Many organizations offer their employees internal seminars so those workers can continue their training or learn new skills for possible promotions down the line — but without ongoing engagement with that new knowledge, employees can fail to retain any of it.
“If you’re not held accountable to show growth in an area, you tend not to do it,” Talented CEO Danvers Fleury tells Hypepotamus. Fleury discovered this problem while working at higher education website company, as he became more curious about how people learn as adults and how to track ROI on work-related training sessions.
“The big problem, we realized, was if you can’t track this stuff as a business, it’s difficult to invest in people,” says Fleury.
Fleury and business partner Kurt Grandis first addressed the issue with a platform to help people retain information using a few micro-courses. Shortly after, they worked together with Durham’s Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University to explore new ways for adults to retain and track the knowledge they gained during seminars.
Through the Duke partnership, the team saw the connection between learning and behavioral change and pivoted to co-found the professional development platform Talented.
“Professional development, for the most part, has been completely disconnected from professional advancement,” says Fleury. “When an organization is looking at who to promote, who to give opportunities to, they don’t really have any data on what people’s skills are.”
That’s where Talented comes in. Employees opt into the service and a conversational assistant takes them through several skill-building exercises within the core curriculum on a daily basis, like giving and receiving feedback. Workers can learn a new concept, play through a scenario, or complete a real-world assignment to apply new skills. All lessons last between three and 10 minutes.
Employees set goals with rewards following completion that can include quick chats with the CEO, mentor insights, or other opportunities assigned by their companies. Human resources departments can keep track of employees’ data and track their progress for future bonus or promotion opportunities once they arise, thanks to workers’ skill-building through Talented.
“If [employees] knew that putting in all this work and building all this proof could, in the long run, help them get a promotion [or] help them get access to a mentor, there’d be so much more motivation to invest in themselves,” says Fleury.
According to a 2018 HubSpot report on employee retention, 21 percent of surveyed workers said that career development was one of the reasons for leaving their jobs. By empowering employees to opt into the platform and encouraging them to take a more proactive approach to on-the-job training, Talented can help them grow their skills and visualize their path within the company more clearly.
The startup participated in the Techstars Atlanta accelerator this past summer; the founders used their time in the 3-month program to narrow down Talented’s value proposition for their small to mid-sized enterprise clients.
Talented operates on a SaaS revenue model and plans to open its seed round next month to fuel customer acquisition and its public launch. According to Fleury, the Durham-based startup is currently working on its beta with over 1,000 prospective users and plans to launch after its completion during the first quarter of 2020.