Blog Post

Understanding and Embracing Organizational Learning

Matthew Reyes

Associate Principal, Thought Leadership & Advisory Services, Cornerstone

If your business doesn’t take advantage of organizational learning principles, you may be leaving money, and all kinds of resources, on the table. Embracing organizational learning is one of the most prominent best practices in today's business world.

If that sounds hyperbolic, read on to see why this type of theory is so important and how it can be a boon for your business.

What is Organizational Learning?

Organizational learning is a theory about how knowledge exists in an organization. It covers how knowledge flows through an organization, how it’s aggregated, how it’s used, how it’s acted upon, and how an organization ensures its consistency.

When you think about organizational learning, think about each process that workers perform as part of their daily job as its own informational resource, with its own knowledge base. When you look at each process associated with various roles within your organization, what do you see? Is there enough information available to understand how each person completes their tasks.

For example, let's say that an insurance company has to put client records through a thorough evaluation before providing coverage. Initially, some employees may have established best practices to do this task well. However, let’s say these individuals left the company, taking their knowledge with them without formally recording these best practices. What impact will the loss of this best practice have on the company?

With organizational learning, you analyze the process, ask these sorts of questions, and then take this knowledge and add it to an archive or repository that current employees can access. This process establishes a knowledge transfer from those who came before them to prevent any organizational disruptions.

Organizational learning is used to enhance processes by improving access to information. It's the ability to crowdsource knowledge from various parts of your team to others. Knowledge is a resource that can be preserved or lost. Knowledge preservation is a crucial principle of organizational learning.

The Benefits of Organizational Learning

Organizational learning isn’t a new concept. Organizations have been finding success when they put these processes in place for years now. Some of those benefits have included, but weren’t limited to:

Job satisfaction – Along with creative control and employee feedback, organizational learning is vital in developing a desirable workplace. Having the transparency and the knowledge available to perform your job at the highest level makes people feel more confident and more capable in their roles. The confidence and security they feel drives better morale and job satisfaction across the organization.

Lower turnover – People leave jobs for many reasons: toxic bosses, workplace conflicts, boredom or poor behavior, amongst many others. They also leave if they feel overwhelmed by their jobs or can’t perform the tasks you hired them to do. Establishing a solid organizational learning practice provides the knowledge base, transparency of information and resources employees need to succeed in their roles.

Leadership development – Think about business processes as pieces of fine oak wood. They can be seasoned and enhanced over time. Workflows can be like this, and as the business seasons its knowledge, leadership development often happens as one of the byproducts of organizational learning. With this kind of routine care, companies develop their assets and people achieve greater career advancement through skills and experience.

Succession planning – A consolidated, organized knowledge base is a cornerstone of any good succession planning strategy. Onboarding new employees is streamlined and easier for everyone when everything needed to hit the ground running is all in one place. It also opens up your candidate pool because you can focus more on finding a great culture fit and not just someone who can "do the job."

How to Promote Organizational Learning at Your Business

There are several guidelines and models available from workplace experts for how you can establish an organizational learning practice at your organization. These helpful tools are an excellent foundation to start educating your employees on how organizational learning works.

Generally, these models are built on the idea of a life cycle. Each step in the life cycle has its own protocols that contribute to organizational learning outcomes. Understanding each stage of the processes will help you break down organizational learning best practices into parts that you can adapt around your business.

Review and apply these models to your various business processes. Create automated assignments, completion records and other types of tools that assimilate organizational learning into your employee workflow.

Cornerstone can help. Cornerstone Learning is uniquely designed to help your organization enhance its processes and make organizational learning a priority. If you have questions about how Cornerstone Learning could be the perfect product for establishing your organizational learning practices, speak directly with one of our solution consultants today!

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Where the LMS market has landed and how Cornerstone is meeting the moment

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Where the LMS market has landed and how Cornerstone is meeting the moment

At its core, Cornerstone is a learning technology company. And today, as the economy grows again, this is a very good thing. Why? Corporate learning, which is a $260 billion market, has exploded with growth, impact and importance. Today’s L&D market includes skills technology, internal mobility, career development, new career pathways, upskilling and reskilling — all coupled with the evergreen topics of leadership development, diversity compliance and technical training. In the early 2000s, we believed this would be handled by the LMS. So Cornerstone (and Saba) built out much of this functionality, and it has been built into the business rules and infrastructure of more than 6,000 customers. Now everything has changed The original design of the LMS was patterned around a course catalog, more like a university. Today, we live and learn in the flow of work, so we need systems that recommend, deliver and curate content in a new way. We want to learn based on career journeys, jobs, transitions and many other business rules. And employees need to search and share external content, which is located in thousands of sites across the internet. The paradigm of the solution was the LXP. Once considered the darling of the L&D market, vendors like Degreed, EdCast, Percipio and now LinkedIn Learning Hub and Viva Learning promise to “democratize learning” by opening up the platform. The LXP doesn’t replace the LMS, but it has clearly become essential. But the world hasn’t stopped there. Since the introduction of the LXP around 2010, companies have gone much further. Today, we want a talent marketplace, career pathways and intelligent skills engine built into the platform. We want true “learning in the flow of work,” and we want development tools that let HR managers, L&D leaders and employees create content. Enter Cornerstone with its new platform, Cornerstone Xplor Over the last four years, Cornerstone has been responding to this change. The company acquired Clustree and Grovo, built out the content business and experimented with its own LXP. They found that yes, the LXP was important, but companies wanted more. So as Cornerstone went private, the team built out something bigger. Cornerstone Xplor is one of the first integrated platforms that delivers a skills taxonomy, learning management, learning experience platform, talent marketplace, opportunity marketplace, career portal and career development tools in one. And this is what big companies want. Why did this take so long? There have been two things in the way. First, the market itself has fragmented into separate segments (Talent Marketplace, Talent Intelligence, LXP), forcing buyers to acquire multiple platforms, so the vision of an integrated platform was not yet clear. And Cornerstone itself, as it acquired Saba and other businesses, had to focus its investment. Prior to going private in June, the management team was chasing profitability and revenue growth to keep the stock price high. This distracted from the massive investment needed, forcing the company to look at investments like building out its content business. Now that Cornerstone is private, the company can pour resources into the platform. I have high hopes for Cornerstone Xplor. I’ve worked with this team and they understand the market. The product comes from more than three years of effort and has many advanced features. And the product roadmap is expansive and impressive. Despite the fragmentation of the market, companies don't want five different systems to handle the learning experience. They don’t want an LMS, LXP, talent marketplace, career planning and skills assessment in different systems. Cornerstone Xplor has the potential to bring this together. I applaud Cornerstone for this massive effort and look forward to seeing success in the market.

4 Ways HR Can Use Video to Improve the Candidate Experience

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4 Ways HR Can Use Video to Improve the Candidate Experience

The world loves video. Every day, half a billion people watch a video on Facebook. Meanwhile, YouTube reports 1 billion hours of video views daily. What's more, 400 hours of content are uploaded on YouTube every minute — that's 576,000 hours per day.Instagram, too, has seen an 80% increase of videos created year-over-year. When it comes to recruiting, videos have the power to tell your company story effectively, improve candidate engagement and promote your company brand. According to a recent CareerBuilder report, companies that use video in their job posts experience a 12% increase in views to their job posting. What's more, videos get shared 1200% more than text and images combined. That means even if a job seeker doesn't see your post directly, they are likely to see it shared via a friend or other connection. Overall, companies that use video in their job postings get 34% more applicants than those that don't. With video's potential to improve candidate engagement, you'd assume HR would be jumping on the bandwagon. But when I speak at conferences and ask the crowd if their company is using video for recruitment, I hear crickets. Why? Some say they don't have the time or money. Others claim they simply don't know how. But I say it's time to figure it out. Today, most people own a smartphone or tablet, which can create high quality images and video content. Most laptop computers also offer standard equipment and software necessary to produce a video, and it costs as little as twenty dollars to subscribe to more advanced services. Ready to recruit candidates more effectively? Consider these four types of videos. Whiteboard and Explainer Videos You've probably seen one of those animated videos that feature a hand drawing a cartoon as a narrator preaches a marketing message. Also called whiteboard videos, these explainer clips can be highly effective, educational and engaging. With a little motivation and curiosity, almost anyone can produce high-quality recordings in just few minutes using tools such as Doodly or Renderforest. But if video creation isn't really your thing, you can easily hire an affordable, creative freelancer using a site like Fiverr, Upwork or Thumbtack. What to record: Use these animations to describe what your company does, especially if you offer a complex product or service. You may also want to demonstrate the inner workings of a team, or illustrate the company culture. Talking Head Videos Imagine you're a candidate applying for a job. After clicking "apply," you receive a personal video instead of a standard text email. (By the way, video emails are clicked 96% more than those without video.) If you're a recruiter looking to differentiate your company from the competition, this is a great approach because it helps HR teams build a more personal connection with applicants. Even if it's canned and pre-recorded, a human speaking on video will always feel warmer than an auto-generated email. Cloud-based software like Loom and Dubb make it simple to create basic, single-person videos. All you need is a webcam or camera-enabled computer. Just add the extension to your browser or download the software. When ready to begin, click, record and click again. Your video will be created and ready for you to share using a unique URL. What to record: Use this format to record a short "thank you for applying" message from a recruiter or a "you've made it to the interview stage" message from the hiring manager. For really tough-to-fill jobs, consider having your CEO record an introductory message. Screenshare Videos Not ready to get in front of the camera? Have no fear! A screenshare video enables you to interact with potential candidates without having to show them your face. Consider showcasing content such as how to apply for an open position at your company, especially if your process is particularly complex. Creating a screenshare video is simple. Just hit record, then upload it to a video platform or your website using a tool like Screencast-O-Matic. If you're still feeling overwhelmed by video, you can create montages instead using software like Animoto and Prezi. These programs cost as little as five dollars per month, and offer a variety of templates and background music. Just select the images you want to include and within minutes, you'll have created a video that describes your company and the job you are trying to fill. What to record: Use images of your office, team members, or photos from that fun corporate event you hosted to really get candidates excited. Text-to-Video Content Using artificial intelligence, text to video programs like Lumen5 convert your text into a video with suggested images, video backgrounds and music. So how does it work? Simply copy and paste the URL to your career page or an "About Us" page, and within seconds, you have yourself a video. If you don't like the images selected, you can slide and drop from Lumen5's extensive library, or upload your own photos. What to record: Text-to-video offers a quick and easy way to turn a boring job description into an engaging video that showcases your company culture. Add images about your facility or people, include music that represents your brand and insert captions. Voila! You have a video job listing which could generate up to 34% more applications. So there you have it: four types of videos that you can use to get your job posting in front of more eyes, accelerate engagement with candidates and convert more jobseekers into applicants. The world has embraced video. It's time HR does, too. Photo: Creative Commons

How the Commonwealth of Kentucky Plans to Improve Employee Experience and Performance

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How the Commonwealth of Kentucky Plans to Improve Employee Experience and Performance

The Commonwealth of Kentucky entered 2020 with a fresh outlook on its talent strategy: create a better people experience for its public sector workforce while improving employee performance. This strategy would be supported by a newly implemented performance management platform and a holistic plan to transition paper processes to digital environments for over 18,000 executive branch employees. Then COVID hit; sending a large portion of Kentucky’s public sector workforce home. While the number of employees moving to remote work varied between agencies, the demand for digital resources and tools was immediate. In fact, according to Kentucky Personnel Cabinet IT Director Robbie Perkins, 50-70% of all Kentucky state employees accessed online training and learning programs within weeks of the shift home. At the Personnel Cabinet, Kentucky’s centralized government workforce management agency, Perkins said most of the organization’s close to 170 employees work remotely or only come into the office when absolutely necessary these days. Fortunately, Perkins and team had already kicked off implementing Cornerstone Performance—which Kentucky branded MyPERFORMANCE, a centralized performance management system within the Commonwealth’s MyPURPOSE unified talent management system that enables talent leaders to document and monitor skills, performance and areas for improvement at an individual-level, when COVID sent folks home in March of 2020. Bringing Everyone Under One Digital Employee Experience Roof Speaking during a recent Cornerstone webinar aimed at diving into Kentucky’s MyPERFORMANCE procurement, rollout and implementation journey, Perkins pointed to several issues that prompted the commonwealth’s move to digital performance management. Among them: disparate and incompatible digital solutions, paper-based performance management processes and systems, no digital onboarding materials, lack of mobile and digital employee resources and a large compliance operation that consumed IT team bandwidth. Eventually, Kentucky issued an RFP outlining the need for a versatile solution that was 1) affordable and 2) deployable across agencies—enter MyPERFORMANCE. And Kentucky’s workforce appreciated the effort right off the bat. According to Perkins, "Seldom from a change management standpoint, or when implementing systems, do you get a lot of accolades or claps or ovations. But we actually had people clapping when they heard that we were going to give them an electronic solution for performance management." Taking a Focus Group Approach to Getting People Onboard Alaina Myers, Deputy Commissioner of Kentucky’s Department of Human Resources Administration, said that one major reason for the success of Kentucky's implementation of MyPERFORMANCE was its Performance Management Agency Focus Group and a survey of its members. The goal of both efforts? To understand how managers planned to use the solution for talent strategy and gain a sense of what employees wanted from a digital performance review experience to complement legacy training and HR programs. Myers said Kentucky’s PM Focus Group gathered HR and agency leaders across the Commonwealth to understand what worked and didn’t work with legacy processes and procedures that relied heavily on paper. The group also surveyed stakeholders—including employees—to understand what features or improvements they would like to see with a new digital system. Kentucky’s next phase ahead of MyPERFORMANCE’s go-live was to orient HR and agency leaders around change management and training. Specifically, Myers said that members of the Personnel Cabinet spent the early part of the year traveling to every Kentucky government agency for in-person information sessions and MyPERFORMANCE demos before COVID-related lockdowns and remote work rendered it impossible. To complement the on-the-ground digital solution education initiatives, Kentucky launched an online orientation program for every government employee, introduced digital training programs for both managers and employees, produced manuals and issued Using Tech to Help Kentucky Shift to Ongoing Performance Convos By preparing accordingly to embrace the new talent strategy and platform, Myers says Kentucky was able to see ROI quickly. She and Perkins identified four key areas where the team has seen an improvement thanks to their ability to use technology to support performance conversations: Talent managers can capture team bandwidth, skill sets and performance metrics in one platform. Agency and HR leaders can monitor specific tasks, keep tabs on workloads and deliver real-time feedback that helps employees better understand how their individual performances contribute to their career growth and agency success. Relationships between managers and employees were improved during the pandemic thanks to the ability to facilitate clear, ongoing communication Continuing to foster a culture of continuous learning and development Keeping Kentucky Connected in 2021 and Beyond For 2021, Myers and Perkins noted that Kentucky’s next phase of digitizing its talent strategy will involve deepening government-wide MyPERFORMANCE adoption and implementation with a focus on employee performance management and enabling employees to take an active role in their development through online learning. For more information about how the Commonwealth of Kentucky uses MyPERFORMANCE to enhance employee engagement and performance management, click HERE.

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