Photo by Jimmy Conover 

Over the last few years, one of the messages we’ve heard from clients and prospects the most is that they’re sick of wasting money on training and upskilling programs that their employees just don’t use. 

We’ve long known that low utilization is a serious problem – on average, participation hovers around an abysmally low 10%. But this issue is compounded when you consider that all the leading upskilling platforms have historically operated on a subscription model, meaning you pay based on the number of total employees who have access, or “seats.”

So, even if you were to crush all your goals (go you!) and increase employee participation in upskilling from 10% to 50% – a very respectable level of engagement – you’d still be spending the other 50% of your upskilling budget on employees who aren’t doing any learning. In other words, you’re essentially throwing 50% of your budget down the toilet with platform subscription fees. And we think that’s insane.

Usage-based pricing: The future is here (like, now!)

We’re here to tell you that the subscription model is broken. Kaput. That’s why we’re proud to offer the first ever usage-based pricing model to all our OneRange customers. But what is usage-based pricing, you ask? Please allow us to explain.

Our mission is to create a world full of lifelong learners. We want every employee who wants to learn to have access to high-quality upskilling content, with zero barriers. We believe so strongly in this goal that we’re essentially offering our software for free. We’re flipping the traditional subscription model on its head and, instead of charging for access to learning content, we’re charging for actual engagement.

We’re really proud of the software we’ve developed, but ultimately, we believe that if we’re doing our jobs, the software should serve as a means to an end, not an end in itself. It’s table stakes. We’re laser focused on optimizing OneRange to drive engagement with learning content, and then monetizing those interactions.

In simple terms, this means that you won’t pay an annual subscription fee or licensing fee or any other fee to access the platform. Instead, you’ll only pay when your employees actually use the OneRange system. And by “use” we don’t just mean “log-on.” We mean actively engaging with learning content.

How it works: The nuts and bolts on how we make money (and what it means for you)

Every time an employee requests a resource on the OneRange platform and it’s approved by a manager, a portion of the purchase price goes to the content provider (think CourseraSkillshare, or Udemy), and a percentage goes to OneRange.

There are two different types of OneRange providers: OneRange Partners have existing agreements with OneRange, which means we receive a commission that’s baked into the retail price you see. We call these partners “in-network,” and you can identify them by the blue “in-network” badge.

The second type of OneRange provider is out-of-network. We don’t have existing agreements with these providers, so when your employee requests a resource, you’ll pay a 20% transaction fee (up to $25) on top of the retail list price. You can identify these providers because they do NOT have a blue “in-network” badge.

It may be helpful to think of this like a healthcare plan: In-network partners have negotiated relationships with your insurance company, so you don’t pay a fee.  Out-of-network providers don’t have that relationship, so you have to pay an extra fee.

Let’s look at a few quick examples to make it even clearer:

Scenario one: Your employee requests a course offered by Coursera, an in-network Partner. Your company pays the retail price of $49.99, and OneRange earns a commission from Coursera. Your total cost is $49.99.

Scenario two: Your employee requests a course offered by FutureLearn, who is an out-of-network provider. You pay the $100 retail price, plus a 20% transaction fee of $20, for a total cost to your business of $120.

Scenario three: Your employee requests another course by FutureLearn, with a retail list price of $150. A transaction fee of 20% would be $30, but you only pay the cap of $25. So the total cost to your company is $175.


fitness class running
Photo by Gabin Vallet

But how can we do this?

We’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little nervous to pursue this strategy at first. It seemed crazy. After all, every other upskilling platform out there uses a subscription model and operates like a gym, making money off of the hundreds of members who pay for access, while betting that only a small portion will actually show up and work out. But that’s not a model for success if the outcome you care about is better overall fitness, or, in our case, better learning.

We’ve run the numbers throughout our first few years in operation, and we know that we can generate the revenue we need exclusively through partner commission and transaction fees. Why? Because our utilization is insanely high. Most of our customers achieve 90% employee engagement, and since launching our company just a few short years ago, we’ve had zero customers churn. 

We’ve developed a platform that eliminates the friction that keeps most learners from engaging: trouble finding the right, high-quality resource, headaches getting manager approvals, and the nightmare of shelling out a personal credit card and then waiting months for reimbursement. By removing these barriers, we’re unlocking massive potential and letting your employees loose to learn (within the reasonable limits of our adult upskilling playground, of course).

We believe most leaders have no idea how hungry their people are for upskilling once the barriers are removed. But we know, because we’ve seen it in action. So, we’re letting the product speak for itself and giving you free access. You won’t have to worry about low utilization, because we’re shouldering all that risk through our usage-based model. There’s no need for a pilot or a ramp-up period to prove value to your team. Just start using the platform for free, and you’ll immediately see the value. And you’ll only pay once your employees find the right resources and start learning.

It may seem like a risk, but we’re betting on our technology, on your people, and on our content partners, and aligning our incentives toward your success. Based on our years of data about employee upskilling, it would be crazy not to. So now, we only earn when your people learn.

We should note here that we will also continue to generate a very small portion of our revenue from one-time setup and training fees that clients pay when they implement the OneRange platform. We believe this is fair to reflect the complexity of our implementation projects, including HRIS technology integrations, the issuance of Visa commercial virtual credit cards, and the high-touch employee training that we offer to ensure your success. 

What’s in it for you? A recap.

We think the benefits of this usage-based model are pretty clear and exciting. With OneRange, you get access to a curated library of top-rated content, a hub for your internal training, and the ability for your employees to request upskilling resources from literally anywhere on the internet. And you’ll always enjoy seamless manager approvals, payment processing, and simple tools for tracking learning engagement.

But now, your payment plan will be a whole lot simpler. No more licensing fees. No more justifying the price of a costly subscription to your Finance team. Zero waste. Zero underutilization. Just infinitely scalable learning.

With OneRange, you’ll only pay when your employees use a resource and learn. Because we know that when employees have more choice and people leaders (.e.g., People Operations, HR), have more peace of mind, better learning will happen – and that’s a win-win-win for everyone.

Have feedback or questions about our usage-based payment model? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us at [email protected].