by Shayne Thomas
05 Nov 2019
Organic Valley Success Story
How America’s largest organic dairy brand transformed its end-to-end talent management process through industry-leading technology, content, and tools.
“We had numerous manual protocols in place that weren’t scalable…. We have a lot of required training—USDA, FDA, OSHA—but making sure that everyone took their training was both challenging and time-consuming.” — Mark Schroeder, HR/L&OD Technology Strategist, Organic Valley
Organic Valley, the largest producer of organic dairy products in the United States, experienced massive growth between 2006 and 2016—increasing gross revenue by 350% and staff by 160%.
As we all know, any business that experiences rapid growth, regardless of its size, will go through a slew of growing pains. Organic Valley was no exception to this rule. As its business grew and sought out new ways of addressing increasing consumer demands, a strain was placed on talent management. Its once highly manual approach to managing both the recruitment of top talent and development of employees, managers, and senior leaders no longer sufficed. The company needed scalable, integratable, and highly personalized tools to address and keep up with the ever-evolving needs of its rapidly growing workforce.
It didn’t take long before Organic Valley realized that Cornerstone would be the best partner to lead them along this recruiting management and learning and development journey.
What drew Organic Valley to us most was our unique ability to provide a full, 360-degree talent management solution that could take their productivity—and their entire workforce—to the next level. As a starting point, they implemented both Cornerstone Learning and Cornerstone Recruiting, with plans to roll out Cornerstone Performance with Cornerstone Succession in the near future. That they have embraced such a wide variety of our tools is a testament to Cornerstone’s ability to help businesses transform their talent management processes through industry-leading technology, content, insights, and best practices.
Since implementing these various tools and solutions, Organic Valley has generated some pretty impressive results. Here’s a quick overview of their growing success to-date:
- Increased employment applications
“With Cornerstone, we’ve seen an increase of 42% in applications. Candidates comment on how simple it is to apply. That’s feedback we love to hear!”— Ashley Dahlen, Employment Manager, Organic Valley
As the company grew, Organic Valley’s need to hire qualified talent became more important (and timely) than ever before. However, given their previously lengthy and time-consuming online application process, they noticed that fewer and fewer applications were coming through. In essence, without even realizing it, they had created their own barrier to recruiting top talent. That’s when Cornerstone Recruiting came to the rescue; we helped Organic Valley simplify its application process and grow its applications completed by 42%.
- Increased training completions
“We have almost 100% user adoption. With Cornerstone, I also have 100% confidence in the fact that training has been assigned.”— Mark Schroeder, HR/L&OD Technology Strategist, Organic Valley
As mentioned before, training and employee development was predominantly a manual process at Organic Valley until Cornerstone came into the picture—so much that employees very rarely had any visibility into what was required of them. Today, the situation has taken a full 180-degree turn, whereby all employees (yes, 100% of them) now complete their training in a timely manner. Why? Because Cornerstone makes it possible to empower companies—and their employees—to take training into their own hands.
- Supported effortless customization
“The ability to customize so many aspects of the platform has been key. There aren’t many platforms that can do what Cornerstone does.”— Mark Schroeder, HR/L&OD Technology Strategist, Organic Valley
Implementing Cornerstone solutions doesn’t mean that employees will see the Cornerstone brand plastered everyone. Quite to the contrary, we make it possible and easy for our clients to create a digital experience that looks, feels, and speaks like their brand. And that’s exactly what we did with Organic Valley. Not to mention, we make it easy for businesses to make these solutions truly their own. “Cornerstone is the easiest for the end user and for the administrator to get what they want without feeling they’ve invested a tremendous amount of customization.”
- Created a go-to learning hub
“An employee suggested we call it ‘The Tool Shed,’ which is genius because it’s the place you go to get the tools you need to do your work. Everybody knows that for anything learning-related, they have to visit The Tool Shed.”— Mark Schroeder, HR/L&OD Technology Strategist, Organic Valley
For the first time, Organic Valley now has a central place where all learning and development happens. But the implementation of the company’s learning management system (LMS) actually has a fun story. Organic Valley invited employees to participate in a fun contest to create a unique brand for its Cornerstone Learning platform. The winning idea: “The Tool Shed.” Not only did this help drive awareness for the LMS before it was ever implemented, but it also engaged employees in the future of their learning and development early-on. The fact that employees were able to take some ownership of what the LMS looked like was a great strategy for boosting both awareness and adoption. And it proved to be a success as the LMS is now used as a central hub for various communications around training, events, and other happenings.
- Reinforced the importance of learning
“We use Cornerstone to deliver 7-, 14-, and 30- day interval lessons and ‘engagement guides’ to managers before and after employee learning.” — Carrie Bero, Senior Learning and Organizational Development Specialist, Organic Valley
It can be really hard to motivate anyone to learn, much less your own employees. That’s why Organic Valley has relied on Cornerstone to help them manage their Continuum Learning Program, whereby employees are invited to take a series of mini-lessons to master job-related skills or learn new soft skills (and beyond). Providing employees with bite-sized opportunities to learn makes learning and development, as a whole, feel less daunting overall. Even better, as they get through each mini-lesson, there’s a feeling of accomplishment and progress that results—a win-win for both Organic Valley and its employees.
- Enabled manager training
“Our development focus for leadership has shifted to influence current and future leadership capability, style, and execution, while also creating unity at all levels of leadership.” — Kimberly Fredrickson, Director of Learning and Organizational Development, Organic Valley
Cornerstone’s belief is that no one is too old or too seasoned in their career to learn something new. Organic Valley shares that belief, too. One of the biggest benefits that Cornerstone brought to the company was its wealth of knowledge and content around manager training and development. For any company, especially those undergoing rapid growth, ensuring that managers have the skills to lead effective, high-performing teams is critical. This is one of the reasons why Organic Valley has tapped into Cornerstone Learning to provide its managers and leaders with ongoing training and leadership development programs (that drive results!).