Blog Post

Convergence Day 1: Today’s New Normal Promises Future Opportunities

Cornerstone Editors

The first fully virtual Cornerstone Convergence kicked off today and there is just so much to tell you about the event! Under the conference theme of "unbound thinking," Cornerstone clients, partners and employees from across the globe engaged in sessions, networking chats and Q&As to explore how organizations—and their people—can revisit and replace yesterday’s thinking with fresh perspectives needed for our new world of work.

On behalf of everyone at Cornerstone we’d like to send a special thank you to our remarkable customers for sharing how they're using our technology to drive talent development outcomes in their organizations.

Now, let's check out some highlights from Day 1!

Navigating the Now of Work—Opening Keynote from Cornerstone CEO Phil Saunders

"Is this what you expected?"

To kick off Convergence 2020, Cornerstone CEO Phil Saunders asked a question that over 17,000 attendees likely had the same answer to: definitely not. None of us could have predicted that we’d be attending Convergence from our home office (or couch or kitchen table). The future of work is now, and this new reality is calling on people and organizations to think and act differently.

Phil touched on the changes that are on the horizon for Cornerstone that will enable people to rise to be extraordinary and be drivers of innovation. The company’s new mission and vision is customer-centric, focused on investment in innovation and a continued commitment to the work of the Cornerstone OnDemand foundation. Phil also introduced three key tenets guiding Cornerstone’s vision and mission: to help people be understood, be guided and belong.

Phil closed his talk with a note of appreciation for the opportunity to foster connections and conversations with customers, partners and employees at Convergence. With over 50 sessions across five tracks, Convergence 2020 delivers an unmatched opportunity to learn from an amazing group of talent leaders and innovators about navigating change, empowering employees, embracing innovative technology—and much more.

Navigating Constant Change—in 2020 and Beyond

The need to navigate constant change echoed across almost all of the sessions on Day 1—no matter the topic.

In the panel discussion, Identifying the right skills and content strategies to navigate unprecedented change, Cornerstone’s own Summer Salomonsen and Mark Lamswood engaged Liggy Webb, award-winning author and thought leader on human resilience, in a conversation adaptability. They discussed how curiosity and an openness to challenging ourselves are key to handling unprecedented transformation. Learning content can also help drive change in the workplace—so that organizations can transition from a place of anxiety to action, achieving in a matter of weeks what might have taken years.

Another critical role of learning content is its ability to advance diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across companies. Several sessions today reminded us that addressing racism doesn’t have an end date; and fostering a more diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace is more than an HR strategy. Supporting leaders in developing inclusive leadership capabilities is just the start.

Embracing a Personalized, Enriched Employee Journey

The three key tenants (be understood, be guided and belong) CEO Phil Saunders outlined in his keynote came alive in many of today’s sessions focused on putting employees first.

The onboarding experience is a critical step to encourage new hires to feel welcomed and have a clear vision about their role. In Building a world-class onboarding approach, Pamela Greenwood, IT Officer and Makarand Kulkarni, Senior Business Solutions Officer for World Bank Group shared how they used Cornerstone Onboarding to successfully onboard 940 new hires in one year!

In LEADing the way: Innovating an award-winning leadership development strategy, John Niedzielski and Lynda Cribari from Davenport University shared how they partnered with Cornerstone to develop a suite of leadership offerings to increase employee engagement.

Driving Innovation with Disruptive Technology

Once employees are comfortable navigating change and feel engaged in their growth, they’re able to lean into new technologies to drive innovation.

Candidates, employees, hiring managers, and HR are all feeling the impact as talent acquisition teams undergo a period of unique change. In Assemble the best people for today and tomorrow, TalentLink experts shared the key to better communication—trust, transparency and authenticity—and the capabilities available within TalentLink to enable it.

Another session highlighted the massive opportunity of blockchain to match talent to career opportunities with a single, employee-owned source of truth.

Finally, Talespin CEO Kyle Jackson engaged Manal Houri, Head of Digital Transformation, Facebook Learning and Development and JoAnne Rossouw, Head of Digital Learning at Nestle in a discussion aboutBuilding leadership and communication skills using virtual reality.

Both Facebook and Nestle are at different stages of their journeys in implementing VR as a learning modality but the potential is recognized. "It provides a safe space for learners to learn," commented Rossouw. "Once we started using the format where a person gets in a VR headset, we started to see mindsets shift," Houri added.

Of Course, Cornerstone Made Several Announcements at #CSODCONF20

While sessions kicked off on Day 1 of the conference, Cornerstone also made several key announcements aligned to its new vision, strategy and innovation commitments, and we’re excited to share them here.

  • Cornerstone welcomes Ajay Awatramani as Chief Product Officer! Ajay will lead product strategy, management and design as the company doubles down on its vision to accelerate innovation and further strengthen its leading people development solutions.

  • Introducing the Cornerstone Skills Graph, an AI-powered skills engine that has been built into the company’s portfolio of products. The technology enables organizations and their people to implement "strategic skilling" — the practice of matching skills to people, learning content and job roles — to predict, prepare for and quickly respond to dynamic business changes.
  • Cornerstone report on Skills Development reveals significant confidence gap between businesses and their people. This global study uncovers the greatest challenges organizations face when it comes to helping their employees develop new skills and offers practical advice for closing confidence gaps related to skills development. Read a conversation about the findings between Heidi Spirgi and Mike Bollinger on Cornerstone’s ReWork, or click here to access the full report "A License to Skill: Embracing the Reskilling Revolution."

  • Expanded collaboration between the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation and Project HOPE, a nonprofit global health and humanitarian organization. This new online curriculum teaches frontline healthcare workers how to safely screen, triage and treat COVID-19 patients in remote regions. Starting today, the courses offered through Project HOPE will now be available in more languages, including English and Spanish, and in new regions, including Africa. To date, more than 2,800 learners in 139 countries have taken approximately 5,000 hours of training, and demand for the online learning program continues to grow. Amazing!

Academy Award-winning Actor, Producer and Philanthropist Viola Davis on "Being True to Yourself"

Day 1 of Convergence ended with an inspiring closing keynote with the truly awesome Viola Davis and Cornerstone's Chief Learning Officer and VP of Organizational Effectiveness Jeff Miller. Their conversation centered on why we need to embrace and own our life story.

As Viola explained, we are the amalgamation of everything that has come before us. Not only must you accept and own your life story, you also need to share that story. Because when we share our stories, we begin to understand ourselves and others more, which fosters empathy.

Viola's final guiding message was centered on developing a giving mindset. Recognize that every decision you make leaves a crumb, a legacy for the future generation. Accept your past to release your blessings, then give of yourself - however small, to build something better.

Fun, Networking & Food! Yes, Food!

Finally, it wouldn’t be Convergence without great conversations, fun and food!

Live from Los Angeles, Chef Curtis Stone joined Convergence to teach us how to cook a mouth-watering pasta dish: ricotta cavatelli with sage brown butter and parmesan. Yum-mazing! And for the home chefs who really wanted to kick it up a notch, Chef Curtis taught attendees how to make homemade ricotta. The chat was buzzing with hungry attendees - and if you watched live, you know that the automatic pepper mill really stole the show!

Take a look at a few of the Day 1 moments captured and shared by attendees!

Look at that mise en place!

And That’s a Wrap for Day 1 of Convergence!

Thanks again to everyone who participated. There were so many insightful speakers and sessions today—with more to come in Day 2!

To watch any sessions you missed on Day 1 and to see what’s planned for the Day 2 agenda, visit: And keep the conversation going! Follow Cornerstone Convergence 2020 on social media channels: Twitter @CSODConvergence, Instagram @CornerstoneOnDemand and Facebook @Cornerstoneconvergence. You can engage with the conversation using #CSODConf20.

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Learning Technologies 2022: key takeaways and learnings

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Learning Technologies 2022: key takeaways and learnings

Missed us at Learning Technologies 2022 this year? Here’s a roundup of our activities and sessions at the event. It was great to be back face to face, chatting all things learning and development. It was also the first opportunity to hear the findings from our latest Cornerstone People Research Lab Report, our enlightening global survey on everything skills development. These are some key findings from the Report: Employers and employees aren’t fully aligned on current skills focus. There continues to be a significant Skills Confidence gap between employers and employees when it comes to confidence in their organisation’s current ability to help them develop new skills. This gap not only persisted from 2020, but - on average - grew wider. Employees are not confident their companies are prioritising skills in the future. The research revealed that only 55% of employees are confident in their organisation’s future prioritisation of new skilling opportunities for them. The Skills Confidence Gap narrowed or widened depending on organisational strength. High-performing organisations (HPOs) had a much smaller gap between employees and employers. HPOs not only prioritised skill development at a much higher level than their peers, but their employees also agreed with them — with only an 11% gap between employer and employee perception. Meanwhile, Laggards (low-performing organisations) not only rated their prioritisation of skill development much lower, but less than 20% of employees in those organisations also agreed that skills development is an important objective — a 42% gap. Key Cornerstone executives such as Mark Debono, VP of UK, Ireland and the Middle East and Mark Lamswood, Regional Director of Content at Cornerstone as well as valued customers NSPCC, Essex County Council and DP DHL were all in attendance to share their industry insights and their own compelling stories. Here's a rundown on some of the sessions that were held: Mark Debono: Powering a future-ready workforce On the first day of Learning Technologies, Mark Debono, hosted a session unpacking some of the key messages from our Cornerstone Skills Report. Mark discussed how the playing field has fundamentally changed in the world of work, and the winners are the ones who can collaborate and engage with their workforce. Mark also delved into some of the most common challenges and opportunities facing every organisation including the skills shortage and shared actionable insights on how to efficiently scale your business’s growth and development plans. A key takeaway from the session Mark hosted, was that talent leaders hold the golden thread of connecting people with growth opportunities, bringing in new talent, alongside optimising future-readiness for all.  Mark Lamswood and Sarah Spence: Content takes centre stage - How the pandemic and great resignation are super-charging L&D Mark Lamswood and Sarah Spence, Senior Solution Consultant at Cornerstone together discussed how to engage employees and make work, learning and development meaningful for everyone. As we know, learning has changed for good: employees expect personalised, on-demand and impactful development approaches. These are some interesting stats and insights from the session: Interest in learning increased six-fold during the pandemic 4.63 million minutes of learning has been consumed in the UK over the last twelve months On average, interest in learning has tripled, with key topics ranging from unconscious bias, diversity, equity and inclusion to mental health and effective communication NSPCC: Re-imagining the learner experience to improve outcomes for children The session hosted by one of our customers, the NSPCC, was certainly interesting as they discussed how they’re using Cornerstone technology to reimagine the learner experience for Childline, improving outcomes for child wellbeing through learning and development. They elaborated on their approach of blended learning, improving digital accessibility, and making sure all learners can come together to share resources. NSPCC shared their journey of how they have successfully integrated the Cornerstone learning platform and their vision for 2031. It was a brilliant event that led to insightful discussions and informative sessions and indeed fostered a learning environment for all who attended. To read more on the Cornerstone Research Lab Report “Addressing the Global Skills Shortage: Your Path Through the Wilderness” please click here.

Cornerstone + SumTotal


Cornerstone + SumTotal

Everything Cornerstone accomplished in Q2

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Everything Cornerstone accomplished in Q2

The first quarter of 2022 was a pretty great one for Cornerstone. You may have read our blog about everything we accomplished. So when we say that this quarter exceeded the high expectations we had coming out of Q1, know that we mean it. Mainly because we wouldn't have written this blog if we didn't. In the second quarter of 2022, we were all about growth. Growth in our people, capabilities, expertise and ambitions. Here are just a few of the things we accomplished in Q2: Uncovered leading trends across our industry Expanded our teams and capabilities Secured exciting wins with and for our customers Received consistent recognition from global industry expert Each of these achievements helped cement our position as a leader in learning, skills development, content, and AI-powered people experiences. And even with all that, there's still more to say about what Cornerstone accomplished in Q2. Identifying leading trends across the skills development landscape We kicked things off in a big way in Q2 with the release of our second global research study, Thriving in the Global Skills Shortage: Your Path Through the Wilderness. The report placed a bright spotlight on organisational trends in the evolving skills development landscape, with a specific focus on the widening employee-employer Skills Confidence Gap and the ongoing sense of urgency surrounding skills and talent shortages. The top three key findings from our research were: Employers and employees aren’t fully aligned on skill prioritisation Employees are not confident their organisations are prioritising skills in the future The Skills Confidence Gap narrowed or widened depending on organisational strength Cornerstone CEO Himanshu Palsule summed it up best, calling the research findings a demonstration of "how organisations and their people continue to see skills development as an increasingly important part of navigating their shared future successfully.” Remaining intentional in our business expansions We acquired a full other company this quarter. And we made definitive plans to acquire another. This is how we really kicked our “growth” into full gear. In Q2, we proudly completed the acquisition of EdCast, and with it promoted our intentions to revolutionise the learning landscape. Together, our teams have united and shared ambitious goals to solve the most critical talent and business demands we're seeing in work today. We can’t wait to watch as our shared vision comes to life. The Cornerstone and EdCast teams got to work quickly, announcing an exciting Zoom integration that will embed learning and training tools to help drive productivity and upskilling. And what comes next after the completion of one acquisition? Plans for a second, of course. We quickly followed the completion of our EdCast acquisition with the announcement of our definitive plans to acquire SumTotal. Now, we can’t share too much just yet, but we can say that this partnership will introduce some seriously impactful improvements for our customers in how they identify and develop the skills of the future, engage and grow their people, and adapt to organisational agility. EdCast and SumTotal weren’t the only newcomers on the block, however. We also welcomed two powerhouse leaders to our executive team: Ryan Courson joined Cornerstone as our chief financial officer. A fun fact about Ryan? He previously served as the youngest CFO of a public company, the Seaspan Corporation (no big deal!). Carina Cortez also joined Cornerstone as our chief people officer. Coming from Glassdoor as their CPO, Carina brings a unique perspective on the power of people growth and strong company cultures. Customer success all around the world Q2 was no exception when it came to helping our customers create purpose in what they do. Our successful efforts to help bring their organisations to the next level were reflected in our customers’ expanded partnership offerings, relationship extensions, and many new customers. Just a few of the legacy customers that saw more success with Cornerstone this quarter include: Smith and Nephew CDN UNHCR META O’Neal Allegis Group AmeriHealth Caritas Viking Group Inc. Americold Logistics Indiana Packers Corporation The National Bank of Indianapolis Ziggy’s Home Improvement Vital Farms Vensure Employer Services And new customers finding success as they start their journeys with Cornerstone: Grammar AG ASML Chewy Texas Commission TOI Management Many of our customers took their success to the big screen, garnering award-winning recognition. A special shout out to Suntory Holdings, Cardinal Health, DPDHL, and Estee Lauder Companies for securing big wins from the 2022 Chief Learning Officer in the Learning Elite Awards. Each of these customers was recognised for best-in-class levels of performance across five dimensions: learning strategy, leadership commitment, learning execution, learning impact, and business performance results We're just happy to be a part of it. Our customers weren’t the only ones winning in Q2 Seeing our customers thrive is always a win for us. We don’t mind accepting a little love from our industry, too. Cornerstone received a flurry of recognition from established industry experts and reports, including: Recognition as a Strategic Challenger in the Fosway 9-Grid™ for Talent Acquisition Ranking in HRO Today's L&D Baker's Dozen Named a Leader for Worldwide Modern Talent Acquisition Within Talent Management and Worldwide Modern Talent Acquisition by IDC MarketScape Winner of the 2022 Craig Weiss Top-Ten Learning Systems eLearning Industry’s Top Extended Enterprise Learning Management Systems List Rated as a Leader by HerbertNathan & Co. in the first Scandinavian LMS Report We also welcomed several meaningful awards in Q2 for our products, industry influence, and original content. Some highlights include: TrustRadius Top Rated Awards for Talent Management Winner Women Impact Tech 100 Honoree Top 100 HR Tech Influencers Winner Inspiring Workplaces Enterprise Finalist HR Tech Awards Winner for Best Advance in Practical AI in Talent Development 6-time Telly Award Winner for Cornerstone Originals for excellence in Diversity & Inclusion, Workplace Culture, Sustainability, and Corporate Training Q3 and beyond With the news of our intention to acquire SumTotal, there’s no doubt we will see even greater opportunities to help a larger, more diverse group of customers in Q3. Stay tuned for more on that in the second half of 2022. In the meantime, we’ll keep investing in our products, cross-functionality, and customer engagement to take our people experience, learning, and talent initiatives to the next level. We don’t take all these accomplishments lightly, and we’re proud to say that we’re on a clear path to changing the game in learning, skills development, content, people experiences and so much more. Be sure to check back in Q3 to see the latest and greatest from Cornerstone!

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