CULTURE AND GROWTH
How SoulCycle Scaled and Succeeded
You’re a wildly successful, fast-growing organization with locations opening up across the country, like SoulCycle.
But your corporate team is still lean and mean—there’s no way to efficiently and economically travel to each new spot to train employees and get the new location up to speed. It wasn’t long ago that SoulCycle was in your shoes. They were growing at a pace and scale their amazing in-person training couldn’t match.
The Wheel is more than an LMS, it’s the heart of SoulCycle culture.
Training was done both in-person and through a Google Drive that the company outgrew almost the moment it launched. It was hard to keep the drive updated. And it was devoid of character and culture. Learners would just log-in and download material. It was a bland, one-size-fits-all kind of site that did little to engage any one learner, let alone the array of learner groups within SoulCycle.
SoulCycle’s leadership team knew they needed a Learning Management System (LMS) that met their specifications and culture. The LMS needed to reflect SoulCycle’s strong brand identity. It needed to be engaging, have robust reporting, and the ability to reach all learner groups individually and as a whole.
These guidelines led SoulCycle to Wisetail.
Christina Sideris, senior manager operations, was part of the team that figured out the best way to translate amazing in-person training to eLearning.
“When we were given the Wisetail pilot and looked through that, it was clear how antiquated our old system was.”
Jack Meyer, training operations manager
Jack and the rest of the training team got to work on their new LMS, which they named The Wheel. One of the most important aspects of building out the LMS was that it matched the SoulCycle brand. Coming off a blank cloud storage system, they knew LMS engagement would hinge on the quality of its branding.
“The Wheel feels like our brand, smells like our brand. It is our brand,” said Gabby Cohen, senior vice president of public relations and brand strategy. “It’s something that’s easily scalable and something we never could do before with the resources we had.”
The team reached out to people across the company and the country. The feedback they received helped them understand how an assistant studio manager in a new market 3,000 miles from headquarters wants to communicate with the corporate team. It helped the training team figure out the right tone and format.
Part of The Wheel’s success is because it reflects SoulCycle’s strong, authentic brand.
“They really took painstaking care at every point to make sure that it felt not like a learning and development tool but part of our brand organically. It’s how we’ve scaled the business.”
Melanie Whelan, CEO
“They really took painstaking care at every point to make sure that it felt not like a learning and development tool but part of our brand organically,” said CEO Melanie Whelan. “It’s how we’ve scaled the business.”
The Wheel has grown into more than a training platform. It serves as a document repository, a one-stop shop for forms and files every location and manager needs. The Wheel acts as the single source of information that powers opening new locations. The corporate team needed it to: SoulCycle has since grown into 11 states and Canada, from New York City to Vancouver.
“It’s so great to be able to end any kind of meeting whether it’s an operations meeting, a field meeting, a finance meeting and be able to say, ‘Oh you can find that on The Wheel, we’ll recap that on The Wheel, it will be available on The Wheel’,” Whelan said. “I actually can’t even remember PW, pre-Wheel.”
SoulCycle’s LMS also works as a conduit connecting everyone in the organization. Learners can upload their own content and interact with each other, as well as with the content itself.
“The Wheel is almost like a central heartbeat for our employees,” said Christina Sideris, senior manager, operations.