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Conceptualized in 1999 as a technology company, Cornerstone OnDemand today provides cloud-based talent management software solutions to users in 180 countries. It’s been a success story, going from 150,000 subscribers to 8.2 million. However, it took the birth of Miller’s son in 2005 to get him to realize that, up to that point, his company had not lived up to its full potential. “You have to say you’re either going to do this or you’re not going to do this,” Miller says. “It was pretty severe. We made a lot of changes to the business in that year. We kept the same basic format of what we were doing, and we kept the same product, but we made a lot of organizational changes, and those are things that we would not have done had this not happened.”
Cornerstone assists clients to manage their employees better and does that by providing software that helps them to hire the right people, evaluate them, develop their skills and compensate them. These services can help organizations in linking pay to performance, retain employees, lower personnel costs and maximize efficiencies and productivity. Cornerstone provides the power of Unified Talent Management that assists clients in bringing all phases of the employee lifecycle under one single platform. On the recruiting side, Cornerstone helps organizations access better candidates in less time with social sourcing, collaborative hiring capabilities, applicant management, and employee referrals without ever having to switch between systems. In addition, data from Recruiting can be accessed in other talent management tools onboarding, learning, and performance. Miller mentions, “Talent acquisition teams achieve significant benefits by unifying recruiting with their existing talent management system.
Recruiters and hiring teams can now collaboratively attract, hire, and onboard new employees.”
On the onboarding side, Cornerstone helps organizations keep new hires engaged with social tools and training and goal setting opportunities. Because Onboarding is unified with Learning and Connect functions, organizations can seamlessly assign learning and enable networking for new hires. The Learning mechanism of the platform can assist clients as it facilitates true sharing of knowledge, solutions, and innovations across the entire organization. Employees can contribute, create community, and complete vital projects faster with unified collaboration tools, task management, and social feedback capabilities.
A big part of leadership is taking the time to get the buy-in to support your objectives, even when you don’t have a lot of time and it seems like perhaps a waste of your time or an inefficient use of your time
The Cornerstone platform also allows organizations to measure their employees performance through its Performance function. With Cornerstone Performance, performance management is unified with learning, compensation, and succession in one system. Organizations can deliver ongoing feedback; align employee goals with organizational strategy; see and address skill and competency gaps, and use performance data to inform development, merit initiatives, and leadership planning. The performance can also be unified with compensation, and budgets through Cornerstone Compensation option. Managers and executives can drive a pay-for-performance culture, automate compensation planning, and improve transparency from a single location, with a single database. Lastly, Cornerstone Succession enables organizations to proactively address workforce issues and increase organizational longevity using learning, performance, and succession information stored in a single system—hence providing a unified and singular platform. Instead of cobbling together training records, reviews, and compensation data from separate platforms.
Having carved a unique niche today, the upward road has not ever been smooth for Cornerstone. As with most businesses, Cornerstone has experienced its share of setbacks and failures. In 2005, the company lost a large contract. Miller, however, views this as a lesson.
Instead of building the company around one large business, it set out to create a more broadly based system, which has been the key to its success. He says, “My experiences taught me to be a great leader; one must trust and respect his or her people. In the long run, gaining employees’ respect is not a one-time action. It takes effort in maintaining and earning staffers’ respect.”
Miller mentions that doesn’t mean that leaders have to talk to every last person in their organization. If they have a smaller business and that’s possible, they should go for it. But if not, they should focus on the key people who hold positions of influence in their company in the areas they are looking to affect change. “A big part of leadership is taking the time to get the buy-in to support your objectives, even when you don’t have much time and it seems like perhaps a waste of your time or inefficient use of your time,” Miller says. “In the long run, it’s an excellent use of your time. If you take shortcuts at the beginning of that kind of change or strategic reorganization or reprioritization, you’re going to pay for it over the long term. If you take the time, you get the benefit over the long term.”
“Talent acquisition teams achieve significant benefits by unifying recruiting with their existing talent management system”
Going forward, Cornerstone will be focussing on a five-point plan, dubbed Cornerstone 2.0. The company will refocus on recurring revenue by exiting the enterprise service delivery business. Whenever possible, Miller says, Cornerstone worked with the partners to hire employees on the services side of the business who lost their jobs from this sift. The focus will also be there on improved operating margins and cash flow, the creation of new recurring revenue streams, changes to the executive team, and improved governance. Before this transformation, Cornerstone has also tightened its product focus from 28 offerings to four product suites: recruiting, learning, performance and HR that’s focused on Europe, where the market is not as jammed with competitors as it is domestically. “The reason the focus on the four product suites is so transformative for us,” Miller mentions, “is that it allowed us to be more focused on what we are building and more ambitious about what we were innovating.” The improvements include recent release of the recruiting solution to deliver a consumer-like candidate experience, making it easier for recruiters to do their jobs. In addition, it will also include an LMS with simplified administration and a learning experience platform with Netflix-like content playlists. Miller informs that there’s much more on the horizon as the product team leverages their considerable technology investments to engage end-users and those who manage and administrate technology. He states, “Skills have become the new digital currency. Almost all the skills that are required today will change in the next 5-10 years. The pace of change is really dramatic now and it’s wiping out industries and transforming almost every job on the planet. And as a result, how we manage the skills needs to be completely different from the last 20 years, and we are up to it.”