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Smallpdf gains a 2.3x ROI on retention alone with BetterUp

Industry Technology
Products Used Lead 1:1 Coaching
Industry Technology
Products Used Lead 1:1 Coaching

About Smallpdf

Founded in Switzerland in 2013, Smallpdf provides a simple, secure, and reliable answer to the world’s PDF challenges. With over 20 PDF tools and over 1 billion users, they've scaled to help people work smarter and become the most loved and trusted PDF software on the planet.

Smallpdf partnered with BetterUp in 2021 to support its leadership team during a time of hyper-growth. The results were so positive that they expanded the program to all employees to help guide their transformation to a coaching culture.

"BetterUp plays a crucial role in our organization by enabling our employees to effectively process strategic changes and identify the potential opportunities within them. Additionally, the data serves as a guiding light, showing us the key behaviors we must continue to enhance to maximize the company's overall impact."

— Victoria Furlan, People Development Manager
Image of Whole Person Model in tablet and mobile v4

2.3x ROI on retention alone

An Outcome Study was conducted to evaluate the ROI of Smallpdf's investment with BetterUp. The results show that employees working with a BetterUp Coach had 6x stronger retention. The ROI on retention alone was €356k. 

BetterUp data show that employees grew significantly in dimensions correlated with retention: 18% in Optimism, 7% in Stress Management, and 2% in Belonging. 

When discussing the program's impact on retention, Carlota Alcázar Antràs, vice president of people, says it's important to put this in context with the 34% increase in resilience employees achieved. "A weekly check-in helps to change your mindset if you are not in a great mood. In larger moments of challenge and anxiety, coaching helped people navigate change and all the emotions that come with it."

BetterUp Impact


ROI on retention alone






Coaching Skills

Improved performance

BetterUp Coaches helped people with skills like communication, focus, and agility to the point where managers could see a notable improvement. Employees who went through the program also saw gains in better performance reviews and earned 1.7x more promotions

Victoria Furlan, people development manager, credits part of this progress in personal development to BetterUp's Whole Person Model Assessment™ and the self-awareness it gives people, helping them to hone the skills they need to improve to be more productive and effective.

Managers as coaches

Managers with BetterUp coaches also drove more team effectiveness, with direct reports earning better performance reviews and more promotions. 

It was important for the people team at Smallpdf for managers to act like coaches to ensure they helped people see change with a new perspective and seize opportunities. "BetterUp gives our managers the double benefit of improving their leadership skills, but also experiencing coaching firsthand, which gives them a great reference point for how they should coach their team," shares Furlan. Employees grew their coaching skills by 26%, helping to foster self-efficacy among all levels of the organization. 
“Coaching helped me empower my team to own projects, and I learned to offer coaching instead of solutions. I am more comfortable with uncertainty and more resilient to change.”
— Smallpdf Manager

Data drives decisions

In addition to an overall 14% boost in performance, more effective leadership, and increased retention, real-time data helped the people team at Smallpdf increase their capacity and capabilities. Development plans are created, and issues are worked out with individual coaches who know each employee on a personal level. With the knowledge of their passions, goals, and growth, coaches prompt insightful reflection that takes context and strengths into account so each person gets custom support. 

Both Alcazar Antras and Furlan note that the data BetterUp proactively shares is one of the reasons why the company keeps investing in the platform. The ability to break down data by specific skills enables them to measure skill development at scale and refine their people strategy when needed.

"With BetterUp, we have an exceptionally skilled team backing us, enhancing our ability to support employees in having transformative learning experiences. We rely on their data-driven insights to make informed decisions and continually improve our approach. The relationship with BetterUp serves as a reference for what can be achieved when a partnership is strong" says Furlan.


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