Talent Management Software Spotlight: Cornerstone OnDemand

Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD) is a cloud-based talent management software company that is currently used by more than 15.5 million people spread over more than 190 countries and encompassing more than 40 different languages. Incorporated in 1999, the company is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, with offices in Auckland, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Munich, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Sydney and Tel Aviv. Cornerstone OnDemand serves such leading organizations as such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts, The Neiman Marcus Group, Save the Children, Turner Broadcasting System, Virgin Media and Pinkberry, to name just a few.


This talent management SaaS includes the following main modules:

  • Cornerstone Recruiting to find the right talent inside the company or out.
  • Cornerstone Connect to foster a culture of collaboration and engagement.
  • Cornerstone Learning to deliver targeted learning and development.
  • Cornerstone Performance to measure performance against business objectives.
  • Cornerstone Compensation to optimize budgetary insights and reward performance.
  • Cornerstone Succession to identify skills gaps and build bench strength.

It is available in three different editions depending on the size of your organization as follows:

  • Cornerstone Growth Edition: Social learning and performance solutions designed for businesses under 400 employees.
  • Cornerstone Medium & Large Business: Talent management solutions designed for companies under 3,000 employees.
  • Cornerstone Global Enterprise: Talent management solutions designed for global organizations over 3,000 employees.

As in previous Software Spotlight articles, I find the G2 Crowd website one of the best sources for unbiased customer reviews of talent management SaaS offerings. On the site, Cornerstone OnDemand has accumulated 17 reviews, 7 of which are at the 5-star level, 8 of which are at the 4-start level, with the remaining two at the 3-start and 1-star levels, respectively. That’s a fairly strong showing, and it’s worth noting that the only 1-star review was largely centered on the LMS module. The particular reviewer, who has been a system administrator, content creator and user of several eLearning systems found the interface of that module both clunky and not very intuitive. The only 3-star reviewer was also focused on the LMS module, and found that the very flexibility that makes it a powerful solution also introduces a greater level of confusion around how to get what you want out of it (especially information managers might be interested in knowing, such as targeted groups’ results on particular courses), also noting that it seems to be geared towards an ecommerce approach to learning (selling courses).

What do people who favorably reviewed Cornerstone OnDemand like about the system? Most of them do agree that it is a powerful solution out-of-the-box that can be implemented fairly rapidly as long as you have a clear grip on your needs. Several also highlighted that the basic customer service function is top-notch.

Those same favorable reviews do also contain useful information about some of the challenges people encountered in using CSOD. Several noted that the interface is not as intuitive as they would like it to be, this was especially highlighted for both the LMS module and the performance management module, nor does it have the sleek modern look that some want. At least two noted that the mobile apps platform needs work to be as robust as the regular service. Several also noted that while customer service is good, consultations for implementation and integration improvements quickly outstrip their business knowledge, and technical glitches can take some time to adequately resolve.

In terms of recommendations for people considering CSOD, more than one reviewer noted that the more detailed you can be about your business requirements and how your various processes work, the more headaches you can avoid down the road after initial implementation. It is also recommended that you engage in a step-wise implementation module-by-module, having a dedicated IT team to manage that process all along the way but also not being afraid to push your “client success managers” to give you the implementation support you need. In addition to nailing down the conceptual process flow, it’s also highly recommended that you see a real demonstration of how it functions.

In a big-picture analysis, Cornerstone OnDemand achieves an average 3.9 out of 5 rating, which means it fares better than Oracle Taleo (3.0 out of 5) but not as good as Halogen’s TalentSpace, which averages 4.2 out of 5. This makes CSOD one of the better offerings available for your company’s talent management needs, and one to consider putting on your short list for further exploration.

December 18, 2014   Updated :March 20, 2015   talent management, talent management software   

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