Here’s a million-dollar idea: help us hapless humans close the distance between having good intentions and taking action on those intentions.
You see this challenge everywhere. Look at the professionals in your industry. Many of them, with their employers’ blessings, say this is the year to take two courses, get a credential, or learn a few new skills. They talk about it. They have every good intention of doing it. But they get busy—and nothing happens.
Someone needs to make professional development easier for them. Someone who can take the burden off the employer and guide their employees into the appropriate educational programs. Someone who keeps everyone informed and satisfied.
Meet the corporate learning concierge—a service that could actually bring in a million dollars.
What is a corporate learning concierge?
The corporate learning concierge works with employees of companies that either purchase the concierge service or join a membership tier offering this benefit. The concierge helps employees:
• Assess their existing competencies.
• Identify any skills gaps.
• Clarify their goals.
• Map out a learning pathway.
The concierge helps employees find professional development programs that will help them achieve their goals, for example, building specific skills and knowledge, or earning certificates or certification. The concierge also keeps the employer informed about their employees’ progress.
Why offer a corporate learning concierge service: benefits for employers
When companies participate in a corporate learning concierge program, they increase employee participation in education programs. They can ensure their employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to meet new demands in their jog, organization, and industry.
This level of attention and investment in employee professional development is what younger generations expect and seek when looking for jobs. An employer’s commitment to learning strengthens employee motivation, engagement, and satisfaction.
A corporate learning concierge takes on responsibilities that many managers aren’t equipped to provide. The concierge:
• Assesses employees and offers them guidance on planning their learning pathway.
• Tracks learner progress and compliance with licensing and certification requirements and deadlines.
• Serves as a single point of contact for all professional development needs, resulting in less administrative tasks for the employees and employer, such as expense reports.
Companies outsource education to associations because it’s a better use of their budget. The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research began their learning subscription program to help member companies who didn’t have the resources to offer in-house education or to maintain an LMS to track employee professional development.
Concierge services save companies money. Association programs are a cheaper and usually more relevant option than expensive degree programs. Plus, spending money on a learning concierge keeps it in the “family”—the company’s investment funds association programs that benefit the industry.
Why offer a corporate learning concierge service: benefits for associations
A learning concierge personalizes relationships with industry employers and employees. Program registration is not just a transaction. It’s the outcome of guidance and attention that makes a difference in someone’s life.
This type of relationship is especially transformative for young professionals, many of whom miss out on informal ways to get career guidance because they’re working remotely.
A concierge service introduces employees to the association and its programs. Even if they leave the employer, they have established a relationship with your association and can return to it wherever they go.
This service encourages additional recurring revenue from your regular customers—industry employers. Why would they spend their money elsewhere?
Examples of corporate learning concierge services
Educational partnerships with industry employers take on a variety of names and features.
Professional Insurance Agents offers a membership upgrade called Elite Education. Their CE concierge “stays on top of CE needs for your entire agency.” The concierge manages employee enrollment in programs, course compliance, and reporting.
The American Health Law Association’s (AHLA) Member Concierge Program provides “tailored support and service to designated contacts for Groups that have 25 or more members on a consolidated billing plan.” This program goes beyond education to help employees of Group members “maximize their membership experience and [the] Group’s investment.” They provide suggestions for increasing engagement, including professional development opportunities.
AHLA also publishes the list of Member Concierge Program Participants on their website. This spotlight makes participating companies look like the most desired places to work.
NIGP's Pathways Concierge Program offers individual and organizational professional education concierge services that go far beyond other programs we’ve seen. Their concierges help individuals with career planning and help organizational members identify training gaps and “the staff skills necessary to ensure their organizations are up to today’s challenges.” Concierges also help organizations “create intentional succession plans for the future.”
The Indiana CPA Society’s model could be a good way to test your market. Their program is free for individuals who need help identifying appropriate courses.
Considerations before moving forward
Employer input. As with any new initiative, invite an employer advisory council of learning and development (L&D) and human resources professionals to help you design a program that would meet market needs.
Who’s paying. As part of your market research, find out who’s paying for employee education. Your offering must take that factor into account. Before designing their subscription program, the Alliance asked in its course evaluations about employer reimbursement. They learned 96% of participants were reimbursed by their employer, so the money was there.
Pricing. You could charge companies a service fee based on their number of employees and then employees pay a discounted registration for any programs they take. Or concierge services could be a benefit of a company membership upgrade.
At the Alliance, employees purchase a learning subscription membership and then receive unlimited online access to designation programs and courses. The Alliance offers three levels of individual subscriptions.
LMS. The Alliance program was immediately successful—their revenue grew 101% the first year—because they solved employers’ problems. They sell companies access to a branded learning portal (TopClass LMS) where employers can register employees for Alliance programs (hosted on TopClass) and track their progress. Everything, including billing, is centralized.
Before designing your corporate partnerships or concierge services, make sure your LMS can serve as the educational home base for employers and their employees.
Promotion. Just like membership, you must keep reminding people about their benefits so they’ll actually use them. Send an education newsletter to program liaisons or champions at each company to inform them about new programs and other news. Segment participating employees into different lists according to career goals or other attributes. Set up campaigns to keep them close, but not just promotional campaigns. Send them relevant content based on their interests and goals.
With a corporate learning concierge service, your association will stand out in the market. Industry employers and professionals will see that you’re not just in it for the business transaction. You’re living your mission by raising up the people in your industry.