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A Word of Advice from a Learning Strategist: "Regularly Assess Your Technology"

Joanne Holbrook

Principal Strategist, Cloud Solutions at Alight Solutions

At a recent Cornerstone Converge event, I had the pleasure of meeting many different types of clients; some who are new to Cornerstone, and many who have been live with the system for several years. To prepare for the event, I thought back to what I heard from folks at other events over the past several years. Not surprisingly, I found that while each client brings a unique perspective and experience with Cornerstone, virtually all of them face the same types of challenges. These key challenges include:

  • Leadership changes and/or new administrators
  • Evolving business needs
  • Keeping up with technology

Often I hear about new leaders in the organization who bring new perspectives to learning and talent management, and with those, new ideas for using Cornerstone technology. These new leaders, I'm often told, do not know the history of how and why Cornerstone is being used in its current form and they are asking for more. Quick to add this is not negative thing, just that it can be a challenge. Even seasoned administrators express that they are not as confident as they would like to be when executing system requests in new or different ways simply because they have never done it before.

New administrators, administrators who were not involved in deployment, or administrators with a more limited role in the system (managing a specific annual compliance program, for example) are looking for even more direction. Like new leaders, new administrators lack the background knowledge as to why decisions were made, and they communicate their desire to be certain they are performing tasks the right way—or best way—in Cornerstone.

In addition to people changes influencing the system, many clients I speak with talk about how many aspects of their business have changed since deploying Cornerstone. The changes usually fall into one of three buckets as it relates to the system: functionality that was configured but not used until now, business needs that require new workflows or changes to existing workflows or the need for additional functional scope due to changing end user or manager expectations. Regardless of which bucket certain business changes fall, system administrators and business owners alike want to know if they are effectively using the system to avoid manual or duplicative work while also ensuring a positive user experience.

Not only do client's business needs change and evolve, Cornerstone's technology changes as well. With major new functionality and enhancements released four times a year, administrators candidly admit that it can be a struggle to keep up. The two questions I most often hear from system administrators on this subject are: whether they have missed anything important in a release, or how they can best take advantage of new, recently released functionalities. Cornerstone's Learner Experience Platform (LXP) is often the star of this conversation.

As I reflected on these past conversations while I prepared for this event, I decided to select one question to ask everyone I met. I knew that by doing so, I was guaranteed to learn something that, ideally, could be used to offer greater value to clients.

What I didn't expect, however, was the consistency in which folks responded when asked the question. By "consistency" in their responses, I mean consistency down to the spectrum of looks that flashed across their faces. In the blink of an eye it seemed, the look started with surprise ("Whoa, I hadn't even thought of that..."), moved on to intrigue ("Hmmm, that might be valuable..."), and settled on thoughtful ("Yes, tell me more.")

The question is simply this: When was the last time you had someone assess how well your system is currently working for you?

If you have been live with Cornerstone for a year or more, you have, from time to time, undoubtedly questioned if you are doing something in the most efficient manner, if a manual process could be automated, if there are ways to provide a better user experience, or if you have missed anything in a release.

The only way to know for sure? Conduct an assessment.

Photo: Creative Commons

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