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Vincent Belliveau

Cornerstone OnDemand

General Manager of EMEA

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The decade that revolutionised learning, performance and talent management


Attitudes and practices regarding people management and development have changed dramatically over the past decade. Vincent Belliveau, EMEA General Manager for Cornerstone OnDemand, examines the most significant advances and outlines the key trends for 2011.

Over the past decade, HR has moved away from being a solely administrative function to play a more strategic role. The emergence of the knowledge economy and supportive technologies has helped HR to drive that change, as has the realisation that the speed of change in the business world means organisations need to be able to respond quickly with appropriately trained staff. This requires a more strategic approach to people management, enabling HR professionals to move beyond tactical training programmes and ad hoc recruitment to focus on the strategic maximisation of talent.

Strategic role for HR
In the twentieth century, there was a focus on business execution, training people to fulfil specific tasks and assessing their skills on an annual basis. Now executives appreciate that competitive advantage is not delivered by simply setting yearly goals. Organisations need to be more nimble, with flexible, capable employees, whose performance is monitored on a continual basis.
HR has played a key role in facilitating that change, both by providing the necessary training, coaching and mentoring and by employing strategies and systems that have automated many administrative tasks and provide instant information on performance and talent. The rise of self-service learning is a case in point. With the right information and opportunity, employees can decide what, when and how they learn, in a way that fits with their daily responsibilities. Empowering employees in this way enables HR to focus on more strategic issues, such as succession planning and the organisation’s longer term skills requirements.

Technological change has also enabled HR to utilise learning and development in a more strategic way. If the start of the past decade saw the rise of e-learning, by the end we saw increased adoption of blended learning. This evolution is continuing apace, with the inclusion of new media, such as mobile learning and enterprise social networking, providing an even richer blend of learning opportunities that may be tailored according to each particular circumstance and need. A new generation of integrated talent management platforms enables HR to link performance management and succession planning information to these learning and development opportunities for every employee, helping HR to maximise talent within the organisation. Adoption of these systems will only accelerate in 2011 and beyond.
Key trends for 2011
Organisations are becoming increasingly sophisticated in determining the key skills they need in order to drive their current and future business plans. HR will devote more attention to developing pipelines of skilled, competent employees for upward or sideways career moves, so executives have more choice when filling vacancies. Traditional self-service learning will evolve into more comprehensive employee self-service career pathing, enabling employees to examine where they are now, the type of roles that could be open to them in the future and the action they will need to make in order to attain that position.

HR must work with senior executives in order to align these career development aspirations with the business goals of the organisation. HR can promote career paths that support the organisation’s objectives, positioning potential career opportunities in such a way that individuals are encouraged to move into specific areas of competence or expertise while still empowering them to have choice and control over the development of their own careers.

Another key trend for 2011 is HR harnessing the potential of enterprise social networking and collaboration tools. Enterprise social networking can encourage employees to generate content and collaborate in a way that makes informal learning accessible and recordable. However, many organisations still don’t know how to implement an effective social networking strategy and drive adoption. The experience of early adopters indicates that the most successful implementations are embedded within a learning portal, as part of a holistic learning and talent management strategy. Another determinant of success is HR piloting social learning or enterprise social networking among specific departments or teams and then rolling it out across the wider organisation.

Looking to the future
Historically, new business processes and procedures were trialled by larger organisations and trickled down to smaller organisations over time. In contrast, these new developments in HR are gaining traction across all sizes and types of organisations. This is because comprehensive, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based talent management solutions are more readily available, more cost effective and risk-free compared to the legacy systems of a decade ago.

However, just as talent management is an increasingly important element in business strategy, the solutions and services delivered by HR must not be developed in isolation. HR professionals must work closely with the business and take into account the needs and constraints of employees and managers. It is critical that any new systems work from a technological and HR standpoint, but they must also be attractive, user friendly and intuitive in order to drive adoption among relevant stakeholders. This is how HR will make an even greater contribution towards improved organisational performance in 2011 and beyond.

Vincent Belliveau is Cornerstone OnDemand’s General Manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). For further information please visit or email

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Vincent Belliveau

General Manager of EMEA

Read more from Vincent Belliveau