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As an expert in customized shipping and transportation solutions, ArcBest is no stranger to logistics. And when it came to optimizing the logistics of succession planning within their organization, the company understood the benefit of investing in its employees' development. To that end, ArcBest partnered with Cornerstone to transform their approach to talent management into a more unified and strategic one. And their hard work is earning industry recognition—Brandon Hall Group has just awarded the company Gold status in its HCM Excellence Awards for Excellence in Talent Management. 

Prior to implementing Cornerstone, ArcBest used an internally built learning management system for tracking course completion. Although this system provided employees with award-winning classroom training programs, the company’s HR department wanted to improve the learner experience with a more dynamic—and strategic—talent management system.

ArcBest is also using Cornerstone to help achieve one of its central talent management goals: to create systematic succession planning strategies, supported by employee development and growth opportunities. Approximately 10% of ArcBest’s field leadership team will reach retirement age in the next five years, and developing up-and-coming leaders to replace them was crucial—nurturing in-house talent can save ArcBest more than $700,000 in recruitment costs. With Cornerstone, ArcBest is on its way to reaching this goal, restructuring its talent management department as a true partner to its leadership team. 

Identifying Key Skills For Growth

The first step in designing new succession and performance management processes within ArcBest’s organization was to identify critical skills and competencies leaders needed to excel at their jobs. By examining the critical skills for each role, ArcBest could more easily locate high potential successor candidates to develop for a variety of roles, now and in the future. 

From there, ArcBest used Cornerstone’s solutions to connect learning objectives to development plans and performance management, creating a feedback loop between all three. For the learning component, ArcBest leveraged Cornerstone Learning, a solution that offers over 1,000 online courses to its employees—some of which can be mobile-optimized. ArcBest also used the Cornerstone Learning tool for enrolling, tracking, providing pre- and post-work for sessions and to enable instructor-led training.

ArcBest tracked employee engagement and performance potential within the Learning platform, and fed this information into the Performance platform. Here, these key metrics serve as critical components of succession planning for various career paths at the organization. 

The talent management team first rolled out a pilot program to test its new succession planning design on a few roles. The focus on building competency models allowed the team to measure employees’ performance and opportunity to advance. Furthermore, the pilot shed a light on the need to communicate program effectiveness at both an individual level as well as organization-wide. 

A Plan For the Future

The results from ArcBest’s initial test of its new succession planning approach was so impressive that since then, the company has expanded the program. The number of ArcBest employees with a unique, personalized development plan grew from 961 in 2016 to 2,921 in 2019. 

Since receiving industry recognition from Brandon Hall Group and others, ArcBest shows no signs of slowing down and is now working to implement Cornerstone’s solutions across the entire company. To maintain this momentum, each of ArcBest’s business unit leadership teams now meets regularly to discuss their talent pools and identify candidates for growth. Already, as a result of these conversations, over 200 ArcBest employees are being specifically developed as high-potential employees. 

Want to know more? Read ArcBest’s full case study to gain deeper insight into how they’re using Cornerstone Learning and Performance.