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Transforming millions of volunteers into leaders through learning


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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) facilitates and promotes humanitarian activities with a mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering. The IFRC was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

With a workforce of 2,500, operating in 75 countries—and more than 16 million volunteers worldwide—the IFRC faces tremendous talent management challenges, especially related to learning and development. Previously, the organisation relied on in-person workshops to deliver critical training for rescue and humanitarian operations, an approach that was neither e cient nor cost e ective.

“Our training was residential, so it cost a fortune, and we only reached 20 to 30 people at a time,” said Jean-François Goulay, sta development manager, human resources department, for the IFRC. “We knew we were just duplicating the training e orts alongside other Red Cross organisations. There was no consistency in training, and it made our businesses very segmented.”

"The treatment we receive from Cornerstone has transformed the traditional client-supplier relationship into a real partnership."

Why Cornerstone

Committed to expanding training opportunities, the IFRC conducted a market study in late 2008 to identify a learning management system (LMS) solution. While Cornerstone OnDemand was the organisation’s rst choice, the IFRC technical sta was initially wary of the system’s software-as-a- service (SaaS) delivery method.

“Our IT colleagues had no experience with SaaS. We partnered with Cornerstone to help our sta learn, and they were surprised and pleased by how easy it was to work with the system,” said Goulay. “We began to see Cornerstone not just as our talent management solution, but also as a way for us to introduce SaaS into the entire organisation.”

Creating a true partnership with Cornerstone from day one set the standard for the entire working relationship. “From the beginning, the Cornerstone team took the time to understand us and our needs. The treatment we receive from Cornerstone has transformed the traditional client-supplier relationship into a real partnership,” said Ariel Kestens, global head of learning and research for the IFRC.

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