Case Study

Just one piece of the puzzle

Airtable intended to build their training internally, but during a stage of rapid growth with a lean L&D team, they knew that wasn’t in the cards. They decided to partner with an outside organization, but needed a training program that would complement their existing L&D initiatives instead of uproot them.

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Hone has had the pleasure of running an ongoing program for Airtable – Mastering Management – for a total of 52 participants thus far.

Mastering Management is a four-class track on how to coach around performance, harness a team’s strengths to boost productivity, get projects completed on time, and provide growth opportunities that develop people’s skills without risking the quality of a team’s output.

During a series of 60-minute working sessions, Hone provided high-quality service to the HR admins to customize the course content and case studies to align with the company’s mission, vision, values, and branding.

The company

Hone provides leadership training for managers of Airtable, a cloud-based software company that offers an online platform for creating and sharing relational databases. For this Case Study, we connected with the project admin Ellie Busmire, Director of Learning and Development, to review the company’s experience with Hone.

“Hone is the first thing I recommend to other L&D leaders in the industry when they say, ‘Hey, what would you do for manager IC development?”

The challenge

During a rapid growth stage, Airtable realized they needed a leadership training program to handle the increasing population of leaders with little to no experience managing people. Further, they wanted to create a consistent foundation for all managers, so delegation, language, and prioritization would be the same throughout the organization.

Although the company wanted to build an L&D function from the ground up, they did not have time to design and facilitate training. Ellie and the Airtable team decided that an external training program could be the solution they envisioned.

To address the company’s need for management instruction and integration, Ellie knew Airtable needed a training solution that could be:

  1. Tailored to match Airtable’s coaching model and unite managers’ tools through customized content.
  2. Globally accessible, scalable to their needs, and offer time-savings for the L&D team.
  3. A hybrid of asynchronous and live group learning to cultivate community-building within the organization.

The solution

After diligent research, Airtable picked Hone’s leadership training program for three main reasons:

  1. It fit their criteria above.
  2. The program offered multiple training experiences, including virtual and cohort-based learning methods.
  3. They knew Hone could provide the assistance their L&D team needed.

As the project admin, Ellie recognized this support and intuitive guidance from the first meeting.

Cost & Time Efficient

Hone removed the administrative burden for Ellie’s L&D team. Ellie shared, “We knew that we didn't want to spend our time designing, facilitating, and delivering training to employees. We wanted to be more strategic partners to the business. Hone free up a lot of our time and space to scale learning.”

In addition to the training sessions, managers – even those who missed out on the course initially – could access material and all-inclusive resources anytime to learn at their convenience. “The scalability is a big thing for me. They have taken something that could take up a full-time position and made it globally accessible for my organization. It's huge.”

Connecting People

Airtable managers loved the small-group training for several reasons, and the most resonating one was reconnecting with their peers in a post-COVID environment. Airtable and Hone agree that a community of peers can help managers not feel alone, especially when leading for the first time. “I think given the hybrid and remote world, the biggest highlight of the program by far was building relationships with other managers. That's the one thing that all of our learners said they wouldn't change. They loved forming a community with their managers.”

The cohort-based training encouraged managers to ask for advice, share events they are going through, and work as a group.

Tailoring the Content

Ellie emphasized that altering the training was easy and constructive for their managers. “We did some customizations, really tailoring the content around the case studies, making it relevant to our employee population and where we were at as a company. I think there was a little bit of a hunger for feedback, and this was a great way to provide some focus for what they wanted.”


Hone is the best choice for Airtable to establish and refine management skills as well as build a community of impressive leaders from within the company. “It’s the curriculum I'm most excited about when I think about what we want to offer to our employees. It is highly engaging, actionable, and bite size.”

Immediately Actionable

For Ellie, the real return on investment is the managers’ restored professional self-assurance and confidence they learned pertinent leadership skills that will help them be better managers. “The biggest piece of feedback that we received was the benefit of having actionable tips or tasks, things that they can apply to their job right away. People would share, ‘I walked away with this helpful tip that I can apply immediately.”

Airtable is Soaring Ahead

Blown away by the positive response, the Airtable team set up more cohort trainings with managers and direct reports. And administration gifted employees with a Hone Membership to learn more about topics that interest them. “We just wrapped up our pilot and are excited for our learners to start using their membership. I think it's a great perk for the personalized continued learning.”