Clif Bar doubles down on its commitment to self-directed learning
Clif Bar & Company believes in being a “different kind of company.” This same ethos has helped fuel its unique approach to self-directed learning: equipping employees with the right tools to take charge of their own development and growth.
Clif Bar’s learning and development team wanted to build a dynamic culture of learning. But doing so required overcoming a reliance on manual processes and a lack of centralized learning content. Thanks to the powerful combination of Cornerstone Learning and Cornerstone Content Anytime (CCA), Clif Bar brought “Epiphany Labs,” its learning hub, to life. And since then, it’s where all the learning magic happens.
Reinforced cultural synergy. “Cornerstone’s reputation as an employer really vibed with our culture,” expressed Jennifer Freitas, Clif Bar’s director of learning. While not a “result,” per se, this says a lot about the importance of cultural alignment in decision-making processes.
Improved learning strategy. “We focused purely on the mechanics of learning and less on building a holistic learning strategy,” said Freitas. “Now, we can focus on the ROI of delivering quality learning to our people.” The biggest benefit of a learning management system is the ability to scale learning to meet employees’ development needs while also being able to measure the impact of that strategy.
Strengthened leadership. “In 2020, we launched a new blended learning leadership program, called ‘Leader Trek,’” explained Freitas. Clif Bar used on-demand content from CCA to supplement its instructor-led training to offer a more flexible and comprehensive learning program, especially useful with people working from home during the pandemic.
Increased engagement. “A lot of new on-demand content comes with every Cornerstone Content Anytime quarterly update,” said Brandon Hodges, Clif Bar’s learning and development specialist. “And because the production quality of Cornerstone’s content is amazing, our people see real value in it and are coming back regularly for more.”
Supported remote learning. “I cannot imagine not having our learning hub during the pandemic,” expressed Freitas. “We used it for everything, from employee onboarding to leadership training to remote working seminars to stress management workshops.” This helped the company continue to support employees in a remote workforce environment.
Addressed evolving learning needs. “The pandemic has taught us a lot about how to address employee needs in a more thoughtful way,” explained Hodges. The most popular course titles in 2019 included “Use Stories to Engage Your Audience” and “What Makes a Good Story?” while in 2020, employees gravitated to “Watch Out for Burnout” and “Reduce Workplace Anxiety.”
Clif Bar is already devising new ways to amplify the company’s self-directed learning culture:
- Encouraging employees to leave ratings and feedback to the coursework Boosting completion rates for eLearning courses
- Creating closer alignment between on-demand content and live learning sessions
- Building learning journeys focused on developing greater skill agility
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Transitioning to a Virtual Learning Environment at HME
HM Electronics, Inc. (HME) is a group of companies that designs, manufactures, sells and services specialized communications, audio and software solutions for niche markets. Why Cornerstone HME is a global company with a diverse workforce in multiple locations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. The organization’s performance management system, Halogen TalentSpace, lacked robust learning features and was being used to its fullest capabilities. HME envisioned upgrading to a platform that better aligned with on-demand instruction and guided learning. In 2019, HME switched from Saba TalentSpace to Cornerstone’s Saba Cloud platform because its capabilities could scale to meet the evolving learning and performance needs of HME’s growing workforce, and also provided automated reporting and notification features that created a seamless experience for administrators. With Saba Cloud, HME could introduce a transformative learning environment where all employees could access resources for compliance and operational standard training on a single platform. Business Impact Provided a learning platform and resources for HME’s diverse workforce to grow and develop professionally, increase employee engagement and boost employee performance. A Seamless Transition to Saba Cloud HME embarked on an ambitious three-month implementation plan. Diem Lewis, Director of Organizational Effectiveness, and members of HME’s Employee Learning Committee met and collaborated with a Cornerstone consultant to ensure Saba Cloud had an intuitive user experience. Cornerstone’s 24/7 customer service was also a winning factor in selecting Saba Cloud, as troubleshooting issues could be addressed efficiently. Lewis wanted to push platform features to their full potential with customization and said Cornerstone met their expectations. “We had someone who was able to keep up with my mind in regard to special requests,” she said. The team utilized an agile project management approach to ensure each implementation phase was aligned to meet a fast-paced deadline schedule. “We didn't have any downtime with the switch, which was great,” Lewis said. “The impact on the user was minimal.” Leveraging Learning, Performance and More Learning was key to the company’s continued success. Upgrading to Saba Cloud—internally called Compass—provided an agile learning environment that empowered employees to continuously develop their knowledge. The platform also created a dedicated space for employees and managers to collaborate on their performance plans. Saba Cloud’s rollout was synced with the company’s employee quarterly review process. As soon as it was implemented, 75% of employees completed a quarterly check-in—and that increased to 91% a year later. Finally, Saba Cloud’s comprehensive reporting features were a huge improvement for Diem and her team. Since HME receives government funding to provide employee training, they spent hours maintaining meticulous training records. Saba Cloud’s reporting and analytics provide an efficient way to generate reports, which allows her team more time to focus on developing and delivering employee education curriculums. Shifting to a Virtual Learning Experience While allowing more virtual learning and performance capabilities was the initial goal, HME’s decision to implement Saba Cloud in 2019 made the company more agile during the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work. “I felt like we were six months ahead of the curve because Saba Cloud had tools we were able to experiment with before COVID occurred,” Lewis said. The impact of these tools on employee performance quickly became clear. For example, HME’s sales team needed to adapt to remote sales. HME quickly rolled out tutorials on conducting virtual demos, and employees were able to receive direct facilitator feedback through the platform. Since implementation, Saba Cloud’s virtual learning and meeting capabilities have allowed HME to create a robust training portal that employees are excited to use. It also allows departments to collaborate with HR to address learning needs, boost employee performance and continue to drive business growth and success. “The most exciting part is, instead of going out and finding a different solution, leaders in the organization are reaching out to us and saying, ‘Hey, do you think Compass can do this for us?’ and we’re able to say ‘Yes.’” said Lewis.
Content Anytime digitally supports multi-national skills-based transformation
Headquartered in Paris, BNP Paribas Group operates in 72 countries and serves nearly 33 million clients worldwide, focusing on retail banking and services, corporate institutional banking, and investment solutions. The Learning and Development team at BNP Paribas wanted a Content solution that provided more up-to-date modern content, was easy to plug and play, was available at a reasonable cost, and reflected the professional diversity within its organisation. With Cornerstone Content Anytime (CCA), BNP Paribas gained all that and more. CCA scales with their business, transitions them away from classroom training, and is available anytime, anywhere. “Content Anytime contributes to our employees’ development by providing instant access to a diverse range of online training that is current, engaging, and informative. One day, Content Anytime will be part of our culture, and it will be part of who we are as a brand as well,” says Nasser Zabbar, learning & development manager at BNP Paribas Real Estate UK. In 2017, BNP Paribas set an aggressive business plan for the next four years. They called it the Road to 2020. To help the company achieve these goals the HR team created their own subset of this plan and turned to Cornerstone Content Anytime to help them achieve the goals of the Road to 2020. BNP Paribas talent goals and focus As a subset to the BNP Paribas strategic vision of the Road to 2020 — its 2017–2020 business plan — the HR team constructed their own talent plan with employees at the core. This plan focused on employees’ learning and development (L&D) and strives to continuously improve the employee experience by: Anticipating future required skills brought about by digital transformation Understanding employee learning needs in-depth Creating personalised and relevant HR offerings Across all business entities, each L&D team is committed to continuous learning and development of their employees. 4 key L&D focus areas for 2020 Technical business skills Soft skills Transformation (digital, agile, remote working) Compliance The challenges they faced Needed to make training easy, accessible, and relevant across the organization (ATAWAD) Wanted more up-to-date, modern learning content library that is aligned with soft skills and digital transformation Needed a library of content that supports multiple languages and learning preferences to engage their diverse employees. Needed to make training easy, accessible, and relevant across the organization (ATAWAD) Content Anytime as an enabler for modern, blended learning Previously, leadership and management training were outsourced, and when Zabbar led an effort to bring this in-house, CCA became an enabler for a blended-learning solution. The approach was to use online content through the CCA Leadership & Management subscription as a precursor of what was coming. When the employee trained on one subject, the L&D team would suggest some slightly different content on the same topic within CCA to reinforce the prior training. As an example, during the seasonal appraisal period, Natalie Williams, L&D coordinator at BNP Paribas Real Estate UK, would put together playlists of relevant content that touched on performance reviews. These playlists focused on topics like how to have good or difficult conversations, how to give feedback, and how to prepare for a performance review. Offered variety, supporting the unique learning needs of a diverse workforce For BNP Paribas, diverse cultures and multiple languages are the norm. This is even more pronounced at BNP Paribas Luxembourg. As a small, landlocked European country, Luxembourg draws a major portion of its workforce from its surrounding neighbours, including Belgium, Germany, and France. BNP Paribas Luxembourg (BGL) employees speak German, French, and English. With the recent purchase of a subsidiary of another bank, they had an influx of Dutch speakers as well. Because of this diversity, they were looking for a solution that embodied a variety of pedagogical approaches, different languages, and different modalities due to the move away from classroom training, different levels of content, and of course, cost-effectiveness. Content Anytime hit the mark offering a diverse variety of content in multiple languages and formats, which felt culturally relevant for their global workforce. Additionally, the BNP Paribas Real Estate UK unit is composed of commercial, rural, residential, and central functions with a diverse age group ranging from recent graduates to seasoned professionals. Williams remarked, “This required the need to keep pace with the likes of Snapchat, YouTube, and Netflix, which were more fast-paced and provided engaging content. Cornerstone Content Anytime (CCA) was likened to be the best match versus other providers.” Provided content anytime, anywhere — especially during COVID BGL recognised that the anytime, anywhere, any device approach for training was the new reality and required good content libraries. Once COVID hit, soft skills development became a priority for BNP Paribas Luxembourg. There was also a need to work on remote working skills and habits and even more specific work topics such as Remote Management and Remote Selling. That drove the necessity to rollout Content Anytime quickly to meet these needs. In the soft skills area, BGL did have a lot of courses available in its training centre. Before the COVID crisis, they were prepared with a training strategy set up to digitalise the training they offer. With the pandemic, the need became urgent and the discussions with Cornerstone accelerated in order for BGL to be live with Content Anytime in May 2020. One important criterion for them was the need for a UX experience that was smooth and seamless for the users. Starting in 2019 and even before COVID, BGL had already begun moving away from classroom learning. Frederic Hieronimus, head of training and development at BGL, shared that BGL had previously seen that in-person classroom learning was preferred to digital online learning. Classroom training brought people together, and there was a social element where people preferred to meet in-person. In order to market online learning, they had to be cognizant of this and offer shorter, more convenient learning options. COVID changed the paradigm dramatically and made the switch and uptake of digital content expand dramatically. BGL’s estimate of learning content consumed digitally is likely to hit 80 percent for 2020 primarily due to COVID. In the time post-COVID, BGL still would like to retain a blended learning approach as they still see the need for contacts between individuals from different job functions, divisions, and sites. They want a balanced approach between digital content and classroom content. In the future, they plan on moving towards hybrid, blended learning solutions where there is opportunity to do some pre-work utilising Content Anytime offerings to supplement face-to-face learning. Williams also feels that down the road, basic soft skills training will not be provided in the classroom. She observes that online content is getting better and better, and people’s appetite to acquire information through digital sources is growing. BNP Paribas Real Estate UK is looking to make it 70/30 percent (virtual vs. in-person or Zoom). How BNP Paribas drove adoption of Content Anytime They started running a pilot Through the guidance of its Group counterparts, the L&D team of BNP Paribas Real Estate UK was the first of the Group’s entities to select and implement the Cornerstone Content Anytime library in October 2018. They started with a pilot session engaging around 20 employees from different regions and different departments in order to ensure the content worked for the employee base, and that the solution was robust. They built marketing tools to drive excitement and adoption Once CCA Professional Skills and CCA Leadership & Management subscriptions were launched, building awareness and adoption was an ongoing and multi-step process. The Real Estate UK unit’s internal launch campaign included contacting each office, enabling email pushes, creating a Star Wars-themed video, and building playlists shared through email signatures to drive adoption. Some users shared that they thought the new content was great and pointed out particular courses. During a re-launch in September 2019 due to the introduction of Learner Home, the new LMS home page, the user interface provided for a better experience. Visually, the new website looked a lot more like Netflix and iTunes, for example. Williams applauded, “The ability to create playlists through Learner Home was super cool.” Learnify — A BNP Paribas Luxembourg marketing tool According to Rebecca Wong, programme manager, group HR strategy & transformation with BNP Paribas Group, “...the biggest failure we have seen in terms of content is that if you just leave it in the system, no one is going to take it.” Wong continued, “...I think that is why Cornerstone Cares [a free platform featuring online courses designed to help anyone protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, practice self-care to manage the stress and isolation of quarantine, stay productive while working from home, and mitigate or eliminate unconscious bias] was a big success [because of good marketing].” Prior to CCA, most training offers had been done using the “pull” model where employees identified training they wanted and had their manager approve the request. CCA enabled BGL to shift more towards a “push” model where a playlist was created and used to “push” offerings each month. Each month since BGL went live with CCA in May 2020, the team creates a playlist revolving around a theme that is linked with the orientation of the bank or with current worldwide news. For example, with Mobility Week taking place in June, the June playlist centred around “mobility” which focused on internal career transitions with topics such as creating a CV and interview techniques. July’s playlist was focused on “resilience,” and August’s playlist topic was “remote working.” BGL branded the CCA training offer “Learnify” and uses playlists to create a blended learning approach. Those playlists are promoted on the Connect community pages from Cornerstone. To further market Learnify, headphones with the branded Learnify logo were also distributed. In terms of managerial development, BGL decided to purchase a CCA Leadership & Management license for each manager. They had already developed a workshop focusing on seven competencies and wanted to push content linked to those skills. Skills-tagging for course content was very important to ensure relevant coursework was aligned with BGL’s managerial competency matrix. The path forward Audrey Matton, project officer of solution, deployment & service learning with BNP Paribas SA Brussels, concluded, “As a global multinational, we are pleased to be able to introduce and recommend innovative and tested learning solutions to our diverse employee base across our varied business entities. Content Anytime provides a lever in that direction. Currently, the BNP Paribas Group already has more entities waiting in the wings to subscribe to Content Anytime within a group frame contract.”
Wakefield Canada: Achieving 100% compliance with goal and review deadlines and decreasing time spent managing the review process by 50%
Wakefield Canada is the exclusive distributor of Castrol premium lubricants and SuperClean® Cleaner-Degreaser to Retailers, Automotive & Commercial Heavy Duty customers, with dedicated customer service and technical support, as well as industry-leading marketing programs. Wakefield Canada has always viewed performance management as a crucial driver in both employee engagement and goal alignment; however, the company’s review process was far from ideal for Siobhain Sturno, HR Manager at Wakefield Canada. “We were using a paper-based system for reviews—and we were using even more paper to track the entire process. We engage in performance management three times a year, so it was three documents per person per year. HR chased managers, who, in turn, chased employees—we were lucky to have goals even established by the middle of the year. And because we’re located across different locations, there was a lot of mailing back and forth.” This review process was also not having the most positive effect on engagement. “We heard from many that the process was a bit of a headache and viewed as a ‘checkbox’ exercise. We knew that there was room for improvement in what we see as a key people process in our business. We wanted to drive better discussions around performance and achievements, and better engagement.” Why PiiQ by Cornerstone Wakefield knew it was time to adopt a more modern, employee-centric performance management solution, and began the process of review and research on different vendors and options. “After creating a short-list of potential options, we realized that none of them were a really great fit for our business,” said Siobhain Sturno, HR Manager at Wakefield Canada. “We started over, conducted more research, read reviews, completed some software trials, and compared different systems online. After careful consideration, PiiQ by Cornerstone was my top pick.” The team valued PiiQ’s ease of use and competitive pricing, while Sturno was sold on the platform’s customization options. “We wanted to mimic our paper-based system to simplify the change and transition for our staff. PiiQ made it simple to work with our existing process.” After choosing PiiQ, the team was amazed at how easy it was to implement. “As an administrator, I’m computer literate, but I’m not a programmer. I was able to do the PiiQ implementation myself,” said Sturno. “And Cornerstone’s customer service is the best I’ve ever dealt with, ever. It’s great to have a powerful tool, but not if you don’t have great customer service to go with it. I can’t say enough good things about Cornerstone.” The Results Increased engagement. Prior to PiiQ, employees had “lost sight” of the value of the performance management process, which, in turn, negatively impacted engagement. “Since using PiiQ, we’ve definitely seen increased engagement in this area. I know PiiQ is only a tool, but it’s a key management tool for us that has improved our overall performance program,” said Sturno. “With PiiQ, people are recognizing how their individual goals and results align with the organization’s priorities and achievements. Plus, the quality of goal setting has improved which positively impacts our collective focus and business results. Reduced time spent managing the review process by 50%. The company’s previous paper-based performance management process required tremendous time and effort. “With paper, having to deal with reformatting was a constant headache,” said Sturno. “With PiiQ, we’ve cut the time we spend on reviews and self-assessments in half.” Achieved 100% compliance with goal and review deadlines. Previously, the company struggled to ensure performance reviews were completed in a timely manner. “Since implementing PiiQ, we’ve met every deadline of our annual Performance Management cycle, said Sturno. “It’s amazing. PiiQ is so easy to use and seen across the business as a useful tool by both managers and employees. Aligned individual goals and company goals. Sturno and her team view performance management as a key tool and enabler for driving business results. “PiiQ plays a large role in ensuring the success of our performance management programs. Performance management drives engagement, and we firmly believe drives the alignment of individual goals with the overall goals of the organization. When goals are clear and aligned, not only does this help drive business results, but people can see how they’re contributing to Wakefield’s success and that they provide value.”