How people move through their careers continues to evolve. The linear "career ladder" was replaced by "career lattice," a more dynamic approach to employee career growth. But the lattice, which still approaches careers in terms of specific roles, is being replaced by a more modern dynamic approach. Disruption and technological innovation happen so rapidly that employees’ roles are increasingly fluid, and it’s skills—not roles—that define their development.
Today, companies are beginning to think about careers as a journey, where employees leverage their existing skills, identify opportunities to expand them, and even gain entirely new skills. It’s a more natural and intuitive way to grow.
What people are calling "roles" is constantly becoming more and more out of date—because what a role expects of you is shifting really quickly. "Skills" are a way to help break down what roles are, so that we don't necessarily have to rewrite the entire job description every time a task or a role of responsibility shifts or changes within your organization.
But this organic skills development is only possible with technology as a catalyst. Enter: the Cornerstone Skills Graph. Our AI-driven solution detects and analyzes skills from different sources to identify new learning, development and mobility opportunities. The Skills Graph allows for a clear understanding of skills associated with people, learning content and jobs—helping companies understand how to close skills gaps while also fulfilling the desire that their employees have to learn and grow. This is the "push and pull" of the Cornerstone Skills Graph: driving skills development in priority areas for the company (push) but also empowering employees to own their development (pull).
Using the Skills Graph to Find the Right Person for the Right Role
To build the Skills Graph, we combed the web to create an extensive backend library and workflow that maps out all possible skills associated with any given role.
For example, if you were launching a new product, you would initially look for someone who has the skills to build it. But beyond that, you might consider someone who has experience in change management or project management so they can contribute to the larger project in more than one way. Using AI, the Skills Graph compares skills associated with certain projects against existing employee skills to identify the ideal candidate. The Skills Graph can also bolster that person’s development in the process by making learning recommendations to expand these existing skills during their work on the project.
The underlying ideology of the Skills Graph is to match the multiple dimensions of a person to the multiple dimensions of a job. Instead of exclusively focusing on what someone has demonstrated they’re good at, the Skills Graph takes a much more multidimensional lens. It also considers what someone might be interested in, what they enjoy doing, and which skills they want to develop.
Employee Development—and Happiness—is Good For Business
Empowering employees to learn cultivates a supportive environment that’s more conducive to skills development and growth. We know that every employee is different, with unique skills and interests, yet oftentimes organizations can unknowingly limit growth by putting employees in boxes.
For example, I could be a good salesperson, but if I hated it, what's the point? My heart's not in it. I'm not really looking to grow and thrive in this role, even though on paper I could do the job.
That’s why the Skills Graph is integrated across multiple suites (Learning, Performance and, soon, Recruiting)—to offer a full picture of the employee. This interconnectivity is especially useful during development moments, such as a performance review. Insight from the Skills Graph allows employers and managers to understand more about the employee, personalize their growth to their level of expertise, and work out what learning content they need access to in order to excel.
It’s essential to make learning materials readily available so employees can learn in the flow of work. Learning in the flow of work means providing learning when it’s needed—not after the fact, not separately. Not only is this approach to development good for people—it’s also good for business. Using skills as a way to organize initiatives, learning content and resources can help organizations better deploy people in the organization to be more effective.
Skills help organizations to truly understand their people. Not only does that make it easier to pivot your people faster and match them to initiatives that drive real, quantifiable outcomes, but it also helps employees feel supported and eager to grow within the organization. Ultimately, it’s an approach that strengthens a team and boosts performance. With the Skills Graph, employers can invest in their employees’ future as well as their business’.
For additional insights about how employees identify and develop their employees’ skills, check out our global skills report.
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Employee goal setting template
Creating effective goals for your employees can be hard. To set effective employee goals you should: Create goals in consultation with your employee. As you discuss and refine the goals, you're exchanging "bigger picture" information about both of your expectations, and coming to consensus. Tailor the level of detail you capture to your employee's needs. A more senior or autonomous employee will need less detail than a less experienced or less independent employee. Write goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). Make sure that goals are achievable both individually and as a group. Assigning too many goals, even though each one might be achievable on its own, sets the employee up for failure. Start with the end result in mind and clearly identify how success will be measured. Always link individual employee goals to the higher-level organizational goals they are designed to support, so the employee has a clear context for their work. To help you out, we've created an employee goal setting template that prompts you for all the information you should discuss and document when setting goals with your employees.
Empowered Employees: How to Increase Motivation in the New Normal
From the initial phases of transitioning to fully remote work to changes in communications, training and reviews, leaders have needed to make significant changes to equip team members for success. Following our discussion of the performance management trends in the new normal and the tactics you can employ to improve morale and keep up with your team members, we’re looking at what it takes to keep staff motivated. From an increased focus on employee reward programs to expanded allowances and subscriptions, leaders have a variety of opportunities to encourage workers in the era of Zoom fatigue and social isolation. Reevaluating Employee Rewards Programs Your organization likely faced financial struggles throughout the pandemic. After all, it’s not easy to keep revenues stable—especially when many states haven’t pivoted to a full reopening of the economy. While revenue may be short, personal stressors are long. Employees are anxious about the future of the business and their jobs. Layoffs and furloughs have probably cut into your company morale, and many still dread the other shoe dropping. Top Spenders Put $0.53 per $1,000 Revenue in Rewards and Retention Understandably, despite a decrease in revenue, one area you shouldn’t cut is the employee rewards program. As discussed in a recent CFO article, HR leaders are realizing that one of the most critical areas to maintain or even increase spending is their rewards program. Citing research from APQC, the top 25 percent of performers spend more than three times those in the bottom 25 percent and have helped employees feel more confident in the future. "APQC found that companies in the 75th percentile spend the most on this process at $0.53 per $1,000 revenue. Companies within the median spend $0.33 per $1,000 revenue, while those in the 25th percentile spend $0.17 or less." – Perry D. Wiggins, CPA, writing for CFO Even a Small Gesture Pays Dividends in Loyalty The CFO article goes on to add that even a small increase to benefits and rewards goes a long way, and there are plenty of more minor gestures that mean a great deal to employees during a difficult time. APQC expert Lisa Ryan adds, "The precedent that you are setting right now with your employees may determine their future loyalty to you when this is over. Are you creating an environment that they want to stay in or the kind that makes them want to leave? [...] Showing care for your employees to the extent that you are able is one of the best ways to create the kind of environment that employees are proud to call home." It Doesn’t Even Have to Be Monetary Depending on how much you have in your coffers, you may not be able to spend on new rewards. While yes, increased benefits can go a long way, being able to show that you have your employees’ backs may work as well. In fact, as discussed in a Rework blog, Jeff Miller, chief learning officer & VP, organizational effectiveness at Cornerstone, said that there are ways to build engagement and motivation outside of providing monetary benefits. Citing Daniel Pink’s Ted Talk, Miller highlights three takeaways, most notably the following: The Mismatch Between Psychology and Business – According to Pink, social psychologists have proven incentive-based rewards not only fail to inspire but can also dull thinking and block creativity. Three Elements of Motivation – Scientists who study motivation have found these three elements are key to motivate people intrinsically: 1) People want more autonomy. 2) They want to master their craft. 3) They want to be part of something bigger. Ask how you can deliver. Traditional Management Drives Compliance; Self-Direction is Key to Engagement – In today's "always-on" world of work, employers often struggle to find the best way to engage their employees. Pink explains that providing employees with autonomy can inspire more personal investment in the work. Self-direction, mastery and a demonstrated connection between employee growth and company success are three things that can be addressed by our next motivator—optional training. Optional Training: Connect Mastery with Self-Direction Employees want to grow, and they want to feel like their employers stand behind them. Stagnation can kill careers, demoralize your workforce, and hold back your company. Growth requires change—and change requires employees to understand how they can do it. Employees want to learn. According to LinkedIn, employees are spending 130 percent more time learning, and this can do a lot to match the skills gap—with nearly two-thirds of learning and development pros noting that reskilling the current workforce to fill skills gaps is more of a priority than ever before. While mandatory training should be part of your business strategy, optional training takes a different approach—connecting personal and professional growth. Self-directed and designed to encourage mastery and diversity, employing optional learning initiatives can reinforce your commitment to your staff—often with little cost. Cornerstone Cares: A Free Platform to Encourage Growth There are many free resources available to help encourage mastery and growth. But one learning platform you may have missed is the learning platform developed by the leaders in learning—Cornerstone. In response to current events and to support our community, Cornerstone launched a free online public learning platform where you can access essential training anytime, anywhere. Cornerstone Cares is just one way to help leaders and staff focus on personal and professional growth. Delivering timely, essential training resources, Cornerstone Cares features online courses designed to help you protect yourself 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 biases. Allowances and Subscriptions: Benefits in the Remote Era Though money may be tight, there are many affordable ways to connect with your employees when working from home. You have to rethink the perks you used to offer, like lunches, on-site gym memberships and telecommuting, which used to be a perk in its own right before it became mandatory. Reevaluating the Usefulness of Pre-Pandemic Perks As noted by Recruiting Daily, employers and HR leaders need to "reassess all benefits initiatives to ensure they still serve their purpose in a remote-first world. Benefits and rewards should reflect the values of an organization as well as speak to the majority of people who work at the company." The Remote.com 2020 Global Workforce Revolution Report showed that many employees are looking for support even after the pandemic, with 81 percent of respondents indicating that they would move if they could do so without affecting their work prospects. From health and wellness to expanded support for remote workers, the most important benefit continues to be access to healthcare (48 percent). Additionally, 38 percent of employees want their company to offer a home office allowance, and 38 percent also want personal development plans or learning development allowances. Supporting Continued Use of the Home Office Employees are often paying out of pocket to provide things they normally received in an office environment. Consider whether additional stipends could be offered to keep up with printer maintenance, paper supplies, and even home WiFi and energy bills. Tie Perks to Company Values But regardless of how you approach your perks, make sure these align with company values. Being able to ask yourself who you are as an employer will drive change. An employer that focuses on empowerment will offer virtual learning opportunities, while another that focuses on creativity will do whatever they can to stoke creative flames. However you approach aligning perks and values, it pays to find affordable and engaging ways to connect with your staff. Cornerstone and Educe: Learning, Thriving, and Performing Performance Management has always been a challenge. But with the recent events, many have risen to this challenge. But much like the transition to work in the new normal, the landscape for operating in it will require the right tools, tactics, and processes to get where you want to be. If you’re looking to put your business in a position for long-term success, Cornerstone and the Educe Group can help. By relying on a leading service provider to implement one of the world’s most powerful talent management platforms, you can empower your users and make the most of your Cornerstone investment. As a Cornerstone partner for over five years, Educe helps organizations at every level better understand and fully leverage Cornerstone’s powerful talent management capabilities. To keep learning more about motivating people at work, watch this video of Stacie Grasberger, associate at The Educe Group, and Hendrik Thomas, senior product manager at Cornerstone, discussing how you can address career development in your workplace. Contact us to learn more about how Educe can help you make the most of your Cornerstone investment.
How to give (and get) feedback
Giving feedback can be scary, whether you're a manager trying to deliver constructive feedback or an employee who needs to give upward feedback. But it's important that managers and employees do it, no matter how intimidating the process might be. When done well, constructive feedback and meaningful recognition help employees grow and develop their skills. These conversations also help build trust in work relationships and improve employee engagement. Take the fear out of feedback To help everyone in your workplace get more comfortable with employee feedback check out our eBook, How to give (and get) feedback. It outlines tips and best practices, including: How to give and receive constructive feedback How to give and receive positive feedback How to give upward feedback Handy feedback models for giving constructive and positive feedback Feedback dos and don'ts The eBook also includes real-world examples that show how to initiate these kinds of performance conversations with the intent to help the recipient improve and succeed. You'll also learn the important role recognition plays in making constructive feedback more impactful. You'll learn how to make employee recognition meaningful and get creative recognition ideas you can use to show employees they're valued. The benefits of effective feedback Feedback is a valuable gift - one that can help improve employee satisfaction, retention and productivity. Download this eBook to learn how continuous feedback between managers and employees can build trusted relationships and positively affect performance.