Giving Volunteerism a Hand

In any given week, we receive dozens of new product announcements. More often than not, our initial reaction is, “Oh no, not another one of those!” It sometimes takes good detective work to figure out how a particular product differs from something released a month or year before. Yesterday, however, I spotted in my email a press release about an application that, at least in HR circles, was definitely different.

Cornerstone OnDemand in Santa Monica, Calif., announced Cornerstone Volunteer Management, a cloud-based solution dedicated to helping both nonprofit and for profits manage their volunteer programs. With it, users are able to track volunteer skill sets, align capabilities to particular needs and assign volunteers to particular assignments.

What’s more, the software—which integrates with Cornerstone’s learning, performance and talent management suite—allows organizations to publish and promote various opportunities to employees.

Earlier today, Katherine Jones, research director of HCM technology at Bersin & Associates in Oakland, Calif., confirmed that the software is clearly unique and serves an important and, until now, overlooked need.

“I’ve been saying for years that this should be part of an employee’s system of record and talent profile, since so much of what an employee does is defined by what he or she does outside of the workplace,” Jones says. “So far, there’s never been a way to track that and let people know about the initiatives they could participate in.

“Most companies don’t manage this [process] very well,” she adds.

Considering the importance of volunteer programs for younger workers these days (there’s little question many are factoring it into their career decisions), I have to wonder, What took so long?

Jason Corsello, vice president of corporate development and strategy at Cornerstone, notes that the software should be particularly attractive to nonprofits, which struggle with aligning skill sets with particular initiatives. Take the Red Cross, he said. “They can get people, but do they have the right people at the right time and right place?”

But whether nonprofits represent an important target market or not, I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar kinds of announcements in my email in the not too distant future.