Blog Post

Podcasts lead the future of employee learning and development

Heidi Spirgi

Chief Strategy and Growth Officer at Cornerstone

“Learn in the flow of work” used to be the catchphrase du jour in the world of employee learning and development, but I think it's run its course.

Don't get me wrong, it was a great phrase. It means allowing your people to learn in their own time and at the point of need. Self-empowered learning is something we wholeheartedly believe in at Cornerstone, so I’ve used it a time or two myself.

But as you may have heard, Cornerstone has a new vision for the world of work that provides a personalized learning and a purpose-driven growth experience for your people.

If I were to offer an updated catchphrase, I’d call it “meeting people where and how they work.”

How learning at work is becoming personal

Personalized learning is not just about what employees learn but how they choose to learn. And modern modalities of learning are evolving.

The learners of today, especially younger generations, have fallen in love with podcasts. According to Insider Intelligence, this year more than 60% of US adults ages 18 to 34 will listen to podcasts every month and the number of monthly US podcast listeners increased by 10.1% year-over-year (YoY) to 117.8 million in 2021.

It only makes sense that podcast learning would make its way into the world of work. For talent leaders, it’s a learning modality that can’t be ignored.

Listen while you work: Podcasts as an employee learning modality

A recent study showed that while 49% of podcast listening happens at home, 22% happens while driving, 11% at work and 8% while exercising. If ever a form of learning embodied “meeting people where they work,” it’s one that can be done while commuting, on your lunchtime walk or even while working on other tasks.

That’s the exciting part of podcasts: They don’t monopolize your time.

Audio content allows your employees to multitask and dive into topics without having to set aside time to read, watch a video or step into a classroom. In the age of microlearning, imagine popping in your headphones and grabbing a 4-minute lesson on your next trip to the water cooler.

In terms of ease of accessibility, podcast learning is hard to beat.

Think of podcast learning as a future-forward learning format and another ace in your pocket for developing and retaining the next generation of workers. The value of offering audio learning via a learning management system is the ability to curate learning, track consumption and provide impact for your people.

That’s not to say your organization will soon be deleting all other forms of learning and just dropping a Spotify list to employees. People learn in different ways, and variety is the key to learning that works for everyone. But for the 18-to-34 age bracket, podcasts and bite-sized learning are the kings.

Cornerstone and WaitWhat partner to bring the Masters of Scale podcast to employee development

All of this and more is why I'm truly excited that Cornerstone is partnering with WaitWhat to provide Masters of Scale to Cornerstone Content Anytime (CCA) users. This exclusive partnership allows CCA customers to provide their people with lessons drawn from the most iconic CEOs and founders of our day in an audio-first format.

Created by WaitWhat and hosted by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and partner at Greylock, the Masters of Scale collection on CCA will include 150 podcast episodes, audio courses and animated videos.

Presented through a modality that modern learners crave, Masters of Scale has quickly grown into one of the most prestigious properties for business leaders, thanks to its iconic host and incomparable guest list.

Your employees will have the opportunity to learn from the world’s most successful learning leaders, including Barack Obama, Arianna Huffington, Bill Gates, Tory Burch and Sir Richard Branson, as well as the founders and CEOs of Netflix, Airbnb, Peloton, Delta, Nike, Disney, Spotify, Starbucks, Google, Pepsi and many more.

As astounding as that list of contributors is, we’re not stopping there.

Cornerstone will partner with WaitWhat to adapt the best learning moments from more than 10 seasons of Masters of Scale into original learning courses, re-imagined with stunning visual and motion design that will reinforce the key learning takeaways you want learners to remember.

Meet the future, ready with audio-first learning

Ready to queue up your first Masters of Scale playlist? I don’t blame you! The content offered in this partnership is one of a kind and exactly what your organization needs to create a personalized learning experience for your people and meet the future, ready.

I've learned so much from these audio courses and am incorporating ideas from many of them into the initiatives that I’m driving here at Cornerstone! I can’t wait for all your employees to learn from them as well.

For our existing Cornerstone Content Anytime users, we’re excited to share this with you. If you’re not partnered with us yet, it’s time to get listening. Please reach out to learn more about this exciting offering and how it can support your talent strategies.

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Taking A Company-Wide Approach to Learning & Development

Blog Post

Taking A Company-Wide Approach to Learning & Development

There’s a lot of coordination that goes into a company’s learning and development programming, from identifying skills gaps and creating engaging content to scaling initiatives company-wide. And because there’s so much complex planning involved, organizations can sometimes get caught up in the details, and overlook how L&D fits into broader organizational goals. A recent survey—titled "The Revolution is Now: New-Skill Your Workforce to Catalyze Change"—from Cornerstone People Research Lab (CPRL) and the Human Capital Institute (HCI) found that only 55% of organizations believe their L&D programs are well-aligned with their company’s overarching strategy. But CPRL and HCI’s survey reveals two logical ways to overcome this challenge. First, there’s a need for L&D executives to participate in strategic conversations around organizational goals to ensure that L&D planning aligns with broader business plans. And second, it’s important to share responsibility for learning effectiveness. If facilitating continuous learning is a part of everyone’s role, it becomes easier to integrate it organization-wide. Promote Cross-Departmental Collaboration and Responsibility To better align L&D efforts with overarching business goals, learning executives have to participate in strategic conversations about organizational direction. For instance, when business leaders gather to discuss goals and KPIs for the coming year or quarter, HR and L&D leaders should be involved in those conversations. And the opposite is also true: Business leaders need to help direct the learning outcomes framed against those goals. According to the "Revolution is Now: New-Skill Your Workforce to Catalyze Change" survey from CPRL and HCI, only about half (51%) of learning leaders report being involved in these discussions. During these business planning discussions, it’s important to establish accountability, especially among people managers. CPRL and HCI found 67% of people managers report being involved in the creation of content, but only 47% are involved in the accountability for the results. By holding more people accountable to the success of L&D programs, it can be easier for a company to spot pitfalls or opportunities for improvement. It creates shared goals for measuring effectiveness, and establishes a process for making changes. For example, by getting people managers involved in L&D initiatives, L&D leaders can work with them to get a better understanding of a specific team’s skill gaps or what reskilling or new skilling solutions will work best for them. All leaders in an organization, in fact, should be eager to participate and own their team’s newskilling, reskilling or upskilling efforts. Ask a people manager in the IT department to reiterate the importance of learning to their team, and track the amount of time their employees spend on learning content. This approach will not only create a shared commitment to continuous learning, but can also help leaders outside of L&D and HR get a better idea of what content or formats work best for their teams and recommend adjustments accordingly. Continuous Learning Is Everyone’s Responsibility Aligning overarching business plans and strategy with learning and development efforts can improve each’s efficacy. The more cross-departmental collaboration that exists, the more information that HR and L&D leaders have about their workforce and its needs, strengths and weaknesses. And with more accountability, all stakeholders in an organization can become more involved in ensuring the successful partnership between L&D and a company’s overall strategy. To learn more about the findings from Cornerstone’s "The Revolution is Now: New-Skill Your Workforce to Catalyze Change" survey and its recommendations for using cross-departmental collaboration and accountability to help with L&D efforts, click here to download and read the full report.

Why supporting neurodiversity is essential for any successful workforce today

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Why supporting neurodiversity is essential for any successful workforce today

When we think of diversity in the workforce, we typically think of it along the lines of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender. But focusing only on those four is its own sort of constraint. To truly create a successful and diverse workplace, you need to ensure you're also embracing neurodiversity too. Understanding neurodiversity In the late 1990s, a single mother in Australia named Judy Singer began studying Disability Studies at University of Technology Sydney. Her daughter had recently been diagnosed with what was then known as “Asperger’s Syndrome,” a form of autism spectrum disorder. As she read more and more about autism as part of her studies, Singer also suspected that her mother, and she herself, may have had some form of autism spectrum disorder. Singer describes crying as she realized that her mother, with whom she'd had a tumultuous relationship throughout her childhood, wasn’t purposefully cold or neurotic as she had thought. She just had a different kind of mind. In her honors thesis, Singer coined the term “neurodiversity.” For Singer, people with neurological differences like autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or dyslexia were a social class of their own and should be treated as such. If we are going to embrace diversity of race, gender, religion, sexuality, etc., then we must embrace a diversity of the mind. The following video is an excerpt from the "Neurodiversity" Grovo program, which is available in the Cornerstone Content Anytime Professional Skills subscription. Neurodiversity in today's workplace Recently, neurodiversity has become a trendy term in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging spaces. And many organizations are working to hire more neurodivergent people, as well as give them opportunities to thrive at work. That’s why, at Cornerstone, we recently produced a series of lessons on neurodiversity. If your organization hasn’t prioritized neurodiverse inclusion yet, here are some reasons why it both supports your people and organization. 1) Neurodivergent people are underemployed Neurodivergent people, especially people with autism, are widely under-employed, regardless of their competence. In the United States, 85% of college graduates with autism are unemployed. According to a 2006 study, individuals with ADHD have higher rates of unemployment than individuals without. However, there is no evidence that neurodivergent people are less competent or less intelligent than neurotypical people. Organizations are missing out on talented people. 2) Neurodivergent people are more common than you may think Neurodiversity manifests in many different ways. It can encompass autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, Tourette syndrome, and many other conditions. And as scientists have learned more about what makes someone neurodivergent, they're identifying more and more people. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 160 children have some form of autism spectrum disorder. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in every 162 children have Tourette Syndrome, and roughly 8 percent of children under 18 have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. And that's just children. How many adults, like Judy Singer's mother, have struggled their whole lives without a diagnosis? People who are neurodivergent are everywhere. Diverse organizations are stronger Diverse organizations and teams not only have better financial returns than less-diverse ones, but they also perform better. Having the different perspectives presented by people who are neurodivergent can help your team solve more difficult problems. Different perspectives and different ways of thinking lead to creativity and innovation.

Why Selecting a Leadership Development Program Is Way Too Complicated

Blog Post

Why Selecting a Leadership Development Program Is Way Too Complicated

Many organizations face a leadership gap and cannot find the talent needed to grow. We could blame the retiring baby boomer phenomenon, the free agent nation, or the lack of investment made in developing leaders. But since blame is a lazy man’s wage, I will not entertain that debate because there are too many options out there for developing leaders. There are many leadership development programs in the market. In minutes, with a simple Internet search or over coffee with your head of human resources, you can discover myriad high-quality leadership development programs that you could use in your organization to develop leaders. The problem is not finding a good program, but in choosing one. Answer the Right Questions So how does one choose? The problem we face in evaluating leadership development programs is that we get caught up in evaluating the content rather than asking a simple question, "What do we want our leaders to be able to do?" Each organization is unique in how it answers this question. And that is where the secret lies. If an organization can select a program that matches the answer to the question above, the selected program will likely be the right one. After all, each leadership development program is very good in some way. It is not so important which one you select. It is important that you use the one you select. In other words, the key is to not let it become another un-opened binder on the bookshelves of your management team. Be An Effective Leader Let me give you an example: If an organization’s answer to the question above is, "We want our leaders to be proactive and focused on the things that drive results," your choices are narrowed down to only a few programs that would deliver on that answer. And if I had to pick one program that would deliver on that answer, without hesitation, I would choose, "The Effective Executive" by Peter F. Drucker. It is a classic, and all five of the behaviors of effective executives taught in the book remain vital skills that any leader should practice if he or she wants to be effective in his or her organization. In the book, Drucker teaches that effective executives: Know where their time goes Focus on contribution and results Build on strengths Concentrate on first things first Make effective decisions This is not a book review or a plug for "The Effective Executive," though I do believe if you had to choose one set of skills to teach your leadership, it would be the five from Drucker’s book. This is a challenge for every organization to simplify the selection of leadership development programs, and ask, "What do we want our leaders to be able to do?" Answering this question clearly will help you choose the right program. After all, many programs are excellent. The secret to success is not in which program you choose, but that you get people to apply the program you choose. Photo: Can Stock

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