You might associate the term “employee training” with learning how to submit your timesheet and how to adhere to IT policies. But it can—and should—be much more. This is something that Chris Ronzio came to realize with his own video production company.
“Every business has the secret sauce,” he says. “There’s a culture, there’s a process, there’s procedures, there’s rules, there’s just a way to be in a business. And you want to capture that somewhere if you’re really going to scale.”
It’s why he started Trainual, a tech startup that makes the process of onboarding employees easier and more fun. They emphasize, with some pride, they’re not an enterprise LMS.
On this edition of UpTech Report, Chris explains why he believes his product is better, and how they’re helping companies large and small in 120 countries get their employees up to speed.
More information: https://trainual.com/
Chris Ronzio is the founder and CEO of Trainual, a leading SaaS company that helps businesses automate their onboarding and training by documenting every process, policy, and procedure in one simple system.
Chris is also the host of the “Process Makes Perfect” podcast, author of “100 Hacks To Improve Your Business,” and Inc. Magazine contributor with a column called “The Process Playbook.”
With Trainual, Chris is on a mission to make small business easier by helping business leaders find the time to do more of what they love and providing a way to document and delegate what they do.
DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!
Chris Ronzio 0:00
You’re going to change the way you do things. And when you change the way you do things, you change the resource allocation of who does what in the business.
Alexander Ferguson 0:13
Welcome, everyone to UpTech Report UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at teraleap.io. Today I am very excited to be joined by my guest krin Chris Ronzio, who’s based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He’s the founder and CEO of Trainual. Welcome, good to have you on Chris.
Chris Ronzio 0:31
Hey, Alexander, thanks for having me.
Alexander Ferguson 0:33
Now, your product, it’s a saas platform for training and onboarding. So for those out there, if you’re a founder, operations leader, a people’s leader, at a growing company, maybe got a few people or a few 100. And you’re looking to help onboarding, training processes, policies, wikis, all that jazz. This might be a platform you want to check out. Now on your site, Chris, you state the easiest way to train and grow your team. I’m curious, what was the problem you initially saw and set out to solve?
Chris Ronzio 1:04
Well, the problem stemmed from my own entrepreneur experience, first of all, so I started a video production company when I was in high school, I was 14 years old. And through high school and college, I grew this business that did live sporting event coverage. And so at first, I was hiring my friends. And then I was finding students at local colleges. And as I grew the business over 12 years, we ended up with hundreds and hundreds of camera operators, doing events for us all around the United States and all 50 states. And the biggest part of our problem that we had was how do we consistently make sure that each of these crews are operating the same way. And so to me, you know, the the consistency of how we did what we did is the secret sauce of the business. And so when I sold my company started consulting for others, I saw that this is a universal thing, like every business has the secret sauce, you know, there’s there’s a culture, there’s process, there’s procedures, there’s rules, there’s just a way to be in a business. And you want to capture that somewhere if you’re really going to scale. So that was the problem that I saw. And that was the reason behind training.
Alexander Ferguson 2:06
Now, this has helped me understand the timeline of where you are today, six years ago that it began, is that correct?
Chris Ronzio 2:13
Yeah, correct. So six years ago, trainable was a prototype inside my consulting firm. So it was 2013 that I sold my video business 2014 was when train Yule first existed. And it was there’s really the end of the year into 2015, that I rolled it out as a free tool to my consulting clients. And so I was working with these businesses on their operations, their workflows, their roles, responsibilities, who did what in the business, trying to help them be more efficient, eliminate bottlenecks, and I ended up creating a lot of standard operating procedures and a lot of training and a lot of these onboarding materials. And so I thought, hey, it’d be cool if I had my own tool, my own proprietary thing for my consulting business. And, and that’s what training was. And so I used it with a few dozen clients. And little by little, it was getting referred out to other businesses that didn’t want my consulting, but they wanted the software, they’re like, how do I just get the software? And so it wasn’t until 2018, that we broke it off and started training wheels, the company,
Alexander Ferguson 3:12
what was a solution, and helped me understand this is a common challenge. You’ve already kind of stated, most businesses you’re growing, you’re having teams, new people coming on bringing them on, what are they using before they would have used your tool? And how does it change the game?
Chris Ronzio 3:26
Yeah, most often, somebody that isn’t using a tool like ours is using paper, they’re using Google Docs, they’re using three ring binders, they’re got Word docs, they’ve got Dropbox folders. And when someone new starts, you just kind of send them a link and send them a bunch of stuff for you drop the binder on their desk and say, Here’s everything you need to know, get through it. You know, at other companies, it’s just kind of a face to face or, you know, zoom face to zoom face kind of thing, where you’re training people, you know, one at a time in a very manual process. And so for instance, a few weeks ago, I was talking to a moving company, and this company does, you know, hires contractors for moving and every single mover that they brought on, they do a one hour phone call to get them up to speed on here’s how you get paid. Here’s how, you know, you certainly serve the customer, here’s how you find your next job. And that conversation repeating itself over and over and over takes a ton of time and energy for the business. And so at some point in a company when you’re doing things the same way and you feel like I’m just repeating myself over and over or I’ve got some turnover issue and I feel like I’ve trained the same thing 10 times you want to just write that down or create a more sustainable way to do training and that’s that’s what the system is.
Alexander Ferguson 4:39
Got it. Can you share a bit more about your technology and how it may be different because there are a lot of SaaS platforms and products that are that are coming up that are helping in different areas with HR and folks so tell me just like how is yours different and the way it works?
Chris Ronzio 4:54
Yeah, so the the ecosystem of writing down your company knowledge kind of starts at the ground floor. have, you know just documents. And that’s a great place to start, if you just need some place to write things down, you’re probably going to use a free tool like a Google Docs or Word docs, or maybe one of the online collaborative tools like a notion or an Evernote or something like that. When you’re at a big enterprise company, if anyone’s listening and has 1000s of employees are has worked at one of those companies, these companies have learning and development type tools, they have, you know, training management and, and course based type training tools. And that’s a very enterprise thing that a smaller business would never even think to invest in, because they don’t have a full time HR department. And so somewhere in the middle is where training will exists. Where you’ve got wiki is and knowledge bases and lightweight training tools. And what we tried to do was pieced together the best of these online collaborative tools to make, you know, simple wiziwig editors that anybody could could pop into and embed what they need to or create something new. And then we also added the accountability features that our learning management system would have. So it tracks the progress that someone’s made through all your content. So you know, and you can hold them accountable for being up to speed on all the newest stuff.
Alexander Ferguson 6:11
Yeah. How? Let’s talk about for a moment for a typical operation manager or people leader, the challenges that they’re facing right now, what advice could you give someone in that role? Maybe, apart from your own platform, just advice of what they’re having to deal with on a regular database, daily basis? What would you share?
Chris Ronzio 6:33
So I think anybody that’s got a growing business, the thing you’re dealing with most often is the constant changing of roles and responsibilities. Because as long as a business is changing, and reacting to the world, and the market and competitors, you’re going to change the way you do things. And when you change the way you do things, you change the resource allocation of who does what in the business. And so when I was consulting, I worked one on one with about 150 businesses while I was consulting. And the number one problem at businesses was that someone would be hired for one set of skills or one set of tasks, and then their job would just shift, you know, like an iceberg or something over time. And they didn’t even know what they were responsible for. And there are three other people doing the same thing. And everyone’s doing things differently. So what I would recommend is that everyone listening, take some kind of inventory of your team’s roles and responsibilities, who does what, and it can be eye opening to see, this is what the company is expecting of you. And this is what you’re actually doing. You find gaps, and you understand this person really wants to be doing this thing. And they want they want nothing to do with this other thing. So how can we offload that effectively to somebody else we can bring on an intern or hire someone more junior free them up to have more capacity. So I think everybody should take the time to at least do that inventory.
Alexander Ferguson 7:50
would you suggest that the operation leaders be the one to look at what are they doing? Or would you ask the employee like what go ahead and write down what you’re doing these days? Like what’s How do they build a good process? If you don’t even have that in place?
Chris Ronzio 8:00
Yeah, you can absolutely crowdsource it. So one of the thing I know things I recommend is, if you’ve got a workforce or a team that’s using computers, and there’s they’re spending time on a computer using email, one of the best places to dig for your responsibilities is to go into your sent mail folder of your email, because we all get tons of clutter and you know the things that come into us. But if you look at your last two weeks of sent mail, you’ll actually see the questions you’ve responded to the things that you forwarded the things that you’ve engaged with the messages you’ve sent, and you can make a get a pretty comprehensive list of all the things you do in the business just from that. So you start with your email your calendar, and walk people through just this really simple exercise of collecting or harvesting all of their to dues. And then you can just set up a really simple shared spreadsheet or something like that if you’re just getting started and have your team map this out. So if if you’re the operations leader and trying to do this company wide at a small company, maybe it’s just a simple effort in a shared spreadsheet at a big company it might be something you empower all your people leaders to coach their teams through.
Alexander Ferguson 9:04
And do you see any pushback or challenges to adopt a platform like this versus coming from let’s just put it in a spreadsheet or let’s just keep it over here.
Chris Ronzio 9:13
The biggest thing is that it’s it takes some time to set up you know, there’s a catch 22 of how do I get everything that I know out of my head and I know once I do it, it’ll be useful and it’ll help me save some time but the time to do it can take a while. So you know my biggest point to that is just you’re going to do this training anyway, you’re going to communicate this anyway. So if you can just like click record on the screen while you’re explaining it to the next person, or if you can, you know, record your call and get it transcribed by an online transcription service or if you can ask somebody else to watch it and type it up. You’re you’re you’re already doing this kind of work in the business, why not capture it make it easier on yourself.
Alexander Ferguson 9:54
I love it love it is you have any integrations or upcoming integrations or API connections to be able to extend And the usage of the platform itself.
Chris Ronzio 10:01
Yeah, of course. So we have our first integrations with was with Zapier to just be able to connect to 1000 different things. Yeah, and and what’s interesting about that is one of the most frequently used Connections is from train Yule, to train Yule, and you know, these automations inside our own system, because it can watch for things, for triggers, like, you know, once someone completes this particular thing, or once someone completes 100%, of what I’ve given them, and you can create automations that have a time delay or have a subsequent assignment, and you can create these really great experiences. So that’s one of the things a lot of people do. In terms of other applications, we have over 700 tools that you can embed into triannual. So these are things like, you know, loom videos, or Google Slides or Spotify playlists, or Instagram feeds, or anything, anywhere that your content already is, and you just want to get it into the system, it’s really easy to do that. And then some other integrations we have our with hrs and payroll systems, like gussto is one of the ones we integrate with, and some upcoming integrations with applicant tracking systems, because there is such a simple handoff from when you post a job and hire someone to do a specific set of things. And then you need to train them on that specific set of things. So those are some of the things you’ll see coming from us.
Alexander Ferguson 11:20
Gotcha. What can you share of your upcoming roadmap where you guys are headed, and what are you most excited about?
Chris Ronzio 11:26
So for me, the you know, this, this functionality around who does what in the business is a big core part of what we’re building out. Because whether you’re assigning material that you want someone in the team in a role or in a department to know, or whether you’re creating that material from the ground up, and having your employees or your team build that out, the idea that each person in your organization is empowered to write down something they want to delegate to someone else is really important to us. And, you know, being like a very People Powered solution. We’re trying to build out ways to navigate and to organize all the roles and all the departments in your company. So you’ll see a lot more functionality around that. One of the things we call triannual is the playbook for your business. And so it’s more than just marketing speak, you know, what I believe the playbook for your company is, is it’s who are all the people, it’s what are our policies, what are our processes, and all of that structure of your business that exists offline, we’re trying to mimic online through some design changes that we’re rolling out. So the platform will get more and more intuitive as as it’s developed. And then it’ll also get a lot easier to document what you do right now, document and can be a daunting task, you know, you ask someone to write something down, and they don’t think in terms of processes and procedures. And so we’re working on interactive bot type experiences that will really pull that knowledge out of you.
Alexander Ferguson 12:51
Well, I’m interested to see usage of AI and automation. And as you guys go forward, well I’m excited to to see where you’ve taken the knowledge from building your own business. The process is from there to consulting and training other people applying that into a platform that no other folks can use without even have to talk to you face to face to get your insight that I’m all that knowledge and how it’s built. I know there’s a ton of insight and lessons learned and for those who want to hear more about that, stay tuned for part two of our discussion, we’re going to hear more about Chris’s journey that he’s been on over these years. For those that want to check out the platform, go to Trainual.com, correct? TRAINUAL.COM and you’ll be able to sign up for free. Is that right? Yep. And get a test drive to be able to explore more. Alright, stay tuned for part two of our interview. And thanks again for joining us. Our sponsor for today’s episode is TeraLeap gonna head over to TeraLeap.io to learn how leverages the power of video. Thanks again. That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at UpTech report.com. Or if you just prefer to listen. Make sure you’re subscribed to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.