The London-based SaaS battling Facebook & Microsoft to revolutionize HR


My Learning Hub helps you “tell a good actor from a good employee”, and keep hold of the latter

HR is an industry propped up by the sheer willpower and ingenuity of its professionals – while professionals in other fields see their working lives simplified and enhanced by technology.

Although companies like Microsoft (with Yammer and its recent acquisition of LinkedIn) and Facebook (with Facebook at Work) clearly have interests in this area (HR and LMS solutions) – this interest is mostly shallow.

This Forbes article about LinkedIn is a drop in the ocean of professionals who are unhappy with the increasing superficiality and uselessness of so-called HR onboarding tools.

Apps for inter-team communication and a glorified job board don’t solve the hardest parts of the HR puzzle – attracting (of high-quality candidates) and retaining staff (keeping hold of the best).
Is anyone using technology to solve that? You bet – a London-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) company called My Learning Hub.

Unlike corporate giants who are trying to be jacks of all trades, My Learning Hub is determined to be the master of one – helping HR professionals find the best candidates (not just more candidates) using AI technology and machine learning to determine which candidates are more likely to succeed and stay in the company based on the professional attributes, career progression and performance of existing employees, trends amongst different departments, regional branches and hundreds of other factors each of which are given a unique ranking. The ultimate goal is to improve staff retention and become an essential tool for all HR and L&D managers. 

“Just imagine how much data is passing through any LMS or HR system on a daily basis! Everyone makes reports, but do they actually track all of their data? We make sure that our system does and the more data that goes through it, the smarter and more accurate our algorithm becomes.”

Motivated by goals of gaining market share, the big guys are going after the simple problems and quickest route to a quick buck. My Learning Hub is solving the hardest and most painful problems in the day-to-day lives of HR professionals.

Over a year ago when I met Victor Potatov, Founder of My Learning Hub he explained:

“The problem is, others are using technology to increase volume – of job postings and applicants – without trying to solve the issue of quality. When it comes to retention, they help companies store loads of boring, generic training slides in learning management systems (LMS solutions)… but they neither engage nor offer value to employees.”

The My Learning Hub LMS platform uses task-based assessments (which candidates can only complete if they have the skills necessary to thrive in the employer’s company) to weed out unsuitable candidates.

Rather than simply asking candidates whether they have certain skills, My Learning Hub LMS platform makes job seekers prove it – before they can take up the precious time of a hiring manager.

It means, every single candidate a hiring manager sees will have a much higher baseline of competency – and there’ll be absolutely none that are unsuited to the role.

Of My Learning Hub interviewing and assessment features, Victor says, “Our onboarding tool allows you to tell the difference between a good candidate and a good actor.”

Regarding retention, the My Learning Hub platform allows companies to provide personalised training resources, which support a clear career roadmap, to each employee.

Ambitious and skilled employees quit when they’re demotivated, feel uncelebrated or see no routes to progression. The My Learning Hub LMS platform allows them to co-design their career roadmap and easily see what they need to do to progress.

The process is even gamified with badges, which show how far along an employee is on their path to the next big promotion or prize. Managers can set, in collaboration with their team members, the requirements for earning badges.

When you can see, every day, that you’ve earned 70% of the badges you need to level up, how much harder does quitting on your hard work become? Much harder, as My Learning Hub’ clients can attest.

Victor explains, “Many companies have one system for hiring candidates, and a separate one for training them. Businesses have nothing interconnected, that shows the full journey of an employee from day one.”

Today, My Learning Hub has received several grants and gone from a small start-up to a fast-growing business with such major clients as Yellow Pages, Hyundai, Liverpool Mutual Homes, Coillte and several hotel chains.

I thought now would be a good time to interview Victor and share the story of My Learning Hub – which I believe to be a game-changing product.

Victor, I’m impressed by the growth you’ve achieved in such a short space of time. Care to share how and where it all began?

Well, it didn’t happen overnight – we’ve had to overcome many obstacles on the way to our goals. We started by developing a learning management system (LMS) for the educational sector. However, with British bureaucracy and lack of interest from the Ministry of Education, we felt it was essential to create courses in the mould of modern online learning platforms, like Udemy and Coursera. But we also faced repeated difficulties in this niche area because what we were offering didn’t solve people’s problems in a new way.

We had developed LMS platform that solved certain problems, we just needed to match it with an industry where it would have the maximum impact.

After all the risks and obstacles, how did you find a way to move forward?

When all was nearly lost and it appeared as though our company was facing a wall, we devised a pragmatic strategy on how to move things forward.

We decided to adapt our LMS solution to match the needs of corporate environments and solve real-life, day-to-day problems. We designed the solution to a problem and forecasted three years into the future, just like all the books and articles suggest – but theory and practice are very different.

Planning is of course necessary, but I advise everyone to err on the side of caution because your product might need to change beyond recognition. We didn’t initially realise we had gone down the wrong path and even when we did, we found it hard to accept.

We needed to find out which problems actually existed in the market – that’s when we realised HR would greatly benefit from our platform and its features. And we wouldn’t have to deal with government bureaucracy or previously encountered obstacles either.

You found your audience but were businesses able to use your product to actually improve their HR functions?

We’ve won several tenders with major companies in the hospitality, construction and timber sectors.

We worked closely with clients as they integrated our LMS platform into their corporate environments. This gave us a deep understanding of their problems and professional needs.

Things really took off when we won the tender to provide a staff training system for a client. We developed a comprehensive system for the selection of candidates, with features that allowed training on the internal processes of the company. We also developed a feature that allowed employees to plan their own self-development and track career progression.

Companies like Coillte, Yellow Pages, Liverpool Mutual Homes have already reduced their HR-budgets by an average of 58%, and enjoyed 5x increases in the efficiency of hiring and training new employees.

And we are proud to say it’s been thanks to My Learning Hub. 

But the most important lesson for us was truly understanding the meaning of our own product. We had seen its commercial value in action.

That’s why every client gets a personalised version of My Learning Hub. They can design the platform to fit their organisational structure, industry niche, brand and employee requirements. Just like our breakthrough client did.

That sounds like quite an adventure – why do you think you’re able to get those kinds of results for clients?

We don’t just work with the human resources team – we enhance the entire process of hiring and development for employees too.

Our platform gives each employee personalised support – from adapting to a new workplace and training systems, to fully developing their skills and influence within the company.

This increases staff retention, engagement and performance.

In your experience, what are the challenges faced by HR professionals?

Firstly, candidates often lie and embellish the skills they have on their CVs. Plus, those who come for interviews aren’t always prepared and don’t always fully understand the day-to-day responsibilities their new roles will entail.

Even if initial interviews go smoothly, it’s still not always possible to know whether a candidate is suitable, especially if multiple people have to decide on their suitability. The larger the company, the longer it takes.

If you ask leaders of large conglomerates and small businesses, most will agree that they’ve experienced at least one of the problems described above.

With My Learning Hub, that time-consuming, unreliable process can be automated and made more robust with task-based assessments.

What do you feel companies are doing incorrectly when dealing with these problems?

Companies don’t always clearly understand or explain what they want from candidates in job descriptions.

Career sections on websites and sentimental video testimonials from current employees are not enough. Businesses must remember to focus on their priorities – who they’re trying to recruit and what they expect of these candidates. Otherwise, they’ll get candidates who can blag their way through the HR manager without being truly suitable.

I’ve noticed that many candidates can easily twist the words in a job description and tell the company what it wants to hear.

Are HR managers to blame for hiring unsuitable individuals or adopting ineffective interviewing processes?

Not at all – they do a very difficult job admirably well. But it’s fair to say that HR managers can’t reasonably be expected to have an in-depth knowledge of every position they hire for.

How can they understand all aspects of a job without having worked in it for at least 2 years? They’d have to spend their lifetimes becoming experts in all the roles that exist within their companies.

OK, assuming a company makes the right hires with the help of My Learning Hub, the best ones tend to regularly change jobs, in search of better opportunities. How do you prevent that?

I’ll point back to our results with Yellow Pages and our other clients – there’s a reason for that.

If you hire the right employees, then train them in the areas where they want to improve and offer a visible progression plan that they helped design, they won’t want to leave. You’d essentially be allowing them to design their dream career.

That’s what My Learning Hub’ LMS platform helps businesses to achieve.

On the other hand, many companies currently spend loads on hiring employees, then abandoning them once they’re hired. When a better salary comes along, or even just any old job, of course it looks more attractive than staying somewhere that offers no clear prospects or road to success.

Where’s the point in that? Spending loads on employees and then letting them leave – all because they don’t know they can achieve the same job title or salary in your company, or how?

To end on a philosophical note – time passes by as inevitably as good employees do, but these two resources are essential and priceless. We’re determined to help businesses make the most of both. Those who are interested, can try our product here.


Victor Potapov interview by Timi Olotu (@timi_olotu)

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