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“I would tell other organisations that Cornerstone will save them money, which senior management will love.”

Why Cornerstone

When senior leadership asked for more data around talent, the team’s existing HR system couldn’t deliver. “There was no way to provide that information,” said Gilliver-Smith. “We’d been saying we needed a better system but hadn’t gained any traction. That request started the process.”

The team intended to replace their HR system with one that also offered learning, performance, and recruitment capabilities. “We wanted one solution for everything. Bolting something to our existing system wasn’t an option…until we saw Cornerstone,” said Gilliver-Smith. “We’d had a long battle creating the business case, so we were cautious about our recommendation. During the demo, we saw Cornerstone was going to do everything we needed it do.”

Any concerns about implementation were quickly allayed. “Leadership agrees that this was the best-managed implementation program we’ve ever seen,” said Gilliver-Smith. Cornerstone’s commitment to acting on customer feedback was a welcome surprise, as well. “Software vendors will say ‘That’s a great idea,’ but they never act on it. Cornerstone listens. We see improvements based on what we want. That’s a great thing.”

The Results

Saved $275,000 a year. With Cornerstone, Port Stephens has realised a return on investment in 16 months. “We’ve calculated productivity savings of $275,000 a year,” said Gilliver-Smith. “I would tell other organisations that Cornerstone will save them money, which management will love. That’s a compelling argument for Cornerstone all by itself without the great benefits it provides for staff.”

Ensured on-time performance reviews. Managers were already in 100% compliance with reviews, but now reviews are finished in a timelier manner. “There’s a built-in process within Cornerstone that enforces the completion of one-on-one discussions between employees and managers. Employees have to sign off or the process won’t move forward.”

Made learning more accessible. With Cornerstone, every employee can access development opportunities. “Cornerstone has given us connectivity to a workforce across nearly 1,000 square kilometres. We’ve got guys out there on trucks, booking courses on a tablet or phone and not relying on us to do it for them. It’s fantastic.”

Increased visibility of performance. Previously, leadership had little insight into performance across the organisation. “We had to trust what we were told about performance. Now we can see individual reviews and how performance plans are linked to our community strategic plan,,” said Gilliver-Smith. “The process is much more streamlined.”

Created succession planning strategies based on data. Port Stephens’ workforce and succession planning data is now integrated with performance data. “With Cornerstone, we know where our successors are. Managers love it. It’s such a simple system. It’s much easier than relying on spreadsheets.”

Increased ability to attract talent. For the public sector, attracting great talent can be challenging. “We don’t pay as well as private sector. So we have to offer different things,” said Gilliver-Smith. “Providing good learning programs via Cornerstone attracts people who might not otherwise consider a public sector career.”

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