Customer Story

Edwards Lifesciences puts their heart and soul into HR innovation

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When it comes to medical innovation, Edwards Lifesciences stands as a beacon of commitment, tirelessly working to revolutionize healthcare for patients battling cardiovascular diseases. A medical technology company with a heart-centric mission, Edwards focuses on crafting breakthrough products that play a pivotal role in saving lives.

Their dedicated team manufactures heart valve therapies and critical care monitoring equipment with unparalleled precision. But just as Edwards aims to enhance the well-being of patients through medical breakthroughs, they were also eager to empower their workforce for continuous learning and development.

Edwards knew they needed to partner with a company with great attention to detail, adaptability and a continual desire to innovate and ideate to make things better. They found all that and more in their partnership with Cornerstone.

  • Main Challenge: Aligning an extensive workforce of over 19,000 with the skills and knowledge required for intricate biomedical work, including crafting heart valves and critical care monitoring equipment

  • Solution: Cornerstone Learning

  • Results: Streamlined learning and improved training compliance

The person taking the pulse

Central to Edwards Lifesciences’ pursuit of excellence is Salvador Reyes, the senior director of quality training for global operations. With a workforce exceeding 19,000 people, he plays a crucial role in ensuring the intricate work of how Edwards employees align with the company’s core values, especially putting patients first.

“As a global-leading medical technology company, our focus is on introducing new products and innovating in areas like R&D, manufacturing, clean rooms and laboratories,” he says. “We also collaborate with hospitals and doctors to understand patient needs and future market innovations.”

For Edwards employees, their work is not merely a job—it’s a mission. They dedicate themselves to healing hearts in a very literal sense. Still, despite this profound sense of purpose, Edwards faced challenges in aligning their extensive workforce with the necessary skills and knowledge. Reyes wanted to ensure everyone had what they needed to succeed without skipping a beat.

Checking vital signs

With the company’s growth came more and more moving parts. Reyes saw more and more complexity arising within its global supply chain operations. He knew Edwards needed a solution that streamlined their learning processes and ensured training compliances, guiding their growth while adhering to pre-existing measures in their systems.

“It became apparent early on that Cornerstone was the vendor that could most help and support us as we grew,” he said.

Prior to Cornerstone, Edwards grappled with archaic paper-based processes, particularly in manufacturing. Leaders were on the lookout for more visibility into the state of training compliance or the status of employees. At the core of Edwards’ internal and external compliance requirements was the imperative to demonstrate the competence of their workforce in their assigned responsibilities.

“With all its reporting capability and so many solutions,” Reyes said, “Cornerstone proved to be a perfect fit for us."

Ramping up the flow

Before Cornerstone, Edwards sought to increase visibility into the state of compliance globally for their operations. A lot of noise stifled action — this led to uncertainty about the accuracy of training metrics. Using Cornerstone’s reporting API, they could deliver business intelligence to their operations, tying organizational leaders to the state of compliance at their division or region and driving accountability.

Another standout feature that resonated with Edwards was Cornerstone’s emphasis on dynamic groups for employee engagement with assignments.

“We love the dynamic groups that Cornerstone centered on in terms of employee engagement with assignments,” says Reyes. “They really showed a listening ear and a culture of continuous improvement. That's what we were looking for in a partner.”

But the collaboration between Cornerstone OnDemand and Edwards Lifesciences has expanded beyond implementation — now they’re on a journey of growth and refinement in HR learning.

Safety first

Employee learning is all the more important given Edwards’ unique work environments, particularly in manufacturing and clean rooms.

“Our clean rooms are an environment where assemblers and inspectors go up on a daily basis,” Reyes says. “Covered in scrubs, face masks, and foot coverings, the work involves intricate tasks such as hand-sewing heart valves under a microscope. Each station is configured with the training and skills requirements necessary for that specific step.”

This meticulous process is just one facet of the progressive build environment for heart valves. The emphasis on training and compliance is paramount, especially given the critical nature of the work. Manufacturing assemblers and inspectors find themselves at workstations configured with prerequisite training requirements. Cornerstone has helped ensure everyone’s ready to go regarding this detail-oriented and life-saving work.

“Before operators are allowed to work, they have to log into our manufacturing execution system,” Reyes says. “If the LMS indicates that the person is not trained or the credentials don't match, that person is not allowed to begin their work. This underscores the importance of training and compliance in our environment.”

When the inspector or assembler logs into our manufacturing execution system, the system checks whether that person has completed all the necessary training requirements. If not, they are not allowed to log into the system.

“All this just underscores the crucial role Cornerstone’s LMS plays within our environment,” Reyes says. “They really help us reinforce training compliance and responsibility each member of the team has.”

Sustaining compliance success

By partnering with Cornerstone, Edwards has met challenges head-on and created a much more integrated platform for its people.

Reyes articulates the shift: “When we had metrics and information that people didn’t have confidence in, that made training and compliance more challenging. That’s where we were before Cornerstone. People had subjective opinions about how we were implementing our training and compliance program. Cornerstone, through metrics and objective information, really helped us transform that.”

A key aspect of this transformation was a thorough understanding of the user perspective, from people leaders to assemblers. Edwards aimed to simplify and enhance efficiency, particularly for those within the clean rooms. Addressing the pain points from various perspectives, Cornerstone’s support extended to creating dashboards for increased awareness and integrating training courses seamlessly within teams.

“It really has energized the culture of learning,” says Reyes. “As we continue to grow, people see the training and learning programs as supportive of both us and them, not as something that doesn't align with our goals. The results that we really have seen are the best compliance metrics that we’ve ever achieved. It’s a result of our partnership with Cornerstone in intelligence reporting.”

Building a team with heart

Edwards’ culture of learning presents various opportunities for employee development. The partnership with Cornerstone has brought great energy and enthusiasm to teams. People want to learn how to develop their careers, contribute to patient wellness, and benefit from the increasing transparency and thoroughness available in Cornerstone’s LMS.

Previously, the feedback was, ‘Why am I getting these training assignments? It doesn’t correlate to what I’m doing today and what I want to do,” Reyes relates. “Now, with an accurate system and program, people have the assurance that the training and learning associated with them contribute to their growth and development.”

In turn, that’s helped Edwards manufacture high-quality products and support their people in learning and growing from different perspectives. This increase in morale has also led to increased productivity and employee learning.

Straight to the heart of the matter

The partnership between Edwards Lifesciences and Cornerstone OnDemand has been are sounding success. This partnership extends beyond a mere business arrangement; it’s a dynamic exchange of knowledge and insights. Edwards Lifesciences not only reaps the benefits of Cornerstone’s cutting-edge solutions but also gains invaluable learnings from a network spanning diverse industries.

Reyes aptly says, “The number one benefit of Cornerstone is the partnership we’ve had and established. We’ve learned so much over the last four years. Cornerstone is connected with many different industries and clients recognized for different reasons, and we get to learn about what the best practices area cross many different fields.”

As their joint journey continues, the echoes of a true partnership resonate — a partnership built on trust, shared visions, and a commitment to continuous improvement. Both organizations know the heart of the matter is always the same: treating your people well so they can do their best work.

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