by Shayne Thomas
22 Oct 2019
Success Story: STCU
Empowering credit union employees to take learning and development into their own hands — and to the next level!
When STCU first came to us, they were facing a massive challenge: how to get employees to embrace learning and development in a whole new way.
Unfortunately, their existing learning management system (LMS) was outdated, not entirely user-friendly, and, for many of the credit union’s employees, felt more like a compliance tool than an actual learning and development platform. As Derek Tyree, STCU’s Director of Talent Management so aptly put it, “There was a lot of negativity toward the system.” And as an HR professional yourself, you can likely imagine how hard it can be to motivate employees to use such tools when doing so feels more like a chore, a hassle, or a mandated requirement.
STCU’s Talent Development Manager, Sara Spurlock perfectly summed up the kind of business transformation that needed to take place, “Our whole goal around implementation was to take the LMS from being a system that employees were required to visit, to a system that employees wanted to visit.” Aside from having the right tools in place, there needed to be a shift in company culture, one that truly embraced learning and development at its very core.
But that wasn’t all the credit union needed. As their operations have grown, their employee base has become more spread out, too.“We want to be able to provide remote staff with the same development opportunities available to local staff,” said Tyree. “That meant we needed a more robust LMS that would provide distance-learning functionality and tracking, while at the same time help us infuse our culture into their experiences.” For STCU, it was important to create a learning and development platform that could fuel self-directed learning and spark a newfound interest in pursuing different avenues for both personal and professional growth.
They needed a solid content library, a reliable and easily scalable platform, an engaging user experience, a seamless integration with ADP, and the ability to make learning and development a truly collaborative activity for all credit union employees. This is what made Cornerstone stand out to STCU from the very start—and, truth be told, we couldn’t be happier with the results of this incredible partnership.
It took no time before the STCU and Cornerstone began devising and implementing an entirely new learning and development system together. “Having a good relationship with Cornerstone early on helped us be successful,” explained Spurlock. “Our implementation managers helped us troubleshoot and brainstorm ways to do things differently than we’ve done in the past.” But it was more than just a simple system implementation. Cornerstone helped the credit union build an end-to-end rollout strategy and communications plan to get STCU’s employees excited—and ready—for the launch of the new platform. In fact, we helped the credit union think about system implementation in an entirely new way and supported a variety of new ideas to drive pre- and post-launch engagement. One such idea that surfaced from our many brainstorms was enlisting the support of power users to host giveaways and other fun incentives to drive pre-launch interest. “I really appreciated the way that Cornerstone responded,” reiterated Tyree. “I just loved that part of the relationship, Cornerstone’s openness and willingness to listen.” All of the hard work paid off. In no time, we helped STCU launch EmpowerU: a fun, engaging, and thoroughly collaborative learning and development experience, emanating the credit union’s brand and values at every click.
Here are a few of the incredible results we’ve seen from our collaboration with STCU thus far:
Enabled self-directed learning
“Only nine months into launching the LMS, we were up to 700 hours of self-directed learning that wasn’t part of a formal learning plan. Prior, we were getting less than 20 hours of training per year.”
STCU’s primary goal was to put learning and development back into the hands of its employees—and that’s exactly what it did. Going from a meager 20 hours total (across all of its employees) of self-directed training per year to 700+ hours of organic, non-mandated learning in only the first nine months following EmpowerU’s launch is something worth celebrating. This is the difference between developing a learning and development system focused solely on compliance and one that’s built with employee betterment in mind. That’s how you add value to the employee experience and build a foundation for retaining the best employees over time.
- Increased user adoption
“We focused on three areas—content, user experience, and collaboration.”
Motivating employees to use a new learning and development system requires two things: 1) providing content and courses that employees are actually interested in; and 2) creating an inviting and engaging user experience that gets employees excited to learn. When you put the two together, you’ll see that it makes all the difference. We knew that STCU had some specific training imperatives that needed to be met in order to help their employees succeed in their day-to-day work. But experience has also taught us that employees love to learn things beyond the limit of their job responsibilities. So, it was important to create a broad array of courses that would help STCU’s employees learn invaluable soft skills while also diving into other more personal interests and goals. That’s the key to driving user adoption.
- Improved employee engagement
“When we look at our overall engagement numbers, talent development and training has always come up as a major reason that people feel engaged. Employees know that we’re invested and supportive of their growth—not just professionally, but personally.”
This further builds on the growth we’ve seen in user adoption. When employees know that you’re investing in their future—beyond basic job training—they are much more likely to be engaged and stay engaged for the long-term. Business transformation, in this sense, is more than just implementing new systems and technologies; it’s about creating a culture that inspires employees to continue learning, growing, and developing. Not to mention, completing coursework has the added emotional—and motivational—benefit of giving STCU’s employees a sense of accomplishment. “If you complete a course, you get a certificate,” said Tom Dotson, STCU’s Senior Instructional Technology Specialist. “People love that. They print out the certificates and hang them on their cubicle walls.” It’s little things like this that drive engagement—and it has become a big part of EmpowerU’s DNA.
- Reduced administrative burden
“I have a lot of people come to me with requests. Can Cornerstone do this? Can we incorporate this into Cornerstone? I’m constantly able to say, ‘Yes, we can do that. Yes, we can add that.’ As an administrator, that’s a great feeling.”
As a secondary goal—and you might call it a very close second—STCU wanted to ease the administrative burden of managing a learning management system. In the past, almost all tasks, from running compliance reports to generating user metrics, felt like a herculean feat. And to add salt to the wound, given its relative complexity (or user un-friendliness), the STCU team relied on one person trained on the platform to deal with administrative requests. Those days are long gone for STCU. EmpowerU’s intuitive and easy-to-use interface not only simplifies and streamlines once burdensome tasks significantly, but it also means that more people across the team could be trained on how to use it. These were major efficiency wins for the credit union.
- Enhanced reporting capabilities
“We’re making an investment in our people and can now show the results of that initiative.”
It’s one thing to provide employees with more—and better—learning and development opportunities. It’s another thing to be able to measure the success of that program. Thanks to our robust reporting and measurement capabilities, we’ve been able to help STCU understand the true impact of EmpowerU via meaningful metrics and real-time insights. But the buck doesn’t stop there. We’re helping STCU take its reporting capabilities a giant leap forward by enabling them to benchmark STCU’s development programs against other credit unions and banks. “We tracked 18,000 hours of training of all types in 2018,” added Tyree. “With Cornerstone, I can finally pull great data and provide really good comparisons on our programs. We can see where improvements need to be made. That's pretty exciting.” The truth is, implementing a new LMS and reinventing an entire learning and development program is not a one-and-done activity. Powerful data, metrics, and insights are critical for growing, improving, and strengthening a program over time. STCU is already reaping the benefits of this—and we’re excited to see how they take this to the next level soon.
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