A decade of innovation in Learning & Development.

And what the next years will have in store for the industry.
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Cornerstone and worldofwork™ celebrate a 10-year partnership.
Time for a chat on skills-based learning, talent intelligence and how learning fuels personal growth and sparks innovation.

At the table are Michel Geurts & Willem van ‘t Noordende, both for years the face of Cornerstone OnDemand in the Benelux and Nordics. They join Jochem ter Steege and Beatrijs van de Griendt of worldofwork™, Cornerstone’s prime partner for learning strategy consulting and implementation projects for 10 years now. Both teams have been working together very intensively for the past 10 years with many L&D teams on building a winning learning culture and implementing learning tech stacks of the future. This 10-year milestone is a great time to look forward together and consider what the L&D industry can expect over the next few years.

Looking back briefly on 10 dynamic years of working together one basic principle clearly hasn’t changed; a company is only as strong as its staff and the ability of people to learn new skills, new behaviors, and adapt continuously is key to sustained success of any company, no matter the industry it is in.

What has changed though is today’s employees urgently calling for personal growth and meaning in their jobs. HR leaders seem to deeply understand that company culture is the winning differentiator today and that work can no longer be hammered in static job descriptions, departments & traditional hierarchy.

Cliche as it may sound, organizations that prize constant learning and manage to tie skill building to career opportunities and the organization’s overall objectives will be leading their industries into the next decade.

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Making Learning & Development core business

Michel Geurts puts it plainly; to make employee learning and development the foundation of a company’s agility and success we need to knock down traditional silos within HR. Simply running some business support department like a corporate academy that serves out a sets of learning content isn’t nearly enough anymore. L&D teams must closely work together with business leaders to enable an organization to learn effectively, at speed, and at scale.

Beatrijs van de Griendt, originally an educational designer and working in learning and development for over 25 years; ‘’When it comes to learning & development times have now changed forever. The new generation that entered the world of work in recent years is looking for an environment in which they can optimally develop themselves and feel how they contribute to the company’s mission. Not just in terms of promotion, or getting a raise, but especially in terms of deepening and broadening their skills and developing their professional selves”.

Jochem ter Steege; “Indeed, we should no longer define our people by their jobs, titles, or their place in the organization’s hierarchy. Now that we all talk so much about human-centricity and putting employees at the center of things, let’s then also start seeing employees as individuals with skills and capabilities that can be flexibly deployed to tasks and projects that match both their interests and the overall business priorities. He adds; growing a learning culture and introducing an operating model that places skills, more than jobs, at the center and is organized around people development obviously has a huge impact.

A skills-based way of working

It not only asks for new ways of how workers are supported by HR or by the L&D team. It has major implications for the fundamental blueprint of the organization as a whole. Think traditional performance management cycles, static job descriptions, internal mobility and possibly even compensation and benefits. All this needs to be reconsidered and realigned. This asks for a fundamentally different mindset to begin with.

Obviously this also calls for a new infrastructure. An engine of skills data, personalized learning content, and more. It all starts with thorough understanding of current skills that live within the organization and what skill gaps need to be addressed. Willem van ‘t Noordende has worked with Cornerstone customers for years to translate ambitions and ideas on L&D into the concrete results and technology implementations. He states; clearly this is a major change and quite a challenge for L&D teams. Not only do L&D professionals need to shift their focus from straightforward content creation to enablement of skills and knowledge. They must also understand the shift from role-based training that is offered to employees in specific jobs and departments only to skill-based learning experiences that allow for personalized learning journeys around people’s day to day work.

Cornerstone OnDemand has been spearheading innovation in L&D for decades and is far ahead with capabilities to build personalized skills profiles for employees, mapping out organization’s skills and tying a flexible ontology of skills into learning content, recruiting processes, feedback cycles and marketplaces for internal opportunities.

However Michel explicitly points out that this is not something that is simply fixed by implementing a new learning solution. “This is a paradigm shift that clearly puts L&D in the hot seat. L&D needs to fundamentally transform itself but has a great opportunity to be the driver of this change and play a key role in realizing business strategy”.

‘’We should no longer define our people by their jobs, titles, or their place in the organization’s hierarchy.’’

Jochem ter Steege
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Beatrijs has been driving numerous international L&D transformations and reflects; “The most successful L&D programs I have participated in were projects in which people started small, but were thinking big. With a big ambition and full understanding of the implications of building a skills-based organization, these projects started to add one new tool, model, framework or resource at a time”. Beatrijs; “small wins lead to big victories and L&D professionals must remember that, as a general rule, going big right off the bat isn’t necessarily the best approach. What works is to focus on a specific part of the organization where skills-based learning makes the biggest impact and to work with teams that show high engagement to champion this’’ Willem adds: Our skills engine, AI capabilities and decades of Talent Management experience can do it all, but it is obviously key for management to put priority and urgency to this and bring the energy to engage the entire organization on this path forward”.

Clearly, a lot is about to happen in the world of L&D in the coming years and things will be anything but boring. Nevertheless, it is important for L&D professionals to keep in mind that they should aim for progression, rather than instant perfection.

Cornerstone and worldofwork™ will continue to work tirelessly for learning innovation in the coming years and team up with ambitious L&D teams helping them make impact with a combination of vision, technology and change.

If you are ready for a good conversation about your Learning & Development, or see the art of the possible of Cornerstone’s Talent Experience platform, feel free to contact Michel Geurts of Cornerstone OnDemand or Jochem ter Steege of worldofwork™ to schedule a cup of coffee.