RSM Helps Employees Build Their Own Success Story
How do you empower your employees to do their best work?
It’s a question most managers ask regularly. And at RSM US LLP (RSM), the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services to the middle market, good work starts with putting employees first—embracing all of the passions and talents that make them who they are. Employees know they can bring their authentic selves to work, helping them feel happier, more fulfilled and better able to work with clients.
RSM does this by delivering “The Power of Being Understood®” to its employees.
“We know – whether it’s with our clients or our teams – the power in a relationship comes from being understood,” said Katie Lamkin, chief talent officer with RSM. “When you feel truly understood, you feel supported and confident in achieving both your personal and professional goals.”
Ensuring nearly 11,000 employees feel understood is no small task, but the ethos is an important differentiator for RSM in the highly competitive professional services industry. So how does it scale The Power of Being Understood? Enter: Cornerstone OnDemand.
After growing from 7,000 to nearly 11,000 employees in just over a decade, RSM adopted Cornerstone’s Recruiting, Learning and Performance Suites to not only scale The Power of Being Understood, but also infuse it into every stage of the employee journey.
“We were growing and changing as an organization, but the way we were managing our talent wasn’t,” says Ken Bansemer, talent management, systems and data leader at RSM.
Before Cornerstone, the team used custom applications built within their Human Resource Information System (HRIS), plus an applicant tracking system and separate learning management system. These disparate tools were becoming outdated and unsupported—which was frustrating for administrators and employees alike.
“We wanted to show our employees that they mattered to us every single day, but the talent experience we were delivering didn’t reflect that,” said Lamkin. Cornerstone’s platform was an obvious choice. Today, RSM delivers a holistic talent experience to its employees from hire to retire.
Recruiting: An RSM Experience from the Very First Touchpoint
In a tight talent market, first impressions matter. According to Gartner, talent shortages are a top risk to organizations globally. For RSM in particular, these shortages, coupled with relentless competition from larger firms—including the industry’s Big Four—made it challenging to hire the personnel it needed to continue to grow.
“We want candidates to know who we are, what we are and why we are,” said Mike Baron, talent acquisition leader with RSM.
Leveraging Cornerstone’s Recruiting Suite, RSM simplified its application process, which had deterred candidates from applying for positions in the past.
“Before Cornerstone, our application process was 15 pages long and looked archaic to our candidates,” said Brea Fritsche, talent acquisition center of excellence leader with RSM. “And we didn’t have the ability to use different platforms for them to upload their LinkedIn profiles or to auto-fill their information into our system.”
RSM also made the recruiting pages accessible on mobile and more intuitive to navigate. As a result, RSM’s hiring successes increased—and has continued to increase. In their last fiscal year, RSM hired nearly 1,016 college interns, 1,129 campus graduates, and 1,727 experienced professionals.
Onboarding: Getting Acclimated at RSM
With a successful recruiting program in place, RSM is able to hire the people it needs to continue to grow and serve its clients—and meet a new challenge: bringing The Power of Being Understood to the nearly 3,900 people it brings onboard each year.
Fortunately, the onboarding tool within Cornerstone’s Recruiting Suite allows RSM to extend the candidate experience through to that critical time between when they decide to join the firm and their first day. This continued introduction to RSM helps give new employees, regardless of the office they work in, a common understanding of the company and its culture. Here, new hires are introduced to “Owning My Future”—RSM’s internal branding for the Cornerstone platform—where they can begin to acclimate to RSM. To help each employee feel The Power of Being Understood even in their early days, RSM leverages the learning management system to personalize onboarding roadmaps based on each individual’s level and line of business to help guide their integration over their first 90 days.
“We refer to everything from Cornerstone as, ‘Owning My Future’ so that we’re really empowering people to do what they need to do for themselves within the organization,” Fritsche says.
Onboarding through the Cornerstone platform also means an introduction to the resources that allow employees to pursue life outside of RSM—from flexible work hours, to the sabbatical program, to a professional coach that helps employees navigate integrating work and life priorities.
Learning: Giving Employees the Tools They Need to Succeed
Once employees find their footing at RSM, they continue to use the Owning My Future platform to access resources personalized to their growth and development at the firm—starting with learning.
Through Cornerstone’s Learning Suite, RSM employees have access to more than 7,816 educational courses that focus on everything from leadership and communication skills to more tactical licensing and certification trainings. In addition to career development, research shows continuous learning can help employees be 52% more productive and 92% more likely to innovate. And this learning drives employee retention: 94% of employees will stay at a company longer if the company invests in their development. With Cornerstone, RSM people feel The Power of Being Understood when relevant courses are suggested based on their current interests and role—helping to drive retention.
With the help of the Owning My Future platform, RSM empowers each individual’s unique career milestones, regardless of where they start in their career journey with the firm.
Performance: Understanding Empowers RSM Employees to Grow
No one knows the importance of performance feedback better than RSM’s Lamkin. In her nearly two decades at RSM, she rose through the ranks—in large part, due to the on-going feedback she received from firm leaders and team members. In her role today, she is laser-focused on applying the same thoughtful feedback to every employee at the continuously growing company—beginning with creating more opportunities to hear that feedback.
As CHRO, Lamkin and her team have worked to phase out annual performance reviews at RSM in favor of more regular performance conversations using Cornerstone’s Performance Suite. Within Cornerstone, they revisited the standards by which employees were being reviewed. The ratings system in place at RSM hadn’t scaled with the company’s growth, leaving many employees feeling like a number on a page. The RSM talent management team worked with business leaders to develop a new career development framework to identify the knowledge, skills and attributes that describe success at various levels of the company.
This framework became the backbone of ongoing performance discussions at RSM. Managers are encouraged to share feedback with employees regularly through the Cornerstone Performance Suite—an effort known as “Project Feedback” internally—and research shows employees feel more engaged when they have regular feedback conversations with their manager. With their previous annual performance review process, according to Talent Management Leader Bansemer, 75% of feedback was received during the last two months of the year.
“Cornerstone has allowed us to shift toward agile performance management, improving the way everyone works,” Bansemer says. “Last quarter, 95% of employees said they had development conversations with their career advisors, 90% said they have been regularly updating progress against their goals, and feedback is given regularly throughout the year—all within Owning My Future.”
RSM’s strong approach to learning and performance means the company also set itself up to manage internal succession—multiplying Lamkin’s story across every department at the firm. As Talent Acquisition Leader, Baron is well-aware of succession’s importance:
“Developing our next-generation of leaders is key to the future success of our firm and our team,” he says.
With the Recruiting, Learning, and Performance Suites securely in place, RSM created a holistic talent experience for both candidates and employees that empower them to do their best work—and feel The Power of Being Understood and valued every day.
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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.”
GECU Expands Availability of Online Courses While Reducing Overall Costs with Cornerstone OnDemand
GECU, El Paso’s largest, locally owned financial institution and one of the largest credit unions in the state of Texas, employs more than 700 people to serve over 298,000 members across its 14 branches, call center and support departments located within the Operations Center. GECU has the challenge of operating within one of the nation’s most highly regulated industries, and as a result, has long understood that efficient processes for employee training, development and performance management are critical pillars for supporting long-term financial growth within a strict regulatory and compliance environment. To support its employee development goals and meet evolving industry compliance requirements, GECU historically had relied on instructor-led training (ILT) programs. While these programs were effective, they required dedicated resources and oversight that became less efficient as the credit union grew. Recognizing that it needed to embrace the more cost-efficient model of online learning, GECU adopted a cloud-based learning management system (LMS) in 2005 to augment its instructor-led program. While the LMS integration alleviated some of the pressure on resources and time investment, GECU expanded so quickly that it soon outgrew the system’s capabilities. GECU’s management team began to look for a reliable and configurable cloud-based solution replacement that could scale to address current and future HR and employee development needs. Why Cornerstone In late 2009, GECU implemented a vendor review program that initially evaluated more than 15 talent management providers. This list was soon reduced to a handful of cloud-based, full-featured providers that could both reduce the manpower hours needed to provide and manage employee training and increase the ratio of online courses to instructor-led courses. Short-list criteria also included a system’s ability to streamline internal and external reporting and compliance processes. GECU realized that Cornerstone OnDemand offered the most control, flexibility and cost-efficient scalability of all evaluated vendors. By August 2010, the credit union had integrated and rolled out the Cornerstone Learning Cloud — branded internally as ELITE (Enterprise Learning and Instruction Tracking Engine) — to provide its entire employee base with convenient, self-service solutions for learning and development. The Results Engage employees by increasing online course availability. As part of its new employee certification program, courses that were formerly only offered through ILT can now be accessed online. Nearly 40 percent of the organization is enrolled and has access to 255 online courses, with an additional 103 courses offered natively within the Cornerstone system. Save resources by reducing call volume and time spent compiling reports. GECU is on track to significantly reduce its reliance on manpower-heavy ILT. Management personnel charged with oversight of various areas of training are experiencing a dramatic 50 percent reduction in incoming call volume (calls were typically employee inquiries on upcoming courses, course availability, etc.), freeing their time to focus on more strategic employee development issues. Cornerstone’s robust reporting and analytics tools help GECU’s team reduce time spent compiling reports by 75 percent. Gain greater control of and insight into development activities. Managers and employees now have greater control over uploading, forecasting and customizing training courses. This has led to a more relevant and streamlined schedule of coursework for all employees, who are markedly more engaged and enthusiastic about GECU’s learning and performance management program. Managers and employees also have access to an easy-to-use dashboard that gives them an at-a-glance view of their to-do list, appraisals and course availability.
Spokane Teachers Credit Union Case Study
Founded in 1934, STCU has long realized the value of continuous learning. “We’ve always had a really strong development culture,” said Derek Tyree, director of talent development at STCU. Yet STCU’s commitment to employee learning wasn’t well served by the credit union’s existing learning management system (LMS). “There was a lot of negativity toward the system,” said Tyree. “Our old LMS was seen by employees as a compliance tool that they had to use. It certainly wasn’t a system they wanted to use.” This attitude impeded the team’s efforts to switch from a push to a pull learning strategy. STCU engaged in a comprehensive RFP process. “We knew that Cornerstone could provide us with the content library, flexibility, and scalability to meet our development needs,” said Tyree. The team also wanted an LMS that would address key administrative challenges, including tracking and reporting, development planning, and integration with other systems including ADP. The Cornerstone implementation team played a key role in ensuring an effective rollout. “I really appreciated the way that Cornerstone responded. I loved that part of the relationship, Cornerstone’s openness and willingness to listen,” said Tyree. The Results Enabled self-directed learning. Empowering learners is a core part of STCU’s development philosophy. “Only nine months into launching the LMS, we were up to 700 hours of self-directed learning that wasn’t part of a formal learning plan. Prior, we were getting less than 20 hours of training per year,” said Tyree. “It’s the greatest thing because our employees are embracing learning for learning’s sake, not because they have to. We have classes on technical, soft, and leadership skills that aren’t required, via the CyberU content library within Cornerstone, and people are signing up for them.” Improved employee engagement. STCU teaches Instructor-Led Training (ILT) classes for member service and other soft skills while leveraging the LMS for any pre-work and post-work course assignments. “When we look at our overall engagement numbers, talent development and training has always come up as a major reason that people feel engaged. Employees know that we’re invested and supportive of their growth, not just professionally, but personally,” said Tyree. Increased user adoption. The team saw implementation as an opportunity to both install Cornerstone and reevaluate existing processes. “Our whole goal around implementation was to take the LMS from being a system that employees were required to visit, to a system that employees wanted to visit,” said Sara Spurlock, talent development manager at STCU. “We focused on three areas—content, user experience, and collaboration.” The team branded the Cornerstone interface to reflect the STCU brand and also invited employees to name the new LMS. “They came up with EmpowerU, which really speaks to our culture of learning. Whether they’re learning about desk yoga, Spanish or leadership, EmpowerU is a resource for them to enhance their skill set.” Reduced administrative burden. One of STCU's top priorities when searching for a new LMS was to find a system that would free administrators from tedious, repetitive work that took them away from valuable L&D initiative. “Today it takes just one click to create a report,” said Spurlock. Being more efficient is a must, but for Tom Dotson, senior instructional technology specialist at STCU, Cornerstone goes one step further. The system enables him to say “yes” more often to managers and employees. “I have a lot of people come to me with requests. Can Cornerstone do this? Can we incorporate this into Cornerstone? I’m constantly able to say, ‘Yes, we can do that. Yes, we can add that.’ As an administrator, that’s a great feeling.” Enhanced reporting capabilities. Prior, STCU had little access to meaningful metrics on employee learning, but they are setting baselines and accessing real-time insight into development initiatives. “We tracked 18,000 hours of training of all types in 2018,” said Tyree. “I can finally pull great data and provide really good comparisons on our programs. We can see where improvements need to be made.” The team will begin using the data to benchmark STCU’s development programs against other credit unions and banks. “We’re making an investment in our people and can now show the results of that initiative.”