DiscoverLink Review

DiscoverLink, Inc.
Product:
Vendor:
Founded:
Headquarters:
DiscoverLink Talent
DiscoverLink, Inc.
2002
Chicago, IL
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Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Private
300+
Cloud
Yes
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DiscoverLink Talent At A Glance

Good: Automated features so managers can easily administer training programs to employees, employee recognition features, full-service approach to software implementation.
Bad: Self-enrollment in classroom learning is not offered.
Bottom Line: E-learning solution designed to help the hospitality industry overcome the challenges in training their hourly workforce.

Product Overview

DiscoverLink Talent is an e-learning solution that helps medium-to-large-sized restaurant and hotel chains provide better training to their staff. The software combines a full-featured learning management system, performance management features, reporting metrics and training content into a single platform.

Several benefits of DiscoverLink Talent include:

  • Increased staff competency with highly interactive courses that improve training effectiveness
  • Improved training consistency with controlled delivery and tracked compliance
  • Improved guest experience with a system designed to help restaurants effect change in their organizations
  • Career paths for managers with leadership development, general manager, and multi-unit manager courses
  • Ability for managers to make the critical connection between e-learning and performance management
  • Increased unit performance with higher revenue, better cost management and improved customer satisfaction

For smaller restaurant and hotel chains, DiscoverLink offers its DiscoverLink Learning solution that includes many of the same features as DiscoverLink Talent.

Features

Here are several key features of DiscoverLink Talent:

Manager’s Dashboard – Within the Manager’s Dashboard, managers get an at-a-glance view of each learner’s training status. Managers can also create assignments with a single click, drill down to see content details of each learning program, view and edit employee profiles, and provide training credits to individuals or a group of learners.

Content Manager – Clients can easily create learning programs by uploading a range of file formats, such as audio, video, documents and weblinks. They can also create a searchable resource area, set wait times between content items within a learning program, and add in learning program icons.

Administration features – The administrative landing page, also known as a campus home page, provides navigation to main features, such as the dashboard, My Training page, reports, performance reviews and settings. DiscoverLink includes automated tools, such as registering new employees without manual intervention.

The conditional learning program functionality uses advanced conditional rules to automatically assign learning programs to employees based on skill positions, store types (company or franchisee) or state. Another feature of conditional learning programs is bookshelves that allow clients to put specific content at selected locations. For example, a particular franchisee that has their own company orientation content can store it in a bookshelf for its locations only. That way, other franchisees or the corporate location won’t see it.

Finally, the software supports advanced prerequisites for single or multiple learning courses.

Exams and surveys – DiscoverLink Talent offers a choice of seven exam question types, such as sequencing, multiple choice, visual matching and fill-in-the blank. There’s a question bank that stores exam questions for future use, and when a question is updated, the changes are automatically propagated to all applicable exams. Managers can also give their employees surveys to gather feedback. Surveys can be customized with any of the eight types, including yes/no, multiple choice or open-ended questions.

My Training – Each learner has their own dedicated My Training profile, where they can access both current and previous assigned training courses, and send or receive messages from their managers and other learners. My Training is designed with a mobile-responsive interface so it’s accessible from any device.

My Training has an integrated Trophy Case feature, where managers award employees recognition patches for achievements. Managers can write a customized message for each employee recognition. Learners will also automatically receive training ribbons for completing each learning program.

Reports and metrics – DiscoverLink Talent includes 14 built-in reports on various learning metrics, as well as customizable reports that integrate key data from external sources. Managers can also drill down into each course or learner metric for further details.

Other features of DiscoverLink Talent are checklists and workbooks (for tracking offline training), certification tracking, performance management and franchisee support. The software integrates with the ServSafe certification program from the National Restaurant Association.

  • Asynchronous Learning?
  • Employee Training?
  • Gamification?
  • Content Library?
  • Mobile Learning?
  • SCORM Compliance?
  • Synchronous Learning?
  • Testing & Assessments?

Target Market

DiscoverLink specializes in e-learning solutions for the hospitality industry. Most of its clients are U.S.-based restaurants or hotels. Its clients range from one-unit independent operators to multi-brand, highly franchised organizations with thousands of locations.

We’ve listed 10 of its clients below:

  • Culver's
  • Donatos
  • Golden Corral
  • Granite City
  • McAllister's Deli
  • Moe's Southwest Grill
  • Perkins
  • Pizza Ranch
  • Rubio's
  • Texas Roadhouse

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Implementation/Integration

One of DiscoverLink’s biggest differentiators is its comprehensive, full-service approach to implementing e-learning solutions. Unlike other providers who complete basic setup and then turn the empty system over to the client to populate, DiscoverLink ensures the solution is operator-ready on the day it’s turned over. Its process includes:

  • Working with clients to build out the value proposition of enhanced training to help drive adoption by individual locations, including defining measurable metrics that deliver return on investment
  • Designing and implementing a custom login page, as well as an interior look and feel that reflect the brand’s personality and/or culture
  • Setting up the organizational hierarchy with innovative approaches to handling complex business structures
  • Working with clients on integrating their training assets and organizing them into complete learning programs with prerequisites, conditional assignments and other advanced features applied
  • Setting up HRIS integration so that employee data can be easily moved between the two systems, allowing for profiles to be automatically created and reducing the amount of time spent administering the overall process
  • Migration of employee and completion data from an existing LMS, if applicable
  • Setting up skill positions and aligning them with auto-assigned learning programs
  • Assisting in the setup and implementation of exams, surveys and checklists, and integrating them into blended learning programs
  • Setting up and organizing the Resources area for reference materials
  • Selecting learning program icons and/or integrating client’s custom icons for display on My Training and the Trophy Case pages
  • Training the client’s LMS administrators on all features and providing best practice advice based on DiscoverLink’s restaurant industry experience

Implementation typically takes from four to 12 weeks depending on the size, complexity and readiness of the client.

Customer Service & Support

In addition to a dedicated Account Manager, the customer also receives support from a dedicated Client Services staff member.

Support is provided to the customer’s administrative contact via chat, e-mail and phone during normal business hours. All Client Services staff are U.S.-based (specifically in Tennessee, Florida and Massachusetts).

DiscoverLink uses help desk software to manage its client tickets. Clients can choose to email their tickets or have a dedicated portal site created to view the status of their tickets.

A comprehensive context-sensitive help system is integrated into the product, complete with step-by-step instructions and video tutorials.

Pricing

Due to the unique nature of the high-turnover restaurant industry, DiscoverLink’s business model is based on the number of stores rather than number of users, providing unlimited access to each subscribed location. This provides a predictable cost at the unit level and avoids issues associated with counting and tracking an hourly part-time workforce due to turnover and seasonal fluctuations.

Using this model, DiscoverLink also provides a convenient way for customers to deploy e-learning to their franchisees. DiscoverLink can contract with and bill franchises directly to remove the administrative burden of managing charge-backs from the training team. This practice also sets franchisees’ minds at ease that corporate is not benefiting directly from revenue associated with its training programs.

Pricing is based on the number of locations and the average number of employees per location, as well as the amount of library content bundled with the LMS.

Shortcomings

Due to the nature of its clients’ hospitality-based businesses, DiscoverLink does not offer self-enrollment for classroom training, which is sometimes desired by non-hospitality businesses. This capability is not required for its core market, as training tends to be more structured for the hourly workforce and takes place mostly on the job.

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About

DiscoverLink’s founders have a long history in the restaurant industry. They came from the National Restaurant Association and Cracker Barrel, where they were true pioneers in the industry, creating e-learning initiatives for this market as early as 1992.

DiscoverLink partners with its clients to develop solutions that combine its library of more than 100 hospitality-specific training courses with custom-developed courses and a learning management system (LMS) optimized for the hospitality industry. It has built over 2,000 custom courses and taught over four million learners.

DiscoverLink Talent has won a Silver Excellence in Technology Award from Brandon Hall.

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