- Congratulations on reaching a very successful 10 years in business. Why did you create LearnUpon?
Thank you for the kind words. My co-founder, Des Anderson, and I were working in the Learning Management System (LMS) space for a long time and saw first-hand the gaps in the solutions that were offered then and how long it took to implement them. We knew we just had to try and build an LMS that filled these gaps and addressed the challenges so many businesses were confronted with, so we did just that over a decade ago. We’re both competitive and motivated, and we don’t take failure too easily. We knew once we started, there was no going back, and we’re proud of the solution we’ve built that helps our customers deliver training that achieves great results.
- Has your vision for the company changed over the last decade, and why?
The way we learn is constantly evolving, so our vision has had to evolve with it. We’d like to go deep into learning delivery because we see where it’s going in terms of real time and just in time learning. That’s the future of learning, so we’re investing heavily in integrations and being an API first company to help usher that future in for our partners.
- What are the greatest challenges and the greatest joys of running a global business?
The global nature of our business comes with its own set of challenges. We’re headquartered in Dublin, have customers all over the world, and also have a global team with five offices across Ireland, the United States, Serbia, and Australia. Coordinating time zones can be a struggle, particularly around the holiday season and high peak vacation months.
Additionally, there is so much opportunity within L&D globally, which is a positive, but there’s an element of retaining focus and avoiding the temptation of spreading ourselves too thin among different industries or potential customers. It’s great to win a deal, but it’s also important that both our customer and internal teams are set up for success. Finding that balance is necessary.
From a joy perspective, my favorite part of running a global business is working with such an amazing team. Being global means, we’ve been able to hire employees with varied backgrounds and experience, and learning from them over the past ten years has been great fun.
- What are your plans for your business in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 and beyond?
We want to continue to scale our presence in Australia and New Zealand, both in customer base and our team. We have 120 customers there today, and we want to double that number in the next two to three years to 250 customers.
- With skills shortages at acute levels across all sectors, how can having an LMS help companies retain or attract staff?
An LMS provides an environment for people to continue to develop and learn new skills by making content easily accessible. Employees can discover knowledge to develop new skills with the content, and then leverage those learnings to build out experience.
To help retain or attract staff from an employer perspective, companies should focus on what learning looks like relating to their employee career paths, and how to help them get the right content to build the skills for where they’d like to go. We’ve seen huge success in building a culture that does this as a learning company and eight out of 10 of our initial hires are still with us because of the autonomy we’ve given them to grow into different roles.
- How has LearnUpon adapted to the new hybrid world of work, any advice you would give to leaders of dispersed teams?
We have employees based in different locations across the globe, with some working remotely and some in the office. For us to collaborate effectively, we had to invest in the right infrastructure.
When it comes to dispersed teams, it’s important to structure a working cadence around when most people will be together vs when the team might be more dispersed. When you are bringing people together in-person, you’re facilitating an environment that helps people connect with each other, so there’s no need to have them on video calls for the entirety of the day. My biggest piece of advice is to equip teams with the ability to evolve their schedules as needed so they can be empowered to prioritize connectedness, while continuing to be productive and learn in ways that suit them.