corporate training

Providing access to learning to make an impact

One founder was inspired by his personal history to make continuous learning available to others
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“I believe that learning is the only thing that can take us from where we are today and help us get to where we should be tomorrow,” says Jeremy Tillman, founder and CEO, TrainUp.com.

Tillman says more than 60,000 companies have engaged with the TrainUp.com training marketplace with 85% of them in the U.S. and Canada. He explains, “We exist to connect training seekers with opportunities and our vision is to shape the future of learning through innovative training solutions.”

“We have over 125 different categories from IT to legal to HR compliance, safety. All your software soft skills. But when it comes to our onsite business, some of the things we’re doing in continuous learning, it’s typically going to be a specific niche topic within an organization,” says Tillman.

Impact of the Pandemic

“One of the things that companies realized during the pandemic is that we’ve isolated even more. We’re not capturing the best insights within our organization. When you talk about ‘How do we upskill, or how do we rapidly meet the challenges that are in our changing world?’ companies are struggling to do that because they barely have a grasp on the information they currently have, much less bringing people up to speed,” says Tillman.

He explains that companies have to get ahead of their learning and development initiatives. “Most organizations make training plans based on performance reviews. At best you’re creating training plans on six-month-to-one-year-old data. By the time it takes you six months to roll those plans out, you’re training people on what they needed 18 months ago or a year ago.”

Jeremy Tillman, founder and CEO, TrainUp.com (Photo: TrainUp.com)

He continues, “What we really should be doing is saying, ‘Where’s the organization going to be in six months? Who do we have today to be able to deliver on the demand we’re going to have six months from now? Or who might we start developing today so that we’re prepared?’”

Content is Just the Beginning

“A lot of times we believe that content is enough to produce change, but in reality, it’s not. Content is a great start, but it’s not how we actually learn as humans. TrainUp.com is really focused on is helping companies create continuous learning solutions where we’re not just focused on the event,” explains Tillman.

He asks, “How do we prepare before? How do we continue to learn after? How do we put these in a practice? How do we continue the conversation?”

(Graphic: TrainUp.com)

“Part of the continuous learning process is every month we want to be uploading new insights from key leaders. Every month we want to be prodding key people to see what they thought of it, how they impacted it. We also want them to celebrate successes,” says Tillman.

Focus on Strengths

Tillman says it’s important for companies to pay attention to their employees’ strengths, “One of the things we’ve been telling companies is that you cannot stop the Great Resignation, but you can slow it. We believe that a lot of people are leaving because they don’t feel cared for by their organizations. We challenge companies to take an approach that says is, ‘Are you aligning to what each of your employees’ desires are?’”

He says, “We focus so much on developing people in areas of growth that we forget that we are more inspired by areas of strength. If you’ve got someone who’s a graphic designer, don’t beat them up by the trying to get them time management training all the time. How about getting them more graphic design training so they can become an expert?”

‘I know I shouldn’t be here today’

Tillman shares, “I’m a statistic. I grew up in public housing. My mom struggled with substance abuse. My dad died early. My parents got divorced. Then my dad passed away. African American kids didn’t go to college in my town. Yet, all of my household did because my mom valued education. She got her bachelor’s in business, was working on her MBA before she developed a substance abuse addiction.”

“I know I shouldn’t be here today, so I’m not going to sit back here and not be thinking about how we can have impact. And I believe that learning is the one way that we can do that.”

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