As April whizzes past, we sit down with some of our Cornerstars, who are currently celebrating their work anniversaries, and ask them to reflect on their experiences at Cornerstone so far.
In our previous blog, the focus was on the people and how it’s the employees at Cornerstone that make it such a great place to work. And this shared ethos of working together and helping each other has been talked about by each Cornerstar we’ve asked. “It’s about the teamwork, a team you can depend on, people that go the extra mile, helping and being helped. Our greatest asset is our people, I state this in every meeting I have with prospects and clients” said Max Schroeter, Regional Sales Manager at Cornerstone. Hanns Horvath, Delivery Manager, agreed and said “I like the people. They are all the best.”
When we asked our Cornerstars what has been there favourite moment so far, it is no surprise that they struggled to name just one. However, the event that came up the most was Convergence. Each year we hold a conference for clients and colleagues alike to come together and connect. “Getting all our clients to come to the dancefloor and dance. It’s one of the many reasons they like coming to Cornerstone events, being able to party with the Cornerstars!” said Max Schroeter. For Christiaan Weurding, Regional Sales Manager, the overall support and activities at Cornerstone are a highlight “there is a lot of time invested in personal development, support in my daily job and great activities like development day, anniversary and Convergence.”
And it’s being able to share exciting moments with their teams that drive our Cornerstars to challenge themselves. Fermin Arbea, Implementation Consultant highlights: “At Cornerstone you find a great working environment, with colleagues always willing to collaborate. Also, it is a place to find challenges where you can grow both professionally and personally.” It is this shared team spirit at Cornerstone that drives colleagues to help one another and work together to generate success. Oliver Normand Account Manager Strategic, EMEA said “it was a great team success when, after 18 months of negotiation, we signed an important contract with one of our major clients in Europe.” Overall, it is this shared culture that drive our Cornerstars to succeed.
Fermin Arbea believes that “the greatest moments are ones that we share among the whole team, collaborating with initiatives in which we can help other people. These are moments in which we all unite a little more and return home with a shared smile.”
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Liggy Webb mood boosters and how to feel better in stormy times
2020 has been a challenge for most and as much as we were very hopeful about 2021, it feels like a déjà vu. Lockdowns everywhere, the “new norm” seems like it is here to stay, face masks and hand sanitiser. We have had to learn to be resilient, it is not so much about hoping things get back to normal, but to adapt and embrace change as part of our daily routine. It is here to stay. Why is my boss in my living-room? Liggy Webb has been sharing some incredible ideas with us on how to embrace wellbeing, kindness and stay mentally healthy during this pandemic. Organisations need to champion these behaviors too. We have seen HR departments embrace our free online content modules; especially the pieces around wellbeing and health, which were the most requested courses, as my colleague Mark Lamswood shared with us in his piece “Why content… and why now?”. The line between work and life has disappeared, for those that can work remotely – and whilst we are thankful for that, it can be hard to find balance in our lives. Is this the responsibility of an employer, though? To a certain extent, it really should be. Questions around resources have been circling for some time now, do we have a laptop for every kid to connect to online classes? Do we have a spare office in the home to work? Who will take care of the kids if both parents are working remotely? Why is my boss in my living-room? Constant Zoom calls, webcams on, screaming children in the background and the lack of privacy are taking a toll on us. Here are some positives to this new cozy office set-up: I have to confess I am not embarrassed to put the webcam on while in my pyjamas with certain colleagues and the conversations around hairstyles, pets and home décor have brought us together. Please – send help! Stress used to be a big one. Non-stop travelling, meetings all day, commuting to the office and then – if time was left - your private life. Now all those different departments of our existence, have been squeezed in one home for almost a year and stress is even more acute than it used to be. “Worrying about contracting Covid-19, feeling lonely, and not thinking positively were all strongly associated with how anxious and depressed people became.” BMJ Open report In a nutshell, we are more stressed than ever. We are worrying about survival. More vulnerable to fall into unhealthy habits and the uncertainty of not knowing when and if this will be over is not helping. As Dr. Sarah Campbell explained in this video not everyone has the resources to adapt to this massive change and HR departments can help. But let us look in the mirror first and own our responsibilities. Walk the talk – together | This is not a one-size-fits-all approach but there are plenty of little things we can do! Using Liggy as my main inspiration – this is what has worked for me: Show some teeth | As lame as it may sound, I am reminding myself to smile each day. A great way to do so is by creating an e-coffee or e-lunch call with some of the team members and chat about anything BUT work. Or join a laughter group, like this one here created by a artist friend of mine called “Laughter Yoga for Creatives” in which we connect, turn the webcam on and do laugh therapy together. See the sky | Some of the lockdown rules are very strict and we do not all have the same space at home. But having a dog forces you to make that commitment to go for a walk every day. Make that commitment to yourself if you don’t have a pet, book the time in your diary and stretch, meditate, dance in the shower to your favorite tune. Studies show sedentarism is bad for your health. Get a standing desk, sit on an exercise ball or even better – get Stand Up! The Work Break Timer. Eyeliner to start the day | I am a feminist but … starting the day with lipstick and eyeliner makes me a better feminist. And it really does! It helps me get into the office mood and to not panic when I am asked to turn the camera on. Be kind | To boost my mood and give back I am always creating online donation campaigns for causes that are dear to my heart. It keeps me busy with something different to work, it connects me with other people that feel the same and it helps me channel my energy into something positive. Join us too! Start your joruney and boost your mood in this turbulent moment! Get your e-book for free today here and share your experience with us along the way!
Lockdown life: Volunteering and working from home
Sunday Session at Harmony Gardens - Drone picture by Maxime Fazilleau On a random Saturday last year, I discovered Blue House Yard in Wood Green, London. This is an unexpected place in North London, close to where I live. A red double-decker has been converted into a board games café and taproom. Small timber work sheds house local businesses selling candles, clothes, jewellery and books. Blue House Yard and Edible London market - Picture by Maxime Fazilleau I was curious, so I went to investigate and found there were tables covered with boxes of colourful vegetables and fruits in the middle of the place. I was only passing by, but the seller asked if I wanted to try one of the tomatillos and I could not resist! It was refreshing and spicy at the same time. After a few minutes of conversation, I was so inspired by their story that I ended up buying my veg and fruit from Edible London in Blue House Yard that day. And I came back! But this time I discovered fruity chocolates, organic vegetables, pea shoots and jams all organically grown by incubated businesses. After two weeks of loyal shopping, I was invited by Sunny, the energetic and mindful CEO of Edible London (https://ediblelondon.org/), to visit the greenhouse where volunteers of all ages, cultures and background grow some of the organic products. I went, for a simple visit, to volunteer for five hours that afternoon, and was taught about sowing tomatoes seeds and I learnt that they were heritage seeds and only grown organically. The following week, a friend tells me about Edible London – what are the chances! - and the work they do. Sunny, and his team are not only growing food but also organising cook ups for the Haringey community. A few days every month, they cook and invite people going through housing difficulties to enjoy heart-warming meals and a chat. Before I realised it, I was volunteering and was asked if I could help start a new project which was to create a place where Edible London could and grow more food. Obviously, I accepted. When COVID-19 started, Edible London was still operating normally. But when the lockdown was announced, Sunny decided to form a small team to prepare hampers for people who could not move from their homes. As I was working full time from home, I decided to help around my working hours – but this time behind my screen. I started looking for volunteers to prepare the hampers and deliver them. And thanks to a networking app here in the UK, we got around 20 recruits in a day! Today, Edible London is made of about 20 admins, 15 facilitators and a pool of 350 volunteers. We had to train different teams for the integration, write and create processes, online documents and FAQ for volunteers to understand what to do. We operate from two main food hubs in the council of Haringey: Alexandra Palace - the people's Palace - and one of the underground parking spaces of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. But what is it that we are doing? Let me give you a rough idea: Food sourcing! We have teamed up with one of the big vegetables and fruit markets in London and they provide us with a few pallets of unsold food every day, that would go to waste otherwise. We also get food donations from lots of different business that believe in our vision too. Logistic and Hub! The amazing logistic team gets the different pallets and redirects them to the food hub where the magic happens. The Quality Team volunteers verify the products. This is a very important part of the process as we need to ensure good quality food goes to the hampers preparation that will be distributed to self-isolated people who cannot afford to go out. But we use all of the products and so, the food of normal quality goes to different organisations which can cook meals the same day. Vegetables and fruits that cannot be used to cook can be taken by volunteers or sent to our growing site for compost creation to be used on our growing sites. Ready to pack? Our volunteers prepare hampers of good vegetables and fruits mainly that will be handed over to the Council who is managing the distribution. The rest of the food goes for meals to shelters, food banks and key workers. But we also need to keep our hardworking volunteers healthy – and so we all eat together and make sure nothing goes to waste. Two of my favourite initiatives are the Bikers Community and the Upcycling system. The Bikers for the Community comes to the Food hub to collect meals and essentials, and take it to the streets of North London, stopping for every houseless person they see. Our Upcycling initiative involved the creation of furniture and art from the packaging by our volunteers to feel like home. EcoBricks are made and will be used later in one of our growing projects. Volunteers even ran a zero-waste fashion show, where they used packaging to create their outfits. To go from six to 350 volunteers in ten weeks has been a BIG task – believe me! Many hours and tears have gone into making this happen. Respecting health and safety with the 2m distancing rule and wearing masks did not make it any easier. But we did it! This adventure has shown me what we can do with an army of volunteers. The energy and motivation are high, and our core team is always ready for a new day. I found purpose and a community in this very difficult time – being isolated at home alone is not easy. I am glad I joined Edible London and at the same time find solidarity and hope. Thanks to my previous work experience, I know how to map a process and create communication channels. I also know what it is to be a volunteer and know what to expect from the team. With Cornerstone, I have learnt to communicate effectively – I am a French native – understand the issues fast in order to deploy solution, but most importantly, I have discovered that there is always space to learn, ask questions and be included. Delegating work to new volunteers joining the adventure is my biggest challenge, as trust is important, and it cannot be built in a few hours. But here at Cornerstone we have a culture in which we accept failure as part of our success, and in this instance, I can shadow the teams and let them make mistakes, so they understand the logic behind the processes and so we can all work as a team. Don’t let others stop you from doing good for the community. Teach them to build a resilient one instead.
Business Unbound: A Vision and New Strategies for the New World of Work
Yesterday looks nothing like today. For some companies, the COVID-19 crisis has brought business to a grinding halt—but for others, it’s kicked things into hyperdrive. The trends that were emerging before the crisis have accelerated: Digital transformation initiatives have a heightened urgency as businesses are now required to pivot on a dime. The trend toward remote work has manifested in full. The need to reskill and upskill the workforce is now an immediate concern rather than a provision for the future. Change is not optional. How to change is now the critical question. It’s an incredible challenge to adapt in these circumstances—but companies are doing it. Think about Medtronic’s sharp turn to accelerate the production of ventilators in their factories, or Honeywell, and many other companies, now making masks. Companies are demonstrating just how quickly they can move when they eliminate the constraints that were holding them back. Some constraints were the result of yesterday’s thinking, such as outdated business models or processes, to solve today’s challenges. Other constraints, such as pervasive shelter in place orders, are truly unique to today’s historic moment and require new, creative approaches that will have lasting impact. These agile organisations have uncovered their own ability to adapt, and it’s critical that they don’t rebound to routines and outdated structures after the crisis has passed. Business volatility has been increasing for decades before the crisis and will only accelerate long after it. At Cornerstone, we are committed to helping companies take an unbound approach to business. An unbound business is one that is not confined by conventions and is open to fresh approaches in tune with their changing environment. And, we believe that at the heart of an unbound business is continuous people development. Over the past 20 years, we’ve honed our software to help companies adapt quickly with the right people, the right skills and the right training. And with our acquisition of Saba, a global leader in talent solutions, we’re in an even stronger position to help companies lean into their change drivers: continuous learning, actionable data and workforce agility. The key? To continue to remove the constraints. Learning Unbound: Learning is the Accelerator Learning is the adaptability accelerator. Cornerstone People Research Lab data shows that training has skyrocketed in the last several weeks as companies help their employees adapt to this new normal, including a spike in courses about stress management and working from home. This shows that rather than use learning to only meet compliance requirements, we need to provide employees with more holistic learning to address all aspects of work life. To do that, learning must be: Ubiquitous: Available on any device, and, most importantly, delivered in their flow of work in the systems and tools where work is happening. And, when learning is offered in a variety of formats such as learning through social collaboration or learning in short form—known as Microlearning—that are quickly digestible and easily applicable. Learning retention suffers when employees learn on the company’s schedule. Instead, learning retention and effectiveness is highest when employees need it and can immediately apply it to a real-world situation. Hyper-Personalised: Remove the time and energy it takes for employees to seek out learning. Technology can help present relevant opportunities to employees that are contextualised based on their skills, experience, aspirations and preferences. A Business Enabler: For businesses to adapt quickly and at scale, they need to promote real learning – the kind that sticks with you – it requires repetition, reinforcement and nurture. And real learning is always evidenced by change. Changed mindsets. Changed behaviors. Changed outcomes. To help advance these changes forward, Cornerstone has been focused on providing people with the most modern, relevant learning content available through Content Anytime, our subscription service offering. Curated with thousands of courses from dozens of world-class content partners, we are committed to helping organisations provide their people with the right content to help accelerate learning. We also recently invested in Talespin to ensure we stay on the cutting edge of the emerging area of virtual reality training. By embracing these changes to learning at work, organisations will be prepared for whatever challenges lie ahead. In a truly adaptable workplace, learning is every worker’s constant companion, and people will be always learning. Careers Unbound: AI-based Personalised Coaching to Empower Your People The number one reason people choose to leave a company is because they don’t have the opportunity to learn and grow. In addition to career growth, people want to be seen and valued for their unique strengths. They want to feel a sense of purpose at work as detailed in a recent trend report from Mercer Consulting. They want continuous and frequent coaching sessions with their manager. They want to understand how to improve. They want to be supported on how to best challenge themselves while also maintaining a sense of well-being. They desire new experiences to help them put learning into practice and explore emergent interests. In essence, people want to be coached. This will require organisations to re-examine how they support their workforce. The first step will be to transform managers into coaches. What makes coaches more effective is that they guide individuals, not roles, and they truly understand who they are coaching and where that person is headed. This means organisations will provide managers with tools to better understand their individual employees – such as their deep skills profiles, interests, personal and professional aspirations and their emotional well-being - as well as tools to help them apply that holistic information into more meaningful conversations and personalised career navigation. In addition to turning managers into coaches, organisations will find new ways to supplement employee guidance with AI-powered digital coaching tools. These types of tools will be embedded in the technology that employees are already using and will apply the employee’s personalised data to guide and make recommendations for growth and development. For example, after an employee completes a skill-building course, they will be recommended a sequence of more trainings and activities to truly bridge their skill divide. Additionally, employees will further benefit from AI-based recommendations, nudges and conversations with intelligent chatbots, which can do everything from suggesting a new training, to an upcoming project they might be interested in, to a role suited to their skills. These tools, combined with rich conversations with managers (powered by data), provide truly personalised career navigation that’s informed by an employee’s skills, experiences and aspirations resulting in them feeling more engaged and empowered in their careers. To help enable this vision, Cornerstone has launched Cornerstone Careers, a new product solution focused on helping employees to connect with their managers and navigate their careers. Cornerstone Careers includes Check Ins and Capabilities, and we’ll be adding more features in the coming months, including Career Center to help employees navigate their careers in a fully personalised way. Data Unbound: More Holistic People Data for Better People Decisions With technology has come an explosion of data and analytics. And for years, organisations have been striving to extract insights and important business value from people data. Yet, yesterday’s data sets fell short of giving organisations a holistic, meaningful understanding of their people both inside and outside of the organisation. Businesses crave more well-rounded, data-driven insights to know the whole person: their capabilities, strengths, experiences, aspirations, mood, learning preferences and well-being. Earlier this year, we took a big step in this area by acquiring Clustree, a French technology company that developed an industry-leading, AI-powered skills engine and extensive skills ontology to help organisations match their employees’ skills with specific job roles. The benefit of this comprehensive, elastic skills data set is twofold. First, the data will allow companies to dynamically develop and deploy the right skills to projects, roles and key investments. For example, looking at data across the global enterprise will allow companies to build teams that bring together the best skills and experiences regardless of geography. With data about both internal and external talent, companies will also be able to assemble the optimal mix inclusive of employees, candidates, contractors and freelancers. Second, and more importantly, more inclusive data will allow companies to improve their employees’ well-being, engagement and retention. Employees and their managers will be able to use this data in development conversations, for example, facilitating a hyper-personalised approach to growth instead of one-size fits all. And this data must be collected for the benefit and empowerment of the employee, rather than for productivity and efficiency tracking. Data can open up a more meaningful work-life experience that ultimately benefits both the employee and the business. Cornerstone Is Adapting and Evolving with You This extreme event we are currently experiencing, COVID-19, is proof that companies must be more agile than ever to succeed. And even after we move beyond this crisis, businesses can’t return to our previous state where it takes 18 months or more to pivot the workforce. When unforeseen forces arise, those businesses that are able to act quickly not only endure the change but thrive because of it. To build that agility, companies need to remove the constraints that were holding them back and embrace a new world of work that invites change and innovation. The emergence of this new world of work comes at a pivotal time for our company as well. With our recent acquisition of Saba, we are in an even better position to help our clients transition to this new reality. Not only will we increase the speed and scale of innovation, we now have access to nearly twice as much client data, enabling us to improve A.I. within our products. As a combined company, we are committed to accelerating these strategic innovation initiatives with the intent of helping companies address these sudden new challenges, create new opportunities and transform into a resilient unbound business.