Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar to you…
It started with a few employees who needed training, so you created a spreadsheet to keep track of everything. Over time, more employees were hired, and more training was needed. And your spreadsheet continued to grow and grow. And grow.
And you found yourself asking – is there a better way? Do I need LMS software?
It’s a great question with an unclear answer because every organization will have different goals and different needs. It all boils down to how much energy it takes to manually keep track of the training information, and how many employees you are dealing with. Because while an LMS will provide value to some, it is not a fit for everyone.
To understand better which category you fall into, read through this list of factors that will impact your decision on whether an LMS is right for you or not. There may be other factors that apply to you that aren’t included, but for now, consider these:
Find the Right Training Mix Training programs can be delivered in a variety of ways and finding the most efficient and effective option is important. In-class or in-person training works well in many instances, and online or virtual training may work better for others. Choosing the best option will reduce both the financial cost as well as the human capital required.
Secure Data Storage Safe data storage means not having your safety information live solely on a laptop or hard drive. Cloud storage is affordable and safe and provides a true peace of mind solution to your training recordkeeping security.
Repeatable, Consistent Training Is your training program repeatable? Does it offer the same value every time you deliver it? Consistency can be a problem for some organizations when delivering orientation or upskill training.
Training Progress Tracking As the size of your company grows, it can become more and more difficult to effectively track the training progress of all your employees. It can be both time consuming and confusing. Finding a solution will reduce a significant amount of stress.
Regulatory Compliance Government or industry regulations often require proof of compliance. Develop a system for providing this documentation to improve your workflow efficiency.
Return on investment The cost of a spreadsheet will be much less than the cost of purchasing an LMS. However, don’t forget to factor in the time it takes for someone (you?) to manually track and enter all the information versus the added efficiency that an LMS can offer.
Convenience Allowing flexibility for employees to take their training can increase engagement. For example, smaller sessions offered instead of a day long course may result in better engagement and retention for staff.
You may find other important factors for your specific situation. This, however, should give you a good start when evaluating your training and recordkeeping needs.
How does an LMS help me?
An LMS, or learning management system, will help with the delivery of online training courses, the management of data collection and storage, and tracking training course enrollment and completions. Some LMS systems will also provide access to pre-designed courses in addition to allowing you to create your own customized training materials.
A quick google search will display endless LMS options. No two systems are the same, and all have strengths and weaknesses. For example, some are great options for enterprise-level organizations (universities, large companies), while some are better suited to niche industries. If you decide to explore what an LMS can do for you, spend time researching different options and participating in product demos to find a system that works best for you.
Do I really need an LMS?
Though it may offer value to some, LMS software will not benefit everyone. Many, if not all, of the main roles of an LMS, can be accomplished using existing software, free services, and a little ingenuity.
Spreadsheet programs, such as Excel or Google Sheets, are very commonly used for employee training tracking.
OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud or any online storage solution will allow you to access your information from anywhere, and keep your files stored safely off-site
YouTube is a great option for uploading and sharing content you have created, such as training videos that your staff need access to
Screen capture software is easy to find and generally inexpensive. Adding voice overs requires only a quiet room and a simple microphone (your computer most likely already has one).
Elbow grease. With a bit of strategic planning and a willingness to work at keeping your information up to date, it’s possible to successfully track employee information.
Is now the time to find an LMS?
Every company will have a different answer to this question. Individual scenarios, unique corporate structures, and varying company sizes all play into the decision. As a general rule of thumb, organizations with more than 50 employees often find it beneficial to use some sort of LMS software. Beyond this number, it often becomes difficult to manage the training records effectively.
For smaller companies, the decision can be tricky. An LMS can help make training program delivery and maintenance easier, though the cost may be prohibitive. In other cases, the cost will be reasonable, especially when compared to the loss of productivity in the event of an injury due to a lack of training.
Organizations with 50 or more employees are more likely to see financial savings by utilizing an LMS. It takes a lot more resources to manage the training and recordkeeping for hundreds of employees. LMS software inherently includes popular tools like automated notifications on upcoming expirations, assigning training individuals as well as groups of employees, and powerful reporting capabilities.
The most valuable resource you have at your disposal is your time, and what you choose to do with it. Perhaps an LMS will provide you with more time to tackle other projects. Or perhaps your resources are better spent elsewhere. Only you can decide.