If anything was clear from 2020, innovation and adaptability are the foundations of a sustainable and thriving community. While I am relieved to know COVID-19 vaccinations are underway, the long-term effects of this pandemic are still unknown. How will global health be managed moving forward? When will our economy recover from closures and unemployment? And, one area I’m particularly concerned about, when will all children return to in-person learning, and how will the cumulative hours spent learning at home impact their future?
Fortunately, I do believe this move to remote K-12 learning is only temporary. But what keeps me up at night is the potential long-term effects that this disruption will have on our students—particularly those more vulnerable to disruption. According to STAR Assessment results of 5.3 million students, schools reported lower rates of achievement in the areas of math and reading in 2020. And based on student assessments conducted in January 2019 and during the initial months of the pandemic in 2020, Sylvan Learning confirmed that students’ grades 3-8 are roughly three months behind in skill knowledge. And as John Bielinski, senior director of research & development at FastBridge, noted, "the data shows that we’ve reached a critical point. If we don’t place greater emphasis on remedying losses now, achievement gaps are likely to widen later."
Parents Can’t Do It Alone
Last Spring, when schools first closed their doors, a wave of panic rushed over many parents. How would they ensure their children properly finish up their school year from home? How would they keep an eye on their kids while juggling their own remote work situations? Like many parents, I came to terms with the fact that my kids weren’t going back to school anytime soon and got creative with their learning setup. I turned my dining room into a classroom. I got my kids computers, chairs, and headphones, and I buckled up for a few more months of balancing being a parent, a teacher, and a full-time executive director running the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation.
I'm certainly not alone. One of our incredible Cornerstone employees, Payal Shah, Director of Content Strategy and Operations at Cornerstone, who is working remotely with her husband and school-aged daughter while also completing an eMBA, candidly shared her experience:
"Both my husband and I find ourselves wearing multiple hats—employee, parent, teacher, student, cook, cleaner, son, daughter. On any given day, we are hosting virtual meetings and working on deliverables while answering all clarifying questions and assisting our second-grade daughter to the best of our ability during her asynchronous study time. We would love to spend our afternoons teaching our daughter math and reading books, but with so many demands, it’s not always possible to give her the one-on-one educational support she requires right now."
For all parents, keeping your kids on task during the school day while managing your own work obligations feels nearly impossible, even for those lucky enough to have flexible schedules and generous vacation time.
Partnering with Sylvan Learning
We at Cornerstone have taken this issue to heart. Late last year, we kicked off a collaboration with one of our long-time customers, Sylvan Learning, a leading provider of personalized tutoring for students in grades K-12. Together, we created a program called Always Learning @Home to provide discounted tutoring to the school-aged children of our employees. The tutoring sessions are held virtually and consist of one-on-one lessons with certified tutors with an emphasis on math skills and reading comprehension.
This is more than just a timely perk for our employees. This type of supplemental educational support is an important tool for minimizing education loss and achievement gaps as a result of the pandemic. In fact, according to an open letter to President-elect Joe Biden proposing a solution for healing the massive learning losses of our students in math and reading, the Center for Research and Reform at Johns Hopkins University revealed new research suggesting the most effective strategy for struggling students is one-to-one tutoring.
Based on the initial rollout, the program has been well-received by Cornerstone employees across the U.S. Over 100 tutoring sessions have been completed to-date, and that number is expected to grow as students return to classes in the new year. Payal, who I mentioned above, was one of the first to join the program, elaborated on her experience:
"When we found a tutor that could understand my child’s needs, pace and interest, I could see the immediate benefit of this program. In addition to providing helpful resources for me and my husband to review with our daughter, the tutor we are working with makes the sessions engaging using creative learning techniques to teach math. Never before have I seen my daughter so excited to learn math, especially in a virtual setting. To witness my child’s academic confidence levels rise during a challenging time is one of the most valuable benefits I could imagine."
Additionally, I was particularly warmed by the responses we heard from employees without school-aged children. They expressed deep appreciation for this benefit from Cornerstone and even offered to further support their colleagues with kids.
Building on the early success of this program, I'm thrilled to share that we are now able to offer Always Learning @Home to our U.S. customers and their employees as well. This means thousands of families around the nation will have the same opportunity to support their children in the coming weeks.
Putting Our People First
Amidst changing circumstances, it’s critical for organizations to re-assess the needs of their people and implement policies and programs that truly put people first. Rooted in the concept of unlocking potential, Cornerstone continues to work towards making learning more accessible through its technology solutions, work with non-profits, and unique people-first policies. Through Always Learning @Home, Cornerstone is not only investing in the wellbeing and success of its people, but is also extending this investment in education to the next generation.
To learn more about the Always Learning @Home program, click here.
Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.
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
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!