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This piece is part of our celebration of #OnlineLearningWeek happening from September 10-14. Have a skill you want to sharpen? Start learning through Cornerstone's free online learning portal here.
It's no secret that the career ladder is outdated, but many companies and their employees still struggle to create an internal framework for the career “lattice" that's replacing it. In fact, research suggests 70 percent of employees today aren't satisfied with the career opportunities at their companies.
For Chirag Shah, Cornerstone's senior vice president and general manager of growth markets, creating opportunities for employee development and growth starts with learning. Shah started out as a manager of corporate strategy at Cornerstone, and has since held seven different positions throughout his decade-long tenure at Cornerstone, and he has followed a career path that has been anything but linear.
He has moved from finance, to operations, to his current senior leadership role not by adhering to any guidelines, but instead by following his own interests—and, most importantly, constantly seeking out learning opportunities, whether through his MBA coursework, interactions with peers or online materials.“I'm fortunate to be a part of a company that has allowed me to expand my horizons and do the things I'm interested in," he says. “Most companies wouldn't necessarily say, 'Okay, we've got a finance guy, let's make him an operator and have him run this business.'"
Here Shah shares how he managed to balance an MBA program with a new role at Cornerstone, why he sought out learning opportunities beyond work and how following his interests has enabled him to find the career path that was right for him.
When you first started in the SMB team manager role, you weren't necessarily as qualified as other operations candidates might have been. How did you feel when you stepped into that role on day one?
I had a knowledge of the business and enthusiasm for that business. I felt like I could add value to the team in ways that maybe a person who had been in that role previously at another place couldn't.
You pursued an MBA while you were making this transition. How did you balance work and your course load?
I worked toward my MBA on the weekends. I had to really understand the value of the things that I was doing and how it was going to help me achieve my career goals. It wasn't easy, especially because I had a lot to learn adapt to the new SMB role on the job. In my MBA classes, I learned about topics that I wasn't necessarily exposed to at Cornerstone. I was also in class with a lot of people who worked in industries that I hadn't had a lot of exposure to, so I was able to learn from them.
Where else do you go to find learning opportunities that you're not encountering day-to-day at work?
Online learning has been a huge part of my learning program ever since I joined Cornerstone. I can't tell you the number of times that I've wanted to learn about something and Googled it, or went to YouTube and watched a video about how to do something. When I have specific things that I want to learn about, online is my go-to format because I know that I can quickly find relevant content that is easily accessible in under an hour.
How has online learning helped you in the course of your career?
When I took on my initial general manager role as the GM of the SMB team, I actually took some online courses on marketing to teach me the basics so that I could enter into a conversation and not sound like a complete idiot.
It doesn't matter how smart you are, everybody has to invest time in learning. I wanted to make sure I had that basic level of knowledge and that I was making the most of the people I was working with—and not using their time to teach me what an MQL is, or any other basic marketing concept.
What advice do you have for people trying to balance their own learning pursuits with their daily work and life?
Everyone has to recognize that when they think about their careers, learning is part of getting to the next step. If you want to get to a certain place in your career, it's not going to just happen on its own. You've got to make sure that you make the investment in yourself to help you get to that point. Some of what you need to learn is going to happen on the job, but you also need to recognize what you're not learning and proactively seek it out.
For those looking to become extreme learners and strengthen their business skills, Chirag has curated a new learning playlist that you can access for free during #OnlineLearningWeek.


This piece is part of our celebration of #OnlineLearningWeeek, happening from September 10-14. Have a skill you want to sharpen? Start learning through Cornerstone's free online learning portal here.
The way employees learn and develop throughout their careers has changed a lot in the past decade. With an accelerating pace of change driven by advancements in technology and a widening skills gap, it is no longer enough to train employees on an annual basis.
Today, in order for employees (and organizations) to realize their full potential, they need the ability to continuously learn and develop their skills on an ongoing basis. But finding the motivation and time for learning while juggling other work responsibilities can be challenging.
Here, six HR experts, Cornerstone all-stars and extreme learning professionals share what motivates them to find time to continue learning day in and day out.
“When I think about what keeps me excited and engaged at work, it's the moments where I'm forced to learn something new. It's critical for us to challenge ourselves and get out of our comfort zones if we want to continue to move up in our careers and discover our passions.
It's easy to get bogged down with daily to-do lists. But when you escape from the tactics, and think bigger picture about how you want to make an impact—whether it's a new project you want to lead, or a new job you want to apply for—the only way to get there is to continue to learn and be open to change. Embrace it—change is the only constant!"
Lindsay Thomson, Product Marketing Manager at Cornerstone OnDemand
"I didn't realize this until I was well down my career path, but I developed a growth mindset and the belief that I can be smarter if I try [harder]. Many of the skills I use every day I didn't learn in school or through any formal training.
What motivated me down this path? The seed was planted by my mother who always believed that the one thing no one can take away from you is your education. But that seed grew and became what drives me today—a deep sense of curiosity and wanting to be the best I can be. Without continuous learning, my value to clients diminishes every day."
—Ira Wolfe, President of Success Performance Solutions
“I've always equated learning with being able to do something new. Rather than getting stuck in a routine, constant learning allows me to do something new and different every day!"
Akanksha Garg, General Manager at CyberU
"Having moved to a new country as an adult, I've learned that culture and language play a much bigger role in people's lives than I ever thought. As a result, I've been motivated to learn more about culture and how it impacts people's decision making. My goal? To understand people. Understanding others is a huge motivator in my life."
—Suzanne Lucas, Founder of Evil HR Lady
“Back when I first became a product manager, product management was not yet taught in school and the world was still figuring out the role. Now, as a director, I interview the next generation of product managers for our team and consistently observe that they are well-educated and practiced in business, design and data science.
These new super-kids are going to make me obsolete if I don't keep up with learning new skills and honing my craft. So that's exactly what I intend to do!"
Elvis Ha, Director of Product Management at Cornerstone OnDemand
"I struggle with looking at the end result of someone else's thinking and understanding it. That has driven me go back to the basics and research the information that went into the conclusion that was drawn. I find this gives me a deeper understanding of not just the decision, but also of the various elements that were considered. I learn a lot."


This piece is part of our celebration of #OnlineLearningWeek, happening from September 10-14. Have a skill you want to sharpen? Start learning through Cornerstone's free online learning portal here.
The skills gap is growing. According research from Deloitte, 90 percent of CEOs expect digital technology to disrupt their industry, and 70 percent don't think their company has the skills necessary to adapt to prepare for the workforce of the future.
The good news is there's a simple way to start closing the skills gap and filling your organization with the talent you need now and will need in the future: Establish a culture of continuous learning. Businesses with strong learning cultures are 52 percent more productive and 92 percent more likely to innovate.
To kick-start your culture of continuous learning and celebrate Online Learning Week, our team at Cornerstone is giving everyone access to online learning for free from September 10-14. Check out the 18 learning playlists below—which cover everything from how to prepare for digital transformation to how to hone your leadership skills—to get started on your learning journey today.

1) Getting Started as a First-time Manager

Watch if you...
Want to become a better leader, or are moving into a management role for the first time.
Why We Love it: Being a new manager can be a daunting task. For the first time, you are responsible for other people's happiness and career path at your company. This playlist is designed to help you learn how to motivate and coach employees, listen actively and lead with passion so you can get started on the right foot.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Going from Peer to Manager | Grovo Lesson, 3 minutes
  • Q&A: Essentials for New Managers | BizLibrary Lesson, 12 minutes
  • Use Delegation to Improve Your Team's Productivity | Grovo Lesson, 3 minutes

2) How to Remain Agile During Digital Transformation

Watch if you...
Want to maintain a learning mindset.
Why We Love it: The rapid pace of change in today's workplace requires us to be constantly learning. This playlist will help you become more agile, flexible and maintain a growth mindset so you can stay on top of your game.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating: Elizabeth Gilbert | TED Talk, 8 minutes
  • Employee Awareness: Open to Change | BizLibrary Lesson, 35 minutes
  • Brainstorm Multiple Solutions to Problems | Grovo Lesson, 3 minutes

3) Boost Your Creativity to Drive Innovation

Watch if you...
Are looking for a break from your day-to-day routine and want to infuse creativity into your life.
Why We Love it:  Business leaders today are chasing productivity. Every hiring decision, software purchase and company reorganization is an effort to squeeze out a little bit more. This playlist will help you tap into your creative mind and prepare you to think bigger, take risks and innovate.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Use Design Thinking to Better Understand Problems | Grovo lesson, 6 minutes
  • Where does Creativity Hide?: Amy Tan | TED Talk, 23 minutes
  • How to Manage for Collective Creativity: Linda Hill | TED Talk, 18 minutes

4) Basic Business Acumen Every Professional Should Know

Watch if you...
Are looking to strengthen your business foundation.
Why We Love it: Whether you are just entering the business world or are a seasoned executive, a successful career is built on a strong foundation. This playlist serves as an intro (or refresher) course for those who want to strengthen their core business skills in sales, finance and data analysis.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Demonstrating Business Acumen | Skillsoft course, 15 minutes
  • How to Build a Business that Lasts 100 Years: Martin Reeves | TED Talk, 15 minutes
  • Understanding Budgeting and Finance | CyberU course, 4 minutes

5) Clear Your To-Do List with Productivity Tips

Watch if you...
Want to stop procrastinating and start doing.
Why We Love it: Whether you're bored, stressed or just dreading the task at hand, we've all had days where procrastination takes hold. Sometimes, the secret to being productive simply lies in creating a daily to-do list that is both reasonable and achievable. This playlist is designed to help you focus your to-do list with productivity best practices and tips.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Organize Your Inbox in 60 seconds | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes
  • Leading Productive Meetings | CyberU course, 31 minutes
  • How Too Many Rules at Work Keep You from Getting Things Done: Yves Morieux | TED Talk, 17 minutes

6) Top Data Analysis Skills You Should Know

Watch if you...
Want to master data based decision making.
Why We Love it: Data drives decision making in nearly every industry. However, many people write off their ability to work with numbers early on in their career. The truth is, it just takes a little practice and patience before you can make meaning out of numbers. This playlist will introduce you to top data analysis tools and practices to help you prove your value and impact using data.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Philip Evans: How Data Will Transform Business | TED Talk, 14 minutes
  • Common Types of Visualizations Used in Presentations | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes
  • Big Data and the Data Analysis Process | Skillsoft course, 26 minutes

7) Leaning into Diversity and Inclusion in the Global Workplace

Watch if you…Watch if you...Want to learn more about how to practice diversity and inclusion at your company.
Why We Love it: Diversity means having a culture that values and celebrates uniqueness, but how we get there as individuals and as a broader organization can be elusive. This playlist gives some actionable tips to create a diverse workplace.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • The Value of the Multigenerational Workforce | CyberU course, 9 minutes
  • Set an Inclusive Tone | Grovo lesson, 8 minutes
  • General Martin Dempsey: Communicating across different cultures | PowerForward lesson, 2 minutes

8) Finding Purpose & Passion In Your Career

Watch if you...
Are looking to feel more invested in your job or your career as a whole.
Why We Love it: Whether you are on top of the career ladder or hitting a slump—it's natural to want to feel a greater purpose in your career outside of your paycheck. With this playlist, learn how to take control of your own career and identify your passions to feel more engaged at work.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • The Surprising Science of Happiness: Dan Gilbert | TED Talk, 22 minutes
  • The Energy Bus: Desire, Vision and Focus | BizLibrary lesson, 3 minutes
  • Learning How to Thrive: Redefining Success | BigThink lesson, 3 minutes

9) Best Practices and Tips from Your L&D Peers

Watch if you...
Are an HR or learning and development professional wanting tips from your peers.
Why We Love it: It's time for learning and development departments to operate as truly data-driven teams, driven by strategic initiatives. This playlist is full of tips and tricks to prove the business impact of your learning and development efforts, and get employees engaged in learning everyday.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Enable Everyday Learning | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes
  • Learning Retention Strategies | BizLibrary lesson, 27 minutes
  • Positive Atmosphere: Establishing an Engaged Workforce | Skillsoft course, 23 minutes

10) The New Sales 101

Watch if you...
Need to brush up on modern day sales skills.
Why We Love it: Old school sales techniques might close the deal, but mastering new soft skills is what will make you stand out. This playlist will set you up to learn skills spanning digital tools, social selling and emotional intelligence, all of which are becoming increasingly important in the sales world today.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Negotiation Styles | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes
  • How to Present Data Visually | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes
  • Building GREAT Sales Relationships | ej4 course, 7 minutes

11) Become an Authentic Leader in the Digital World

Watch if you...
Have aspirations of becoming a leader, but aren't sure how to get there.
Why We Love it: Becoming an authentic leader is not about how many people you lead—it's about clear communication and trust between you and your team. With this playlist, strengthen your leadership skills and learn how to establish purpose, define values and find passion to help your team reach their personal and professional goals.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • 5 Ways to Lead in an Era of Constant Change | TED Talk, 14 minutes
  • Encourage Authenticity as a Manager | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes
  • Cultivate Self-Knowledge: How to Find Your True North | BigThink lesson, 6 minutes

12) Use Mindfulness to Improve Happiness at Work

Watch if you…
Need to bring some zen into your workday.
Why We Love it: Mindfulness practice has been linked to activating parts of the brain correlated with happiness, joy and enhanced self awareness. But how can engaging mindfulness at work make us happier? This playlist offers helpful tips and tricks to begin practicing mindfulness in your personal and professional life.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • All it Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes: Andy Puddicombe | TED Talk, 10 minutes
  • The Science of Sleep Hygiene | ej4 lesson, 6 minutes
  • Happiness at Work—Stress Less | CyberU course, 16 minutes

13) Get Ahead at Work With These Top Soft-Skills

Watch if you...
Have ever been told you're not a “people person."
Why We Love it: Emotional intelligence, teamwork, communication and problem-solving aren't skills typically taught during employee onboarding. But these soft-skills are becoming increasingly critical in the business world. The good news is they can be learned.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • What Does It Mean to Take Ownership? | Grovo lesson, 4 minutes
  • Chad Troutwine: How to Use Empathetic Awareness to Build Great Culture at a Growing Company | PowerForward course, 2 minutes
  • A Quick Guide to Emotional Intelligence | CyberU course, 12 minutes

Institute for the Future Series

This year, Cornerstone has partnered with the Institute for the Future to help organizations map and prepare for the future skills that will be required to thrive in our rapidly evolving world of work. Here are five playlists based on the most recent Future Skills report to help you get fit for what's next.

1) Make Yourself Known With the Art & Science of Reputation Management

Institute for the Future
Watch if you...
Want to build or strengthen your personal brand.
Why We Love it: Everyone is visible in our hyperconnected world, but how do you stand out? This playlist will teach you why and how to build your reputation so that you can get value from your personal data, earn credit for your online learning and shine no matter where you are in the world.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Use Feedback to Grow | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes
  • Communication Tools for the Global Landscape | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes
  • Manage a Multicultural Team | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes

2) Make Sense of Loopy Complex Systems

Institute for the Future
Watch if you…
Want to embrace change instead of run away from it.
Why We Love it: Everything is connected these days. But do you know how to utilize those connections to create powerful feedback loops and uncover stories buried in data? This playlist will help you make sense of all of the complex systems filling the workplace today.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Scooter Braun: Deciding How to Proceed When Selling a New Concept that Might Go Against the Status Quo | PowerForward lesson, 3 minutes
  • Build an Innovation Machine | Grovo lesson, 6 minutes
  • Theory of Change: Align Your Strategies to Achieve Your Results | CyberU course, 60 minutes

3) Keep It Going By Building Resilience in Extreme Environments

Institute for the Future
Watch if you...
Want to become an extreme learner.
Why We Love it: We are living in times of intense political and social pressures. This playlist will show you how to tap your network to get support, build your emotional IQ and establish ethical clarity when facing challenges.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Ramsey Musallam: 3 Rules to Spark Learning | TED Talk, 7 minutes
  • Are You Learning Every Day? | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes
  • Creating Clarity | BizLibrary course, 3 minutes

4) Build Your Tribe in the Many Worlds of Peer Production

Institute for the Future
Watch if you...
Want to expand your network.
Why We Love it: Our future is always shape shifting. We can't count on our jobs staying the same, but we can count on our network consistently being there to support us. This playlist will help you strengthen key skills needed to build your network as well as teach the basics of design thinking and relationships building.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • The revolutionary power of diverse thought: Elif Shafak| TED Talk, 22 minutes
  • The Ins and Outs of a Design Thinking Workshop | Grovo lesson, 6 minutes
  • Build Work Relationships Remotely | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes

5) Befriend the Machines to Master Human-Machine Collaboration

Institute for the Future
Watch if you...
Anticipate technology disrupting your job in the future. (Hint: it most likely will!)
Why We Love It: Machines have a language of their own, so if you want to work with them, you need to learn it. This isn't a lesson in computer languages—it's a set of skills anyone can use to adapt to the various ways the machines will enter our working lives. This playlist is designed to help strengthen your digital fluency, understand AI and Big Data and tap into machine intelligence to accomplish things you never could before.
Our favorite courses in this playlist:
  • Nick Bostrom: What Happens When Our Computers Get Smarter Than We Are? | TED Talk, 3 minutes
  • How to Present Data Visually | Grovo lesson, 3 minutes
  • Building GREAT Sales Relationships | ej4 course, 7 minutes
Start your learning journey today with Cornerstone's free online learning portal and access all 18 playlists here.


This article was originally published on, under Jeff Miller's Forbes Human Resources Column.
In 12 years, most of our jobs won't exist.
According to McKinsey, between 400 million and 800 million jobs will be gone by 2030. A version of them might remain, but as technologies like artificial intelligence and automation gain momentum, it's safe to say we've reached an inflection point (as we did in the dot-com era) around the kind of work we do.
But just because these jobs will be gone doesn't mean 800 million people will be unemployed. Instead, people will do different kinds of work, uniquely “human" roles that require collaboration and creativity. Adapting to these new jobs is going to take what's called a growth mindset.
A growth mindset means you view intelligence as endless: You're always able to learn new skills. In the opposite, a fixed mindset, knowledge is viewed as a limited commodity — you're either good at something or you're not. In my experience, most people say they have a growth mindset. And that might be true, but think about the times you've struggled or even failed. During those times, it's likely that you transitioned into a fixed mindset.
Maintaining a growth mindset and engaging in what I call extreme learning — constantly gathering new information — are essential ingredients of success in our current (and future) work environment. As we see more changes in the workplace in the coming years, HR teams need to look for these skills in new hires and foster them among their existing teams.

Extreme Learning In The Workplace

The last time we saw a major technological change in the workforce was during the dot-com boom in the 1990s. Several hundred thousand jobs became available — new jobs that required new skills, like computer programmer and computer engineer. According to data from Pew Research Center, between 1997 and 2012, the number of technology-specific jobs rose from over 2 million to close to 4 million.
For employees, then as much as now, remaining relevant in the changing workforce requires seeking out new skills. As technology alters the way we work and the types of work we do, I believe extreme learning helps employees remain energized around their work.
To build a strong foundation for extreme learning in the automation age and ensure their workforces are “Future Fit," based on predictions from the Institute for the Future, HR leaders should focus on the following competencies:
1. Digital Fluency: Accenture reports that while a majority of executives are planning to invest in AI in the next few years, only 3% plan to increase investment in training programs. But as AI makes its way into the workforce, more employees are going to need to know about — and how to work with — machines. Think about your organization today and ask, does everybody have the opportunity to learn digital skills, like coding? Making learning resources like these available to everyone in the company will ensure your employees can work with machines now and in the future.
2. Multicultural Dexterity: At Cornerstone, we're focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives, and I'm particularly interested looking at diversity in categories like diversity of perspective and diversity of information. People don't like to admit they have hidden bias because they see it as something fundamentally bad, but everyone has bias. Being more aware of what our biases are will help us connect better with all types of people, something that the new workforce is going to require. For example, with older people remaining in the workforce longer rather than retiring at 60 or 65, new teams will need to be able to connect across generational biases and gaps and appreciate the different perspectives and information each group brings to the table.
3. Empathy: According to research from Deloitte, as tasks become automated, there's an increased focus and importance of the human parts of work. I've written before that empathy is an essential quality for leadership, and it's one of these essential human skills that everyone will need in the workforce of the future because it makes us better at collaborating.
Today, my job is AVP of Learning and Organizational Effectiveness at Cornerstone OnDemand. That job might not exist in the next few years, but I'm working personally and with my team to figure out how our leadership and development skills will be better applied to this new workforce. Maybe in the future, I will be a “content master" or “leadership guru" — and neither of those sound half bad.
The same is true in any industry. Employees will need to adopt a growth mindset and use extreme learning to adapt. Doing so will allow them to remain relevant, no matter how their field changes.

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