Every organization needs to train its employees, whether new or experienced. New staff members need to learn the ropes. Experienced employees taking on new responsibilities or getting promoted may need to learn new skills. You may need training courses or just learning materials that employees can peruse at their leisure. An Learning Management System or LMS, can help your organization not only provide those but also strategically manage employee learning to maximize potential.
What Is an LMS?
LMS stands for learning management system. This type of software is a tool that organizations can use to manage training and learning opportunities. Some LMS platforms offer pre-made courses that you can choose from while others enable you to create your own. Some may do both.
An LMS doesn’t just guide learning, it also helps you to manage your learning and training strategy. Reports and analytics can demonstrate where gaps in knowledge may lie. An LMS system may also function as a knowledge database so that no skills are lost if an employee chooses to move on.
What Is the Purpose of an LMS?
The primary purpose of a learning management system is to provide learning resources and track progress through those resources. Companies without an LMS may already have methods for disseminating training resources, but they are likely not as robust and they may be missing out on the strategic benefits of LMS tracking.
Training and Onboarding
Whenever you onboard new employees, you’ll need to ensure that they’re well-trained for their new positions. You can use an LMS to set up training modules for a specific position as well as by department. Some knowledge may be needed by a wider base of staff members while other information may be more specific to a certain role.
An LMS can also help with identifying who is eligible for promotion. You can earmark certain skills as required for a higher-level position and then use the tracking features to monitor which employees have completed those courses. The LMS notification system can even alert managers when staff members have completed learning modules.
Identify Skill Gaps
By tracking the skills and knowledge of each employee, you can also learn where your organization may have gaps. You can fill these gaps by either offering additional training opportunities for existing employees or by hiring someone with those skills.
An LMS can also function as a centralized repository of all of your company’s knowledge. Employees can access it at any time either for reference or to improve their skills. The LMS can also be used to preserve knowledge in the event that an employee leaves the organization.
With a learning management system, it’s easier for employees to complete training modules on a staggered basis. This can benefit your organization’s scheduling because you won’t have to have a large number of your staff all out of work at the same time.
How Does an LMS Work?
An LMS typically functions as a centralized database where managers can upload learning content. Some may offer built-in courses that you can choose from. Employees can then log into their accounts and access those learning materials and complete training courses. Administrators can determine which courses are required for a specific job or department. Tracking features then show who has completed what.
Step 1: Create Training Courses
LMS software may come with pre-made courses that you can use, but these may not be exactly what your organization needs. Most LMS platforms allow you to create your own courses and customize the system to suit your learning needs. These courses can be specific to certain jobs or more general for anyone in a certain department.
Step 2: Train Employees
Once your training courses are in place, it’s time for your employees to start learning. You can identify which courses are necessary for an employee to learn for their own job or to be eligible for a promotion. Having all of the training courses in one place means that employees can complete them at their own pace.
Step 3: Track Employee Learning
A learning management system keeps track of what courses employees have completed and which they haven’t. You can use this information to see who’s ready for promotion, who needs more training, and where there may be gaps in knowledge within a department or across the board.
Step 4: Improve Training Strategy
Your LMS should provide regular reports that you can use to improve your organization’s training strategy. No strategy is perfect and your organization’s needs will change over time. Analytics from your LMS can help you to adjust your training and learning strategy as you go.
Why Is an LMS Essential?
If you haven’t already been using an LMS, you may be wondering why it’s necessary. Some organizations may just not know what they’re missing. Others may believe that training employees is a risk because they may leave, wasting the company’s investment. An LMS is essential to the success of a company, however, and those who aren’t using one may be losing out to competitors who are.
What happens if your organization puts a lot of time and money into training an employee and then they leave, taking those skills with them to another company? While this is a reasonable concern, it’s not actually that great of a risk. This is because employees tend to invest in a company what the company invests in them. A company that cares enough to train employees beyond the bare minimum will actually see a reduction in turnover as employees stay loyal to the company that invested in them.
Employees who have more training are able to better do their jobs. They also feel more invested in their positions and are more engaged. This, in turn, increases productivity twofold because your employees will be more skilled as well as more invested in their work.
Learning Is Consistent
All of your employees should have the same onboarding experience. This includes training. Employees who are working in the same position or in the same department will need to have the same types of knowledge. Using an LMS can help to ensure that your staff members are all accessing the same information and will have the right skills.
Save Both Time and Money
While an LMS is an investment, it can save you time and money overall. In-person training can be expensive and might take your workforce away from their jobs all at once. With an LMS, each employee can complete courses at a staggered pace. Other benefits, such as increased productivity and reduced turnover can save money over time.