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Bright Horizons: Streamlining Cohort Management and Making Learning More Collaborative

Bright Horizons Family Solutions® is a leading provider of early education and preschools, employer-sponsored child care, back-up care and educational advisory services. Established in 1986, the organization is the only child care organization named to the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” list by Fortune magazine.

Since 2010, Bright Horizons has relied on Cornerstone OnDemand’s unified talent management platform to help streamline the development, performance and succession of their 26,000 employees. Yet managing their approximately 50 a year or approximately 300 over the last 6 years training cohorts was still a challenge. “We run cohorts throughout the year, 20 alone in our early childhood education accreditation program,” said Stephen Quinn, manager of learning services systems at Bright Horizons. “But registration, tracking and other administrative tasks were still managed manually.”

In addition, while the company offered blended learning programs, the social and learning components didn’t create a structure that was conducive to driving learner engagement. “There was no direct connection between the curriculum pathway and the community,” said Quinn.

Why Cornerstone

In 2015, Bright Horizons built an internal pilot program for Cornerstone’s new Collaborative Learning solution. Designed to provide a more holistic learning experience, Collaborative Learning enables organizations to improve retention and engagement by facilitating learner discussions, infusing learning into the flow of work, and more effectively and efficiently running cohort programs. “The technology is catching up to what we’ve been doing for a couple of years,” said Stephen Quinn, manager of learning services systems at Bright Horizons. “Collaborative Learning is going to accommodate our existing cohorts, and because we’re saving resources, allow us to offer more programs, including a corporate director program and one for managers transitioning to directors.”

Bright Horizons rolled out the solution in the 4th quarter of 2015 and will manage all cohort programs directly through Cornerstone. Employees will also benefit from enhanced collaboration capabilities and a more organic way of communicating with their peers and instructors. “Collaborative Learning is going to improve both our user and instructor experiences. We’ve already received positive feedback on the new interface,” said Quinn.

What's Ahead

Streamline management of existing cohorts. Bright Horizons runs cohorts continuously to train their 26,000 employees. “We’ve always used cohorts, but Collaborative Learning is going to help us run them more efficiently. We’re really excited for that,” said Quinn. “Soon we’ll be able to allow employees to register automatically for programs. We can let the system bear the brunt of the work. This will help us save resources elsewhere, so we can in turn offer even more programs.”

Enable more organic communication and collaboration during courses. Previously, creating interaction between learning communities required a directive—instead of an organic, collaborative approach. “We would tell learners to read a blog post and engage with their peers by posting two comments, but it wasn’t a natural interaction,” said Quinn. “With Collaborative Learning, we’re going to be able to do that a lot more organically. We won’t be dependent on any workarounds. We expect a lot more organic participation from employees, and I think people will be more excited.”

Increase the number of employees accessing classes by 800%. Prior to Cornerstone, a mere 1,200 employees accessed our system. That number jumped to 11,000, an 800 percentage increase, Bright Horizons expects to see even more participation with the rollout of Collaborative Learning. “With Cornerstone, we’ve been able to expand our offerings beyond teachers to areas of our business that were under-supported. We now offer more career-oriented tools, including competency assessments, career profiles, succession planning and video training, to create repeat ‘customers,’” said Quinn. “We also complete pre- and post-competency assessments of everyone who enters a program. This allows us to measure progress and prove growth of employees who go through the programs.”

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