Jacob Waern
Founder & CEO EduMe Follow

Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 240. Today we’ll be talking to Jacob from eduMe about the use case or business case for why his customers choose eduMe.

eduMe strives to give the deskless workforce seamless access to relevant knowledge, anywhere in the world.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think. Thanks, William

Show length: 26 minutes

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Audio: 00:02 Welcome to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case Podcast. A show dedicated to the storytelling that happens or should happen when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better as we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment and HR tech. That’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William Tincup: 00:24 Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup. And you are listening to the Use Case Podcast. Today, we have Jacob on from eduMe. And we’ll be learning about the business case, the use case, for why his prospects and customers have picked eduMe. Can’t wait to jump into it. Jacob, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and eduMe?

Jacob: 00:47 Yeah. I’m happy to. And thanks for having me on the podcast. I’m originally Swedish. As we just chatted about, I’m based in London since now almost 10 years. Spent the last 20 years abroad. Started my career working in really fast-moving entrepreneurial companies.

Quite a few years working in emerging markets, which is also where I came up with the idea for eduMe. And we can go back in history, but just to tell you what eduMe is and what we do; we give everyone the opportunity to be successful at work. And we do that through our mobile-based training platform that’s built for the deskless workforce.

William Tincup: 01:35 I love that. Deskless workforce. I’ve heard this phrase a few times, which I love. But let’s act like I haven’t. And break it down for the office. When we say deskless workforce, what does that mean?

Jacob: 01:53 Yeah. Anyone who’s not based at a desk when they perform their work, so as opposed to myself, possibly you too, William. If you’re a nurse, if you’re a delivery driver, if you work in hospitality or in retail, you work in manufacturing, then you’re effectively deskless.

William Tincup: 02:17 Oh, no, go ahead. Finish your thought.

Jacob: 02:22 I was just going to say, I think COVID has really… The pandemic has really brought increased awareness and urgency to this audience and this part of the economy. 80% of the global working population, 2.7 billion people, form part of the desk’s workforce. But it’s really, really underserved, really underrepresented.

I do think that it started coming to the forefront with nurses or your food delivery or your parcel being delivered during the pandemic. It’s really made people aware of all of these people.

William Tincup: 03:01 When we break down the deskless workforce, what do they need? What are the tools that they need that are different than… Well, let’s just start with what do they need first? And then we’ll deal with what’s different or similar.

Jacob: 03:16 If you don’t mind, I’ll start going back to why I started eduMe.

William Tincup: 03:22 Yeah. I’d love that.

Jacob: 03:24 Because it explains the need, I believe. I mentioned I worked in emerging markets for many years. I was working, at one point, for a big mobile operator, and they had a very big… We were building a product where we could deliver training to their mobile subscribers. So that’s pre what eduMe looks like today.

And I spent a lot of time in these markets launching the service. And I realized that they were struggling, the mobile operator. They were struggling to onboard and train their own staff. They had thousands of people that were selling and marketing their products and their services. And they tried to get them into a face-to-face setting during that onboarding phase. And that took a lot of time.

But the first hurdle was that only a fraction of people would go there because they’d spend days away from actually earning a living. And the people that did come in, they were very excited and engaged and better trained and better equipped to do a good job once they’ve done that several days of training.

However, after a couple of months, they forget the things they’ve learned because we tend to forget things. It’s the forgetting curve. So it needs to be repeated. But there was no way of delivering continuous learning.

And they started… Also, the products and services; they evolved and things changed. And they were not aware of these things. They were not up to date. And as they were no longer supported, the engagement started to deteriorate, and that led to churn.

So at that point, I figured this thing that we originally looked at, which was delivering content to a mobile phone, bite-sized; what if we tried to solve for this problem? Because I couldn’t see a good solution in the market. And so that’s really when I started building eduMe.

So what do people need? They need to be supported as they come into a new job so the onboarding can be successful. That’s setting them up for ongoing success. Also, as we saw firsthand, it sets them up for increased engagement, increased loyalty, and reducing churn. So onboarding is one use case.

Then you have enabling high performance is our second use case. Once you are onboarded, how do you, as a company, ensure that your workforce knows all the right things, they have the right knowledge to be successful? Because then they will produce more and better for the company, and they will also stay with the company.

And the third use case that we’re focused on is workforce safety and compliance. As you can imagine, during the pandemic, lots of people had to be trained very quickly on how to deal with these situations.

William Tincup: 06:25 Love that. I love it. I love it. I did a stint for a number of years, and I studied user adoption. In particular, HR and recruiting software. So really myopic. But I did it for about five years of my life.

And what I found is so much of it came back to… Yes, communication and change management and all of this other stuff. But so much of it came back to training and this relentless pursuit of training. Not just one-and-done, how we used to look at training, classroom training, where people would get together and we’d teach them something. But more of a relentless pursuit of every time you log into the software, you learn something new.

I love the fact that you’ve seen some of the same things. What’s been going on in training that we should be aware of? Because you blink and the market changes, especially something as big as training. So for the audience, what’s new in training that you look at and you’re like, “Oh, this is really cool?”

Jacob: 07:37 Yeah. Again, I would look at it through the lens of what we do with the deskless worker. And so we see that they want and they need better technology. 70% self-report that they want more tech enablement. 80% say it’s an important factor in choosing a job.

A recent Microsoft research piece called out that almost 80% of leaders say equipping frontline workers or deskless workers with technology is key to success. Actually, in our space, they’re vastly underserved. So when we look at venture funding, 99% go to desk-bound. 1% goes to deskless, even though it’s 80%.

And so what I’ve found is that existing tech solutions are still mostly built for desk-bound workers, PC access, uninterrupted time, one-size-fits-all approach, clunky, unengaging. And we’ve seen that 80% of deskless workers, they’re given access to PCs and laptops, which, obviously, doesn’t make sense.

What I do think, the flip side of that is we’re starting to see a bit of a groundswell movement to better support people in that sense. And I think the way to do that is… Josh Bersin, he coined this phrase, learning in the flow of work. And I do think that this is the way to go. It’s what we’re trying to enable. It’s what I see others working towards as well.

Instead of saying, here’s another tool; download it, log in, remember all those things, and go and do this thing. Everyone at once. It’s a lot of friction. [inaudible 00:09:23], it’s really hard.

So instead, if you can embed that in their existing processes, in existing workflows, you lower the barrier to adoption massively. And then you’re much more able to provide them with that, in our case, knowledge support to be successful.

To your question, I think the good things that are starting to happen is providing this seamless experience, embedding in existing workflows and processes. That works really well. And you can also address the relevance issue and that learning in the flow of work.

So it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to everyone. Learn this thing once a year. Whether you are interested, whether you need it, it doesn’t matter. To, hey, William, you’ve just done so-and-so, and it’s time for you to be upskilled as a way forward or a corrective measure. You just got another three-star rating; maybe it’s time to look at your customer service ratings. And this is how we can help you. So that’s what I’m seeing there. That’s what I see in the future.

William Tincup: 10:42 Well, first of all, I love that. Where do you lean in or where do you believe in terms of testing and certification? It’s always been a weird relationship between training, and then how do we know that the person has, I don’t know, consumed the training or received the training that we want them to receive?

It probably is course-by-course or initiative-by-initiative. But I’m just curious as to what your thoughts are as to how you think about certification testing, et cetera.

Jacob: 11:21 I think it’s a very important step on the way. It’s a means to an end, rather than the final thing. Because I think what really matters is that you see behavior change or that you see a business impact.

So I think that’s the right place to start, and then you go backwards. How do you ensure you drive behavior change, that people are more careful, and there are fewer safety accidents? Or how do you ensure that Jacob becomes better equipped to do his job so he’ll give better customer service? Something like this. And then you go backwards.

It’s ensuring that people are then trained. How do you ensure that push or pull? As you can do certification as a motivation to do it. And also, for the company to be able to say, okay, Jacob has done that training; and now we can correlate that with his performance.

So another important step is just completion. And so that’s another thing when it comes to adoption and seamlessness. How do you provide a no-friction experience, great user experience? So people actually do the training, so they learn something, so you can then have that business impact. And on the way, you’re tested.

And I think there are two thoughts just on testing and certification. One is we build in quizzes into our product, which is not a way to say you flunked it or you didn’t. It’s because you can also use incorrect feedback and positive encouragement for answers, to learn in a better way.

And then you can also add assessments where, typically, if you have a compliance use case, that’s maybe where you want that certification, to be able to show that even to an external party at an audit, for example. So those are some of my thoughts on that.

William Tincup: 13:16 I love that. You mentioned micro-learning. What’s been going on in micro-learning in the last couple of years?

Jacob: 13:24 I think quite a lot. And I think it’s definitely… As a concept, sometimes people have been leading with that as a concept. Again, I’d rather go back to who’s the audience? What’s the use case? How do you best serve them?

So if you’re serving a deskless worker, they’re on the move, which means it needs to be mobile-first. Don’t do it on a traditional LMS or a desktop because they won’t be able to consume it.

The second characteristic is that the audience, they’re very short on time. So it needs to be snackable, bite-sized, focused, hence the micro-learning approach, which is then, in its shape and form, short and focused. Our approach is a lesson should be three to five minutes long. It’s great if it contains a video. Video is a great way of conveying information in an engaging way. That video, out of a three to five-minute lesson, is maybe not more than two minutes long.

William Tincup: 14:29 Right.

Jacob: 14:32 And video is an interesting concept because you have this emergence of video platforms out there at a consumer level. Even just think about TikTok and how people communicate with video.

And so that’s also an interesting aspect where the audience are digital natives. They’re used to all these tools in their five-to-nines, their leisure time. But why are you not providing that during the nine-to-five working time? So that’s the micro-learning; short, bite-sized, shorter attention spans, less time, video as a very engaging means of communication.

William Tincup: 15:16 Right. A few things on the buy-side that I’d like to unpack. One is your favorite part of the demo when you first show eduMe to somebody for the first time. What do you love showing them? What do you really know that once you get to this part of the demo or this part of the presentation, you’re going to be like, okay, they’re going to fall in love with it?

Jacob: 15:43 Definitely the seamlessness of it; the user experience. So they see that, oh, wow, it’s that simple, and there’s no friction. It’s so easy to get to. It’s so easy to consume. And so then they can see, okay, people will actually consume it, we’ll have high completion rates, and we can actually drive an impact. So I would say that’s it.

And that seamlessness is achieved. For example, I mentioned before, one way is maybe using a shift planning tool, and then eduMe as a training solution is surfaced at the right time. You’re going to go on a shift tomorrow and there are certain things you need to know; it will just pop up.

Or we have an integration with Uber for Uber driver-partners, so they can get feedback. Maybe you’ve had three consecutive rides with a three-star rating. Something will pop up in your Uber app saying, hey, you may want to look at your customer service ratings and how you can do better. On tap, one-click access, and they consume relevant content. So that’s the aha moment.

William Tincup: 16:53 This is a dumb question, Jacob. How do you know if people like to learn differently? I would say learning styles or learning differences, both being different. Do you assess or how do you assess whether or not people like to learn differently? And how do you adjust for that?

Jacob: 17:19 We do both in our user research upfront to be an input to our learning strategy, the learning design. Then it’s also partly, we can see by analyzing data from the dashboard, from the back end. You can compare different courses that have been produced with different types of input content and see where there’s higher completion rates, for example. That’s one way. Another way is we have built-in surveys, so you can add a course survey-

William Tincup: 17:59 Oh, that’s cool.

Jacob: 18:00 … at the end of the course. And ask your learners whatever you want really, but it could be, what did you like about this? What did you not like? How can it be improved? So that’s a way of getting direct feedback, qualitative feedback.

William Tincup: 18:14 I love that. I love that. So some of your favorite customer stories, without names, of course, just customer stories where you love people who have adopted eduMe, and you just love what they’ve done with it.

Jacob: 18:29 Yeah. Again, I would go back to this seamless and relevant experience we’ve done. So we work with one of the largest ride-hailing company in the world, this is public information, where we’ve helped deliver training at scale across 60 markets.

And one case is what I mentioned before, where you can really drive behavior change based on highly personalized information. You need support in this area or that area, that’s what you’re getting. It’s not the same as everyone else at the same time.

And also, the ability to do this at scale at the right time. So, like during the pandemic where you had hundreds of thousands, millions of people that needed to be trained on their own safety and the safety of their customers, we could deploy very quickly at scale and have that real impact because it was seamless and because it was relevant.

William Tincup: 19:39 So two things that I want to unpack. One is learning and training as the way that you’ve envisioned it. What should it be tied to? I’m thinking, in HR tech or other types of things for the employee. What else should it be connected to in your mind? Should it be connected to performance or connected to internal mobility or connected to… What should training and development and learning… what should it be tied to for the employee?

Jacob: 20:16 It should be tied to the employee or the worker’s success. And there’s a number of ways of doing that. If you’re in a frontline role and you’re incentivized on how well you’re doing, then training should help you do that better, increase your earning power, increase your satisfaction with the company you’re working for. It should ensure that you’re safe in every sense of the word.

So it’s really an empowerment for that end user. And I think in order to deliver that, you really need to tie it back into the work they’re doing, established workflows, established work processes. Because then you can align with what the company is after, be that increased revenue or reduced customer churn or something like that that really moves the needle for the company. At the same time, that aligns their interest with that of the worker.

William Tincup: 21:20 That’s awesome. Yeah, go ahead.

Jacob: 21:22 Right. They could be upskilled through training, get a better job, be more successful. They could do their existing job better. So I think there are a number of ways under that umbrella for them to look at.

William Tincup: 21:35 I love that. Buying questions that you… You know when you talk to somebody and they just really get eduMe, you can tell because of the questions that they ask or questions they don’t ask. So what are some of the questions that you love to hear from people when practitioners ask you?

And again, we probably should back up for just a second. The practitioners you’re working with mostly are training and development, learning and development folks?

Jacob: 22:11 We have a great product-market fit in the on-demand space, gig companies.

William Tincup: 22:18 Oh, cool.

Jacob: 22:18 And in that space, typically, we work with people in operations.

William Tincup: 22:23 Right.

Jacob: 22:25 When we work with other frontline industries, then yes, it’s L&D or commercial.

William Tincup: 22:34 So questions from the L&D folks, let’s say, what would those questions look like? Let’s deal with the ones that you just love, and you know that they get it, they understand. And ones that, obviously, it’s a little bit harder because it’s pushing a boulder up a hill.

Jacob: 22:57 I think what kind of content can you work with, does it integrate with? So-and-so that’s part of their HR stack, for example. How can you connect this to our desired outcomes? So anything to do with insights, data analytics. I think they really get that.

The content creation side of things that I was alluding to, like the type of content, but also, how you build it out. Those are all really fun things to talk about and to show them.

William Tincup: 23:38 And content creation, just so the audience understands, they can take on content creation themselves, right? So they can create… I mean, that’s the idea is that they create the content that they need to for their folks, right?

Jacob: 23:54 That’s correct.

William Tincup: 23:55 Right.

Jacob: 23:55 So, eduMe’s end-to-end learning platform with a proprietary authoring platform. So they author, they assign it to whoever they want to, to get that content. People will consume it. And then they have the data in the back end on completion rates, what people struggled with, et cetera.

William Tincup: 24:15 And if they struggle with content creation, do you also have a library? Or can they subscribe to other training content? Or do they need to do it themselves?

Jacob: 24:28 Yeah. We’ve got a learning services team. So they can work with our in-house team either just on workshopping their strategy, learning strategy, or co-creating, or we’ll create some content for them.

What we have found today is most people want to tell their story in their way. And so they want to be able to build their content that aligns with their brand and their values in a very simple way. So we’ve been very focused on productizing the learning design so that they can do that, rather than filling out a large content library.

William Tincup: 25:12 Last question. Success for the rest of the year, what does it look like for you?

Jacob: 25:20 It’s being able to deliver for more people. More people being successful at work across more deskless industries.

William Tincup: 25:32 Wow. I love that. I love that. Jacob, thank you so much for your time. You’ve been wonderful. And I love what you’re doing.

Jacob: 25:40 Thank you. And thanks for having me on the pod.

William Tincup: 25:42 Absolutely. And thanks to everyone listening to the Use Case Podcast. Until next time.

Audio: 25:49 You’ve been listening to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform and hit us up at recruitingdaily.com.

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Authors
William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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