It’s easy to get an HR department excited about training and development programs, but it can be harder to sell the idea to the rest of an organization. CEOs resist because it sounds expensive, workers resist because it sounds boring, and supervisors resist because it sounds like one more thing for them to manage. What if there’s a way to improve the planning process so that, when a training program begins, everyone is on board? The right kind of learning management system (LMS) helps to streamline processes, improve participation and increase engagement.
Instead of painfully nudging workers through one compliance course at a time, a learning management system consolidates learning content into a single system, easy to use and track. As wonderful as this sounds, not all LMSs are right for every organization’s needs. Finding the perfect fit can be done, but getting it just right takes careful thought, a collective, open mind, and buy-in from other departments.
Here are some things to consider at the outset of finding a learning management system and building a culture of learning at the office.
Choosing The Right LMS For Corporate Training
Broaden The Process
Training doesn’t only affect an HR department nor is it used for compliance issues only. It’s easy to get caught up in the needs of a single group within an organization, particularly when one department is tasked with the planning.
Instead, representatives from various learner and management groups should be included in the planning process. Consult the budget office, fulfillment centers, marketing, sales, anyone who may have potential use for the system should have a seat at the table. Choose committee members in whatever way makes sense for your business. Sitting across the table and working together can be challenging, but in the end, you’ll have a vision that will be bigger and better than the one you might have come up with on your own.
Clearly Define Organizational Goals
More isn’t always better. As your team begins putting together a wish list for training, the features tend to spiral into an unmanageable mess. The larger the must-haves grow, the fewer options will be available. If you are able to find a platform that includes every feature under the sun, odds are no one will be able to figure out how to use it when it is finally rolled out.
Instead, ask the question: What does success look like for our organization? Come up with a list of clearly defined, measurable goals. Then, determine what features you really need to make those happen. The right set of features for your organization is far better than an extensive list of features that weigh down the platform and grind the rollout to a halt.
Plan For The Future
Because it’s a huge financial investment and commitment for everyone involved, a learning and development plan needs to hold up for at least three to five years. Make sure your focus is on more than the present needs.
For example, most organizations are hyper-focused on virtual onboarding right now. It’s undoubtedly a pressing need, but what other requirements will come up down the road? Will your workers remain remote, or do you plan on transitioning back to the office? How do you plan on introducing new technology solutions? What skill gaps do you see in your workforce? How do you project your clients’ buying habits will change, and how can you adapt to that?
A successful training program should align with the future plans and goals of an organization as a whole.
Don’t Skip Steps
Before launching a training program, you need to have all of the pieces in place. Keep in mind that this is a significant change for everyone. People will be taking on new tasks, and there may be completely new roles introduced to facilitate your program. The ideal time to discover that your team isn’t ready to take on these new functions is before you purchase and implement a learning management system, not afterward.
Discuss who will take charge of each process upfront. Include plans for the rollout before you begin. You need workers to vet the training software thoroughly and ensure that all of the features work in the way each department needs them to. You need support staff in place to handle any glitches that arise. Think through each step and ensure your team is ready to make the shift.
Skip The RFP, Try A POC
The traditional process of bidding out software solutions can sometimes lead to a product that checks off boxes but doesn’t necessarily address the needs of end users. Once you’ve determined what you want, you can share this with vendors and find a solution that works for your organization. If possible, bypass the RFP process entirely and consider building a strong relationship with a vendor. Think of the software provider as a partner instead of a name on a spreadsheet. Through that partnership, you can work on a proof of concept (POC) that isn’t just a cookie-cutter product.
Working together on a strong POC has the added benefit of giving your whole team opportunities to weigh in throughout the process. In the end, you’ll have a learning management system that addresses the needs of everyone. If a learning management system is only planned for a single purpose, the final product will only solve a single problem. Expanding the scope to encompass the needs of your entire institution through meaningful discussions, clear goal setting, and remembering the details will give you a platform that truly supports a community of learning.