Why This CEO Spends Her Mornings Listening to LinkedIn Learning: “It’s a Great Return on Investment.”

March 4, 2019

Physique 57 is having a great experience with LinkedIn Learning.

Jennifer Maanavi is the CEO of Physique 57, a fitness brand with 130 employees, 13 studios globally and an emerging fitness on-demand presence. She’s also a parent.

Which means, she’s a busy woman.

And yet, she makes time for LinkedIn Learning every week – and often, every day, before work. Why?

“I really believe people should make time for LinkedIn Learning at least once a week, especially leaders,” she said. “If a course makes you 5 percent better for the rest of your life, that’s a great return on investment.”  

Maanavi expects her leadership team to do the same. Which is why her company invested in LinkedIn Learning licenses for the 12 members of her management team – and why she expects all 12 to watch at least five hours a quarter (although many watch far more than that).

Why Physique 57 Invested in LinkedIn Learning: Scale, Effectiveness and Affordability

A step back.

Prior to 2018, Physique 57 primarily used in-person trainings to develop their global executive team. But those trainings were expensive, in both time and money, and occasionally ineffective – it was impossible to have a singular speaker who connected with the dozen people on the team.

Maanavi and her HR manager, Katelyn Drown, knew there had to be a better way. So Drown embarked on finding a learning platform that would meet the needs of the company – while also fitting into the schedules of their executives.

“We needed to find something that would allow us to lead our organization effectively and gracefully,” Maanavi said.

After researching several options, Drown chose LinkedIn Learning. The price was right, and she believed it would fit around everyone’s schedules.

“LinkedIn Learning would allow us to really invest in our staff because of its affordability,” Drown said. “I also knew that with this platform I wouldn’t need to worry about scheduling training sessions, that the team could access the learning programs without the constraints of time and place.”

In March 2018, Physique 57 rolled it out to several members of the executive team. Since then, they have created a program that sets out a learning path for each executive for each quarter.

For the program, each manager chooses five to six hours of courses that interest them, and then reviews their choices with their supervisor. The path is set, and at the end of the quarter, the results are reviewed. The company also provides incentives, including gift cards to the first to finish their path, or to whomever takes the most courses in a quarter.

“We found right away that people were taking more courses than they were required,” Drown said.

After the initial success with LinkedIn Learning in 2018, more employees were asking for access for the new year.

“Because of all the positive feedback they were hearing, they asked if they could join as well,” Drown said. “So we added to our budget to include more people. People were emailing each other, ‘Hey take this course it’s great.’ ”

How LinkedIn Learning Has Helped Physique 57’s Executive Team: Improved Soft Skills, As Well As Permission to Be Vulnerable

How has LinkedIn Learning helped the Physique 57 executive team?

Well, there has been no bigger adopter of LinkedIn Learning than the company’s CEO, Maanavi. She finds the courses on soft skills particularly helpful.

“Listen, I know all about P&L spreadsheets,” Maanavi said with a laugh. “I look for the softer courses, like effective listening, critical thinking, maintaining focus. I am honing my skills as an executive and a leader, and contemplating new ways of thinking.”

For example, Maanavi talked about a challenge many leaders face – not getting honest feedback from their employees. By taking LinkedIn Learning courses on the subject, she was able to approach it differently and get the feedback she desired.

“I take some of these classes, and they are telling me things I have heard a million times, but that I need to be reminded of,” she said. “And they work, they really help.”

Drown agreed.

“It’s so great because you can go back and revisit the key information from the courses as a refresher,” Drown said. “And the quizzes are really good for reinforcing the information, and making sure you are retaining the important information.”

Perhaps most interestingly, LinkedIn Learning has empowered Maanavi and the rest of her executive team to be more vulnerable. They’ll all watch the same course and try something new – together.

“I feel like with LinkedIn Learning, it gives me permission to try something new in management,” Maanavi said. “I can go into a meeting and say ‘I just learned this new thing, and I’m going to try it today.’ ”

Providing LinkedIn Learning to team members “reinforces the idea that as a company, we are based on learning,” Maanavi said. “Our number one core value is ‘Be humble.’ Knowing that you don’t have all the answers. From an attitude and behavior standpoint, we are showing that we know we can always be better.”