Sarah Vonnegut
Nov 29, 2021

Improve Your L&D Programs by Applying the '7-Star' Approach

Improve Your L&D Programs by Applying the '7-Star' Approach
Photo credit: Tim Mossholder

When it comes to hiring (and retaining) the best employees, companies need to kick it up a notch. What’s the secret sauce that companies have found that actually works? For HR departments, their secret sauce has been offering employees an experience they want to talk about. 

Offering an L&D program that is truly unique, out-of-the-box, and the epitome of personalization can make the difference between quietly content or even unsatisfied employees versus employees that tell everyone they know how awesome their company is. And that affects the bottom line.

How “7-Stars” Was Born

The founders of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, were fully hands-on at the outset of what was once a tiny start-up. Determining how to provide the best service for each customer was a big challenge - how do you provide an exceptional experience that is both scalable and will have people talking about it? 

The original goal, as Chesky discussed in his episode on the Master of Scale podcast, was to provide “5-star” service, in which an Airbnb guest would be met at the door to a clean and comfortable house by a welcoming and helpful owner. But, as Chesky said in the podcast, the 5-star experience is the norm. “You’re not going to tell your friends about it,” he said. “You might say ‘I used Airbnb. It worked.”

But through user feedback and asking a guest what the product of their dreams would look like, Chesky and the other founders found that by providing custom trips tailored specifically to a guest’s likes and dislikes, the guest would rave about them far and wide. 

That was how the concept of the “7-star” experience came about. For Airbnb, the exercise went like this:

• Imagine the most incredible “10-star” Airbnb visit – the Beatles of 1964 welcome you to your room, Gordon Ramsey brings over a light snack, and then Gal Gadot takes you on a tour of local attractions in her limousine.

• Then, it’s about scaling that down to something actually possible. Instead of the Beatles, the host opens the door. She has a fully stocked kitchen ready for you to use, hands you the keys to her car, and tells you that she booked you a tour with the best guide in town.

The idea is to imagine the most extreme, almost magical experience, and then figure out what can be scaled down without hurting quality. It’s about finding the ‘sweet spot’ between utopia and reality. In the end, you can’t deliver a 10-star experience every time. It’s just not scalable for thousands of clients over any length of time. What you do deliver, though, is a 7-star experience that every client will gush about to their friends.   

GrowthSpace’s 7-Star Learning Experience

So - how do you translate a 7-star experience to the world of learning and development?

Well, we aren’t renting out houses with the Beatles behind the door. Instead, we are allowing companies to provide employees with an L&D experience that exceeds all expectations and results in an exuberant recommendation shared with anybody who will listen. A 7-star experience with GrowthSpace L&D programs is giving all employees something only the C-suite employees would normally get - like a personal mentor or coach.

A 10-star learning program could look like this: Tony Robbins picks you up in his personal private jet. The two of you brainstorm about your career and he decides Elon Musk would be the better person for you to get advice from, so you ride over to his place. Elon offers you one-on-one career counseling before the two of you rocket off into space. 

Unreal? Absolutely. So, scale it down to something more realistic to find that ‘sweet spot’ – just like some of our partners are doing. 

Take, for example, Fiverr, the online marketplace for freelancers. Every Fiverr employee receives “A Day in the Life” experience, where they spend a full day working as an employee in another department they’re interested in. The day also includes 30 minutes with the department VP to get a further sense of what a day in the life of that department is like. 

For Taboola, GrowthSpace has enabled the 7-star experience with a data-driven experience for matching employees with the best expert for that employees’ unique needs - at scale. And it’s worked - Taboola has scaled its’ employee development program six-fold, without spending a single additional dollar. 

The functions at the base of these learning initiatives are the mapping of different L&D programs for different populations, and the tailoring of the program for each group or individuals’ needs. GrowthSpace makes it possible because we offer the concept and technology that allows breaking down L&D requirements into elements. It follows up this ability with a global network that can source the coach, mentor, or trainer with the optimal qualifications for the exact area of learning.  

It is because of this capability that we get responses like this one: “GrowthSpace is the single best thing an employer gave me in my career.” 

Ready to give your employees their 7-star L&D experience?

Request a Demo