Orangetheory Kicks Employee Learning into High Gear

In 2019, Orangetheory Fitness reimagined employee learning. Less than a year later, the company shut down studios due to the pandemic. How did Orange Theory rebound while keeping employees ready for anything?

Orangetheory Kicks Employee Learning into High Gear

Orangetheory Fitness provides science-backed, technology-tracked, and coach-inspired group workout programs in each of its one-of-a-kind studios to enable members to live a longer, more vibrant life. Using a franchise model, the company has 1,400+ locations in all 50 states in the U.S. and in 26 countries. There are over 15,000 business and fitness professionals that the company’s learning and development (L&D) team supports with training and career development programs. 

To deliver the kind of learning that would meet the needs of more than seven job roles at each studio and for employees at company headquarters, Orangetheory’s L&D team realized in 2019 that their traditional LMS wasn’t going to be able to do it all. 

Reimaging Employee Learning

The team’s goal was to spark a learning mindset with memorable and unique learning experiences to create knowledgeable and results-driven leaders. What they had to figure out was that it was difficult to get franchisees to buy into learning programs developed by headquarters. So, the team had to reimagine traditional training by using multimedia, quick short TikTok-like snippets to gain more employee engagement was top of the list. Another big challenge was (and still is) the high turnover within the fitness industry. At any time, there could be as much as 80% of the workforce onboarding. 

Orangetheory Kicks Employee Learning into High Gear

After reviewing many solutions, Orangetheory went with Inkling as its digital operational knowledge platform for its mobile capabilities, ability to create collaborative learning content fast, and as a single source of truth for learning knowledge. The company rolled out Inkling globally in June 2019 and realized early on how much faster content creation and delivery was using Inkling. 

Pivoting Business in the Face of a Global Pandemic

Then the global pandemic hit, and on March 10, 2020, all Orangetheory studios closed to keep employees and members safe. The following Friday, the CEO asked the team to come up with a new program that would shift group workouts from in-studio to at-home for members. The L&D team had 72 hours to put together new protocols and training for trainers and coaches to deliver “Orangetheory Anywhere” on Zoom. 

Inkling became a critical tool for changing learning content, delivering it, and notifying franchisees of any additional changes as the new program rolled out to all members. As the program became a success, the L&D team took the opportunity to reboard franchises and streamline training further with Inkling. 

After reviewing many solutions, Orangetheory went with Inkling as its digital operational knowledge platform for its mobile capabilities, ability to create collaborative learning content fast, and as a single source of truth for learning knowledge

They also launched an internal video series interviewing various people within the network and industry leaders on best practices all on the Inkling app.  Today, this pivot has fundamentally changed the way that the Orangetheory L&D team and their learners think about and consume training. 

Keeping Employee Learning Up-to-Speed with the Pace of Business 

Accessibility and engagement is one way the Orangetheory L&D team measures learning success. “If we know that all 15,000 people in the network can access and engage with our programs then we know how many people completed our programs and that we get feedback so we can keep improving,” said Brittany Gutierrez, Direct of Learning and Development at Orangetheory Fitness. 

And one of the main reasons why Orangetheory is so happy with their Inkling platform is that they can pull information into the company’s business analytics solution to see the real numbers. 

“What’s great about Inkling’s platform is we’re actually able to tie it to our business analytics solution. We can see how our programs are influencing performance numbers, and that’s what makes a difference for us,” Gutierrez said. 

For the future, Orangetheory plans to use Inkling as the company expands internationally with localization like language and culture. The L&D team is also planning to look at sales and operations training to refresh evergreen training to amp up interactivity and gamification. 

Want to hear even more about Orangetheory Fitness’ journey with Inkling and discover how their experience can benefit you? We have you covered!