source, screen and interview remotely. In fact, many of these jobs may end up being permanently remote positions. Challenging as it may be, you shouldn’t wait for the dust to settle—especially if you’re competing against the big players. 3) Embracing Virtual Onboarding It’s not just getting an offer letter out there. It’s having a plan in place to get people up and running (likely from home) on Day One. The good news is that you can conduct all parts of the onboarding process—even reviewing documents—through video conferencing. (To make this possible, the government has temporarily suspended the requirement for in-person I9 verification.) But remember, it still may be awkward. The first few days of any new job are challenging and can be a bit strange. Now, imagine starting from your living room. Not to mention potentially having kids as coworkers (while trying to make a good impression with your real ones). Make sure your new hires know you’ll be there to support them throughout the process. If you normally take new employees out to lunch on their first day, send them a gift card for takeout at a local restaurant. It’s the best you can do for now—and it’s a small gesture that shows you care. 4) Setting Proper Expectations You’ll need to set two levels of expectation for new hires: “crazy” time and “normal” time. During “crazy” time (which, yep, this is), you should clearly answer questions like: Is it perfectly acceptable to hold a baby while on a video conference call? Do employees need to work from 8:30 to 5 or is it okay to work around family/personal schedules? In other words, give new hires an idea of the sort of flexibility they can expect when they start—and how policies in place now might shift once employees start returning to the workplace. You probably won’t have an exact idea of what that looks like (none of us do!), but were there certain expectations in the “before times” that will likely resume down the road? Do your best to let your new hires know now so they’re not caught off-guard later. It may take a long time for things to return to “normal,” whatever that is. Don’t put off hiring if you need to increase headcount. It can be done—even during a pandemic.

Talent Management Strategies for Agencies in Turbulent Times
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Talent Management Strategies for Agencies in Turbulent Times

As agencies face unprecedented hurdles in todays world, employee needs are the top priority for HR and L&D leaders. With the right resources in place, government agencies can continue to provide consistent and transparent communication and uninterrupted employee development and onboarding—further strengthening the agency. Join us for a conversation with representatives from Collier County, FL Human Resources, and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. We will discuss how they have overcome obstacles in their employee onboarding and development to deliver highly effective talent management strategies during turbulent times. Youll learn how two distinct agencies have overcome obstacles such as: -Training different compositions of their workforce with varying degrees of technological capabilities; -Labor and employee relations concerns; -Rate of required change; and, -Positioning technology as an enabler and not a barrier. During this conversation, we will highlight lessons learned that you may be able to apply in your agency to help cover these or similar obstacles you face.

TED Talk Tuesday: 3 Lessons on Leadership Development
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TED Talk Tuesday: 3 Lessons on Leadership Development

This post is part of our monthly TED Talk Tuesday series, spotlighting can't-miss TED Talks and their key takeaways. You can learn more about our partnership with TED here. Stanley McChrystal is a four-star general and former commander of the U.S. and International forces in Afghanistan. His leadership over the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) is credited with the capture of Saddam Hussein. After 9/11, McChrystal faced entirely new challenges as a leader. He spent six years serving in Afghanistan, but the forces he oversaw were deployed in multiple locations. He had to find new ways of building trust with his teams without the ability to "put a hand on a shoulder." In his TED Talk, McChrystal discusses some of the lessons he learned about being an effective leader from the military. Watch the video below and read on for three key takeaways from his talk: "Leaders can let you fail and not let you be a failure." McChrystal explains that one day the company he commanded failed terribly at a simulated "dawn attack" drill. When he and his company had finished with the evaluation, he headed towards his battalion commander to apologize for the performance. Instead, his commander commended him on a job well done. "In one sentence he lifted me and put me back on my feet," McChrystal says. The moment taught him that good leaders give their teams the encouragement they need to continue forward after adversity and disappointment. Building a culture where failure is accepted allows everyone to learn from their mistakes and improve performance the next time around. "[As a leader], you're building a sense of shared purpose." In his post-9/11 service in Afghanistan, McChrystal saw a shift in the diversity of the teams he was leading. The age difference was the most striking to him. McChrystal was reminded that these differences in experiences, while valuable, made it even more crucial for his teams to operate under a "shared purpose and shared consciousness." "How does a leader stay credible and legitimate when they haven't done what the people they're leading are doing?" Along with new faces, the technology and tools McChrystal used in the field had changed by the time he was a commander. "Suddenly, the things we grew up doing weren't what the force was doing anymore," he says. It created what McChrystal calls an "inversion of expertise." This is a common challenge that leaders face. The people they lead know more about the work and systems they're using than the managers themselves. These changes forced McChrystal to be transparent and listen to his teams. He allowed himself to be reverse mentored from those who ranked below him to evolve as the most efficient leader possible. Photo: TED

TED Talk Tuesday: Anyone Can Be a Leader
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TED Talk Tuesday: Anyone Can Be a Leader

This is part of our monthly TED Talk Tuesday series, spotlighting can't-miss TED Talks and their key takeaways. You can learn more about our partnership with TED here. Everyone is a leader in someone's eyes, says leadership expert and educator Drew Dudley. Although leaders are often made out to be extraordinary figures with unique skills that inspire and guide others to greatness, Dudley believes that moments of true leadership can happen in seemingly mundane situations. Dudley calls these pivotal times “lollipop moments," named after an interaction he had in college with a new student. While she nervously waited in line for new student materials during orientation, Dudley, who was promoting an on-campus organization, handed a stranger a lollipop to give her. Dudley forgot this ever happened, until the woman approached him years later and told him that he changed her life. Not only did his small gesture make her feel at ease in a new environment, but she also began dating the stranger Dudley commandeered to give her candy, and eventually went on to marry him. These types of exchanges happen every day in the workplace as well, Dudley says. In his TED Talk, he explains why instead of looking for perfect opportunities to make a difference, leaders should embrace small moments that can create big changes. Watch the video below and read on for three key takeaways from his talk. “We have made leadership about something that is beyond us." It's natural to idolize prominent leaders and strive to emulate them, but anyone can lead, Dudley says. Employees see their managers and supervisors as leaders, and while they're certainly in positions to offer guidance, employees can inspire each other as well, regardless of their roles at the company. Leadership isn't exclusive to certain individuals—all employees should strive to be leaders not only during pivotal moments, but during everyday interactions with their colleagues, Dudley says. You never know when a pep talk from a fellow worker can give someone the courage to ask for a raise or learn a crucial new skill. “We take moments where we truly are a leader and we don't let ourselves take credit for it." Often, great leaders lead and inspire without knowing it, Dudley says. On the rare occasion that leaders get to hear about the impact they've had on someone, they should accept the credit. It's important to understand that ordinary individuals have the capacity to influence others—this is something to value, not fear, according to Dudley. For employees, the notion of giving and receiving credit and gratitude ties back to the importance of feedback. Humans crave feedback and thrive on it—that's why Dudley says it's important to tell people when something they did or said made a difference, and it's equally important to internalize that feedback, especially in the workplace. “We need to redefine leadership as being about lollipop moments." Life is full of little moments that add up to meaningful life changes, Dudley points out. To him, giving a fellow student a lollipop was forgettable, but to the recipient, it was a turning point. This goes to show, he explains, that leadership is all about perspective. Perhaps not everyone is a leader in the traditional sense—not everyone becomes a CEO of a company, for example. But, that doesn't mean that an entry-level employee doesn't have the potential to inspire her team during a tough time. Anyone can lead at any given moment, Dudley says, sometimes without even realizing it. Photo: TED

TED Talk Tuesday: Happiness Is the Secret to Success
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TED Talk Tuesday: Happiness Is the Secret to Success

This post is part of our monthly TED Talk Tuesday series, spotlighting can't-miss TED Talks and their key takeaways. You can learn more about our partnership with TED here. Shawn Achor, CEO of consulting firm Good Think and best-selling author, is one of the world's leading experts on happiness and success. In his TED talk, Achor reveals our backward understanding of how to achieve happiness, based on his research in the field of positive psychology. (Hint: Success doesn't lead to happiness — it's the other way around.) As we prepare for Thanksgiving, a holiday defined by gratitude, Achor's lessons on positivity and practicing appreciation for the present will serve business leaders and employees well at both the office and home. Watch the video below and read on for three key takeaways from his talk. "If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average." Achor shares that one of the principles of academic research — whether it's economics, education, medicine, business or psychology — is to eliminate the outliers (in a statistically valid way, of course). In most research, the goal is to focus on the "average": How fast does the average child learn to read? How many Advil pills should the average person take? Positive psychology, on the other hand, proposes that if we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average. Instead of eliminating the outliers, Achor is interesting in studying the outliers to discover why certain people exist outside of the curve — intellectually, athletically, musically, emotionally, etc. By studying the outliers, Achor believes we can glean information about how to improve the average. "We need to reverse the formula for happiness and success." What has Achor discovered by studying the outliers? It's not reality that shapes us, but our perception that shapes our reality. Studies show that the external factors of your life can only predict 10 percent of your long-term happiness; whereas how you perceive the world can predict 90 percent. Why is this? Every time we get a good grade, job or award, our brain changes our definition of success to better grades, a better job or a better award. Success is elusive, as Achor explains, which makes achieving happiness from our successes elusive, too: "If happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there." The key to happiness is not changing external factors, but changing the way we process external factors. "You can train your brain to be able to become more positive." According to Achor, if we can find a way to become more positive in the present, our brains will experience a "happiness advantage." A positive brain is 31 percent more productive than a negative, neutral or stressed brain, and our energy, intelligence and creativity levels all rise when we're in a positive mindset. In other words, happiness actually leads to greater success. But can you actually increase your positivity? Yes, Achor says, adding that in just a two-minute span of time over 21 days in a row, you can rewire your brain to work more optimistically and successfully. For example, by writing three new things you are grateful for every day for 21 days, your brain will begin to retain a pattern of scanning the world for the positive instead of the negative. Other tactics Achor has studied include journaling about positive experiences, meditation and writing thank-you notes. By reversing the formula for happiness and success, Achor says, we can not only increase individual happiness, but also create ripples of positivity and productivity throughout organizations. Photo: Creative Commons

TED Talk Tuesday: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?
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TED Talk Tuesday: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

This is part of our monthly TED Talk Tuesday series, spotlighting can't-miss TED Talks and their key takeaways. You can learn more about our partnership with TED here. Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, uses unusual experiments to understand what motivates humans to act in certain, seemingly irrational, ways. For example, at work, are individuals more motivated by recognition than they are by money? And at what point does a lack of recognition make even the promise of financial reward no longer worth it? These are just a few of the questions that Ariely works to answer. In his TED talk, Ariely highlights how his experiments on performance recognition help demonstrate that as humans beings, we want to be valued, not just paid. Watch the video below and read on for three key takeaways from his talk. "When we think about how people work, the naive intuition we have is that people are like rats in a maze—that all people care about is money." If people are truly motivated by money, "Why does anyone climb mountains?" asks Ariely. It requires time, hard work and it's downright dangerous. This suggests people get satisfaction and meaning from the challenge of completing a task successfully, especially when it's a difficult one. It's easy to get caught up trying to make employees 'happy' by providing monetary rewards. Instead, take some time to find out what truly motivates them—whether it's completing a challenging assignment, engaging with coworkers and clients or being recognized for their work. By incorporating these things into their day-to-day work, you will not only make them happy but inspire them to do their best work. "Eliminating motivation seems to be incredibly easy, and if we don't think about it carefully, we might overdo it." In one of Ariely's experiments, participants were asked to keep repeating a worksheet that was either acknowledged, ignored or shredded for increasingly smaller monetary rewards, until they no longer wanted to participate. Unsurprisingly, those people whose work was being ignored or shredded stopped participating much earlier than those who got a simple look of affirmation from the supervisor. Ariely's conclusion? Even a little recognition can be motivational, but its absence can be paralyzing. This couldn't be truer in a work environment—employees thrive on feedback and acknowledgement, no matter how small it may seem. "When we think about labor, we usually think about motivation and payment as the same thing, but the reality is that we should probably add all kinds of things to it—creation, challenges, ownership, identity and pride." There is no longer a clear separation between work and life. This lack of boundaries makes it more important than ever for people to find meaning in what they do. That's why money isn't enough to motivate individuals anymore. While adequate pay is important, it doesn't replace the feeling of being challenged, rewarded and proud. How can you incorporate these components, Ariely asks, to create meaning in your workplace — and for your employees? Photo: TED

TED Talk Tuesday: Robots Will Take Our Jobs, Then What?
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TED Talk Tuesday: Robots Will Take Our Jobs, Then What?

This part is part of our monthly "TED Talk Tuesday" series, spotlighting can't-miss TED Talks and their key takeaways. You can learn more about our partnership with TED here. Andrew McAfee studies how technology affects business and society — more specifically, how computerization will impact our workforce and economy. In his TED Talk, the principal research scientist at MIT Sloan's Center for Digital Business explains how robots will take our jobs, why that's not necessarily a bad thing and what we can do to prepare our society for "technological unemployment." While radical to some, McAfee's arguments are important consideration for any workforce participant — especially HR leaders, whose work is closely tied to the future of the jobs economy. Watch the video below and read more for three key takeaways from his talk. "There is going to be more and more technology and fewer and fewer jobs." According to McAfee, the world of technological unemployment is at hand. Our cars will soon drive themselves, which means fewer truck drivers. We'll hook Siri up to supercomputer IBM Watson, eliminating most of the work done by customer service reps. And we're already developing machines to replace human warehouse pickers. So, what to do next? "[We have] the chance to imagine an entirely different kind of society." The answer is not to run and hide — it's to celebrate. McAfee says that technological unemployment is the best economic news on the planet for two reasons. First, the progression of technology is creating "abundance": more products at higher volume and quality, but lower prices. And second, it frees humanity to stop working and to start innovating, creating and thinking. "We're going. . . to chart a good course into the challenging, abundant economy that we're creating." McAfee acknowledges that this flourishing, creative and enlightened society does not come without its challenges. Not everyone has access to the resources of the world's elite philosophers, artists, businesspeople or diplomats — and without work, the lower and middle classes will struggle. However, McAfee points to the promise of education and the fact that the challenges of a "technological" society are increasingly public. He ends his talk on a promising note: If we pay attention to the plain facts before us, we can thrive in the future world of work. Photo: TED Talks

Ted Talk Tuesday | Why You Should Dare to Disagree
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Ted Talk Tuesday | Why You Should Dare to Disagree

This post is part of our monthly TED Talk Tuesday series, spotlighting can't-miss TED Talks and their key takeaways. You can learn more about our partnership with TED here. According to Margaret Heffernan, it's only human to want to avoid disagreement and conflict. But the blogger, former CEO and television producer encourages you to do just the opposite in her two books. Heffernan challenges readers to push against their comfort zones for the sake of sparking important conversations and inciting positive change. In her TED Talk, Heffernan discusses why inviting objection into our work can be a game changer. While we are biologically drawn to people who think like us, Heffernan questions the value of surrounding ourselves with liked-minded peers. Watch the video below and read on for three key takeaways from her talk. "It's a fantastic model of collaboration — thinking partners who aren't echo chambers." Collaborators who challenge us and find the flaws in our methodology are crucial to doing good work. These are the working relationships that allow us and our work to grow and strengthen, but all too often we seek out people who we know will agree with us. Organizations are even worse culprits of "group think" than individuals. When is the last time you were recruiting for a role, and actively sought out candidates who might not "fit the mold" of the job they were applying for? Bringing diversity of thought into an organization is the first step to creating a company culture where people are comfortable speaking up when they have a new different idea or see a flaw in an existing system or product. "We have to be prepared to change our minds." Part of seeking out opposition is being open to accepting it. Growth stems from listening to conflicting viewpoints and the flaws that they may highlight in our own arguments. The biggest catastrophes that we've witnessed rarely come from information that is secret or hidden, Heffernan explains. In situations that go horribly wrong, we often have already been told the information we needed to to stop the problem, but we remained what she calls "willfully blind" to it all because we don't want to create conflict. "Open information is fantastic, open networks are essential." Our common fear of conflict also impacts speaking up in the workplace when something is wrong. "In surveys of European and American executives, fully 85 percent of them acknowledge that they had issues or concerns at work that they were afraid to raise," Heffernan cites. People who have worked to find the best talent for their organizations will have difficulty engaging or retaining them if they don't question suspicious issues. Creating an open network of communication that welcomes opposition makes for a functional and efficient work environment. Heffernan explains that this all takes practice to develop these skills—access to information alone isn't enough, it needs to be shared, accepted and discussed. Photo: TED

Trouble With the Curve: 4 Alternatives to Forced Rankings
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Trouble With the Curve: 4 Alternatives to Forced Rankings

Marissa Mayer has caused another stir with her latest HR stunt. Last month the Yahoo! CEO implemented a forced rankings performance review process at the company, meaning managers rank their employees on a bell curve and fire those at the low end. Forced—or “stacked”—rankings have fallen out of favor with some companies. Microsoft recently dumped its controversial forced ranking system in favor of more frequent and qualitative reviews, according to Business Week. But performance review processes that work for one company won't always fit another. “If this topic were simple there would not be over 25,000 books listed on Amazon’s U.S. book site for the query ‘performance review,’” Steven Stinofsky writes on Business Insider. Here are some alternatives—or additions—to forced rankings that companies are using to bolster their performance review schemes. Calibration Calibration is a face-to-face process, in which managers who oversee similar groups review one another’s employee-performance ratings. In these "rater reliability" sessions, supervisors discuss each of their employee’s performance rankings and their reasons behind the evaluation. "A calibration session catches the 'easy graders' and 'tough graders' and helps them rate their employees more realistically," Joanne Lloyd writes on JobDig.com. 360-Degree Feedback Instead of relying on one supervisor to evaluate an individual’s performance, some companies ask everyone with whom the employee interacts to weigh in. That’s the idea behind 360-degree feedback, a technique that collects performance data from a number of stakeholders like team members, customers and direct reports. “When it’s done well, 360 programs allow all your team members to improve in key areas that might be limiting their upward career path or actually causing major conflict within a team,” Eric Jackson writes on Forbes. Management by Objective First outlined by management whiz Peter Drucker, management by objective occurs when supervisors work with employees to outline goals and desired outcomes. Managers evaluate staff members based on their ability to achieve results. The advantage of the MBO process is that it allows employees to actively participate in goal setting, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Peer Review As the term implies, peer reviews require co-workers to comment about each others’ performance. “Coworkers often know more about their peers' strengths and weaknesses than supervisors do, and letting employees review one another is a great way for management to share in that knowledge,” Stephanie Gruner writes on Inc. Companies have used these evaluation methods for ages, but they’re continually experimenting with new feedback iterations that combine input from employees and their peers. There has been some heated discussion on LinkedIn recently around forced rankings. One contributor reminds us, “It really doesn't matter what form is used; what matters is how it is used and what the results really mean.” It’s hard to judge one company’s forced rankings system without understanding other programs that might support or counter balance it.  Photo: Can Stock

This Week on HR Labs: The Employee’s Experience In An Employee-First Business
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This Week on HR Labs: The Employee’s Experience In An Employee-First Business

What HR Can Learn from Community Managers at Coworking Spaces
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What HR Can Learn from Community Managers at Coworking Spaces

When a worker sees an email from human resources, their stomach clenches. And if the employee sees an HR rep walk straight toward their desk, their heart skips a beat. It's easy to assume the worst: Did they say something offensive to a coworker without realizing it? Is their department downsizing? Understandably, HR managers want to shed this stern stereotype. Instead of being seen as the admonishers, they want to be seen as trusted confidants. And, as it turns out, community managers at coworking spaces may be the inspiration HR needs. Similar to HR managers, community managers' main goal is to create an environment where people can do their best work: They connect coworkers who could be beneficial to one another. They cheer on successes and provide solace during setbacks. They listen to what coworkers want—and efficiently address the problems. According to recent studies, community managers are doing quite well: People in coworking spaces rate their level of thriving at a six on a seven-point scale, according to the Harvard Business Review, and members say that they benefit most from interacting with people in those spaces and trading know how (all of which community managers facilitate). HR, on the other hand? A 2012 study found that fewer than 7 percent of employees believe HR is looking out for them. Here, a few well-connected community managers share advice for HR on how to cultivate more positive, beneficial relationships with employees. Show a Vested Interest HR professionals most commonly approach workers at the beginning and end of their tenure, for onboarding and offboarding. But what if they were to approach their workers more regularly, and on less serious terms? According to Annelie Chavez, who has worked in HR and now handles community and partnerships at coworking space Camp David, it all comes down to relationships. “Make sure you touch base with employees every so often. People aren't going to come to you," advises Chavez. "Have a quarterly or monthly [check-in] to make sure things are getting done—it's important to keep a pulse on the staff." Diana McLaren, who worked as a community lead at Hub Australia in Sydney, offers similar advice. In McLaren's opinion, HR workers would do well to get to know their employees as people—she suggests asking about how employees' kids are doing, or checking in on their upcoming vacation plans. “There's nothing that will make people feel more cherished than remembering something they said in passing last week," she says. “You're showing a vested interest in them." Move Around the Office Another way of forming better relationships with employees? Try moving around the office. Chavez sat in the front of her office as a secretary before being promoted to HR, and saw first-hand how her relationships with workers were more intimate and comfortable than some of her HR peers who hadn't come up from the trenches. “It really has to do with how open HR people make themselves," Chavez says. “If you're an HR person sitting in the corner of an office, no one is going to come to you [at the onset of a problem]. They're only going to come at the breaking point." Take Action In addition to genuinely listening to your employees—including paying attention to their successes and struggles—it's important to take action to address their concerns. “One thing that community managers do really well is come up with creative solutions that fix multiple problems at the same time," McLaren says. “Communities end up growing that way and people feel cherished and important. You're actually hearing them and getting rid of the problem for them. And that's a lot more reassuring than if the HR worker just tries to follow protocol and listen." Make Connections Among Coworkers One simple way HR can become a friendly resource? Adopt the proactive mindset of community managers when it comes to introducing employees to coworkers as mentors or peers with similar interests—in other words, focus on creating a literal "community." “People are not that complicated," says McLaren. "They want to feel a part of something, like their work matters." Jamie Russo, executive director of the Global Workspace Association, suggests putting systems in place to facilitate skill swapping. “[You] have to go after it," Russo says. “I would advise HR people to spend time in a coworking space to see how it works." Overall, if building relationships and networking are a valued part of company culture, people will generally be more engaged at work—and more trusting of the HR team that facilitated those relationships. Photo: Twenty20

What Performance Management Trends are You Noticing in the New Normal?
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What Performance Management Trends are You Noticing in the New Normal?

The prevalence of remote work in 2021 and beyond requires leaders to adapt how they work with their people. The question, of course, is how you can make that happen? Let’s explore some of today’s biggest challenges and discuss how they’re impacting performance management and HR. The New Remote Landscape Though telework has been around for years, it was generally limited to short periods and a limited number of remote employees. However, spring and summer of 2020 presented a complete shift in how we work—company offices became vacant, travel was halted and many workers transitioned to working remotely on a full-time basis.  This new remote culture has changed how employees interact with colleagues and managers. Water cooler talk is no longer a thing. It’s a lot harder for managers to track sentiment and behavior when communications are email-only. Annual reviews are a lot more challenging, too, because you haven’t seen an employee in months. Naturally, fully remote work has presented a different look at performance management. With less direct communication and conversation between co-workers, superiors, and direct reports, it’s a lot harder to track some of a performance review’s underlying components. Pair this with the ongoing dissatisfaction with traditional performance management and companies are facing an inflection point.  The Biggest Challenges of Remote Work For many organizations, the traditional performance management approach was convenient—with an appraisal of each employee once or twice a year. As a manager, you document what you would like to change or improve, use this information to create an annual review rating, and designate a day to speak with the reviewee. Then you use all of that information to determine compensation, employment status, development plans, and organizational talent analyses.  It’s convenient, it’s cost-effective, and it’s heavily embedded into your company. It helps you establish company goals, standardize expectations and identify room for improvement.  The traditional performance management process is also found to be demotivating by management and employees and is considered ineffective by HR managers. It ignores what’s on the horizon and focuses on backward-looking performance, making it challenging to build a holistic and accurate review. This ultimately creates a stressful environment for all those involved. Criticism of annual performance reviews is not a new phenomenon—it’s taken a new normal to bring this methodology’s weaknesses into the spotlight. With fewer in-person interactions, it’s a lot harder to track engagement, solicit feedback or understand whether your people are aligned.  The Rise of Ongoing and Informal Reviews To address this, many companies have decided to look beyond the traditional (and highly criticized) annual review. Instead, organizations are using the current landscape to increase the frequency of reviews to stay connected with employees. Ongoing, informal reviews are becoming more popular as part of a larger continuous engagement initiative. Not only do they provide recognition at a time when employees are worried about the future but also they rely on up-to-date and future-looking information. At a time when HR managers are making tough decisions and management teams are seeking increased productivity, shorter review timeframes can provide companies with a clearer picture of their business. How Companies Benefit from Check-ins and Continuous Feedback Though there are many reasons to embrace the quarterly review model or replace formal reviews with more frequent check-ins or 1:1 performance meetings, the following reasons stand out: Reduce Employee Angst – Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “scared chickens don’t lay eggs.” As employees read about recessions, businesses being shut down and more, they need you to lead. Your team wants to know things are moving smoothly and that the business is going to be around. Provide Recognition – 69 percent of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized. Recognition is the number one way to inspire great work. How long does this feeling of recognition last? Not long—certainly not a whole year. A shift from annual reviews to more frequent ones can deliver this recognition and increase engagement. Increase Accountability – It’s a lot harder to keep track of your employees when they’re not around the office. Accountability and engagement are intertwined here. But it’s a lot easier for a disengaged employee to deliver just enough when there are limited person-to-person discussions. This is doubly so when said employee knows that they won’t have to answer this until review season. With shorter timeframes and less formality, you can develop a clearer picture of accountability and engagement. New Tools Deliver Efficiency, Transparency, and Accuracy For better or worse, the early stages of the pandemic changed the way employees worked and communicated. Although you may have read about or even experienced “Zoom burnout,” many have found that the new communications tools used to manage the move to work from home provided a wide range of benefits: More Efficient and Effective Communications – Rather than taking time out of your day to meet or discuss projects, a well-built message board or corporate social media platform allows employees to communicate more quickly and effectively.  More Transparent Communications – The home is now the office. The virtual water cooler conversation leaves room for more discussion areas and at least one friendship has formed over mutual interests discovered by a Zoom background. Simply put, it’s easier to broaden the conversation and understand how employees are doing because you’re both in a more personal setting. More Informed Employees – The implementation of new communications tools has presented companies with another benefit—it’s easier to share information. Now, rather than a disconnected process of pushing down information, internal communications have become timelier and more transparent.  Though 2020 has introduced you to new platforms, companies have provided more communication channels to employees for years. The only difference is that instead of simply looking at or using the tools, your employees rely on them. As these platforms become more deeply embedded, this new normal will provide your staff with more fluid and accurate communications. Rising Focus on Engagement Provides Outstanding Results 2020 has presented a lot of unprecedented challenges for companies and their employees, and it might have been the shock to the system that leaders needed. With new tools in place and a new focus on connection with employees, many businesses have found opportunities for improvement that were previously overlooked.  From communications to performance management, HR is creating new programs built to facilitate conversations, encourage connection, and build engagement—often seeing outstanding results. According to Best Place to Work data meta-analysis, 2020 has seen employee engagement skyrocket, up 11 percent over the high water mark set in 2019.   In fact, the survey from Josh Bersin notes that 83 percent of employees feel better supported by management, 77 percent feel their organization is providing up-to-date and transparent communications and has found that engagement programs are working.  More Work to Do: Engagement Programs Need Continued Improvement There’s still a lot of work on the horizon. Getting from adjusting to the new normal to advancing your business into it will require a mentality that shifts and accommodates change. Now is the time to focus on engagement program results and implement new methods focused on morale.  The Role of Continuous Feedback in Performance Management, Employee Engagement, and Morale With communication taking place more efficiently, information being shared more transparently and check-ins becoming more frequent, a focus on continuous engagement can deliver results. Feedback and recognition connect employees and managers, establishes a common goal and connects processes, helping your organization: Solidify and reinforce connections between managers and employees. When feedback and recognition are provided by indirect managers or across departments, previously unknown insights emerge, helping your employees feel valued and motivated (especially if they are working between different departments or clinical facilities). Take noticeable steps toward a workplace culture where others are not only recognized but heard. Increase engagement with the talent platform(s) you’re already invested in. Gauge how your employees are doing by implementing employee pulse surveys. These surveys can help employees share where they are professionally and personally. The companies can also use them to find ways to recognize employee dedication and hard work when the lines are blurred between work and home.   Cornerstone and Educe: Learning, Thriving and Performing  Performance Management has always been a challenge. But with recent events, many have risen to this challenge.  Much like the transition to work in the new normal, the operating landscape will require the right tools, tactics and processes to get where you want to be. If you’re looking to put your business in a position for long-term success, Cornerstone and the Educe Group can help. By relying on a leading service provider to implement one of the world’s most powerful talent management platforms, you can empower your users and make the most of your Cornerstone investment. As a Cornerstone partner for over five years, Educe helps organizations at every level better understand and fully leverage Cornerstone’s powerful talent management capabilities. To keep learning more about emerging performance management trends, watch this video of Stacie Grasberger, associate at The Educe Group, and Hendrik Thomas, senior product manager at Cornerstone, discussing what you can do to be prepared for these trends and how to handle their challenges. Contact us to learn more about how Educe can help you make the most of your Cornerstone investment.Â

Why Women Are Still Struggling to Climb the Corporate Ladder
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Why Women Are Still Struggling to Climb the Corporate Ladder

International Women’s Day is Sunday, March 8, and there’s a lot that female professionals ought to be proud of. For one, there are more women starting their own businesses—and succeeding. From 2007 to 2018, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 58%. They’re also highly profitable: A recent Boston Consulting Group Report reported that if men and women were treated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP would rise by 3% and boost the global economy by $2.5 trillion. In fact, women consistently score higher than their male counterparts in most leadership skills. And when it comes to getting a seat at the table, women are seeing a higher level of representation than ever before. According to research from Grant Thorton, 29% of senior management roles were held by women last year—the highest number ever on record. But despite this progress, they continue to lag behind when compared to their male counterparts. Women make up 44% of the overall S&P 500 labor force and 36% of first- or mid-level officials and managers at those organizations. Yet they make up only 25% of executive- and senior-level management. What’s more, women hold only 20% of board seats and account for just 6% of CEOs. This imbalance isn’t new. For years, women have lacked representation at the highest levels. That’s especially true for women of color, who make up only 3.5% of board rooms for the S&P 1500. So why do these inequalities persist? More often than not, the challenges that women face can be linked to the “broken rung,” a term that refers to companies’ failure to empower women in entry-level roles to grow into management positions. Fixing it is a necessary step toward achieving equality. According to a report from Lean In and McKinsey & Company, if women are promoted to first-time managers at the same rate as men, there will be one million more women in corporate management positions over the next five years. Luckily, organizations are already equipped with the tools they need to turn this goal into a reality. Communicate D&I Goals and Get Internal Stakeholders On Board When you’re hiring for any position—and especially entry- and mid-level ones—it’s important to set clear goals for diversity and inclusion. Employees who hold more junior positions will eventually be qualified to move into managerial roles—and they’ll be looking for opportunities to do just that. LinkedIn reports that 94% of individuals would stay at a company longer if the organization invested in their careers. As a result, ensuring your candidate pool contains more women from the get-go is crucial if you want to see more of them land in leadership spots. Once you develop a diverse hiring strategy, communicate it internally to members of the HR team and to C-suite decision-makers. Make the case for recruiting more women at all levels so you can receive buy-in from all internal stakeholders and gain access to resources that will enable you to recruit most effectively. After you hire and onboard employees, pay close attention to how they’re adjusting to their roles. Meet with associates early on and talk to them about their career goals, ensuring they have access to the same opportunities as their colleagues from the moment they begin working. Many career growth opportunities stem from internal networking activities. And while some employees will make connections at work naturally, others may be a bit more reluctant to build bonds with colleagues. It’s also a gendered issue: Men often benefit more from networking activities at work, and sometimes these activities are centered around a “bro” culture that doesn’t always welcome women. Luckily, there are other ways to foster mentorship. For example, an employee-mentor program can empower female associates and early managers to build relationships with their senior colleagues. These programs not only provide women an opportunity to make meaningful professional connections within your organization, they also give them the opportunity to ask questions and gain new skills. Establish Clear and Consistent Evaluation Criteria At many companies, the promotion process can seem rather opaque. This lack of transparency is often frustrating for employees—especially those working hard to get to the next level. To ensure all workers have an equal opportunity to move up, focus on establishing evaluation criteria for managers to follow when making promotion decisions. This approach not only helps managers, it also offers employees greater visibility into the process and gives workers the tools they need to reach their potential—regardless of gender. Require Managers to Participate in Unconscious Bias Trainings Offering managers guidance around how to evaluate employees certainly contributes to a more just promotion structure, but fixing the systematic problem of the “broken rung” will require your HR department to challenge managers on how they hire, fire and promote employees. That starts with evaluating their own inherent biases—and taking steps to ensure those preferences don’t impact their employees’ growth and development. Managing unconscious bias is easier said than done. That’s because all humans have preconceived notions—even if they don’t necessarily act upon those judgments. The scientific explanation for unconscious bias is simple: The brain can consciously process 40 pieces of content per second, while it can unconsciously process 11 million pieces of content. We do a lot of thinking that we’re not aware of, meaning we often come to certain conclusions without realizing it. One of the most common examples of unconscious bias is gender bias. When women are strong and assertive, they are often perceived as “aggressive” while men with the same qualities are seen as confident. As a result, a female employee who demonstrates these attributes might be passed up for a promotion because of their gender, due to a manager’s unconscious bias. Knowing how to spot these fixed assumptions is critical to building and maintaining a more diverse workforce and fixing the “broken rung.” Start by incorporating unconscious bias training into your L&D efforts and educating managers on how to minimize their own judgments. Helping women move up the corporate ladder will likely require planning, communication and, in some cases, changes in policy and structure. If you’re an HR manager working to bridge the gender gap at your organization, you certainly have your work cut out for you. But with the right strategy and resources, you can empower more women to reach their full professional potential.

Why You Need Infrastructure for Managers to Succeed
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Why You Need Infrastructure for Managers to Succeed

Can we all agree that the leadership of an organization is the single most important element driving success? Yes, I know that's an odd question—but think about it. Isn't it the case that the behavior of leaders shapes the behavior of employees, through effective coaching, correction and development? In last month's article, I talked about leadership development and how the day-to-day work of an organization actually serves as the best learning curriculum; by solving real problems and reflecting on why something worked or didn't work, leaders grow in knowledge and experience. But is that enough? Hire incredibly smart people and let them learn by doing? In my experience, there is still a piece missing and, unless it is addressed, it can create chaos. The missing piece? Infrastructure. The Importance of Infrastructure You've likely heard the old saying, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." Or perhaps "If you pit a good performer against a bad system, the system will win almost every time." But what do these pithy sayings really mean? They mean that the infrastructure—the systems, processes, policies and programs that those in the organization execute every day—have to facilitate and enable behaviors that drive organizational performance. You can teach, communicate, motivate and inspire people to do the right work with appropriate behaviors, but if the infrastructure is teaching or communicating a different message, your performance and productivity are seriously impacted. It's like an orchestra with everyone playing their favorite piece. Unless they agree, it's chaos. It's like a racing pit crew where everyone runs to fix something, and they run to the same tire, so one tire gets all the attention, and the rest run flat. Infrastructure provides the parameters by which leaders lead and employees work. Values Support Infrastructure, But Don't Define It What is the purpose of those “values and principles" tacked up on the wall that talk about things like customer service, integrity and communication? They're referring to the ideal infrastructure, telling leaders and employees, “This is what is important; this is how we expect our team to behave." But it's not enough to simply say, “Act with integrity," or “Communicate effectively," because those are open to individual interpretation. The solution? Programs designed to put values to action, measure employee culture fit, and identify engagement gaps. So, Who Builds Infrastructure? There are a number of methods modern organizations have adopted to ensure organizational values are translated into action. Today, we create employee handbooks that prescribe appropriate behaviors, and define reprimands for bad ones. We offer intense manager trainings. We design pay and benefits structures that reward high performance and good behavior. We implement processes to set goals and measure performance to ensure that the work the organization is doing is aligned with the business strategy. We evaluate leaders' and employees' skills and competencies, and create plans for continuous development. We practice behavioral interviewing to try to source and hire new employees who can perform and thrive in our culture. But hang on—these are all HR programs, right? They are, but all too often, these programs fail to address their core purpose of building an infrastructure based on values. Instead, managers begrudgingly complete their tasks as HR cajoles and polices the programs, focused on compliance over strategy and completion over improvement. HR programs—which are inherently about building your organization's infrastructure—should instead be continuously evaluated and tweaked to align with the needs of the organization. The “words on the wall" may tell employees that they are the organization's most valued asset, but do the managers' behaviors reinforce the message? Do your words match your actions? Does the infrastructure that you created work, or is it shouting mixed messages? I cannot give you the answer; only you can take time to reflect on your organization's infrastructure and answer these questions. Executives, your HR team probably has a pretty good sense of the answers to these questions. If you're looking to improve your leadership culture, ask them where there might be opportunity to improve the infrastructure. I bet they have some good ideas. Photo: Twenty20

Why Your Job Descriptions Should Tell a Story
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Why Your Job Descriptions Should Tell a Story

Just as branding — both personal and professional — is essential to marketing or sales, it's increasingly crucial for HR. Job candidates have understood the power of personal branding for quite some time — the key to landing a dream job is to craft a concise, first-person narrative about who you are and the value you represent to potential employers. For recruiters and hiring managers, tired beyond belief of bland, hackneyed descriptions of “results-driven, self-motivated team players," it's a welcome relief to read about actual people, not automatons. Now, flip the equation. With relatively low unemployment rates at 5 percent, employers also need to craft a compelling brand in order to attract the most qualified candidates. What more obvious place to craft your employer narrative than through your job descriptions? How to Tell a Brand Story to Candidates A job posting should focus on convincing a talented candidate that he or she belongs at your company. Just as a great resume speaks directly to the hiring manager's needs and shares a unique story, a great job posting should speak to the needs of the candidate's ideal employer and offer a narrative for his or her "character." How do you tell a unique story with a job description? Let's walk through a recent job posting from First Round Review, the online magazine of venture capital firm First Round Capital. 1) Lead with a non-stock photo image The image at the top of the post — a woman on an indoor swing in an art studio — lets interested candidates understand that this is not a buttoned-up, corporate type of job; the company obviously wants to attract creative, daring people. 2) State the company's mission Candidates immediately get a sense of the employer brand through the image, and a succinct, strong description of the employer confirms the bold brand: "We launched First Round Review to offer a better brand of advice to the startup ecosystem." A link back to the employer's site invites candidates to explore how the Review's mission aligns with the broader vision of First Round Capital and its clients. 3) Invite the candidate to join the adventure Immediately following the Review's mission, the post states, “That's where you come in." That's right — the posting speaks directly to the candidate, just as candidates should speak directly to the hiring manager through a resume or cover letter. 4) Craft a character Instead of writing up a laundry list of skills, the Review's posting focuses on character traits: Phrases like "You call yourself a writer first;" "You're curious about people;" and "Tech fascinates you" indicate certain skill sets, but put them in an individual, relatable context. By focusing on such character traits, First Round Review attracts potential hires that may not have every specific skill desired, but certainly have the right interests, approach and personality. 5) Start a conversation, not an application First Round does have a senior HR executive, one whose strategy seems to empower managers to determine whom they want to interview. Nowhere does the posting instruct candidates to “upload your resume and cover letter." Instead, a link to the manager's email encourages applicants to “talk" to her directly. Terrific! A company that eschews ATS software in favor of an actual human who can identify candidates based not only on their resume, but also on what she intuits. The New Standard for Job Descriptions HR professionals have developed a comfort zone with old-style job descriptions that are completely out of sync with the contemporary world of work. Continue posting jobs this way, and I predict that the quality of your candidates will quickly match your behind-the-times recruitment strategy. I can hear the protests already from companies that require highly specific skills and consider the example I've provided above too "warm and fuzzy" for their culture. But the point is not to copy the exact language above; it's to clearly communicate your company brand and tell a story about the person you're hoping to find. Think about it this way: When buyers shop for a house, realtors encourage them to envision themselves living there. The specs on square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms matter, of course, but the buyer also needs to believe the specs that make up that house could be a home. The same thing applies to your company's potential talent pool — your job description should invite the candidate to not only imagine working at your company, but belonging there. Photo: Creative Commons

Working Towards Mindfitness: The Flexible Mind
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Working Towards Mindfitness: The Flexible Mind

Wisdom requires a flexible mind. - Dan Carlin If I could turn the clocks back and do a few things differently, there is certainly one thing that I would have embraced much earlier on in my life, and that is yoga. Without wanting to sound evangelistic, it is something that has literally changed my life not only physically, but it has also had a very positive impact on my emotional wellbeing. Countless studies demonstrate the effect that practicing yoga can have on reducing stress levels, and one of the other great benefits is how much it improves your range of motion and ultimately your physical flexibility. In many ways it is a truly liberating experience because over time it helps to build core strength and nimbleness. So, in a world where the pace of change requires us all to be more and more adaptable, it is reassuring to know that as we are able to exercise our bodies to improve our physical flexibility, we can indeed do the same with our minds. Thankfully, we have now entered an age where flexibility and innovation matter much more than antiquated experiences or decades-old qualifications. Staying relevant in the fourth industrial revolution is about staying current, adopting a growth mindset and embracing fresh thinking. We are, after all, perpetual students in the university of life and continuous learning is the key to thriving. One of my favorite books was written in 1970 by Alvin Toffler who is regarded as one of the world's most outstanding futurists. The book is called Future Shock and there is a very powerful quote that says: The illiterate of the 21st century won’t be those who can’t read or write it will be those who have the inability to learn, unlearn and relearn. It is wise to appreciate that what is relevant today may not be relevant for the future and the willingness and ability to ‘unlearn’ is as important as our ability to learn. This of course requires an open and flexible mind. Our ability to disengage from one task and respond to another or to think about multiple concepts at the same time is fundamental to thriving in most modern workplaces. Someone who is flexible will learn quicker, as well as being able to adapt and respond to new situations more easily and in a much smarter and appropriate way. What is flexibility? Behavioral flexibility and cognitive flexibility are terms that are used in the field of experimental psychology to identify a form of cognition that enables humans to adapt their behaviour according to changing environmental situations. The etymology of the word flexibility is the capacity to bend without breaking and in a world that is in a constant state of flux this is a powerful skill. In many ways, a flexible mind allows us to expand our thinking and explore and discover a broader range of options that are potentially available to us. Being able to think on our feet and adjust accordingly will help us to be responsive and agile. So how do leaders empower flexibility? As a flexible leader you will need to adapt well to changes and be willing to revise your plans to incorporate new innovations and overcome challenges, while still achieving your goals. You will also need to possess the ability to think about situations and consider as many different elements as possible in the time you have available. The antiquated “one-size-fits-all” approach to leadership simply does not work anymore. In a truly inclusive workplace, flexible leaders recognize that different people and situations require different leadership styles and approaches. Leading through uncertainty and ambiguity is the new normal, especially in these unprecedented times. Flexible leaders embrace change, demonstrate a growth mindset and embrace working with a wide spectrum of people. What I love about flexibility is how tangibly useful it is in a crisis and I would like to share with you three key approaches that are fundamental to empowering flexibility within your team: 1. Constantly review and refresh your perspective The pace of change right now is relentless, and it is important to factor in time to stop and reflect and refresh your understanding of both internal and external factors that may well be impacting on your organization's effectiveness. This will help you to be constantly on top of what approaches are most likely to work best and how to prioritize and balance the need for urgency and diligence. 2. Flex your leadership style Having knowledge and a good understanding of the different styles of leadership can be very helpful in terms of improving your ability to be more flexible. As we have previously established, in a world of rich diversity one style of leadership doesn’t get the best results from everyone. The ability to flex your approach to suit the needs of each individual and each situation is key to achieving the best outcomes. 3. Lead by example It isn’t enough to know and show people the way, you also need to go the way. Modelling the behaviors that are required to be flexible is one of the most important tasks for any leader and especially in times of constant flux and uncertainty. Leading by example is one of the most powerful ways you will instil trust and confidence in a high performing team. These are just a few examples of how great leaders can best support their teams to be truly empowered and flexible. The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings. - Kakuzo Okakura For more Mindfit resources, check out free sample courses from Cornerstone’s Original Learning Series, Empowering Minds with Liggy Webb. Read about Liggy Webb's "Mindfit" model, or take a closer look at the next element in the model, a Creative Mind.

Working Towards Mindfitness: The Resilient Mind
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Working Towards Mindfitness: The Resilient Mind

When we learn how to become resilient, we learn how to embrace the beautifully broad spectrum of the human experience - Jaeda DeWalt I discovered one of my favourite descriptions of resilience whilst doing some research. It’s an inspiring account of resilience written by a critical care nurse called Sonja M. Schwartzbach: "And then resilience enters the room, the most elegant of emotional beings; glowing; refined; a reminder that even a flicker of light glows amid the darkness. And we can save our tiny ship of troubles from life’s stormy seas once again." Resilience, in many ways, is an elegant, rich and inspiring topic. It is also an essential skill to cultivate, and our ability to be resilient to stress, setbacks, adversity and relentless change depends so much on our inner resources and strength. So, what is resilience? The word resilience derives from the Latin verb resilire, meaning to jump back or to recoil. In physics, resilience is the ability of an elastic material to absorb energy and release that energy as it springs back to its original shape. The recovery that occurs in this phenomenon is akin to a human being’s ability to bounce back after one of life’s various and inevitable challenges. Resilience is essentially the process of adapting and recovering well from adversity, trauma, tragedy or threats. Some people describe resilience as the ability to bend instead of breaking when experiencing pressure or the ability to persevere and adapt when faced with challenges. The same abilities also help us to be more open and willing to take on new opportunities It is also essential to understand that resilience is not about ‘toughing it out’ to the detriment of our own overall wellbeing. We need to acknowledge that as human beings we will of course have our own unique fragilities and vulnerabilities. Focusing on self-care and building a toolkit of positive and healthy coping mechanisms is one of the best ways to cultivate resilience. Something else that I have learned about resilience is that the curve balls and challenges that life will inevitably throw at us, perversely, are often the most valuable lessons when it comes to learning about and building our ability to be resilient. As Theodore Roosevelt once remarked, “For those who have had to fight for it, life has truly a flavor the protected shall never know.” So how do leaders empower resilience? I love a good parable, and this one is so powerful: This is the story of a man who finds a butterfly cocoon and, as he has never witnessed the metamorphosis before, he is fascinated to see what happens. This, however, was in the days before the internet and all he has is a large magnifying glass. As he examines the process, all he can see is the butterfly struggling to push through a tiny hole in the cocoon and it appears to be in discomfort. Seeing this he decides to help it out and gets hold of a pair of scissors and very carefully cuts into the side of the hole to make it bigger. The butterfly then emerges really easily with very little effort and then to the man’s dismay he watches as the butterfly withers away unable to take flight. You see, with all the good will in the world, what the man did not realize was that the butterfly's struggle to get through the small opening of the cocoon is nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight. Just like the sapling which grows strong from being buffeted by the wind, in life we all need to struggle sometimes to make us stronger. So, as a leader, you may well be tempted to solve every problem in your team’s path to save time or energy or avoid frustration. However, I would urge you to not get in the way of your team’s journey as they build up a sense of personal responsibility and self-efficacy. Allowing them to learn their own lessons and self-actualize is the key to empowerment. When you allow people to take responsibility for their own actions, they learn to demonstrate accountability. By being accountable they will ultimately feel more empowered, confident and in control when dealing with setbacks and adversity. It is also liberating to allow your team to acknowledge and understand that they can ultimately create options and choose their responses to every situation. So instead of jumping in and trying to solve all of your team’s challenges for them, work out how they are feeling about the challenges and focus on building up their confidence. Focus on supporting them to build their own unique resilience toolkit. This is how great leaders can best support their teams to be truly empowered and resilient. On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin -Gregory S. Williams For more Mindfit resources, check out free sample courses from Cornerstone’s Original Learning Series, Empowering Minds with Liggy Webb. Read about Liggy Webb's "Mindfit" model, or take a closer look at the next element in the model a Curious Mind.

3 Ways to Address Brain Drain in Government Agencies
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3 Ways to Address Brain Drain in Government Agencies

In the age of constantly evolving technology, it's easy for any company to fall behind. But state and local government agencies face a particular set of challenges: budget cuts, an older generation of employees, a lack of resources and a strict hierarchy that can stand in the way of moving forward. This hinders opportunities to enlist young, fresh talent and retain them within the agency. A recent survey from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence found more than 90 percent of state and local government human resource managers rank recruiting and retaining qualified personnel as the most important issue they face. While government agencies can't often compete with the salary, perks, and brand of young tech startups or large organizations, they can find budget-conscious ways to create a compelling work environment and career opportunities. In addition to the civic impact and fulfilling work government agencies offer, it's important to provide talent with ways to learn and grow on their own terms. Here are three ways government agencies can bring in and hold on to top talent. 1) Be Flexible It's important to provide employees with flexible scheduling and work environments. By offering mobile training or an online onboarding experience, employees can work from anywhere, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to the Center for State and Government Excellence study, only 22 percent of agencies offer regular telecommuting for eligible positions and 28 percent of workplaces didn't offer any flex work practices. By providing a flexible workplace, agencies can improve employee engagement, as well as increase dedication to the company. According to the Best Places to Work data, work life balance has proven to be a key differentiator when people are considering where to work. Additionally, the public sector lags behind the private industry in offering these flexibilities. 2) Provide a Modern Learning Experience As HR ushers in a younger, new talent pool along with the latest technology, it's important to remember the older workforce. Training is ongoing, says Steve Dobberowsky in a recent webinar on how to attract and retain the incoming generation, senior principal of thought leadership and advisory services at Cornerstone OnDemand. So to help different generations succeed at the same place, provide everyone with video content to learn new skills and keep the user experience simple. Also, start automating the application, screening, and onboarding processes to utilize your employees' time. As Dobberowsky says, people no longer go start at one organization with the mindset that they are going to stay there for their entire career. Therefore, it's important to give young employees the resources to learn new concepts. By thinking about what's next in technology—such as artificial intelligence and smart workflows—instead of staying set in old ways, you will start to attract the type of workforce that will bring in fresh ideas to build the future of your agency. 3) Focus on Your Employer Brand According to the same study by the Center for State and Government Excellence, 84 percent of recruitment for state and local government agencies is done through online job advertising. It's important to amp up your online presence, Dobberowsky says, because 84 percent of workers would consider leaving their job for another company with a strong reputation. Agencies should be vigilant about maintaining their online presence and take active steps to maintain that identity. In today’s technological world, people look to what others are saying about things before making up their minds on issues such as ‘where do I want to work?’ Most people do their research online. Take a look at your Glassdoor account to see how your ratings are doing and respond to employee comments. Adopt a consumer-style strategy for marketing and engaging potential employees. Use social media to your advantage and update LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter with useful information about your agency, as well as marketable content that shows off a mobile and diverse workforce. By taking control of your agency's online presence, you can start to draw in the ideal candidate for your agency—and take action to make the employee want to stay long term. For more information, check out our latest webinar, "How to Attract and Retain the Incoming Generation of Government Employees." Photo: Creative Commons

A manager's guide to confronting performance issues
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A manager's guide to confronting performance issues

One of the most daunting tasks managers face is dealing with an underperforming employee. Traditional approaches to performance management often leave managers unequipped to deliver constructive performance feedback. As a result, employees feel demoralized and defensive rather than motivated to succeed. It doesn't have to be this way. View this webinar and you’ll gain insights into: Why traditional performance management makes correcting underperformance so challenging How a modern approach to performance management impacts employee engagement and productivity How to adopt a five-step process for diagnosing employee performance issues How to address underperformance in a way that feels good to the employee

In Healthcare, a Happy Staff Makes for Healthy Patients
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In Healthcare, a Happy Staff Makes for Healthy Patients

Healthcare professionals know a slew of factors go into keeping patients healthy, safe and satisfied with the care they’re receiving. But while adopting state-of-the-art technology, recruiting top specialists and creating preventative health programs tend to get the spotlight, there’s an often-overlooked variable with wide-reaching consequences: employee engagement. Employee Happiness Matters Strong employee engagement has been linked with significant improvements in patient care and satisfaction. For instance, higher nurse engagement scores lead to lower patient mortality and complications, according to a recent Gallup study. Higher nurse satisfaction resulted in an 87 percent decrease in infection rate over two years, according to data from the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI). What’s more, Gallup also found that hospitals employing the least engaged nurses spend $1.1 million more per year in malpractice claims than those with the most engaged nurses. Just like employees at any company, healthcare providers will do better work — and provide better care — if they are happier and invested in their jobs. The State of Engagement Today If employee engagement is so crucial to providing high-quality patient care, what are healthcare providers actually doing about it? According to a 2014 Cornerstone OnDemand study that surveyed HR professionals at healthcare organizations, nearly half of respondents said their organizations do measure whether or not employees are engaged — and to what extent. But nearly half of respondents also indicated that their employees were not fully engaged, and a quarter of respondents said they don't measure engagement at all.  The low engagement levels, survey respondents said, were primarily due to industry changes (such as the burden of transitioning from paper to electronic medical records), high rates of employee turnover and mandates to manage hospital surveys and adopt ICD-10, a new coding system for diagnosing various diseases. While healthcare organizations are aware of the problem and (some) even believe they’re prepared to address the downsides of low engagement, there is still a long way to go to achieve higher engagement rates that translate into better patient care. Only a third of organizations surveyed had an HR plan in place to drive engagement, but these initiatives become sidetracked by everyday concerns like patient emergencies and transitioning to new systems and software. 6 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement It’s clear that healthcare organizations need to address employee satisfaction and its consequences. But where to start? These six strategies can help: 1. Use succession planning to create career paths. Succession planning is not only important for the long-term success of an organization, but it also improves overall job satisfaction. This is especially true in healthcare, where the exodus of Baby Boomers and an acute nursing shortage has underscored the need for strong employee retention. Having a comprehensive strategy for building a strong leadership pipeline is directly tied to improved employee satisfaction, engagement and commitment, according to a 2012 study from Walden University. For example, a New Jersey healthcare system that implemented a succession plan for employees boosted engagement and retention, and eventually earned HR Solutions International's top rank for engagement, patient care and overall job satisfaction. 2. Recognize your strongest players. In healthcare, it’s crucial for nurses and other on-the-floor care providers to feel acknowledged and appreciated. So be sure to recognize nurses and other staff for good work. One caveat: a culture of recognition does require better performance management processes, so make sure feedback sessions and reviews happen more than once a year. 3. Prioritize learning and development. Employees who have access to “meaningful learning and development opportunities” are typically very engaged, according to the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration. Additionally, research has found that solid development opportunities can lower employee turnover and bring in up to twice the revenue per worker. 4. Deliver feedback that integrates learning opportunities early and often. Building a highly engaged workforce means delivering more frequent, actionable feedback that's tied to actionable learning opportunities. It's also important to deliver feedback early in an employee's tenure. Connecting performance management and learning opportunities keeps employees prepared with the latest skills needed to provide the best care to patients. 5. Start engagement activities early. An employee’s first day is likely to be his or her most engaged day on the job, according to Katherine Jones, vice president of HCM Technology Research at Bersin by Deloitte. Have your new hires hit the ground running by networking early with coworkers to drive home your organization's high expectations for ongoing engagement. It's also important to make new hires feel welcome in their new community. A Washington, D.C. hospital saw a significant drop in attrition when it sent new nurses a welcome card introducing them to the team before their first day. 6. Align employee goals with organizational goals. Healthcare workers generally enter the field because they have a strong passion for helping others. Communicate your organization's mission clearly and consistently so employees have a strong reference from which to set personal goals. Set your employees up for achieving these goals by providing the necessary resources, whether it's a mentorship program or training sessions for specific skills. Connecting employees' personal passion for their work with the organization’s goals leads to stronger employee loyalty and better performance. Photo: Shutterstock

Onboarding in Healthcare: To Socialize or Not - Is That a Question?
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Onboarding in Healthcare: To Socialize or Not - Is That a Question?

I'm sure you remember. It was your first job. You wondered whether or not they would like you. You thought to yourself, "Will I be able to do the job?" Peer pressure seeped in when you walked into the hospital the first time. However, it's not about your skills. It was whether or not the culture would accept you. Would people embrace you and give you the understanding of the "ins and outs" of this particular hospital? Leadership told you that you would be onboarded, that murky process when the hiring manager pulls you aside and has you fill out all the employment forms as well as to confirm you are up-to-date with your compliance training. Perhaps you get to meet your boss, some coworkers and go out to lunch. How would you be received? Where is Onboarding? The fact remains that onboarding, as a discipline, is often neglected not only in the healthcare industry but also by other industries as well. Little has been said about the onboarding process since usually confined to employment forms and compliance training. The reality is that onboarding is an integral part of the employee lifecycle and can make a difference to whether or not you can stave off the challenges of attrition for years to come. In the market, the healthcare industry has suffered an average of 28% turnover year-over-year (Note 1). As baby boomers continue to retire, reports show us that two-thirds of nurses over the age of 54 will be considering retirement in the next three years (Note 2). If these predictions continue, it appears that we will be 1.2 million nurses short by the year 2022 (Note 3). The challenge is real and current. The need to address onboarding is an immediate one. Let's take Different Perspective Human Resource scholars from Portland State University, Talya Bauer and Berrin Erdogan, decided that they would assume the challenge to define better and address the lost art (and science) of onboarding. Bauer and Erdogan define organizational socialization (read "onboarding") as "a process through which new employees move from being organizational outsiders to becoming organizational insiders" (Note 4). Their conclusions suggested that it is more important to take the time to socialize new employees into the institution early on in their employment history to ensure greater levels of employee satisfaction and organizational commitment, while at the macro level, reducing turnover and increasing personnel performance. They offer a set of steps that organizations can take to help in the socializing process. These measures consist of socialization tactics, formal orientation, recruitment and realistic previews as well as, providing organizational insiders as preceptors. Socialization Tactics In essence, this step suggests that the organization could intentionally connect new employees into the social structure of the institution. Some socialization tactics utilized, unconsciously, may be described as a "sink or swim" approach in which the employee is made the struggle to figure out the associated organizational norms and how they are to fit in. Though a tactic such as this has been effective to highlight self-directed employees, it is not very predictable in its outcome (Note 4). An example a socialization tactic that is more useful and predictable is that of providing an activity that brings together current and new employees. Often, the perception of team building is as an activity without an outcome, however, in this case, the journey is far more beneficial than the destination. Having the opportunity to intentionally interact, at a social level, with new colleagues, makes the onboarding experience, not only more useful but also pleasant. An example of a good onboarding socialization tactic is present at UCLA Health, where new residents are invited to participate in a day long ropes course activity to assist in establishing clear communications and building trust. These activities also help in the future when teamwork and critical problem–solving skills are required. Formal Orientation This particular step is fairly traditional and has a place in the onboarding process. Not only can formal orientations help new employees feel welcome and provide them with the appropriate information for success, but it also shows the employee that the organization is rigorous and well-structured, that it has the best intentions for their success in their new job. Research does indicate that orientation programs can be effective when discussing the goals and the history of the particular institution. Evidence also shows that face-to-face orientation has greater levels of benefit over computer-based orientation when it comes to understanding the job (Note 4). One hospital in the East utilizes the Wizard of Oz as the primary vehicle to present strong leadership skills. Each new staff member is required to watch the Wizard of Oz movie before their formal orientation so that they can discuss leadership principals in the movie and at the hospital. This approach is efficient and memorable when they are in the midst of the hustle on the hospital floor. Recruitment and Realistic Previews We have already recognized that social events are essential in the onboarding process, but it should not stop there. Bauer and Erdogan also suggest that a good onboarding process continues to recruit the employee even after the candidate becomes a formal employee. The recruitment process, during onboarding, is not like the recruiting process when discussing a job with the candidate, but more so in providing a realistic view of the job to be performed. A realistic preview encompasses showing the new employee the company culture, in action, and giving them as much accurate information about what is required (Note 4). Often, onboarding processes provide a glossy and unrealistic view of the organization and the associated job, therefore, eroding a proper understanding.  A better approach to this situation is to conduct ongoing job fairs and other cross functional activities so the new employee can continue to embed themselves in the institution and have a more realistic view of what is required. An example of recruitment and realistic preview come from a national senior living healthcare provider. Every year, they conduct an operational meeting where many of their 20,000 employees converge at headquarters to hear from senior leadership and take corporate training. During their stay for the week, there is also a department "fair."  Picture a large convention hall with many tables set out representing the various departments and major projects currently at the organization. This strategy allows new employees as well as veterans to see what is happening across the groups and potentially provide a vision to serve in different capacities within the company. Organizational Insider One of the more significant discoveries of organizational socialization research is the use of a mentor, or preceptor, assigned to the new employee. Having a one-on-one relationship between mentor and new employee allows for specific questions to be answered as well as job instruction, offering social support during the socialization process. Continued research has found that new hires are more likely to internalize key values of the organization, and its associated culture if they attend social events and spend time with an organizational mentor (Note 4). Meet Steve and Katrina Greer. Some time ago, Steve contracted Leukemia and admitted to the Penn State Hershey Medical Center (Note 5). Katrina, Steve's daughter, spent many a day and night at the hospital with her father as he underwent treatment. Katrina, concerned about her father, observed the nurses take care of him. Katrina had plans to become an orthodontist, however, after seeing the critical role that nurses play in our healthcare system, she deiced to become a nurse herself. "Nurses saved my father," Katrina states. She especially connected with one of Steve's nurses, Angie. It was Angie's actions that convinced Katrina to take up nursing. Mentorship is a powerful force. Though there are many influences in the onboarding of clinical staff in a healthcare institute, organizations must begin to tackle the onboarding process in a more proactive way. As the job market continues to be challenging for healthcare institutions to satisfy their need, these same institutions must take heed to current lackadaisical onboarding processes and take advantage of an intentional approach. By examining these four areas with relation to your current onboarding processes, you may be able to be in a better position to provide greater levels of organizational socialization thus achieving better odds in increasing retention, improving performance and overall employee satisfaction. Onboarding alone is not the answer. There are many factors that contribute to attrition and productivity. It is for that reason that Cornerstone is conducting a four-part series focused on healthcare talent issues. We would love to have you attend the next session on on October 19th where we will be focusing in on engagement.  Interested? Here is the link to register and we look forward to seeing you there. Notes: 1 https://www.healthecareers.com/article/healthcare-news/staff-turnover 2 http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/02/nursing-shortage/459741/ 3 http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/human-capital-and-risk/how-5-health-systems-are-recruiting-retaining-nurses-during-an-rn-shortage.html 4 Bauer, T. N., & Erdogan, B. (2010). Organizational socialization: The effective onboarding of new employees. In S. Zedeck, H. Aguinis, W. Cascio, M. Gelfand, K. Leung, S. Parker, & J. Zhou (Eds.). APA Handbook of I/O Psychology, Volume III, pp. 51-64. Washington, DC: APA Press 5 Cornerstone Client Story: Penn State Hershey Medical Center. (2015). Retrieved September 21, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1HsVpXoP4Y   Â

What State Governments Can Learn from the Cornhusker State
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What State Governments Can Learn from the Cornhusker State

For state governments, striving to operate as “one employer” comes with a variety of challenges. To start, state agencies range in size, geographic spread and mission, and they tend to operate in isolation from one another. When it comes to managing, engaging and training state workers, frequently there are as many methods used as there are state agencies. With 17,000 employees across 80 divergent agencies, this story rings true for the State of Nebraska—and in 2010, the State set out to unify its workforce management efforts, turning to Cornerstone OnDemand’s integrated talent management solution to support its initiatives. We recently sat down with the team at the State to discuss their progress and explore the benefits realized since undertaking their transformation. When speaking to state governments across the country, I am regularly asked what states like Nebraska did to make their talent management efforts successful. What best practices should they take away from these successes when changing or reviving their own talent management projects? Several factors make Nebraska’s initiatives successful. Understand your talent The State of Nebraska’s talent team thought beyond individual agencies to understand the skills and abilities of its entire workforce – both what skills employees possessed, and where training was needed. Looking at the entire talent pool across 80 agencies helped the State to align and consolidate training, development and succession planning efforts statewide. As a result, the State was able to create consistent methods of employee evaluation, measurement and training – something that transcends agencies, administrations and changing elected leadership. Engage the workforce The State of Nebraska didn’t settle for the commonly held perception that state government jobs rarely provide exciting, upwardly mobile and career-building opportunities. Taking matters into their own hands, the talent management team challenged this assumption and demonstrated to employees that the state is committed to providing the tools and training to let employees grow and develop their skills, obtain increasing levels of responsibility, and pursue leadership positions. Involving employees in discussions around their development led to a more productive and engaged workforce committed to growing their careers with the State. Develop careers – beyond the agency Nebraska’s agencies were siloed and operated independent of other departments within the State, and as a result, their employees—especially in the smaller agencies—often embraced a limited perspective on their job opportunities, focusing only on the narrow career progression path within the confines of their current team. With its increased focus on the whole talent picture, Nebraska is leveraging its talent management programs to help its workforce embrace a different kind of path – one where employees can move across agencies as they build their careers, learn new skills and take on increasing leadership responsibilities. This approach helps motivate employees, improves retention and a commitment to a government career, and provides a vehicle for ensuring the right people with the right skills are in the right roles. Federal, state and local governments are well aware that they need to improve how they recruit, engage and retain employees. Like the State of Nebraska, governments that embrace creative ways to approach their workforce and talent management activities will see a transformation among employees that lets them not only meet the requirements of today, but also prepare to address the emerging needs for tomorrow.

What you have to know before choosing an LMS
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What you have to know before choosing an LMS

What you have to know before choosing an LMS. Presented by Craig Weiss, CEO and Lead Analyst, Craig Weiss Group and FindAnLMS.

5 skills all leaders need in times of transition
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5 skills all leaders need in times of transition

How to improve learning impact in your organization
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How to improve learning impact in your organization

In the summer of 2020, we surveyed HR and Learning professionals in businesses in small and medium businesses across the US and Canada about the current state of learning within their organization and the results are in! Cornerstone’s Brett Wilson examines the survey results and explores what we can learn from the answers, and the steps to take moving forward. Watch this webinar and you’ll learn: Current trends in learning strategy for small and medium businesses Critical factors influencing learning effectiveness The 4-stage learning maturity model Actionable recommendations to improve learning impact in your organization

There's No Such Thing as a Natural Born Leader
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There's No Such Thing as a Natural Born Leader

There’s a common misconception that being in a leadership role within an organization automatically makes someone an effective leader. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. That being said, there are some people in this world who, based on their natural charisma and infectious go-getter attitudes, can play the role of “leader” and exude influence in ways that many people could only dream of doing on their own. But there’s a good chance that those skills, even as effortless as they may seem on the surface, took a little time to master as well. That’s why I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as a natural born leader. Sure, leadership may come easier to some people than others, but even those people need to fine tune their skills every now and then. In this way, you could say that leadership is not a “one-and-done” acquired skill; it’s something that people need to learn and constantly work on. So, when you’re faced with the important decision of either hiring or promoting into leadership roles within your company, what criteria do you use to make the right choice? There’s always room for growth Let’s take a look at another common misconception worth busting: just because someone has held leadership positions in the past makes them the best candidate for future leadership positions. Again, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. There are actually a lot of people who have landed in leadership positions haphazardly and, without the proper training and coaching, have had to navigate those waters on their own. This leaves a lot up to chance; some are successful at embracing the new challenge with open arms while others crack under pressure and eventually crash and burn. Some people just aren’t cracked out to be leaders—and that’s ok. They can bring a tremendous amount of value in a lot of other ways, so instead of bogging them down with leadership responsibilities, give them a runway to do what they do best. Not only will they be happier doing that work, but giving those people the right focus will also benefit your organization in the long run. It’s a win-win. Similarly, there are a lot of people who have incredible potential to be amazing leaders but just haven’t yet had the opportunity to flex their leadership muscles. These are the people you really need to focus on. With the right training and support—along with a genuine desire to lead teams and companies to success—these people can be worth their weight in gold. Not to mention, these are also likely the people who won’t shy away from learning new skills and then actually apply those skills in their day-to-day. Spotting these diamonds in the rough isn’t always easy. However, once you’ve found them, here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure they succeed in their newfound leadership role: 1. Be open to unconventional career paths This may sound like heresy, but a job description is merely a job description. Very rarely will you find a candidate that ticks all the boxes—and even if you do, they may not be the right cultural fit for your team or organization. In a similar way, experience is just experience. When assessing candidates for leadership roles, spend less time focusing on what’s on paper and take the time to learn more about the “impact” that those candidates made in those roles. Because roles and responsibilities can vary significantly from one company to another, a big VP-level title in a resume may be nothing more than the result of a long-tenured employee receiving a series of promotions, without ever getting a change in responsibilities or even a team to oversee. That’s why, when pinpointing future leaders within your organization, it’s important to consider new hires—or even current employees—who may not necessarily fit the bill on paper but, rather, bring broad experience, unique insights, and an eagerness to grow to the table. 2. Leadership skills and role-based skills are two entirely different things It’s important to remember that leadership skills are learned just like any other skills. Just because someone has been a top performer in their current role doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready for the challenges of being a leader. Succeeding at the role-based level is just that: mastering the skills to do a specific job well. Although they are certainly role-based skills involved with leadership positions, there’s an entire layer of human-, interpersonal-, and communication-based skills that rarely see the light of day in a job description. In other words, just because your top salesperson keeps beating goals every quarter doesn’t mean that the same person is ready to lead a team. How this person succeeds at the individual contributor level is vastly different from the challenges they will face as a leader. Try not to confuse the two. 3. Leadership is a continuous learning process Even if someone has a tremendous amount of potential, just throwing them into a leadership role without any guidance is a recipe for disaster. You can’t expect anyone, even those people who have held leadership positions in the past, to rise to the occasion when faced with new teams, new responsibilities, and new challenges. That’s why it’s important to build learning and development into every leader’s growth plan, especially knowing that leadership is more nurture and less nature. So, if you’re in charge of developing the leaders within your organization, as an HR professional, take the time to create a leadership development skills “playlist” and make continuous learning mandatory for anyone hired or promoted into your company’s leadership ranks. 4. Don’t forget about soft skills Because leadership is interpersonal in nature, it’s important to help your leaders develop skills beyond their day-to-day roles and responsibilities alone. Qualities like empathy, adaptability, communication, crisis management, ability to inspire, and more are skills that can set apart a successful leader from one who makes little impact. Although many people at this level may feel that learning soft skills may be “overkill” or unnecessary at this stage in their career, it’s important to reinforce that these skills, like leadership in general, are not “one and done.” They must be practiced, refined, and perfected over time. And when they take the time to do this, they’ll see that their more “human” side of leadership will start to shine through. Remember, leadership is learned Unless you missed the point along the way, let’s reiterate here again out of good measure: leadership is not something you’re born with, it’s something you learn. A big part of this requires companies to proactively implement learning and development programs to ensure that leaders not only succeed in the role-based tasks but also continue to build the necessary skills to ensure that they constantly motivate, inspire, and encourage their teams to be as successful as they can be. And since being a dynamic leader isn’t a skill most of us are naturally born with, it’s important for HR teams to implement comprehensive learning and development programs to ensure that any people hired or promoted into leadership roles can thrive at all times. Platforms like Cornerstone Learning can help you take the guesswork out of developing your company’s next generation of leaders. And as always, if you don’t know where to start, the team at Cornerstone is ready to help you take your learning and development program to the next level. 

The 3 Risks of Crowdsourcing — And How to Avoid Them
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The 3 Risks of Crowdsourcing — And How to Avoid Them

The beauty of crowdsourcing is that you can now have access to thousands of talented individuals who can do work faster and at a lower cost. It's a new form of employing talent that has created unprecedented opportunities for both businesses and individuals. With these benefits, of course, come a few risks. As a new and non-traditional way of "employment", it's important to understand the challenges of crowdsourcing before jumping at the opportunity to integrate into your workforce. Here, I explore three typical risks with crowdsourcing, and how your leadership team can ensure that your company and the crowd both benefit from working together. Risk #1: Receiving Low-quality Work Whether you use crowdsourcing for development, design, content creation or some other type of work, you are putting your faith in people that you don't know, with unfamiliar backgrounds and skills. Unlike when you're hiring full-time candidates, you don't have the time or resources to screen all of the crowd's qualifications — even if you wanted to. So, how do you ensure quality work? Find a high-reputation partner in the crowdsourcing industry who manages the individuals in their crowd and their quality of work. When selecting a crowdsourcing partner, the most important thing is to ensure they have a strong relationship with their crowd members and a process for measuring quality. At Appirio, for example, the people in our crowd are incentivized to create the best (winning) outcome for your business since projects are competition-based. The best result wins — and since you only pay for the result, quality is a given. Risk #2: Turbulence in Your Business According to research by Dr. Michael Gebert, Founding Member of the Crowd Mentor Network, one of the biggest risks that companies face when using crowdsourcing is "turbulence risk" — a concept he describes as "the risk of engaging in the unknown in an environment where risk-taking is not necessarily encouraged." In other words, your full-time team might have some big questions — and hesitations — about the idea. If individuals and leaders in your organization aren't fully committed to crowdsourcing, it's hard to implement successfully. To discover if your organization is ready for crowdsourcing, consider the 3 C's: capability, capacity and calendar. Determine which parts of the project your internal teams are capable of tackling, and which parts they aren't. For the internal folks that are capable of working on things, make sure they have the capacity to do it. (You don't want to pull them away from critical work that they're already doing.) And finally, take a look at the calendar to outline your timeline for the project and decide if it makes sense to expedite some (or all) of the project with crowdsourcing. And, of course, make sure to communicate the benefit of crowdsourcing to your team — it should be a welcome help, not a threat, to their work. Risk #3: Intellectual Property Right Infringement When using crowdsourcing, individuals from outside your company will have a certain level of access to things like software source code, web content and other intellectual property, which can be cause for concern in organizations that like to keep such property close to their corporate chests. With new technologies and ways of doing business being created much faster than new laws, it's understandable that organizations may be unclear about how to best protect themselves. In order to ensure your data and work are safe, make sure the crowdsourcing partner you choose doesn't provide their members with access to real data sets. The data used should be obfuscated or the domain information should be stripped away, leaving only the information necessary for the crowd members to complete their portion of the work. And remember, a disgruntled employee is just as likely (probably more so) to steal your intellectual property as an outsourced partner. The most important thing is to have a plan of action to monitor improper use and act when necessary. While there are risks with crowdsourcing, they are certainly avoidable — and the potential benefits are worth the preparation and research you need to do. If you find the right partner, communicate with full-time employees and take the property security precautions, crowdsourcing can vastly improve the quality, scalability and creativity of your organization's work. Interested in more crowdsourcing content? Look out for upcoming posts from our partners at Appirio. Photo: Creative Commons

How to Meet the Needs of HR Customers (All 6 Types of Them)
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How to Meet the Needs of HR Customers (All 6 Types of Them)

Here's a telling question: Do you believe HR is more than just a cost center? In order to transform HR into a strategic arm of an organization, executives and HR leaders alike need to see talent management as part of the business strategy, not just an overhead department. And like most businesses, we in HR need to understand how to serve our customers in order to thrive — which means putting the customers' needs before compliance. But whom do I mean by HR's "customers"? At first thought, employees and company leaders likely come to mind. However, if you take a hard look at the organizational universe, I think you’ll find that our list of customers is much bigger. This is important, because in order to focus on meeting our customers' needs, we need to be clear about what defines a customer and what his or her needs are, exactly. This may all sound like semantics, but bear with me — after carefully exploring our broad customer base, I think you'll understand why each type of customer is important and the value that HR can provide to them. 1) The Organization If you take a 30,000-foot view of employees and leaders, the organization's needs are not necessarily the sum of its parts. The organization looks to HR to ensure a highly skilled and productive workforce. This means that every organization-wide program we sponsor should aim to achieve that goal. Programs or processes that are simply risk avoidance and create busy-work rather than drive performance are not valuable to the organization. 2) The Executive Leadership The executive leadership team sets the vision for the organization — a moral compass that guides decision-making, the process of accountability and, overall, the culture of the organization. Culture cannot exist separately of the larger employee base, and HR is the only unit in an organization, besides the CEO, that has a broad and deep view of the people — what they do, how they feel and how they perform. In order to align culture and business systems, HR should provide information about the workforce to the executive team and collaborate with them as a trusted advisor. 3) The Managers I use the term "manager" somewhat differently than "leader." Anyone can lead; people don't need a formal role to do so. A manager, however, is someone entrusted by the organization to develop talent and drive performance through a productive workforce. It is a role that carries a heavy burden, with overwhelming tasks to accomplish and a demanding schedule. Most of time, managers will see HR programs as just more busy-work. Myriad "programs" like performance management, engagement surveys, succession planning and salary reviews that each have different criteria and processes are too cumbersome to be helpful for managers. The most important thing for HR is that leaders have meaningful conversations with their employees. So, in order to serve this type of customer, HR should focus on providing tools and resources to ensure that everything the managers are assigned helps drives performance. If you can find a way to make managers' jobs easier by streamlining or consolidating their work, I suspect that would be like Nirvana for most of them. 4) The Organization's Customers Don't forget about your business' actual customers — yes, they count as your customers, too. Every organization is designed to ultimately serve a customer, so it makes sense that those customers benefit from a workforce that is skilled, efficient and trustworthy. 5) The Shareholders Like customers, the shareholders benefit from the work of the people; the more productive the workforce, the better the return for investors. 6) The Community In our connected and global society, organizations are a major part of a thriving economy and community. HR has the chance to give back to the community by developing a skilled workforce that can learn and grow. For example, an up-and-coming leader can learn so much by volunteering for a local non-profit board. Why not make such opportunities part of your talent development program — a benefit to the individuals, the organization and the community? Keeping Customers Front of Mind Nice big list of customers, isn't it? In order to bring value to each group, HR leaders must understand each customer's needs and how to address them. Of course, that doesn't mean giving them everything they want, but it does mean considering what will make their jobs easier and more productive. To start, ask yourself how many managers in your organization today would say your performance management program drives performance and productivity for business results? Why would any dissent? The answer to those two questions could very well be the first step to changing the reputation of your team and bringing strategic value to HR. Photo: Creative Commons

Why Your Job Descriptions Should Tell a Story
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Why Your Job Descriptions Should Tell a Story

Just as branding — both personal and professional — is essential to marketing or sales, it's increasingly crucial for HR. Job candidates have understood the power of personal branding for quite some time — the key to landing a dream job is to craft a concise, first-person narrative about who you are and the value you represent to potential employers. For recruiters and hiring managers, tired beyond belief of bland, hackneyed descriptions of "results-driven, self-motivated team players," it's a welcome relief to read about actual people, not automatons. Now, flip the equation. With relatively low unemployment rates at 5 percent, employers also need to craft a compelling brand in order to attract the most qualified candidates. What more obvious place to craft your employer narrative than through your job descriptions? How to Tell a Brand Story to Candidates A job posting should focus on convincing a talented candidate that he or she belongs at your company. Just as a great resume speaks directly to the hiring manager's needs and shares a unique story, a great job posting should speak to the needs of the candidate's ideal employer and offer a narrative for his or her "character." How do you tell a unique story with a job description? Let's walk through a recent job posting from First Round Review, the online magazine of venture capital firm First Round Capital. 1) Lead with a non-stock photo image The image at the top of the post — a woman on an indoor swing in an art studio — lets interested candidates understand that this is not a buttoned-up, corporate type of job; the company obviously wants to attract creative, daring people. 2) State the company's mission Candidates immediately get a sense of the employer brand through the image, and a succinct, strong description of the employer confirms the bold brand: "We launched First Round Review to offer a better brand of advice to the startup ecosystem." A link back to the employer's site invites candidates to explore how the Review's mission aligns with the broader vision of First Round Capital and its clients. 3) Invite the candidate to join the adventure Immediately following the Review's mission, the post states, "That's where you come in." That's right — the posting speaks directly to the candidate, just as candidates should speak directly to the hiring manager through a resume or cover letter. 4) Craft a character Instead of writing up a laundry list of skills, the Review's posting focuses on character traits: Phrases like "You call yourself a writer first;" "You're curious about people;" and "Tech fascinates you" indicate certain skill sets, but put them in an individual, relatable context. By focusing on such character traits, First Round Review attracts potential hires that may not have every specific skill desired, but certainly have the right interests, approach and personality. 5) Start a conversation, not an application First Round does have a senior HR executive, one whose strategy seems to empower managers to determine whom they want to interview. Nowhere does the posting instruct candidates to "upload your resume and cover letter." Instead, a link to the manager's email encourages applicants to "talk" to her directly. Terrific! A company that eschews ATS software in favor of an actual human who can identify candidates based not only on their resume, but also on what she intuits. The New Standard for Job Descriptions HR professionals have developed a comfort zone with old-style job descriptions that are completely out of sync with the contemporary world of work. Continue posting jobs this way, and I predict that the quality of your candidates will quickly match your behind-the-times recruitment strategy. I can hear the protests already from companies that require highly specific skills and consider the example I've provided above too "warm and fuzzy" for their culture. But the point is not to copy the exact language above; it's to clearly communicate your company brand and tell a story about the person you're hoping to find. Think about it this way: When buyers shop for a house, realtors encourage them to envision themselves living there. The specs on square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms matter, of course, but the buyer also needs to believe the specs that make up that house could be a home. The same thing applies to your company's potential talent pool — your job description should invite the candidate to not only imagine working at your company, but belonging there. Photo: Creative Commons

Why Rotating Employees Through Your Company Is a Win-Win
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Why Rotating Employees Through Your Company Is a Win-Win

The days of employees spending decades at a company -- and receiving a gold watch in gratitude -- are long gone. Workers today are constantly on the move, a fact of life that will only accelerate as job growth picks up. But the turnover poses particular challenges for companies looking to hold onto their best and brightest. In response, innovative companies are embracing a promising new retention strategy: employee rotation. Instead of locking workers into a single job category with a specific career trajectory, companies are moving workers through a variety of positions within departments or teams. Job rotation is seen as a way to motivate key employees, broaden their skill sets and, most important, hold onto them. It also gives employers the comfort of knowing there's someone who can quickly fill an ailing or departing coworker's shoes. "I can't think of a single industry that wouldn't benefit from job rotation," says Susan Heathfield, a human resources consultant who's been in the business for 30 years. "It helps employees spread their wings and extend their boundaries" and, she says, it helps employers engage and motivate their staff. The Payoff for You and Your Staff So where to start? First, recognize that employee rotation programs should be implemented with careful consideration. Every company should establish clear guidelines with each internal team so employees know what the rotation will entail and managers have a set of of best practices. Otherwise, the rotation will fall apart as employees wander from job to job without clear guidance or oversight. Have a purpose, have a plan and have a way to measure if the rotation is successful, Heathfield said. The programs can often be costly in terms of time spent training workers for their new jobs, she says, but the benefits can far outweigh the expense. Take, for instance, human resources. In a large company, an employee who typically handles employee health insurance can be shifted into a position that tends to job referrals. "So many employees come to human resources for a multitude of reasons and it makes more sense if their questions can all be answered by their first point of contact," explained Heathfield. "I want everyone in HR cross-trained so that you can serve employees immediately." The same logic applies to sales teams. Since sales hinge on relationships, it's crucial for everyone on the team to be familiar with one another's clients. "Normally people have dedicated customers, but having someone else available if the (primary point of contact) is out to serve your customers is key," Heathfield said. Sales folks are always reticent to share their clients, but will if given the right incentives. A Motivated Worker Is a Happy Worker It happens -- a lot. You have a valued employee whose skills have grown beyond her current duties and, yet, a promotion isn't an option. In any organization -- flat or hierarchical -- the opportunities to move up the ladder get smaller the higher up you go, notes Heathfield. Then, too, the employee may not want a promotion to the next rung. She'd rather stay an individual contributor than move into management. For these folks, job rotation can be a key retention strategy to keep them within your company. Whether an employee wants to be promoted or not, job rotation improves their skills and gives them a broader understanding of the inner workings of a company. Sometimes, a valued employee's career path isn't the right one for her. But that doesn't mean she needs to pack up and leave. Quite the opposite. Too often we follow the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and are happy to have employees do what they've shown they can do best. But a lot of workers might be happier facing different challenges and learning new skills. The Society of Human Resources Management reports that self-growth and career development are among the top five most important considerations for workers. If employees don't feel like they're growing, they'll head for the exits, warns Heathfield. So if you've got a great employee who has expressed interest in trying out new roles within your company, work with them to create a job rotation plan or test phase -- it could be the difference between losing a stellar employee and helping them find a new passion that, in the end, bolsters your bottom line. It’s important for companies to make sure that employees are always motivated, engaged in their work, and progressing in their careers. Click here to learn more about how business and HR leaders can do this remotely, according to HR expert Suzanne Lucas. Photo credit: Can Stock

Mastering the Art of the Self-Assessment
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Mastering the Art of the Self-Assessment

If you need to do a performance review, chances are you also need to write a self-assessment. While it might be tempting to brush it off – after all, that’s precious time you could spend on your actual work – here’s a couple of pretty compelling reasons why you should make the effort: Your boss might not have all the facts It’s unlikely your managers are keeping a list of all your accomplishments throughout the year. Even worse, they may only remember that one project that went horribly wrong, but not how you managed to save it. Ultimately, the person with the most knowledge of what you do at work is you. Self-assessments give you the chance to leverage that first-hand knowledge when it really counts. You and your boss might not be on the same page In a perfect world, your goals and objectives will be crystal clear, signed off well ahead of time, and regularly discussed with your manager. In the real world, it’s a good idea to record what you thought you were supposed to do and what you actually accomplished. This will help keep your review on track, and provide that all-important context for your conversation. It's all in the approach Don’t be modest, vague or overly inventive. If you accomplish something great, make sure you mention it, and make sure you can back yourself up (hard facts and figures are really hard to dispute). Acknowledge any failures. People have a really good memory for things that go wrong, so if you screwed something up, acknowledge it. Then explain what you did/or plan to do to fix it and what you will do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Everyone has to deal with a failure at some point in their career, but it’s how you handle and learn from those failures that demonstrates professional growth to your manager and peers. Look to the future and suggest development opportunities. This demonstrates your desire to grow and is an opportunity for you to develop your skills in the areas of your choosing. This is an opportunity, take advantage of it. If your manager doesn’t take the time to do a thorough review, at least your perspective will be part of the permanent record. And this is a really good time to remind your manager of all the good things you’ve done throughout the year. Let your peers to the talking. If you can, take advantage of peer feedback. Every time someone sends you an email thanking you for your exceptional work and contribution, save it and include it with your self-assessment. Peer confirmation of your achievements is a powerful tool – it’d be a shame not to use it...

Why Talent Management Makes Sense for Healthcare Organizations
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Why Talent Management Makes Sense for Healthcare Organizations

The healthcare industry is certainly no stranger to changing compliance and competency requirements, but the latest shifts are changing the game as we know it for healthcare organizations concerned with providing top patient care. New regulations under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act give patients more opportunity to decide the fate of a healthcare organization’s financial wellbeing. Now, high scores in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient surveys result in higher government reimbursements to healthcare organizations, giving patients a significant ability to affect a provider’s profitability. Given that most healthcare firms are experiencing talent shortages in areas such as nursing and IT, it’s essential for these organizations to provide ongoing training and development to their staff to ensure they are able to drive retention and provide a positive, compliant experience for their patients. Why Talent Management? Key to helping healthcare organizations keep pace and still provide a top-notch patient experience is an agile, focused and aligned employee experience that meets generational expectations. With an agile talent management infrastructure in place, healthcare organizations can respond more quickly and cost-effectively to shifts in compliance and validation standards, talent loss or shortage, and overall, gain better insights around how to best develop staff to drive quality patient care and employee retention. Creating an Aligned Employee Experience Several of our healthcare clients, such as Mount Sinai Hospital, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Sanford Health and WellSpan Health, are bringing talent initiatives to the forefront of their strategy in order to remain competitive amid rapid industry shifts. Other success stories include: · Carilion Clinic is a nonprofit healthcare organization that serves nearly 1 million patients. A client since 2008, Carilion uses Cornerstone’s integrated system to assess performance, and identify and address training gaps for 11,000 employees with role-specific content. In addition to cost savings, increased efficiencies, and improved compliance and talent enablement, Carilion also worked directly with our product team to help develop Observation Checklist, a unique solution within the Cornerstone suite that allows users to assess and record and employee’s skills and competencies while directly observing specific activities in the field. Read more about their story here. · Cadence Health, a unified health system that serves Chicago’s western suburbs and the surrounding region, strives to the region’s most innovative health system and provide an exceptional career experience for its employees. The organization implemented the Cornerstone Performance Cloud in 2012 in an effort to address staffing and leadership challenges. Using the system, Cadence is helping its employees develop careers and opportunities that align their professional goals with the goal of the health system, which is to provide exceptional patient experiences. Since implementing the system, Cadence Health administrators are now 99 percent compliant with their 6,700 performance assessments, and over 18,000 FY13 goals (both team and individual) have been created in the system. Read more about their story here. · BJC HealthCare is another great example of a firm using talent management to drive business impact and cost savings. As one of the largest nonprofit healthcare organizations in the United States, BJC uses Cornerstone to identify and assign training to more than 26,000 employees, ensuring superior patient care, safety and compliance. Creating a centralized learning resource for BJC’s employees helps the organization save $800,000 annually as well as drive consistent patient experiences during nursing staff changes and migrations across locations. Read more about their story here. We also recently started working with UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest healthcare system in Central and Western Massachusetts and a clinical partner of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The organization is implementing Cornerstone’s Learning Cloud and Performance Cloud in an effort to streamline its performance and development processes and enable its more than 13,500 employees to focus on providing best-in-class patient care. To read more about how Cornerstone is helping healthcare organizations drive top-notch patient care, visit www.cornerstoneondemand.com/global-business/industries/commercial/healthcare. Want to find out what your healthcare organization needs most when it comes to talent management? Take our 2-minute quiz and discover your talent management prescription.

Why You Need an Alternative to the Management Career Path
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Why You Need an Alternative to the Management Career Path

This article was originally published under Jeff Miller’s column "The Science of Workplace Motivation" on Inc.com. During one of my first corporate learning roles, a senior executive at our company approached me about the most talented developer in the organization. The employee in question was in line for a promotion that required managing a large team, and the executive asked if I could put together a management training to help him get to the next level. Easy enough, I thought -- until we sat down for our first meeting. As I asked the developer questions about his role, aspirations and concerns, I started to sense some hesitation. And that's when I asked a simple question that I've realized all too often gets ignored. "Do you want to be manager?" He hesitated, and then said, "Not really." He was one of the top employees at the company, and since our conversation, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the role management should play in the modern workplace. Because the truth is, if you want to cultivate a culture of great management at your organization, then you also need to make it optional. Questioning the Ladder to Management A couple years ago, New York Times columnist Arthur C. Brooks observed a similar phenomenon to my encounter with our company's top developer. "People generally have a 'bliss zone,' a window of creative work and responsibility to match their skills and passions," he writes. "But then the problems start. Those who love being part of teams and creative processes are promoted to management." Writers become editors. Players become coaches. Professors become deans. And then they all spend a lot of time reminiscing about when they were able to write, play or teach. As Brooks writes, "Why don't people stop rising when they're happy?... We incorrectly infer that promotions will equal greater satisfaction." I'll take his question one step further. Why do we limit "rising" to mean rising to management? The developer at my company wasn't alone. In fact, most American workers don't want to manage people. A CareerBuilder survey found that a mere 34 percent of workers aspire to leadership positions. Why? The majority (52 percent) are simply satisfied in their current positions. What's more, many people who are already in management positions would rather be doing something else. In Managing for People Who Hate Managing , publisher Berrett-Koehler found that only 43 percent of managers are comfortable in their jobs, and less than one in three (32 percent) enjoy managing. Offer Option B You've probably heard the saying, "People leave managers, not companies." And it's no surprise. If a large portion of managers are disengaged, their employees will be disengaged, too. A Gallup study revealed that one in two people have left their jobs to get away from a manager at some point in their careers. If we were more discerning about who we promoted to management, and how we structured team hierarchies, I imagine this statistic would go down significantly. And this doesn't mean you can't promote talented people. There are many ways people can remain influential individual contributors at an organization and continue to hone their expertise. For example, they can act as one-on-one mentors, they can offer training to new employees, they can lead internal committees or they can become "fellows" at your company dedicated to researching their respective fields. If you consider management as its own unique set of skills outside of the general role description, you'll not only increase engagement but you'll also directly impact the bottom line. Gallup found companies that hire managers based on talent realize a 30 percent increase in employee engagement score, a 48 percent increase in profitability, a 22 percent increase in productivity and a 19 percent decrease in turnover. Ask Why First If an employee is thriving in their current role, how do you know if they would make a great manager, too? In my mind, strong managers share one foundational quality: They inherently put people first. A great manager is humble -- they're willing to take the blame and pass the credit. They're able to set clear goals, and create an environment where people hold themselves accountable (instead of one where the manager has to hold them accountable). They're resilient when projects get derailed and turn to problem-solving, not complaining. They build cultures of trust where communication, open dialogue and transparency reign. And last but not least, they motivate people to achieve their full potential. But most importantly, they want to be managers. So before you go down a rabbit hole analyzing your top performers' management skills, ask them a simple question -- "Why do you want to be a manager?" -- and hope for a simple answer: "I want to make the people on my team better every day." Photo: Creative Commons

5 Reasons HR Needs a Seat in the C-Suite
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5 Reasons HR Needs a Seat in the C-Suite

As Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group, said, "a company's employees are its greatest asset." Branson is one of a growing cohort of leaders who understand that a company is no greater than the talent it employs. And who owns responsibility for managing the needs of corporate talent? Human resources, of course — a department that rarely has influence in the C-Suite. Corporate culture is transmitted from the top down, so a culture that values its people first needs HR in the C-Suite. Here, five reasons a CHRO is invaluable when it comes managing a company's greatest asset — its people — and their contribution to its success. Forging Career Paths from Within Succession planning — a strategic move that's often overlooked by senior management until a crisis arises — is one of the most important reasons to hire a CHRO. In order to attract and retain top talent, companies should foster a culture of growth, demonstrating through its actions that open positions are first sourced internally. In order to do that, a company needs a CHRO to not only develop a succession plan, but also monitor its progress by identifying promotable talent and cross-training opportunities. Restructuring Stale Performance Models Performance assessment is another contentious issue, particularly because of its close tie to compensation. A CHRO who understands the unique culture and requirements of the company can develop a balanced performance and compensation dynamic. Of course, this may involve shaking things up and ruffling a few feathers. When I worked at a SaaS company, its HR policies were as outdated as its technology product was innovative. I designed an interactive performance assessment to replace the "old economy" prescriptive one. In the new version, employees provided feedback on how well their managers helped them achieve goals just as their managers provided feedback on employee performance. Senior management initially derided the idea, but when I convinced them to try it for one year, the level of employee engagement rose and satisfaction increased. Engaging Your Greatest Asset Employee engagement is critical to your employer brand, and your employer brand is critical for hiring the best talent. Employee engagement, in fact, may be the most important talent strategy for companies to adopt — nearly every HR initiative can trace back to increasing engagement. CHROs are instrumental in promoting engagement, which provides the added benefit of profiling your company's talent pool and creating a more sustainable enterprise. When employees are fully engaged, two great things happen: their contributions are more readily recognized by senior management, and they become invested in the company's success as well as their own personal achievements. According to a 2011 study, raising low engagement by 10 percent in a company of just 10,000 employees can create a $24 million impact on the bottom line. Increasing Bottom-Line Results HR is rarely valued for its thought leadership — instead, most companies hire a senior HR professional to report to the COO or the CFO, trivializing the profession into a function rather than an overarching discipline integral to incubating corporate success. But big data supports the business case for the importance of having a CHRO. A 2011 study revealed that when companies include strategic HR within their other operations, they experience nearly 40 percent lower turnover, 38 percent higher employee engagement and more than twice the revenue per employee than companies who view HR as a primarily transactional function. Making the C-Suite a Cohesive Unit Throughout my career, I've worked for CEOs who initially viewed HR as a necessary, but non-revenue producing function limited to personnel management — in other words, not particularly valuable. Some soon came to recognize the need for a CHRO to provide strategic direction alongside the CFO, COO and CMO. One CEO, however, memorably invited me to the C-Suite only once — and that was to discuss the annual holiday party. CHROs belong in the C-Suite not only to manage a company's critical asset, but also to make the C-Suite team more effective. They help focus the team as a cohesive unit and by doing so, support the CEO's mission. I predict the most forward-thinking CEOs will soon start planning to bring a CHRO onboard, if they haven't already. To learn more about the role that HR should play in the C-Suite, read Cornerstone's ebook, How HR can Help Executives Get the Big Picture: Becoming a Strategic Partner to the C-Suite. Photo: Shutterstock

Forget HR Best Practices—You Need Customer Feedback
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Forget HR Best Practices—You Need Customer Feedback

Any good business needs customer feedback. HR is a business, and the leaders and employees are our customers—but as I've highlighted in previous posts, we usually don't think of them as such. As a result, HR rarely gets the feedback we need to thrive. Leaders and employees are users of our products and services, and they're the ones who can tell us whether products are easy to use and whether services are adding value. Their feedback is how we know whether the cost of products and services measure up to the buyer's satisfaction. Facing the Lack of Feedback in HR But as HR practitioners, we get complacent about understanding our customers' needs. We hide behind the litigious regulatory environment with a false sense of security that we can and should mandate work to our organizations to avoid putting the organization at risk. We assign tasks: "Hold meaningful conversations with your employees," "Measure employee performance to make sure they're accountable," and "Develop their skills for growth." While our customers generally can't fire us, they can grown and complain—and do a mediocre job with tasks that, in reality, are critically important to the success of the business. No organization can afford to simply pay lip service to such important work. We have to think of the employees and leaders of our organization as our customers if we want them to take this important work seriously. Alleviating the "Busy-Work" of Leadership There is another reason to focus on our customers: Today's leaders could easily begin to buckle under the weight of all of the work required of anyone in a management position. When a leader is too busy to lead, we have lost our ability to be competitive as an organization. Anything a leader does should have a clear and defined positive business impact, or else it will seem like busy-work (and fall to the bottom of their to-do list). Let me give you an example. Because we're HR leaders, we know the organization needs a performance management program, so we source a vendor to build a program that is both cutting edge and affordable. We design it, train it, wrestle with leaders who don't want to do it and then spend our time chasing down completed evaluations. Let's switch it up. Start with the business premise: Improved performance will improve the bottom line. We engage leadership in a dialogue about what improvements in performance could/would have the biggest impact on the bottom line. We then agree on 2-3 outcomes, and design a simple process to meet that specific need. We help leaders decide the consequences they would impose for not completing the simple process, and we partner with the Finance department to measure results. At the end of the first phase, we ask for customer feedback, and share quantitative results and qualitative ideas about how well the jointly designed process worked, and make adjustments based on the results. Stepping Up to the Proverbial Table This approach takes courage; it is not for the faint hearted. It means stepping up and saying "HR can make a difference, but this is what we need from you." It means letting go of "best practice," in favor of mutually designing something that works. Your leaders may not want to participate, but remind them that it's an opportunity to discuss the time and resources they are willing to commit to improve human performance in the organization. If we, in HR, shift our thinking to act like a business selling services that needs customer feedback, our business processes will dramatically improve. We will: Have clearly defined products and services, and know the cost of each to produce; Work hard to understand the customers' stated needs, but also listen for needs that might not be easily expressed; Develop a sales and marketing proposal to educate the customer on how our product/service could impact their business results; Listen carefully to the customer feedback and adjust accordingly and; Build trusting relationships based on mutual benefits. Take a step in this direction. Ask some trusted operational leaders about your HR processes and programs. If they LOVE 'em, great. If they don't, you now have a tremendous opportunity to step in, step up and really make a difference. Photo: Shutterstock

Management Is About Emotional Connections—Not Rules
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Management Is About Emotional Connections—Not Rules

Once upon a time, the threat of job loss or a pay cut from upper management was all it took to influence employees and keep them on the straight-and-narrow. Today, however, the employee-manager relationship depends more on collaboration than it does on top-down ruling. Person-to-person, emotional connections are essential for engaging and inspiring employees in today’s workplace, says workplace coach Jay Forte. Some see this new management tactic as a fancy way to describe "handholding," but Forte argues to the contrary. "Actually building a personal connection with employees is one of the most significant ways managers can activate performance and inspire loyalty," he writes on Human Capitalist. How should managers add a higher level of emotional intelligence to their employee relationships? Make the effort to understand each employee and share information that will help improve performance. He offers a sample letter for managers to send to their employees, asking them to keep improving not only in their day-to-day tasks, but also as people. The letter encourages them to improve: their work, their contact with customers, their workplace culture, their communities, the planet and finally, themselves. "Do more than just manage your talent: Engage and inspire it," Forte says. Want to connect with your employees and raise their personal standards? Read the full letter on Human Capitalist.

Organizational Change is Constant: Here's How to Get Good At It
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Organizational Change is Constant: Here's How to Get Good At It

This article was originally published under Jeff Miller's column "The Science of Workplace Motivation" on Inc.com. The pace of change in business today is accelerating—fueled in large part by the disruption that new technologies bring. And research from McKinsey shows that companies are struggling to keep up. For leaders, that means taking a closer look at the way you manage change from start to finish. Whether the change comes in the form of a new software system, a merger or acquisition, or even just a small shift in process, how can you ensure your approach will lead to business success? In my experience, the challenge is often that leadership doesn't see the change process all the way through. I've written recently about Ann Salerno's six stages of change, and how effectively leading your team through the first four stages (loss, anger, doubt, discovery) will help everyone become productive again. But stopping there is a mistake. Stages five and six, "understanding" and "integration," require leadership to reflect on the change process. By spending time to track outcomes and debrief, the entire organization will be better equipped to transition smoothly when change happens again (and again). Start by Tracking the Impact At Cornerstone, we recently launched a new worldwide manager training program. Where before the training had been more individualized, this new format emphasized group discussion among new managers. We organized trainees together into online cohorts (kind of like chatrooms), creating communities for them to share insights, ask questions and respond to topics provided by a facilitator. Once we had successfully implemented the new program, we entered stage five of the change process: understanding. In stage five, you can be pragmatic about change and start to understand its impact. That means gathering as a leadership team to discuss the short term and long term features of the change. For our team, one short term feature was using our product differently. In the long term, we were facilitating cross-cultural discussions around management. Make sure this discussion about features happens out loud—verbalization allows you to avoid assumptions--as an individual or even by the group as a whole. And use specific terms: "Did this new manager system accomplish our goals?" is too open-ended. Instead, asking, "Did we implement a system that will connect managers across offices?" helped ensure we were all having the same conversation. Celebrate Your Team This part is simple: Recognize the individuals involved in the change process for what they accomplished. Change is tough for most people; getting to stage five successfully is a major feat. It doesn't have to be a party, just an acknowledgment that their hard work didn't go unnoticed. It's an easy step that will mean a lot to your employees. Hold a Thoughtful Debrief Stage six of the change process is an opportunity to look back and debrief. It's best not to debrief with the entire company because voices will get lost. Instead, identify the people who might represent those voices and invite them to participate. For our debrief meeting, we gathered the team that implemented the cohort system. From there, review the goals you set at the beginning of the process and ask: Did we get the outcomes we wanted? What can we do better next time? What were the unanticipated outcomes? For example, we hadn't anticipated how quickly managers would make themselves vulnerable in these cohort discussions—and achieve some honest, positive communication as a result. Finally, encourage people to be introspective, too: What did I learn about myself through this change? What did I learn about others and how they handle change? The person on our team who led this change had never done anything like it before. In the debrief, he talked about how the experience had showed him it's okay to ask for help—and he'd get help if he asked for it. His confidence rose as a result of that debrief process. The next time he faces a change, he might be more open to it. Psychologists call this resilience: a person's ability to adapt well to difficult events that change their lives. By seeing these final stages of the change process through, you'll start to build resilience not only in individuals, but make it part of your company's DNA—and over time, you'll avoid the paralysis and upheaval change can often bring about in favor of efficiency and productivity. Photo: Creative Commons

3 Ways to Work Effectively with Freelancers
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3 Ways to Work Effectively with Freelancers

This is the third post in a series about how to thrive amid shifting workplace demographics. The U.S. freelance workforce is currently 53 million strong and growing fast, according to a recent report from the Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk. In fact, freelancers make up 34 percent of our national workforce. As Sara Horowitz, executive director of the Freelancers Union, writes, "This is an economic shift on par with the industrial revolution." Some managers will groan at the thought of the increasing freelance population. They may think of freelance employees as difficult employees. But in fact, the growth of freelancing opens up just as many new opportunities for employers as it does for workers: The so-called "gig economy" can expand your talent pool, empower a mobile workforce and allow your company to finish projects faster. That's not to say managing freelancers is the same as managing full-time employees. Yet, effective HR teams and managers already have the skills to integrate freelance employees effectively; they just need to understand the common problems that occur when working with freelancers. Then your organization can put helpful protocols in place before things get tricky (and know how to handle the situation if things do go awry). Here, three common challenges companies face when working with freelancers and how to address them effectively. Challenge 1: Communication When it comes to freelancers, you are managing people who could be working at a desk, poolside or on an airplane. Clear and consistent communication between the freelancer and his or her manager is needed for this arrangement to work. If not, both parties will become frustrated and tasks that can be done quickly will end up being delayed. Follow the four tips below to avoid communication mishaps. Set email protocol in advance Schedule all checks-ins in advance Establish a system to recap meetings Track projects in an easy way for both you and your freelancer Challenge 2: Collaboration When bringing a freelancer onto a collaborative project with full-time employees, it's important to identify everyone's role on the team. If no one knows who is in charge, or who is handling the operational aspects, you'll not only have work fall through the cracks, but work being done twice — a waste of everyone's time. In addition, the entire team dynamic will crumble and the project will suffer. One of the most effective ways to ensure positive collaborative environments between freelance and full-time employees is by using a "GRPI" model, an approach to team development created by the Systemic Excellence Group: Goals: Managers need to make sure that all members of the team, whether working in-house or freelance, know the end goal for their work. Roles: All workers need to know the role they play on the team, as well as the role their team members play. Processes: Managers should be open to shifting the plan when needed — an effective process for completing all projects takes time and flexibility. Interactions: Managers should maintain organizational culture when interacting with employees who do not work in-house. We’ll take a closer look at how to do this below. Challenge 3: Culture Organizational culture is dynamic. With a team that is split between the office and elsewhere, culture can easily begin to take its own form, whether you like it or not. As the centerpiece of culture among your organization's workforce, managers and HR can make a tremendous impact. These three tips will help maintain organizational culture with freelance workers: Keep culture in mind during the hiring process. Don't just hire freelancers for their skills or portfolio, but make sure to ask questions that measure their cultural fit as well. Model the desired culture through your own actions, behavior and communication style with freelancers. Integrate freelancers into the organization: virtually pair them with a seasoned employee, add them to company-wide meetings or newsletters and, if possible, invite them to work at the office during the project. The freelance workforce isn't going anywhere. It's one of the four major workplace trends organizations are currently facing, in addition to Baby Boomers retiring, women leaving the workforce in droves and minorities becoming the majority of the workforce. Managers and HR teams that take time to work with freelancers will benefit from collaborating with diverse employees, and help the organization as a whole as it enters the future of work. Stay tuned for another post in this series on changing workplace demographics next month! Photo: Creative Commons

New Grads, Your Dream Job Exists—Here's How to Find It
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New Grads, Your Dream Job Exists—Here's How to Find It

"What are you doing after graduation?" During graduation season, new grads get countless questions about their post-diploma plans. But the reality is, deciding on a career or finding a job is difficult and strenuous, and all too often, people make quick decisions based on opportunities easily available to them—instead of what’s right for them. If you're walking across a stage this weekend and still unsure of what lies on the other side, don't fall into the trap of just taking whatever job comes along. There's still time to target your job search based on who you are, what you're good at and what you like to do. Here are some easy tips that will get you on the path to finding your career fit and a job that actually brings satisfaction and joy! Tip 1: Clarify What You Want in a Career There are four basic questions that help uncover a good career fit: How do my natural preferences and tendencies impact what I love to do and how I do it? Where am I strong and what talents do I love to use? What motivates me to feel satisfied about what I am doing? What types of people, work and organizations appeal to me? When you take time to honestly answer these questions, you will start to see patterns and clues that indicate where to focus your career. You will begin to understand why certain tasks, people and environments drive you crazy—they don't align to your preferences or values. You will begin to understand why certain assigne are the ones you tackle first every day, because they align to your strengths and interests. These clues and themes are powerful factors that make a big difference in your career happiness. Tip 2: Reflect on Your Daily Work Identify a time each day to reflect on how the four questions above were present for you in your work—whether that's an internship, homework or general to-dos. By day three, you will already start seeing trends emerge. Here are some specific questions for daily reflection: Who was easiest to interact/work with today and why? What were the most satisfying parts of my day and why? What were the most dissatisfying parts of my day and why? What tasks were easy for me? Why? What skills did I rely on most? What tasks were difficult for me? Why? What skills are harder for me? At the end of the week, you should have a pretty clear picture of what you want and don't want in your future career! Tip 3: Get Information and Ideas From People You Trust You may be inclined to ask other people you trust, "What career do you think I should pursue?" And you've likely received some very opinionated responses, such as: "You should be an engineer because that's where there are a lot of jobs." "You should go into teaching so you can have the summers off." "You shouldn't go into teaching because teachers don't make money." Even with the best of intentions, statements like the ones above are clearly reflective of the other person's values and interests—not your own. Change the conversation by asking these questions: What do you see as my greatest strengths? What are my best traits and qualities? When do you notice I look frustrated or unhappy? What am I doing during these times? If you were assigning work to me, what projects or tasks would you most likely assign? Why? Do some research on three careers that align with what you've learned about yourself. A great on-line resource for researching career paths is O*Net, and sites like CareerBuilder can guide you in setting up and conducting informational interviews. Tip 4: Don't Leave Your Career Decisions to Chance Just because there might be an opportunity in front of you doesn't mean you should take the easy route. Take time to really consider if the opportunity aligns to what you've learned about yourself through the first three steps. Think about your career choices in terms of "must-haves" and "nice-to-haves" by creating a decision-making framework. First, make a list of five or so things that are "must haves" in your next role—things that are non-negotiable. For example: I must make $45,000. I must have a flexible work schedule. I must work for a great leader. Writing makes up a large portion of my responsibilities. I must get to work on team projects. Then, make a list of "nice-to-haves" in your next role—things you would sacrifice for a must-have. For example: I want to commute less than 25 miles to work. I want to work from home occasionally. I want to earn at least two weeks of vacation. I want to work for small- to mid-size organization. I believe everyone can find a career that brings them joy and purpose by articulating what is important to them and factoring in those details as they make decisions. Once you come to a conclusion, that formerly dreaded question, "What are you doing after graduation?", will actually be exciting! Photo: Creative Commons

Why It Might Be a Great Time to Reconsider Your Rejects
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Why It Might Be a Great Time to Reconsider Your Rejects

Does your recruiting and screening process have some blind spots? Have your current hiring criteria become too restrictive? Are you tossing potential A-level prospects into a growing reject pile? Recent employment and jobs data suggests that's happening at more companies and in more industries than you might think. According to the latest data from the Labor Department, the U.S. economy is cranking out the highest number of job openings since 2008 -- an 11 percent jump over 2012. Yet that far outpaces the rate of day-to-day hiring: Between January and February of this year, the number of openings jumped 8.7 percent, yet the pace of hiring grew by just 2.8 percent. Unemployment, meanwhile, is still stuck at 7.5 percent -- 2.2 percent higher than it was during the last hiring peak in 2008. So what gives? While an array of economic variables factor into the big picture here, some HR and labor experts argue that hiring managers today are suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the Great Recession: They've become too risk-averse, too infatuated with cost savings, and applying overly strict job criteria to their screening process. "The real culprits are the employers themselves," explains Peter Cappelli, professor of management and human resources at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, in the Wall Street Journal. "It is part of a long-term trend, and the recession caused employers to be able to be pickier, to get even more specific in the skills they think they can find outside the company and to cut back on training." All of which suggests that now might be a great time for hiring managers to take a serious look at the job applicants they've turned down over the last year or two -- and look at the best of them with fresh eyes. Why? No screening process is foolproof, and the labor trends strongly suggest there may be more wheat than chaff lurking in the pile. Here are a few other reasons to reconsider the rejects: 1. Moving from Need to Want A lot of hesitancy around hiring is often derived from immediate need. Do we need this candidate or do we want this candidate? During the times of economic strife, as Cappelli points out, need generally outweighs want. Today though, with the economy on the rise, it would do hiring managers well to revisit the people they passed on months earlier. Some hiring managers see this practice as laziness -- why not look at the current talent pool? -- but there's something to be said for the candidate that endured multiple rounds of interviews and still accepted a rejection gracefully. 2. Looks Are Deceiving on Paper Hiring managers turn away applicants because of how the perceived "fit" looks on paper -- with recent and relevant experience showing up at the top of resumes. Yet recent data suggests it's a foolish practice. According to a recent workforce report from analytics firm Evolv, 8 percent of recently hired employees had prior experience in the job they were hired for, while 72 percent did not. What's more, the study found that after six months there was no noticeable difference in the attrition rates between the two groups. The point is that the resume shouldn't be your single selling point. In leaner times for business, it seems easier to rely on someone who looks good on paper, but the numbers don't lie. It's a good time to listen to your gut. 3. Using Rejection to Your Advantage For some, pain and rejection can be powerful motivators -- a factor that comes into play when re-connecting with a job prospect you may have interviewed and turned down earlier. But hiring managers should heed the results of this Stanford University study, showing that while rejection can increase someone's desire to obtain something, it can also diminish its attractiveness. During the study, participants who failed to win a prize were willing to pay more for it than those who won it, but were also more likely to trade it away after they got it. In other words, your rejects may be inclined to work harder when they first come on board, but it's important to make them feel a part of something -- if not, they'll be more inclined to jump ship. Photo credit: Can Stock

How to Ask a Purposeful Question
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How to Ask a Purposeful Question

At an early age in your professional career, many were taught to seek 'why' people do things. Whether you are a sales person, a project manager, or an implementer, we were taught to ask 'why'. Even in your personal life, we continue to ask why someone would do something like that to us, or why did someone make that decision. Well, I'm here to tell you that is poor advice. Let's Gain Clarity We need to understand what we are truly seeking and how to go about getting the real answer we seek. The fact is that we really don't want to know why, but we want to know, for what purpose. Yes, there is a difference. When asking why, we are communicating that we seek justification when what we really want is to seek for what purpose, or value. By asking 'why', which implies justification, that places the individual in a defensive position. When one is placed in a defensive position, the sole objective is to reduce or eliminate the threat, which, in this case, is you. So long trying to get any meaningful information. Now, let’s get practical. A Common Professional Scenario Let’s say you are engaged with a customer, either internal or external. You seek to find purpose in a project or request. You immediately launch into 'why' questions. Your customer hears 'give me your justification'. They become defensive, believing they are not required to justify their request, especially to you. In their mind, you have crossed the line in a hierarchical position in the relationship. They begin to shut down and gaining information becomes increasingly difficult. You get frustrated and continue to ask questions, badgering the customer, sounding like a four-year-old (why, why, why). Eventually, they give you an answer, maybe even the justification for their request, which, unfortunately, is not really the information you need as it won't help you solve their problem or fulfill their request. What To Do Okay, so what should you do? The idea is to seek purpose or value so questions like "for what purpose do you need...?" or "if you had X what would that get you...?" might be more beneficial as they provide you with information that you can actually use. Providing solution that support others' purpose is really what you seek. By raising the discussion to a higher level, you are now coming across as one that wants to help. A by-product of this approach is that you being to understand not only the value you can bring, but also what your customer values, which is great insight for future discussions. So, next time a customer has a request, or a loved one needs your help, seek to gain their purpose for the request and not place them in a defensive position by asking for their justification. You and your customer (and your loved one) will be happier and more fulfilled. #HappyLearning #HappyLife

Say "So Long" to Silos: Part 2
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Say "So Long" to Silos: Part 2

In Part One of this series, we discussed how humans and silos are natural partners. We like to put things in groups, categorize, and label them. We also make assumptions based on those silos that can keep us from achieving the business impact promised by integrated talent management. In this installment, we are going to take a look at a scenario encountered by many employees: Consider This Scenario A global, consumer-products company called GCP Co. has hired Doris as a Warehouse Manager. Warehouse Manager is a critical role within GCP and a vacancy in this position directly impacts GCP’s ability to serve its customers. Doris meets with her new manager, Bill, for her 90 Day Review and he tells Doris that she is doing well and exceeding his expectations. Bill also informs her that HR requires every employee to have a development plan. "Go to the talent management portal and fill out the development plan. I will approve it and then we can get on with other things," Bill instructs her. Doris leaves the meeting wondering if she made the right decision in coming to GCP. Doris calls her recruiter and says, "I expected them to give me some input on how to be successful at GCP and help me outline a plan for moving ahead. I joined this company because they stressed their commitment to employee development and providing opportunity for advancement." Get Your Managers In the Loop GCP is now on the verge of losing a great employee holding a critical position. Why? The main reason is that her manager doesn’t get it. There are three distinct silos in play here: The employee has expectations of coaching development from her manager; HR has a leadership-sponsored process for development (hey have supported it with technology and communicated the process to the business), and The manager views development as an administrative task that he must get done or get in trouble with HR. Change management would help integrate these three different perspectives by helping those involved understand that Talent Management is everyone’s responsibility. Doris is ready to participate and is motivated to move ahead. HR has provided a process. Bill thinks that Talent Management processes are HR’s responsibility and he just needs to keep them off his back. Clearly, HR has made the assumption that managers know and understand that they own talent management just as much as HR does. The manager doesn’t really understand how his lack of focus on managing his talent will ultimately end up hurting him and GCP either through low employee engagement or the loss of a good employee with potential. We used development as an example here, but this lack of understanding by managers can have equally devastating effects on performance management, succession planning, and talent acquisition. Without a common understanding of what role managers play in talent management, Doris will most likely be blamed for a less than stellar performance - and if she leaves, it will be written off as a "bad hire" by recruiting. You get the picture. Who’s Accountable for Talent Management Decisions? Another key element that is missing here is accountability. It isn’t enough to educate managers on their responsibilities. They need to be held accountable for their talent management decisions and outcomes. If Bill were held accountable by his leader, in addition to HR, he would be more likely to view the development conversation with Doris as an important business discussion rather than an administrative duty. Many organizations assign talent goals to managers. Those goals are included on either the annual performance review or used as input to their variable compensation plan. Remember, what is measured, gets attention. In summary, some of the most dangerous silos are a result of a lack of understanding of what is expected and a lack of accountability. Change management and accountability are not instant fixes and should be planned as part of the initial implementation of any Talent Management process. Even if you didn’t do that at the onset – you should do it now. As we talked about last time, silos are created by people, and in order to mitigate their impact, we need to help people see the integration that is possible and then support them in achieving it.

A Day in the Life of a Diversity Manager
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A Day in the Life of a Diversity Manager

The need for more diversity in Silicon Valley is no secret — recent demographic reports from large companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter show large gaps in both gender and ethnicity. Fortunately, companies are beginning to recognize the benefits of a diverse workforce, hiring HR managers, program leads and recruiters with the specific task of increasing inclusion initiatives. "A wealth of research shows that diverse teams perform better than non-diverse teams," says Carissa Romero, a partner at Paradigm, a startup that helps companies implement diversity initiatives. "They make better decisions and solve problems more effectively. Focusing on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace isn't just the right thing to do; it's also a smart business decision." To learn more about the rise of diversity-focused roles, we spoke with three individuals who have committed their careers to inclusion. Here they discuss their everyday challenges, current initiatives and best advice for other companies dedicated to increasing diversity. Carissa Romero Title: Partner at Paradigm, a startup that helps companies implement diversity initiatives How did you get involved with diversity and inclusion? I was attracted to Paradigm because they were drawing on a wealth of research in social psychology to help companies design diversity and inclusion strategies. I believe that I can make an impact on an issue that's both personal to me — I am a Puerto Rican woman — and that I'm deeply passionate about. What's the most challenging part about your job? One big challenge that we see many companies face is their reliance on referral hiring. Because companies' workforces are often homogeneous, if they don't find other ways to source candidates, it's going to be hard for companies to create more diverse teams. What current diversity initiative or past project are you most excited about? Inclusion Labs is a partnership with Paradigm and Pinterest that will allow us to conduct workforce research to identify and better understand barriers to diversity, test new strategies for addressing these barriers, and share publicly as much information as we can about what we're learning. What qualities make for a successful diversity initiative? A successful diversity and inclusion initiative is one that is data-driven, draws on what we know from social science research and is context-specific. Tina Sandford Title: Managing Director of International Field Delivery at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) How did you get involved with diversity and inclusion? Last June, we ran an inclusion and diversity survey, held focus groups and did a series of interviews. I've had the wonderful opportunity to lead this initiative. What's the most challenging part about your job? Balancing the demand and drive of those who want to get things done quickly versus those who are more conservative. We want to go slow in order to go fast; to do this, we have to be thoughtful and recognize that everyone has a different point of view. What qualities make for a successful diversity initiative? In a general sense, ask: What are you trying to achieve and how does that relate to your organization and employee base? It's not one-size-fits-all. What is your best piece of advice for companies trying to improve diversity? Keep an open mind and realize that everyone has a different perspective and values that drive where they come from. Melanie Goldstein Title: Diversity and Inclusion Product Manager at Kanjoya, a start-up specializing in emotion-based intuitive analytics What's the most challenging part about your job? Through our technology, I am constantly faced with the reality that unconscious bias is not a myth; rather, it exists everywhere, is culturally ingrained and can impact people's careers. What current diversity initiative or past project are you most excited about? We help clients understand precisely where and how bias is manifesting in their organizations. Armed with metrics for unconscious bias, our clients can convince even the most ardent skeptics that there is a problem, take data-driven action and make diversity an organization-wide commitment. What qualities make for a successful diversity initiative? Successful diversity initiatives have to be data-driven and led by a commitment to transparency. The ability to track and measure progress over time is also crucial. What is your best piece of advice for companies trying to improve diversity? It's imperative to address the entire employee lifecycle. To make lasting diversity improvements requires a continuous process of iteration and experimentation. Photo: Creative Commons