Floor 7: The circuit room
We’re getting the inside scoop on how ZipRecruiter went about researching and selecting a learning platform that set their learning initiatives up for success.
Resources from the episode:
Transcript of the interview:
Kerri Moore 0:06
Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Learning Elevated podcast, brought to you by Docebo – the show where we help you elevate your learning efforts, and move up in the world of enterprise learning and development. As always, guiding you on your journey up the tower will be your elevator operators, myself, Kerri Moore, and my co host,
Rob Ayre 0:23
Rob Ayre and after a brief hiatus, we’re back and as you know, each week we stop off on our new floor and today we’re getting off on the seventh floor, the circuit room. So we’re learning just how important the right technology is – so let’s get started.
Now to get started today Carrie what I’m thinking we do is go through an article as always, and you know, this is kind of a throwback to our season last time and we’re going to talk to an article from Talented Learning and one of our favorites John Leh.
Kerri Moore 0:51
Absolutely – always great to hear whatever John Leh has to say when we had him on the podcast last season, and he seems to know a lot about most things learning related so you know that this one’s gonna be a good article for sure.
Rob Ayre 1:01
Most definitely, and as always, the article is available online, and the article is called How to Choose the Right LMS. And now he proposes to actually ask a Learning Technology Analyst, which absolutely makes sense. And, you know, if you do have the budget and you have the opportunity to do that, sometimes it is important, it is the number one thing in this article is to hire a Software Solution Consultant.
But, you know, he also then goes on to a few different points, and I think this article really does provide a lot of really good insights, just just sort of thought starters, if you are about to go through the process of trying to bring on a new piece of technology for your learning program. You know, second of which is how do you just keep track of them all? There’s so many different learning solutions out there, and even just different ways to go about administrating your learning, and so it’s important to start by, you know, keeping it basic: create your spreadsheet, you know, figure out what is – what does your perfect match mean to you. So, so specifically, what are the things that you need to have in your technology? You know, one of the things that we talked about, and actually we kind of talked about this in the interview, and the analogy is like when you’re buying a house, right? So everybody makes that list when they’re about to buy their house they have their “need to have”, and their “want to haves”. And, you know, you’ve got to take that process originally seriously and say, Okay, what are the things that are absolutely necessary for me to have in my new piece of technology to make my program a success?
Kerri Moore 2:25
Absolutely. And, I mean, that starts with taking stock of exactly what your lifestyle is like, in this case of a house, but you know, in terms of a business, it’s about how your teams work, what your business goals are, you know, how you want to operate for the year going forward? Maybe, how many more people you have on the team? Do you have capacity to ,you know, really get granular with things or do you need something that’s going to be a bit more hands off. So it’s about as you said, very much like being aware of what you guys need, and so to do that, you have to take that time to plan beforehand, before you even start on the quest of trying to find the right software because, as you said, a little bit daunting.
Rob Ayre 3:00
Yeah, he puts a list of questions that I thought were really useful too, that you can kind of take back and like we said, go check out this article, because the list of questions that he has, so he says, you know, take a look and see, what are you doing now? What’s working? What isn’t working? You know, where do you want to go? If you look a year out? Where do you want to be? And in doing that, what does that sort of success look like and why is it different than what you’re currently doing? You know, why is it important to your audience? And so, you know, with John in particular, he really focuses on the extended enterprise. But I think this question is an important one to consider, regardless of whether or not you’re doing internal, or external, or a hybrid sort of training opportunity here. You have to really think, you know, what is important to that audience? And then, you know, on a wider scale, when we’re talking about enterprise training, what are the implications for your organization? You know, what are the things that you can really get out of it, that maybe maybe you haven’t considered because you haven’t just taken that extra minute to sort of sit down and say, okay, you know, what are the things that I need to be doing?
Kerri Moore 3:57
Absolutely, yeah, that and also, where’s my company going, you know? I think a lot of us fall into the trap of planning for right now and maybe not looking to the future as well. And so sitting down and having that plan for what’s going to happen in five years time is also going to really, really help you in order to choose the right system. And yeah, this article really goes into depth about that. So definitely check it out on the website. And you can look through and see what you need out of that. But I think we’re about to get off on the floor, I think I can hear it – can you Rob?
Rob Ayre 4:27
Yeah, I can hear – yeah, yeah, we’re definitely we’re definitely almost there.
Kerri Moore 4:31
We’re really excited today, we’re going to be joined by Jessica Lee, and she is the Human Resources Operations and Program Manager at Zip Recruiter. And she has a fantastic story about how her and her team were able to find exactly the right system for them, and a quite a rigorous process so we think you’ll enjoy it.
Rob Ayre 4:53
So today we’re joined by Jessica Lee, Human Resource Operations and Program Manager at Zip Recruiter: Jessica, welcome to the show.
Jessica Lee 5:00
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Rob Ayre 5:02
We are so thrilled to have you on today’s episode. And we’re going to be kind of going through just a few questions on kind of, you know how you went about finding a new solution for your learning program. So to get us kicked off, you know, let’s sort of start basic. What were you doing internally to find a platform that fit your needs?
Jessica Lee 5:20
I would say the first thing we did was to look at our method of even getting new technology into the company. I know, across the business, different teams have different approaches to adopting new tech. So in HR, there was a pause before we even began discovery of, you know, research and reaching out to vendors. We wanted to map out what the entire process looks like for even vendor shopping. And so there was a lot of work done before our first like calls or reach outs, which was really understanding what the business was looking for with this technology. There were some departments and teams who did not even know what a learning management system was let alone what it could –
Kerri Moore 6:04
Jessica Lee 6:05
Right. So it was an education kind of roadshow that we did with all of our business unit leaders, we listed them out and set meetings. I partnered with an amazing colleague of mine, Anthony Markovich in Learning and Development, and he and I really went on this blitz to say: “Hey, we want to look for this tool. What do you want out of it? How do you see it working for your team?” And then we created a list, and then a matrix to say: okay, this is everything that’s important to the business. Now, let’s find the top vendors out there, you know, in this space, and then as we have calls with them, it’s a lot more pointed. We’re not like, “what do you do?” We’re saying, “hey, do you have these features?” – so you know, to be a little, like, you know, to the point like: do we need to even have five follow up conversations if you don’t have these key critical features that we know our business needs because I come into the space with my own preconceived, what’s important features, right? But it’s not about me, it’s about what our business needs, because we won’t get that adoption that we’re looking for, if we’re not providing those features to them. So it was a lot of pre-work, and then we jumped into our research and then reached out to the vendors.
Rob Ayre 7:19
Yeah, there’s always those sort of, you know, baseline things that you’re like: okay, I have to have this. It’s kind of like when somebody looks for a new house, right? You have, you have your “must haves”, and you have your “want to haves”, and you’ve got to check off the “must haves”. If that’s a walk in closet, then you’ve got to have that walk in closet or whatever it is.
Kerri Moore 7:36
Would you be able to share with us what some of the specific features that you were looking for? What made it onto your “must have” list?
Right, I would say we prioritize them. So we had the list. I have it in front of me, where it was um integrations was huge. You know, we came into a space where a lot of systems are not talking with each other. I think we all kind of suffer from that in different spaces across the business, so we were looking for the most open integrations we can possibly create. And then I inserted the learner engagement as being really important as well. So is there the possibility for any kind of gamification? Or is there like a social learning platform available? Maybe it’s not going to be a part of our V1 launch, but just making sure we’re prepared for, you know, what we want to do in our phase two, or phase three of the implementation. And then, you know, this one popped up, I came into the space knowing that we would have good customer support, but a lot of the requests that we were fielding in was, what kind of customer support? Is it immediate? I mean, we’re a tech company, so we, you know, really value that and want to ensure that the support is there in case anything is really critical because we onboard so many people. And we need things to work at a very timely pace. So those were our top three and then, you know, things like compliance, you know, we want to make sure we’re all good with GDPR. And then also making sure that the clients that you guys have we’re have a similar field and you were used to our business size – so that, again, with that support, you can say, of course, we have great support. But, I mean, is it comparable to what we’re looking for? So that was important as well.
Rob Ayre 9:21
Right. So what were some of your initial business needs? So inside of the features of the platform itself, you know, internally with the business, what were those needs going into this?
Kerri Moore 9:31
Our number one need was in having something that could scale with the business. These are, these are different times right now, clearly, but we are looking ahead to wanting to make sure that we can, again, have this prepared for us as we scale again in the future, right. So we’re kind of seeing, it’s like Groundhog Day a little bit.
Jessica Lee 9:52
We didn’t have a learning management – uh learning, uh, you know, management system. So everything that we were doing with onboarding, we were onboarding, you know, hundreds of people a year was done with an instructor led teaching format. So as you know, human-to-human, like we, you know, we’re growing not just, you know, in our, like, two major offices – we’re growing internationally, there are different time zones. How are we meeting everybody and giving them the same experience? How can we scale this if we’re going to hire hundreds more? That was our number one need. And then number two, we did an employee engagement survey. And we found that one of the major things our people wanted at Zip Recruiter was an opportunity for career development, for career growth, personal development and professional development. And sure we can do one-off and meet them where they are, but do we have you know, a library, or a resource for the company that anyone can come to to really democratize that space for them, so that was our second business need. So those were our two majors that we wanted to meet with bringing this on.
Kerri Moore 10:58
That’s fantastic. Um, you mentioned that you guys didn’t actually have any kind of learning management system before. So how did you go about getting management buy-in for that? Because that’s quite a big step, right?
Yeah. It was a really easy sell. We said, hey, how about we stop using Google Forms and spreadsheets for everything and, you know, yes, we can, you know, filter and pivot tables and all that, you know, to our heart’s content. But this is going to automate so much of it. So the top two things I think that got some sparkly eyes were: one, there is now a large level of transparency with being able to see what’s happening, how many people are engaged, how many people are using this, what are people’s scores on, you know, very, like entry level tests that we needed people to be able to pass, right, for certain parts of onboarding or training. And then the second piece was being able to provide managers and people leaders with learning analytics and reports on: hey, this is the effort that your team is putting in, in wanting to engage in their own growth or when you wanted to push out this new feature with the with our, with our app, you know, making sure that everyone knew about it enough to you know, sell it. So it was those two things that really got the buy in. Everyone was super excited. We didn’t have any opposition to it at all.
You know, the amount of times that we have that with people that have switched for the first time to a learning management system, they’re using Google Docs, it’s just like, it’s such a different world once you get onto the platform. So I’m so happy for you that that was. Yeah, that was such a nice experience. But then, in a similar kind of vein, sorry to jump in Rob, but I’m super interested in the story. And how did you guys go about adoption then with the rest of the team? If they were so used to using the Google Docs, how did they then move into using quite a sophisticated system?
Yeah, um, I think it’s important to gauge the culture of the organization when you’re planning this out, and we don’t have a very top down approach to much with the organization, so it’s a lot more grassroots. So, again, when we had those initial conversations with business unit leaders to say, how do you see this tool being useful to you and your team, we went and created kind of a personalized experience for each team to say, hey, what can we create for you to get that engagement? We don’t want to have an unlocking of the floodgates and say, okay, it’s ready now! Everyone, you know, come in, get the experience that you want – we know that that was going to be dicey, we probably wouldn’t see the engagement we wanted. So we opted for, we would rather have people’s first experience with the LMS be one that is meaningful to them and very purposeful. Otherwise, we’re not going to engage with them at all just yet, because we want this to be a very organic – as organic as possible – of an experience where they like the learning management system, can trust it, and feel like there is something of value to them there.
Is that – does that help answer your question?
Yeah, absolutely it does. I’m sure there’s so many elements, but that’s great. It gives a good insight of how to do that with the personalization is, yeah, it makes a little sense – good way to ensure engagement
Rob Ayre 14:13
in the same vein of that, too – and I’m curious – especially as a business continuously scales, there’s going to be a lot of different pieces of technology that are, you know, across the different business units. So when you were looking for a new solution, and as you were going through implementation, how important were integrations and what types of integrations were the most important to your team and then to the wider organization?
Kerri Moore 14:34
Yeah, I would say the first one. And, you know, our L&D team is in HR, so our first one was, you know, the number of changes that happen with new hires and any, you know, internal mobility changes, we cannot possibly imagine somebody, you know, manually making those changes within the learning management system. And so it was crucial to us that the LMS have an integration With our HRIS, and so that was our primary and we focussed on that. And it has been a save for us all in terms of hours put in, right? So that was really crucial. And then the second piece was the Salesforce integration. We saved that for our phase two, but we wanted to know that it was available, just so that for our sales team, which is, you know, a large part of our organization. We don’t want to create any additional clicks or barriers to get into a learning experience, if we can just have it right there – on there – as a tab in Salesforce, so that was the second one that was important to us.
Rob Ayre 15:42
It makes sense. And so you know, on that sort of same idea too, how ideal or what was the sort of the ideal experience for your – both your administrators – and then the learners within there, right? Because it’s gonna be a little bit different if you’re a salesperson, or if you’re – right? Each learner is going to have a different experience. And so what did you go about determining what would be the ideal experience for both the learners and for the administrators?
Kerri Moore 16:04
Yeah, that was an important question to us. So, literally, when we had those conversations with business unit leaders, we said, “what do you want that experience to look like? what is important to them?”, and it varied. It went from, like, strict training to, is there, is there something that we can have for active listening, you know, that is an option for people? And then some teams were like, “no, I want my entire team to go through, you know, a business writing class” or, you know, it was all over the place. And it was actually a wonderful exercise in understanding what was happening across the business, so we were able to kind of kill two birds with one stone by even endeavoring on simply like “what do you want in an LMS” exercise? Yeah, so it definitely varies. But as you can imagine, it went from like, tactical all the way to, “oh, I want an option for these three classes for soft skills for my team, so they can, you know, browse through it”. So it was, you know, the spectrum was definitely there.
Rob Ayre 16:59
Yeah, we’ve had that. conversations on the podcast before just about trying to understand each learner because each learner is so different. So it’s like, how are you kind of providing -and it’s the nice thing with digital technology – there’s a, there’s a certain level of flexibility where, so long as you’re doing that work upfront and saying: okay, what type of learners do I have, you can make sure that you have the right technology in place to serve those different needs.
Kerri Moore 17:20
Exactly. And it’s, it’s kind of fun to know, you, we talk to our people leaders, and they say, “oh, my team wants this”, and then we come back to them with the report. and we said, “only, you know, only 40% of your team actually participated in this”, you know, let’s revisit this. What do you think we need to do differently? Is it a different, you know, type of materials? A different type of experience? So it has definitely kept the conversation going. So I think that’s great, because we imagine, you know, career development isn’t like oh – I ask you once and then we put it into the learning management system and then we walk away. This is a living breathing tool that needs to continue to change with the business, and be responsive to what people are looking for and, you know, I, I have a different interest in what I was, you know, hoping to learn about three months ago than today. So we want to make sure that this place continues to be of use
Apple Siri 18:10
I’m not sure I understand.
Rob Ayre 18:12
Siri as well.
Kerri Moore 18:19
So, it sounds like you had quite a few different departments and teams to please with this purchase – so I wonder: did you have any specific like scoring system or some way to kind of rank the different companies that you were speaking with?
We do. *laughs* Yeah.
On my master spreadsheet that we created with our features and with the vendors, we chose the top 10 and then from there, we went through and created checkboxes and we said okay, from these 10 you know, let’s narrow it down to five will actually speak to based on the number of features they actually have that we can glean from the website, at least you know, before we start having conversations. And then from the five, we narrowed it down to three. And then from three, it came down to two vendors that had all of the same features. And then I think from there it was, you know, what has our relationship been like thus far with our, our sales rep, and do we like this relationship? And do we like this style? And then it came down to also, of course, a budget, you know, conversation as well. But we were very strategic and even how we narrowed it down and we kept our leadership abreast of where we are, of where we were at each process. They didn’t even ask for it, you know, this granular of a process, but if you don’t have something like this of some sort, then you’re just kind of out there, choosing one and then dealing with whatever you end up getting. So we were very purposeful in our selection.
That’s fantastic. Yeah. And so throughout the whole thing, would you… what did you find the most challenging and like, do you have any advice for someone that maybe is going through the same thing right now?
Jessica Lee 19:59
Yes, I do. Actually, so, you know, this is, I don’t know if you want to keep this in the podcast, but Docebo was not our first choice. We had a different vendor that we chose and it came down to Docebo and this other vendor.
Kerri Moore 20:14
Jessica Lee 20:15
And we were like, okay, we’re gonna go with this other vendor. And the last step we had was, let’s ask the vendor to give us three clients that we can talk to, to see what their experience was – because we’re getting the right shiny promises, right. And so we talked to these three clients from the other vendor, and they told us that you know, one of them said, we’re not renewing our contract. The other one said, we’re leaving to go to Docebo, and the other one said, you know, like, oh, we’re probably not going to use them again. And it was like, oh my god, these are… we were at the end of our road to making our final decision, and then we’re hearing directly from clients that they’re not going to continue the relationship because of XYZ. All these things weren’t working. You know, they promised it but it’s not happening. So that’s how we decided like, okay, well, we can do as much research and get the, you know, marketing as much as we want – but we heard it straight from the clients mouth. We’re going to go to Docebo. And so that’s what made us pivot and move forward with you guys. So it… I mean, I highly recommend in any vendor selection process that, you know, vendors should be transparent and provide us with some client, you know, testimonials. And so Docebo, you guys provided us with a handful as well, and we were able to contact them and, you know, completely different conversations, you know. Like, “we’ve had a five year contract and we’re gonna keep going”, you know, “this is how happy we are with this”, and we asked like, any, you know, things we should be aware of or should be, should we be wary, you know, and they, you know, they were honest with you, like, “hey, maybe this could be updated”, etc. And we brought those back up to our rep to say, “hey, this is what we heard from your clients, like what’s happening here?” and then to hear, “oh, that’s on our roadmap”, or, you know, “that’s coming in our next feature release”, I mean, that’s really encouraging to hear. So we felt even more confident. And we were… we brought it back to our leaders to say, “hey, we’re switching over to this vendor last minute because of what we heard from client testimonials”, and they were like, “oh, my gosh, great”, you know. And so, here we are, we don’t regret our decision whatsoever. And so we were right to make that move, and I’m just not sure how many other companies are doing that to reach out to the testimonials from other clients.
Kerri Moore 20:44
I think that’s such great advice. I think, yeah, it’s something you gotta live with, you know, you’re gonna be in and out of this platform constantly. And, you know, you’ve got to put, yeah, so much into something. You want to make sure that this is the right company for you in so many aspects. So yeah, you’re right – how many people do actually reach out and speak to people and figure out how the experience is for you as a peer, kind of thing. So I think that’s fantastic advice, and I’m glad that it worked out. I’m glad that you went with us!
Thank you so much, Jessica, for being on the podcast – I really enjoyed our conversation. It was really enlightening for us. So um, so glad to hear that you’re happy with everything. I’m glad that you made the right decision. And..
Jessica Lee 23:08
Yes, and thank you.
Kerri Moore 23:10
And yeah, thank you so much. Keep safe, and we’ll speak to you soon.
Jessica Lee 23:14
Thank you. Thank you, both.
Rob Ayre 23:16
That’s great. Thank you very much.
Kerri Moore 23:17
Rob Ayre 23:22
A big thank you to Jessica for joining us. What an illuminating interview that was – I hope all of you enjoyed listening to that, you know, Kerri, for me, one of the things that I thought really stood out was just how organized they were in the process – really sort of taking track and saying, “okay, we need to be as detailed as possible, because we don’t want to have to go about this again”. And, and you know, one of the other things too – and I think this is just sort of a best practice when you’re looking to purchase any new technology – really dive into those references. Figure out what people are liking about it, what they’re not liking about it, and then compare those points of feedback to your own program. It might not necessarily be exactly what you need or not what you need. But.. but taking those extra steps, I think can really go a long way.
Kerri Moore 24:08
Absolutely. I completely agree. I think that is absolutely fantastic advice. And you can, you know, especially as they went through that, and you can see exactly how important that was, because that ended up tipping it in a different direction for them. So that really is critical. But I also really liked how they were, as you said, extremely prepared. But also they kind of went above and beyond what their kind of managers were looking for. So even if they didn’t request the updates on a regular basis, they were giving them anyway. So when this platform originally came into the hands, everyone was quite excited about it because they’d heard so much about it. Everyone was completely up to speed on what was going on, and so, I thought that was a really great tip as well in order to really get the excitement and the buzz internally.
Rob Ayre 24:50
Yeah. So, you know, once again, thank you so much to Jessica for joining us. Make sure you tune in next week. So, you know, what we’ve done for this episode, we’ve talked about how you should go about that selection process. And next week, we’re going to be joined for an interview all about how to implement the right way. So once you’ve made that decision, hey, there’s a lot more to do because now it’s time to implement. So join us again next week.
Kerri Moore 25:10
Rob Ayre 25:11
For more information on what we’ve discussed today, including links to resources and downloadable assets, go to docebo.com/podcast. That’s d-o-c-e-b-o dot com, slash podcast, and subscribe to our newsletter.
Kerri Moore 25:25
You can also find us on iTunes, Spotify, and all other places where you get your podcasts by searching Learning Elevated, so don’t forget to click “subscribe” so you know when we’re disembarking on another floor.