Sam Houston State University: Increasing Training Compliance & Performance Completion Rates
28 September 2021
Founded in 1879, Sam Houston State University (SHSU) operates seven colleges and one satellite campus. The university has over 20,000 students from 60 countries and has been recognized six years in a row by the Chronicle’s “Great Colleges to Work For” program.
A push from administration for more professional development opportunities brought to light difficulties with SHSU’s existing way of tracking training. “There was professional development training, but nothing was centralized. Training opportunities were ad hoc, offered by different groups around campus,” said Thieme (TJ) Bittick, professional development coordinator at SHSU. “And even though HR wasn’t teaching many of these classes, we were responsible for scheduling classrooms and keeping track of rosters in Excel. We were expending a lot of HR resources to do things that weren’t HR-related.”
Tracking mandatory training was also challenging. “We were still using an old fashioned legacy system to track compliance training,” said Cindy Bradfield, assistant director of human resources at SHSU.
While searching for a solution that would unify learning and performance and eliminate manual work, leadership eventually decided to implement two different talent management solutions. “We rolled out the Learning module of Ellucian Talent Management powered by Cornerstone OnDemand, and at the same time, we were using a competitor’s standalone performance system,” said Cindy Bradfield, assistant director of human resources at SHSU. After two years, administrators knew the competitor’s performance system wasn’t meeting SHSU’s needs. “The performance system delivered poor results,” said Bradfield. “At that point, we had been using Cornerstone Learning for two years, so we knew that by implementing Cornerstone Performance, we would have the same kind of visibility and access to data.”
HR relies on Cornerstone’s Client Services team for ongoing guidance, best practices and support for new ways to use the solution. “We can’t say enough about the Cornerstone Client Services team,” said Bradfield. “We get ideas about new things we want to do, and they help us any way they can. Cornerstone has the respect of the HR department and the administration here.” For day-to-day support with the system, HR relies on the Ellucian Talent Management support center.
Realized 100 percent compliance with EEO training. Prior to implementing Cornerstone, SHSU’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) training had not achieved 100 percent compliance. After implementing the Learning module that changed. “We just had our EEO compliance audit in February 2016, and we achieved 100 percent compliance,” said Bradfield. “That’s directly related to using Cornerstone.”
Increased visibility. Today, 966 attendees have completed one or more instructor led training courses, while 898 users have completed 3,061 Skillsoft courses. “Everybody wants to put their training in Cornerstone. If it’s not in there, they’ll call me and find out why,” said Bittick.
Raised performance appraisal completion rates. By unifying learning and performance into one platform, the team has improved reporting and analytics capabilities. Previously, performance appraisal completion rates were 89-90 percent and now average 96 percent. “We’re seeing a real culture change, because department heads see the value in having a centralized location for all of the data. SHSU has access to so much more employee data.”
Streamlined onboarding without using additional resources. SHSU also uses Cornerstone Learning to onboard new hires. “We didn’t have the budget to support an electronic onboarding system, but Cornerstone is so dynamic it allows you to think outside the box,” said Bradfield. “We saw what it could do, and that led to developing an onboarding process.”
HR now uses Cornerstone to guide new hires through a curriculum that includes access to forms, videos and benefits information. “It’s been a tremendous success,” said Bradfield. “Electronically onboarding staff and faculty has been so efficient, we’d like to do the same with our student employees.”
Reduced paperwork and increased communication around the faculty tenure and promotion process. HR is also using Cornerstone Connect to improve the efficiency of the faculty tenure and promotion process. “Connect facilitates communication between committee members and makes it easier to access files. It also reduces the need for physical storage space, which, with dozens of faculty coming up for review annually, is the driving force behind this change,” said Bradfield.