5Mins makes your employees better, a few minutes at a time

If you’ve ever had to sit through corporate training videos while you feel your will to live slowly ebb out of every pore of your body, a new startup has some good news for you. Describing itself as “the TikTok of workplace learning,” 5Mins recently raised a round of funding in a bid to introduce a bit of workplace learning in an attention-deficit world. The company adds gamification, social features, and “intelligent personalization.”

The platform claims to already have a sizable database of 15,000+ bite-sized lessons, saying it covers more than a hundred topics of content spanning a range of technical and soft skills.

The company raised a $5.7 million round at a $16 million pre-money valuation. The round was led by AlbionVC with Chalfen Ventures, Edenred Capital, Portfolio Ventures and Blue Lion Global. It says that, since going to market in March 2022, it has racked up more than a 100,000 lesson views and that its recurring revenue has grown 20x.

5Mins was founded by Saurav Chopra — previously co-founder and CEO at leading employee engagement platform Perkbox.

“Our mission is to help companies build a learning culture so their people can unlock their true potential and we have come a long way in a short period of time,” said co-founder and CEO Chopra in an interview with TechCrunch. “We are building the first global learning superapp that companies of all sizes can use to upskill everyone, improve employee retention and drive innovation.”

The company is aiming to level the playing field for employee learning and development, giving SMBs and mid-market companies the best possible toolkit to unlock their teams’ potential. The goal is to even out the talent development pipeline.

“While SMBs and Mid-Market companies will never have the Talent Development budgets big corporates have, with 5Mins we provide them with the most effective L&D tools to keep their employees engaged and to retain them for longer,” says Chopra. “What was clear to me while scaling Perkbox and serving thousands of employers was that the no. 1 reason why employees leave a company is lack of growth and development and it was also one of the top criteria for picking a place of work, especially for Gen Z and Millennial employees. Without the right development tools at their disposal, SMBs and mid-market companies risk being left behind in the battle for talent.”

For the next 18 to 24 months, the company is focusing on building its team, taking the company to more countries and verticals, and building a more robust set of metrics to see the efficacy of the platform on business outcomes.

“We would love for 5Mins to become the daily learning companion for employees worldwide who feel motivated and empowered by the growth and development they see in themselves, because they use the platform. If we accomplish that, we believe we will have helped transform hundreds of thousands of companies and therefore society,” Chopra lays out his long-term vision for the company. “Given growth and development is one of the top reasons employees join or leave a company, we want employees to be able to pick companies not just on the basis of their Glassdoor scores but based on the growth they can expect to experience.”

I was curious what the founder had learned from using his own product.

“Like any time-crunched founder with a million things to do, making time for learning (prior to 5Mins) meant spending hours on evenings and weekends researching and learning from the best content relevant to our business, our teams and I. I would then curate and share this content with the team who may not have the time to watch it in entirety,” Chopra says. “With very high-quality content from leaders and coaches on leadership, growth, culture development and org design available in bite-sized format that can be shared instantly with our team, 5Mins has become an integral part of the learning journey for the entire business, helping us to grow as we grow the business.”

5Mins makes your employees better, a few minutes at a time by Haje Jan Kamps originally published on TechCrunch

PwC staves off disruption with immersive emerging tech training

The big accounting firms are under pressure from digital disruption just like every industry these days, but PwC is trying a proactive approach with a digital accelerator program designed to train employees for the next generation of jobs.

To do this, PwC is not just providing some additional training resources and calling it a day. They are allowing employees to take 18 months to two years to completely immerse themselves in learning about a new area. This involves spending half their time on training for their new skill development and half putting that new knowledge to work with clients.

PwC’s Sarah McEneaney, digital talent leader at PwC was put in charge of the program. She said that as a consulting organization, it was important to really focus on the providing a new set of skills for the entire group of employees. That would take a serious commitment, concentrating on a set of emerging technologies. They decided to focus on data and analytics, automation and robotics and AI and machine learning.

Ray Wang, who is founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research says this is part of a broader trend around preparing employees inside large organizations for future skills. “Almost every organization around the world is worried about the growing skills gap inside their organizations. Reskilling, continuous learning and hand-on training are back in vogue with the improved economy and war for talent,” he said.

PwC program takes shape

About a year ago the company began designing the program and decided to open it up to everyone in the company from the consulting staff to the support staff with goal of eventually providing a new set of skills across the entire organization of 50,000 employees. As you would expect with a large organization, that started with baby steps.

Graphic: Duncan_Andison/Getty Images

The company designed the new program as a self-nomination process, rather than having management picked candidates. They wanted self starters, and about 3500 applied. McEneaney considered this a good number, especially since PwC tends to be a risk-averse culture and this was asking employees to leave the normal growth track and take a chance with this new program. Out of the 3500 who applied, they did an initial pilot with 1000 people.

She estimates if a majority of the company’s employees eventually opt in to this retraining regimen, it could cost some serious cash, around $100 million. That’s not an insignificant sum, even for a large company like PwC, but McEneaney believes it should pay for itself fairly quickly. As she put it, customers will respect the fact that the company is modernizing and looking at more efficient ways to do the work they are doing today.

Making it happen

Daniel Krogen, a risk assurance associate at PwC decided to go on the data and analytics track. While he welcomed getting new skills from his company, he admits he was nervous going this route at first because of the typical way his industry has worked in the past. “In the accounting industry you come in and have a track and everyone follows the track. I was worried doing something unique could hinder me if I wasn’t following track,” he said.

Graphic: Feodora Chiosea/Getty Images

He says those fears were alleviated by senior management encouraging people to join this program and giving participants assurances that they would not be penalized. “The firm is dedicated to pushing this and having how we differentiate this against the industry, and we want to invest in all of our staff and push everyone through this,” Krogen said.

McEneaney says she’s a partner at the firm, but it took a change management sell to the executive team and really getting them to look at it as a long-term investment in the future of the business. “I would say a critical factor in the early success of the program has been having buy-in from our senior partner, our CEO and all of his team from the very start,” She reports directly to this team and sees their support and backing as critical to the early success of the program.

Getting real

Members of the program are given a 3-day orientation. After that they follow a self-directed course work. They are encouraged to work together with other people in the program, and this is especially important since people will bring a range of skills to the subject matter from absolute beginners to those with more advanced understanding. People can meet in an office if they are in the same area or a coffee shop or in an online meeting as they prefer.

Each member of the program participates in a Udacity nano-degree program, learning a new set of skills related to whatever technology speciality they have chosen. “We have a pretty flexible culture here…and we trust our people to work in ways that work for them and work together in ways that work for them,” McEneaney explained.

The initial program was presented as a 12-18 month digital accelerator tour of duty, Krogen said. “In those 12-18 months, we are dedicated to this program. We could choose another stint or go back to client work and bring those skills to client services that we previously provided.”

While this program is really just getting off the ground, it’s a step toward acknowledging the changing face of business and technology. Companies like PwC need to be proactive in terms of preparing their own employees for the next generation of jobs, and that’s something every organization should be considering.

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