Karius, inc

The Karius People Leader Cohort Program

Biotech innovator Karius partners with Learnit to help position itself as employer of choice within talent market


Professional Development


Industry vertical

Life Science

The Challenge

Karius, Inc. (kariusdx.com), the world leader in liquid biopsy for infectious diseases, has a strong culture that supports employee growth through coaching and career development programs that enable employees to grow both professionally and personally. As a differentiator in the Life Science industry, they strive to be “Employer of Choice” that gives people compelling reasons to join, inspiration to achieve great work and reasons to stay. 

At the height of the pandemic, Karius’ culture and workflow were disrupted. To continue on the path toward their goals, maintain their culture and keep leaders and managers effective during the very challenging and stressful time, they wanted to create new learning and development opportunities for their people leaders. 

Karius sought an established and proven partner who would take the time and commit the attention to develop a unique learning and development program for their specific situation and the challenges created by the pandemic. 

After considering several well-known L&D companies ranging in size and pedigree, Karius selected Learnit due to Learnit’s proactive and hands-on approach to customizing a program specific to Karius’ employees and business.  

The Program

Before the program began, the Learnit Product Team dove deep with Karius to understand the business and the culture of the company. 

Learnit’s SVP of Product and Customer Experience, Darren Bridgett, immersed himself in knowing Karius’s business, people challenges and training expectations.  

“I was able to not only spend time with VP, Head of Human Resources Stacy Solorio, but I also was able to spend time with the CEO to really align our goals and language to set us up for success,” said Bridgett. 

Bridgett saw that they had already begun with the building blocks of people leader development, and where they were focusing their efforts. With that information, he worked closely with Karius to develop the “Karius People Leader Cohort Program”—a 5-week virtual cohort. 

The research-backed Program was designed for approximately 40 executives and people leaders to come together to develop skills through interactive workshops, peer to peer discussions around solving specific problems, and hands-on assignments. 

The first 5 weeks of the Program covered themes such as “Challenging Conversations and Building Trust,” “Setting Up Employees for Success,” “Keeping Remote Teams Positive and Productive in this Hybrid World,” “Setting Direction,” “Managing Conflict,” and “How to Be a Strategic Partner,” which explored and introduced new tools to foster advanced communication skills. The final week rounded out the training with case studies and practical application of the tools.

In between each workshop, attendees applied new skills to a real-world work assignment and received distributed learning experiences to optimize retention and application. Each week Bridgett and Solorio also met to discuss what the leaders were responding to and what aspects were prime for improvement, and to take specific actions to optimize engagement and effectiveness. 

The Program also incorporated a 90-day post-training check-in where Karius’s people leaders shared how they had applied their lessons across the organization. Additionally, new skills were delivered and discussed, including how to take care of themselves as leaders first, while also helping their teams, a vital piece of leadership in today’s new work environment.

The Results 

Karius reports that the program was a success, with a noticeable lift in overall morale and team effectiveness. Many students reported a positive and tangible impact in their own day-to-day performance and effectiveness. Top outcomes included learning techniques and strategies to boost skills in communication, conflict resolution, navigating situational conversations as a manager, and safely leading through difficult conversations. 

“Learnit had demonstrated success with custom programs for other organizations, which gave us the confidence we needed to go with them. And we're thrilled that we did,” says Stacy Solorio, VP, Head of Human Resources at Karius. “The results have met our expectations and the impact on our culture has been tangible. Employees are thrilled with the instructors and the program overall. The program definitely furthers our goal to be ‘Employer of Choice’ in our industry.”