Benefits of a Learning Management System
If you expect the best from your employees, it’s important to give them the tools to succeed. HR teams nationwide recognize this and have looked for ways to foster growth and development, and ultimately employ an engaged workforce. In fact, 83% of respondents in the 2019 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey said that one of their top priorities is to establish staff training and development programs; interestingly, this was also cited as a top HR challenge.
Taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic and the innumerable difficulties this has brought to businesses, you may be uncertain how to move forward with or prioritize training initiatives as you look toward recovery. You’re certainly not alone: a recent Paychex snap poll of business owners found that top reopening concerns include an inability to provide remote workers with technology tools (26%) and training (21%).
Managers and HR teams looking for ways to provide value to their employees, improve worker engagement, and build professional skills – all critical factors in rebuilding efforts – may want to consider the advantages of implementing an online learning management system (LMS) into their HCM strategies.
What is a learning management system?
An LMS is a versatile and flexible e-learning application that businesses can use to plan, implement, and assess specific learning processes. Often web-based, an LMS allows instructors to develop and deliver content, monitor students' participation, and assess their performance. LMSs also often offer students interactive features, such as video conferences and discussion forums. Product offerings vary, from the basics of a topic to in-depth training and extensive learning libraries.
An LMS helps organizations manage the entire learning process: registration, course administration, tracking students' progress, keeping educational records, and assessing participants' performance. Because most LMSs are cloud-based, administrators can complete these tasks anywhere they have online access.
At its basis, an LMS provides education and development resources for today's workplaces. More broadly, online training initiatives can provide utmost value when they help address other larger key issues that can impact an organization.
Provides opportunities for learning when it is most convenient for learners
An online application eliminates the need to pull employees away from their work for training sessions. Ensuring that training can happen at a time and place that works best for employees gives them a higher chance at successfully reaching their learning goals.
Breaks the geography barriers that exist with a remote workforce
Because an LMS is cloud-based and mobile-friendly, students can access an LMS on any internet-enabled device. Whether you have employees temporarily working from home due to the coronavirus or regularly have staff members on the road, this makes an LMS particularly advantageous.
Lowers the cost of training programs
There are considerable costs to account for when sending workers to a training course or bringing an instructor onsite. On top of that, these options may not even be feasible right now with travel bans and work-from-home policies in place. Alternatively, an LMS offers the mutually beneficial advantage of providing affordable development and learning tools that are still accessible to your workforce, even during a major business disruption.
How an LMS can serve many industries and employees
Because an effective learning management system can be customized based on business priorities, any industry and worker can benefit from an LMS. These may include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
Staff training for both employees and managers can be completed and maintained within an LMS. Courses are usually aimed at developing staff skills or as a requirement for advancement in the company.
Medical organizations, engineering, and the financial services industry are among those using an LMS to meet members' requirements for compliance training, licensing, or continuing education requirements.
Business people seeking “crash courses” in accounting, marketing, sales, writing, and other valuable skills can find value in an LMS.
Hobbyists and self-learners
Those wanting to share their skills and knowledge can use an LMS to offer modules on general-purpose subjects, such as customer service or sales.
Benefits of an LMS
Today's employers face several challenges when it comes to supporting and actively engaging the diverse learning styles of their employees. By acknowledging that each employee may have a different path to learning, companies can provide options that work for everyone. Whether you have staff members across geographic locations, already have an established policy for remote work, or have employees temporarily working from home due to COVID-19, cloud-based learning is particularly useful in supporting ongoing training and development. An LMS can house a variety of training materials online and help you overcome common challenges to implementing such a company-wide initiative.
Employee motivation and engagement
An LMS can be customized to your company's specific onboarding procedures, engagement goals, and retention strategies. It’s also important that companies acknowledge that each employee has different career goals and needs individual development. Today's employees are increasingly seeking opportunities to learn on the job, and taking the initiative to advance their careers.
Hiring and retaining qualified employees
Top employees want to know a company is interested in investing in their future. Not only can an LMS be a great recruiting and retention tool, but it can also help fill jobs in-house by expanding current employees' skill sets and allowing them to move up to more challenging positions.
When employees can choose when they want to complete training, this can save both time and money compared to other options such as paying for an outside training company. Self-pacing also helps avoid scheduling conflicts by permitting employees to complete training at a time that is convenient for them.
Uniformity in training, learning, and culture
An LMS is a great way to offer standardized training programs developed specifically with your company's mission and goals in mind. The learning management system can help maximize the funds spent on training and development, and ensure that development opportunities are extended to all employees.
Invest in what's important to your business
An LMS gives you the ability to create content and skill-specific courses. This can range from reinforcing soft skills (i.e. conflict resolution) to highly technical areas, or the development of industry-specific expertise.
Features most learning management systems include
Depending on your employees' training preferences and business goals, an LMS can offer a range of educational features, from basic courses to a comprehensive learning library. When evaluating a learning management system, focus on features that offer employees a range of opportunities to learn, while still reinforcing programs that best fit your organizational needs.
The size, budget, and goals of your organization are obvious factors that will determine what type of LMS is right for your staff. To help guide your decision-making further, some of the most robust learning management systems may include the following features.
Reporting and analytics dashboard
This feature consolidates students' progress data for a big-picture view of the organizational learning curve.
Skills gap analysis
Some learning systems provide pre-course assessments to identify students' learning goals, allowing developers to design content according to participants' knowledge base.
This system feature allows group learners to share applications or documents, follow discussion threads, and exchange knowledge and questions.
360-degree reviews and feedback loops
The LMS permits instructors to assess student performance, and students can give teachers feedback or suggestions.
An effective LMS is built with end-users of all of abilities with online tools in mind. This includes easy navigation and an intuitive interface to help them along the way.
For administrators and supervisors, some LMS features also include the ability to:
- Upload existing online courses
- Create new materials directly within the LMS
- Enhance content by easily importing video from sites like YouTube and Vimeo, as well as third-party content from other providers
Prioritizing employee development and learning even during uncertain times
Once you have an understanding of learning management system features and benefits, along with key performance gains that can be linked to staff training and development, you may want to consider offering these tools as you consider your business’s future. Despite the current challenges you may be facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an employee learning program can actually be key in your business’s recovery. It has the potential to increase your staff’s value to the company, help them feel more engaged, and work within the parameters of your budget. If you're ready to provide effective and versatile e-learning opportunities to your employees, Paychex has an LMS that can fit your needs. Our human resource professionals can also help you tailor an affordable system that meets your objectives.