The impact of Pluralsight: Faster product development, better employee retention and a 295% return on investment

By Aaron Skonnard    |    October 24, 2017

How do you know if learning really impacts your business?

That’s a question I have asked myself over and over. I began thinking about it when I taught in-person technology classes. At the end of every class, my partners and I would survey participants to learn what we did well and where we could improve. All we could measure was how much our students liked us as teachers, not any quantifiable growth in knowledge.

After we made our training available online, we could track hours viewed and see which courses were most popular. But that only told us so much about whether or not our learners truly gained something valuable. Did they walk away with the skills they need to make a real difference in their organizations?

At Pluralsight we’ve spent a good portion of the last decade building a platform that solves for this challenge. Our deep skills analytics and assessments are a big part of the answer.

But we also wanted to show technology leaders third-party validated data and direct insights from our customers around the business value our platform can create. So we commissioned a study conducted by Forrester Consulting to measure the Total Economic Impact of Pluralsight¹. Through interviews with our customers and applying their Total Economic Impact methodology, they examined the potential return on investment that a typical organization might realize by using our platform. And what they learned is eye-opening.

The old way of learning wasn’t working

Prior to using Pluralsight, the organizations interviewed relied heavily on in-house classroom instruction, off-site conferences and ad-hoc online searches for skill development. But these options didn’t provide the most current resources or anticipate the skills that employees needed to build in the near future.

There is no way to “rewind” classroom training to review a skill or reinforce learning with hands-on work, real world projects or with 1:1 on-demand help. 

The increasing pace of business and technology demanded a better delivery system for learning that scales—one that provides content as soon as the need arises and at a significantly lower cost than traditional instruction. These companies found a solution in Pluralsight. 

Pluralsight drove a 295% return on investment

Forrester found that for every dollar spent on Pluralsight, the composite organization modeled in the study realized a 295% return on investment, or nearly $3 saved or earned for every $1 spent. The largest area of savings comes from faster product development, which the study says could add up to a benefit of $11.3M over three years. It’s because Pluralsight is a catalyst for new ideas and innovation that come with new skills.

One organization explained how they were able to launch an iOS and Android app in less than a year with a new technology the team didn’t know about before discovering and learning about it on Pluralsight. 

With access to our platform and library of thousands of courses, people naturally start exploring adjacent skills and topics that interest them. This inevitably spurs creativity and new ideas on how to approach their work and solve problems.

The improvement to product development also extends to quality, as one senior executive explained to Forrester: 

“The quality of code and architecture goes up when — instead of everybody using different ways of learning things, relying on non-validated different sources and bad information — we are drinking from the same fountain, learning from the same educators with the same opinions, and it’s something that we have previewed already. We’ve filtered out the bad ingredients.”

In the past, organizations rejected good candidates for job openings because they lacked a particular skill. But with Pluralsight, candidates with the x-factors a company wants, but who lack a certain skill, can get up to speed quickly. Hiring decisions can be made based on intelligence, willingness to learn, creativity and other strategic characteristics, rather than tactical knowledge.

And Pluralsight speeds up onboarding. The time to get junior developers and experienced new hires ramped up and productive can be reduced from months to weeks. One Pluralsight client provides new hires access BEFORE their first day of work, and 85-90% of them use it to get a leg up before they even walk in the door. Pluralsight makes it possible to immerse new hires in specific learning paths that are aligned with the company’s business objectives. Said one customer about the faster onboarding:

“Pluralsight is just an immediate boost to revenue right off the bat.” 

Empowering employees to take control of their own skill growth is incredibly powerful. The study found access to Pluralsight improves job satisfaction and enables lifelong learning, which has the potential to significantly impact employee retention:  

“Pluralsight aids in retention by offering tech staff an enrichment opportunity not available elsewhere. If employees who might otherwise depart instead decide to stay, that can be worth more than several million dollars annually.” 

And it’s not only the individual contributors who benefit from Pluralsight. Technology leaders who  take advantage of our platform’s ability to recommend content that’s trending can identify emerging technologies they need to know about, before it’s too late. You can’t really put a price on that kind of competitive advantage. 

“The platform enables CIOs and CTOs to see their teams’ skills gaps, see trending technologies, and create custom learning channels that all align to business objectives, moving an organization forward to capitalize on tech trends rather than be overtaken by them.”

Interested in seeing the study? I’d love to share it with you so you can hear from our customers how Pluralsight saves you money and helps your entire organization move faster. You can download your study here

[1] The Total Economic Impact™ Of Pluralsight, an October 2017 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Pluralsight.

About the author

Aaron Skonnard is the CEO of Pluralsight (NASDAQ: PS), a fast-growing enterprise technology learning platform. Aaron cofounded Pluralsight in 2004 and has since grown the company to more than 1,000 employees and 1,500 expert authors. As CEO, Aaron focuses on business strategy, future direction, product development and strategic partnerships. On a day-to-day basis, he works closely with the entire executive team in different capacities, including recruiting, brand management, marketing, sales, feature planning and content acquisition.