Customer Story

Essex County Council looked to an intuitive HR platform to transform its talent journey

approx 8,000

Employees

Public Sector

Industry

2019

Customer Since

As a tier 2 government authority, Essex County Council’s mission is to give Essex residents – all 1.5 million – the best quality of life. The council does this through a range of services, from providing social services to maintaining libraries and filling potholes.

Against the backdrop of the COVID pandemic, demand on services spiked. Having already built a learning management system (LMS) in December 2019, the council was equipped with a strong capacity to respond and work flexibly, even while remote. Today, the council aims to continue this flexibility and fast response, even when out of crisis mode.

This is especially important with the council’s new levelling up agenda, which has a focus on fighting inequalities, driving economic growth, improving education and reaching carbon neutrality. To empower its ~8,000 employees to continue servicing residents whilst also driving this new, ambitious agenda, the council looked to transform its talent strategy.

Why Cornerstone

Essex County Council’s first goal was to reposition what learning meant for the organisation. Learning had previously been a scheduled process, based on a rolling corporate training programme, with a focus on soft skills primarily. But, due to costs, courses could not be available to all at the same time. The mission was to change learning to a much more fluid, self-directed and future gazing process – where learning needs were understood. To do this, the council wanted to be able to understand its learners to identify where the gaps lay, and what resources and training were needed to fill them.

With employee workloads already high, and employees under pressure, this new approach to learning could not come in the form of additional work. Instead, Essex Country Council looked to Cornerstone to embed learning into the daily work lives of its employees.

Crucially, Essex County Council did not want to start and end with just learning. Instead, it set out to encapsulate the entirety of the talent journey – from recruiting and onboarding, to performance.

The Results

Rapid launch primed council for COVID: With Cornerstone, the rapid launch of ‘My Learning’ in December 2019 meant that the council was prepared for the soon-to-come COVID crisis. With the arrival of the pandemic, the council was able to build a remote working hub in a matter of days, offering guidance, tools and support to employees. A wellbeing hub was also launched in just weeks to support staff, and today averages around 20 learners each day.

Engaging learners across the council: Learning has taken a much more central role to the organisation, with the adoption rate of ‘My Learning’ rising from 70% in 2020 to 90% in 2021. The course registrations among Content Anytime also increased by 27% in the space of a year. With easily customisable pages and campaigns, the council was able to create connections across the whole organisation. This allowed for knowledge to be shared easily across different areas of the council.

Creating a culture of learning: An initial resistance and lack of confidence around ‘My Learning’ was soon overcome, with certain employees trained to be administrators of the LMS – dubbed ‘My Learning Wizards’ – to champion the platform. The council also holds an annual LearnFest, with 6,290 attendance records and 3287.97 training hours recorded for 2021, showing that learning is becoming embedded as part of the culture.

Refining the talent journey: Following ‘My Learning’, the council launched ‘My Recruitment’ and ‘My Onboarding’ in December 2020, to help ensure new starters felt connected to the team and the culture even before joining. Onboarding is offered at Corporate, Functional and Team levels, ensuring engagement and learning from preboarding through to the end of probation. In fact, Essex County Council was selected for a Learning Technologies Award, under the ‘Best Technology-Based Onboarding Programme’ category – demonstrating the positive impact of this initiative.

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