If you build it, they will come.
At least, that was KAR Global LMS Administrator Joseph Cunningham’s hope. He wanted to develop a professional learning culture that would inspire and better serve employees. And, he was about to be proven right.
In January 2020, Cunningham and his team soft-launched the Cornerstone Content Anytime (CCA) subscription service. Employees at KAR, a Fortune 1000 company that provides technology-driven remarketing solutions to sellers and buyers across the wholesale used vehicle industry, jumped at the fresh learning opportunities. Almost as soon as the first notice went out that the courses were available, voluntary registrations increased by 286% in February and 105% in March.
That positive reaction shouldn’t be surprising: 83% of the 1,000 workers surveyed for Cornerstone's "Building an Adaptive Workforce" report feel it is essential to improve professional skills. But, many companies don’t invest the time and resources to help make it happen, and employees end up upskilling independently or not at all. But, Cunningham knew that offering a vast library of learning and training courses would benefit not only employees but also the company.
Driving Toward Continuous Engagement
With CCA, KAR employees had immediate access to thousands of professional skills courses from dozens of vendors. "There's a whole set of things that I don't have to curate, and everybody's going to find something in there they want," says Cunningham. Not only was the range of topics broad (addressing issues like digital fluency and personal growth), but courses were also available in more languages than ever before—especially important for a global organization. For example, KAR experienced a jump to 500 Spanish-language options and 400 French-language options.
Driving awareness of these professional development opportunities was top of mind for Cunningham, who wanted to remind employees that new courses were being offered regularly and whenever it was convenient for their schedules. To spread the word, he and his team put together a 12-week promotional plan highlighting suggested courses, playlists, and learning pathways. Rather than bombard workers with emails, he planned to selectively promote content through articles on the company’s intranet; mentions in the company’s internal weekly newsletter; and targeted internal marketing emails (e.g., managers would receive course suggestions tied to building leadership skills).
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis erupted in week two of the promotional plan, temporarily cutting short the awareness campaign. But, within those first two weeks, registration still increased, with TED Talks registrations hitting 1,000. What’s more, Cunningham was able to quickly pivot and point users toward helpful COVID-related resources curated by CCA, addressing topics like remote work and stress management. Once the plan picks back up, he has 3,500 total licenses at the ready, only half of which have been used thus far.
Mapping Skills Competencies to Jobs
The benefits of the proactive learning culture that Cunningham envisions extend well beyond providing employees with the opportunity to build skills that speak to their interests. Deloitte research suggests companies with strong learning cultures are 92% more likely to innovate and 52% more productive.
But, with CCA, companies can help employee career growth through upskilling opportunities and ultimately boost its internal talent prospects and company performance. To help do this at KAR, Cunningham and his team plan to more closely align competencies with certain job titles by the end of 2020. The system would host a mix of internal training and broader CCA skills courses relevant to those roles.
Cunningham’s grand plans for CCA will ideally pave the way for a company-wide transformation, resulting in more engaged employees, more career-building opportunities, and a robust internal candidate pool.