Our first fully virtual Cornerstone Convergence is now in the books! On Day 1, presenters introduced all of the future opportunities that working in the new normal promises, and Day 2 speakers continued the conversation, highlighting the role that technology will play in empowering people to be extraordinary in the new world of work.
The day was bookended by two awesome keynotes, starting with our Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Heidi Spirgi, and concluding with the inspiring Adam Grant, organisational psychologist and host of the WorkLife podcast. Jam-packed in between were hours of information and engaging sessions, networking, learning and fun—let’s dig in!
People Can Be Extraordinary—Opening Keynote from Heidi Spirgi
Heidi’s keynote was a great jumping point from the introduction of Cornerstone’s new mission and vision shared yesterday by Cornerstone CEO Phil Saunders in his opening address. She acknowledged that yes, the world is changing but that we can choose to be a driver of that change or become a victim of it. Decide to be extraordinary—to adapt, create, learn, grow, change. To become unbound.
So, what does it mean to be extraordinary? Heidi shared this video to explain it further.
Technology plays a key role in meeting these needs, and Heidi shared how Cornerstone is tapping into emerging technologies to deliver a more modern, personalised, intelligent and uniquely human people development experience. Tools like blockchain, skills ontologies, AI and machine learning are no longer buzzwords. They enable people to become extraordinary, and allow employees to be understood, guided and belong.
Heidi closed out her session with an inspirational message. “The world will change after this pandemic but human ingenuity can change it for the better,” she said. People can be extraordinary and can be unbound by yesterday’s constraints. And when people are unbound, when people are extraordinary, they can deliver extraordinary results.”
Hitting the Digital Transformation Highway
Our EMEA attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Vincent Belliveau, Cornerstone’s EMEA Chief Executive, on how HR plays a crucial role in helping organisations not only navigate uncertainty, but also accelerate through it as they embrace digital transformation.
Vincent emphasised that while it can be an enabler, no amount of new technology or innovative approaches will work if they are not fundamentally people centric. He then shared four priorities that will accelerate HR transformation.
- Help your company adapt to the new ways of work.
- Develop a strong skills strategy—it’s business-critical.
- Get behind the power of data to speed up decision-making, increase efficiencies.
- Embrace automation in order to make space for people to grow or try something new
Vincent closed by urging attendees to put their people first at every stage of change and to “never take your foot off the pedal” of transformation.
Emerging Tools for Transformation
Empowering people to be extraordinary requires giving them the tools to do so. In the Performance and learning: The key to unlocking people potential session, a panel of Cornerstone customers including Kristy Touchet from Home Bank, Patrick Sorensen from GSI and Lorie Hess from The Bama Companies discussed how combining the performance and learning platforms has been a game changer for employee development—even during COVID-19. “Development doesn’t stop during tough times, in fact it’s more important than ever,” Lorie said.
But employees aren’t the only ones that must be empowered to be extraordinary—HR teams need the right technology as well. In How to leverage AI to create an exceptional user experience, Cornerstone’s own Lars Eichhof and Duncan Miller shared their recommendations for AI, machine learning and automation. These tools, they said, are tackling the challenge of scanning an increasing volume of candidates and choosing quality talent among them.
Learning Will Drive Work in the New Normal
The “new normal” isn’t quite “new” anymore, Cornerstone’s Jeff Miller, CLO and VP of Organisational Effectiveness, and Kimberly Cassady, CTO, pointed out in 10 things leaders need to know in the new normal. “We need to be proactively making change before we have to reactively make or respond to it,” Jeff said. What does that look like in practice? Jeff and Kim offered these 10 recommendations:
One other critical ingredient for the new normal? Learning. In a panel discussion on Creating A Scalable Skills Development Culture, Vincent Belliveau connected with Meredith Taghi, from Deutsche Post DHL, Nina Bressler Murphy, from Novartis Learning Institute and Loh Gek Khim, from the Singapore Skills Framework. The conversation focused on how “skills are really the currency of the future” to power people development that in turn powers organisational growth and business transformation through skills mastery.
Global Industry Analyst Josh Bersin echoed the importance of skills in his session on High Velocity Learning in the Pandemic Every individual, every employee, every manager and every executive must understand that there is a transformation going on in their jobs, in their individual lives, in their companies and their business models. And learning is key to transformation.
For learning to be effective, organisations need to rely on the right content, the Cornerstone Content team explained in Delivering the right content to the right people at the right time. As we adapt to the new normal, professional skills training is essential and learning must be accessible anytime, anywhere. The key takeaway? Employees need to be equipped to adapt and prepare for the changes in their personal and professional lives—our content offering has the courses to enable your employees to do just that.
Already, clients are using content to more effectively reach learners with timely, relevant resources. In How to engage learners in a rapidly changing world, a client spotlight session featuring Bancorp, Hulu and Davita Kidney Care, customers shared how they’ve used content to cope with the pandemic and ongoing social issues. Bancorp, for example, introduced a playlist of courses to train employees and managers around racial bias. Hulu, meanwhile, has recently rebuilt its learner experience to model its consumer platform, creating a more intuitive and easy-to-use platform for their employees.
Building a Resiliency for Change—and the Future
As employees accept the “new normal” and work towards embracing it, mindset and organisational culture will be foundational to empowering them. In his session, Building mindfulness, resilience and mental wellbeing skills in a changing world, Joe Burton, founder of Whil, shared some of the key stressors, both big and small, that occupy employees’ minds today.
But, there is a way to cope with these anxieties: practicing mindfulness, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. “Employees need to bring these skills with them every day,” Joe said. “Cornerstone and Saba, through the partnership with Whil make these skills attainable.”
Closing Keynote by Adam Grant on Creating a Culture of Productive Generosity
To wrap up day 2 of Convergence and the conference as a whole, organisational psychologist, bestselling author, and host of WorkLife, a TED original podcast, Adam Grant took the virtual stage to share his tips for nurturing givers, who are essential to a positive—and resilient—organisational culture.
Adam stated a simple goal for organisations: Recognise the importance of people who believe in generosity and care about each other—they aren’t values you should leave at the (home) office door. If we can do a better job supporting and nurturing givers (and shielding them from takers), we’ll move towards a world where people can build better relationships and strong communities, and get more work done, too. Thanks for an inspiring keynote to end Convergence, Adam!
Exploring, Networking and Learning
In between sessions, attendees today also took time to explore Cornerstone and Convergence sponsors (thank you, sponsors!). In the virtual expo hall, sponsors including JazzHR, Kokoroe, XOS and many others shared engaging videos about their products and answered questions via live chat, from explaining how to use certain features to sharing origin stories about their company name.