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How to use internal gigs to revolutionize employee engagement and retention
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How to use internal gigs to revolutionize employee engagement and retention

Cornerstone Editors

OCTOBER 05, 2021

People want better jobs. But "better" means something different to everyone.

Maybe it means more money. Different duties. An ability to learn new skills. A new career entirely. Figuring out what "better" means is as much up to employees telling organizations where they want to grow and as it is up to organizations supporting that growth and aligning it with their organizational goals.

HR leaders are feeling a lot of pressure from both sides to make "better" happen now: Pressure on the employee front and pressure from senior management.

We're in the midst of "The Great Resignation," and 47% of office workers are worried their current skill set will soon be outdated, according to survey data from UiPath. And a McKinsey report released last year revealed 87% of senior leadership are either experiencing skills gaps within their organization now or expect them in the coming years, with fewer than half of executives having a clear sense of how to address the problem.

Aligning employee wants with organizational needs

To fight employee disengagement, organizations need to help their people improve their skills while simultaneously ensuring those skills fill critical gaps. At Cornerstone, we started a new initiative called "Cornerstone Gigs." And it has proven to be a successful endeavor for us.

This past year, we introduced Cornerstone Gigs — an internal talent marketplace where employees can expand their skills and explore new ones during short-term "gig" assignments outside their usual department.

Each Cornerstone gig is posted by other employees seeking fresh input and hands-on support to enhance or accelerate a particular initiative. Employees apply to the gig through an internal portal and participate following a successful application.

So far, the initiative has garnered a tremendous amount of interest from Cornerstone employees, 250 of which applied to take part resulting in 75 gig placements throughout the company.

Because this initiative has been so successful for us, we wanted to share a few examples of engaged employees who participated in the first year of Cornerstone Gigs.

Caitlin Hobson found her perfect role at Cornerstone

Caitlin Hobson was an internal auditor who wanted to add to her skills toolbox with a new opportunity before applying to a gig. Hobson found that a singular "job" was not taking full advantage of her diverse and unique skill set, so she decided to explore other opportunities searching for a new career. Energizing networking experiences encouraged Hobson to initially apply for a gig with the Content Customer Experience (CCX) team to capture different Cornerstone stories. She found so much success in this gig that she started a formal role in the CCX team and is embracing learning new skills and networking with department colleagues in her brilliant new role.

Kumara Naika expanded his knowledge and network

Kumara Naika, a senior QA engineer, decided to post a gig on the Cornerstone Marketplace to build networking, add value to his team, and discover and share more about the CTF automation framework he uses every day selecting a gig team in Canada. For Naika, it was a golden opportunity to work with people across the globe and learn from each other.

Neal Duggleby and Saurabh Ajmera connected across the globe

Neal Duggleby, a senior manager in systems and analytics who lives in California, also found deeper insights and recognized potential skill gaps in his team. He created a gig project with the initial goal of providing greater knowledge of Google Analytics to anyone at Cornerstone who wanted to learn. And Duggleby found the perfect candidate in Saurabh Ajmera. Ajmera, a senior product manager in Mumbai, was eager to connect and share his experience and familiarity with the software. Together, they both grew their skills.

Tracy Best ensures people are represented

Tracy Best, a federal project manager, is currently participating in the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) Content Review Committee Gig that ensures the content published by NonProfitReady.org and DisasterReady.org is diverse, inclusive and accessible. In this gig role, Tracy has learned about DEI challenges and concepts that she can now apply to her day-to-day role in client communications, presentations, and personal interactions. A huge goal of Tracy's in her career is to be DEI compliant and inclusive.

Amy Haggarty discovered the right people for the job

Amy Haggarty, director of partnership strategy and engagement at the Cornerstone Foundation, posted a gig to expand and improve her team's content offerings, specifically to try a new course format. The department's goal for the gig was to harness feedback for this content, particularly from people who had experience in online course development, course writing and an interest in collaboration. Of course, it was also important to create an experimental, new gig and an excellent learning experience. Three internal people were selected for the gig, and one was hired full-time at the end of the gig. For both sides, it was a successful and interesting initiative with brilliant results.

Amar Shah developed his skills and a new app

Amar Shah, a senior software engineer, began his gig experience by integrating two vital internal systems. He applied for a gig that needed him to integrate AskCSOD, a portal initially created via a hackathon, into the Slack messenger app for efficient communication. Amar had some of the skills needed for the project but was also very keen to learn more, including the coding for the Slack app. Amar found the gig experience enriching personal growth while also creating a valuable integration for Cornerstone employees.

More gig success is on the horizon

The gig program has been brilliantly successful. 250 applicants and counting are working to create a better job for themself and their coworkers. They're enhancing skills, growing their careers and bringing different colleagues together for projects.

For more about working at Cornerstone

Visit our Careers site and learn more about what it’s like to work here and view our open positions.

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