Alamo Colleges: Building a Strategic Talent Management Program

Alamo Community College District (Alamo Colleges) serves more than 64,000 students across five member institutions in Bexar County, Texas. Students are taught by highly qualified faculty dedicated to creating a learner centered environment.

For Alamo Colleges, the key to student success begins with employee success. Yet retaining top employees was increasingly challenging. According to Linda Boyer-Owens, associate vice chancellor, HR and organizational development of Alamo Colleges, “The market for top talent in higher education is more competitive than ever. We need a proactive strategy to recruit, develop and retain our best employees.”

However, the reliance on eight different talent management systems was anything but proactive. Its existing LMS was not user-friendly and registration for online courses was around 12 percent. To make the tools easier to use, each member college had devised workarounds which provided no visibility of training, performance and succession planning.

Why Cornerstone

The impetus for change came when leadership discovered that employees were not taking professional development courses or completing compliance training. This prompted the search for a new unified talent management system. “While many colleges recognize the need to change how they manage talent in order to remain competitive, most have not yet taken action,” said Boyer-Owens. “Our approach was to look to the private sector, draw on best practices, and adapt them to meet the unique needs of higher education.”

After reviewing multiple vendors, Alamo Colleges selected Ellucian Talent Management Suite powered by Cornerstone OnDemand. The flexibility of Cornerstone’s unified platform would enable Alamo Colleges to align data, reporting, recruiting, planning and evaluation systems with existing institutional principles. According to Bruce Leslie, chancellor of Alamo Colleges, “The ability to foster collaboration and share training resources in the cloud, were key to our decision.”

The Results

Utilized technology to improve recruiting and retain top talent. Cornerstone has allowed Alamo Colleges to cross reference data between the Recruiting and Learning solutions to identify internal applicants with relevant training for new positions. “We want to be able to identify employees with specific skills and match them to positions for which they’re best suited, as well as find new ways to improve career growth and satisfaction,” said Hope Galvan-McCall, director of learning and talent management of Alamo Colleges.

Increased participation in compliance training. Prior to Cornerstone, Alamo Colleges discovered that only 5 percent of new employees had taken sexual harassment prevention courses. Today, 2,830 full-time employees have completed this training. In addition, the number of compliance-issue cases have dropped by 35 percent.

Increased course registrations and completions. Because Cornerstone is so easy to use, employees are excited to learn, and this has translated into a measurable uptick in registration and completion of courses. Within one year, registrations increased by 146 percent and completions by 230 percent.

Saved $100,000 in one year. Cornerstone allows the central learning manager to create and upload courses for employees. This has saved the institution $100,000 in just one year, when compared to using content that was licensed from outside vendors. Cornerstone has also made it easier to develop large-scale leadership training programs, a key component in succession planning.

Gained visibility and insight for improved planning. College leadership now has visibility into the entire lifecycle of employee learning, performance and succession, across all five colleges. This has not only improved workflow and goal alignment, but it has also provided a steady stream of data crucial to strategic planning.

Department heads are thrilled with the tools that correlate learning with performance. “Having a window into the work taking place is a game changer,” said Galvan-McCall. “I can envision the shift from a focus on day-to-day issues to thinking strategically about how goals are being served by my team, their skill sets and their performance.

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