Human Resources

Choose an LMS: A Guide

October 18, 2023
6 minutes

Selecting the right learning management system (LMS) for your employees is a big deal. It's like picking the perfect tool to help your employees learn and grow on the job. But with so many options out there, it's crucial to think carefully about what your company really needs. You wouldn't buy a car without knowing if it fits your lifestyle, right? The same goes for your LMS. That's why you need to look at several important factors to make sure you're making a smart choice. We'll dive into these factors in this blog post to help you make an informed decision that benefits your company and its employees. So, let's get started and explore what to keep in mind when you're in the market for an LMS.

Company Goals and Objectives

The first level of analysis when it comes to choosing an LMS is to consider your company’s goals and objectives when it comes to employee learning and development. It is critical that the LMS of choice is aligned with driving your organization’s specific outcomes. 

Here are some examples of company goals and objectives that can be addressed with training and development:

Improved Employee Skills and Competencies

Objective: Enhance the skill set and competencies of employees to perform their roles more effectively. 

It might be a matter of upskilling existing skill sets or for employees to develop entirely new skills. For example, if a technology company is changing the language it codes in, their software engineers may need to learn new software languages. Or if a manufacturing company is upgrading their equipment.

Training Focus: Offer skill-specific courses or certifications that align with job roles and responsibilities. This will likely take the form of more focused and deep learning and development, like form content and courses.

Leadership Development / Succession Planning:

Objective: Develop a pipeline of future leaders within the company.

Training Focus: Leadership and management programs, coaching, and mentorship opportunities for high-potential employees.

Onboarding and Orientation

Objective: Ensure that new employees quickly adapt to the company culture and become productive team members.

Training Focus: Comprehensive onboarding programs that introduce new hires to company values, policies, and job expectations.

This is best addressed with Learning Pathways that can be packaged and assigned to people en masse. At the same time, new employees will also need their own targeted training that is relevant on a departmental or team level. As well as customized based on their existing skill set and background that they are bringing to the organization and role.

Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

Objective: Ensure that the company complies with industry-specific regulations and standards.

Training Focus: Compliance training to educate employees on relevant laws, regulations, and ethical guidelines.

Employee Retention and Engagement

Objective: Improve employee satisfaction and reduce turnover. This likely takes the form of helping employees thrive in their roles and develop into more advanced roles in the organization. If employees feel like they have a development path in an organization, they are less likely to leave.

Training Focus: Offer courses that help employees develop skills that are highly relevant to the organization and its needs. The courses should equip employees with the skills that will support their mobility, especially upward mobility, within the organization. 

For this consideration, it is wise to engage the departmental leaders and team leads in the conversation. They have a more direct view into the skills development goals of their people and the types of learning content that will help them grow in their roles and move upward into the more senior ones. This type of engagement and feedback will be critical to ensure the learning and development programs are actually engaging and helping employees stay at the organization over a long tenure because they have a clear growth path that is supported with highly relevant and targeted learning resources. 

Content Creation and Management

Content creation and management are vital aspects of a Learning Management System (LMS) because there will be instances when you need to develop your own organization-specific content to meet your unique training and development needs. 

Here are examples of scenarios where creating custom content is necessary:

  • Company-Specific Policies and Procedures - Your company will have unique policies, procedures, or processes that aren't covered by off-the-shelf training materials. Creating custom content allows you to address these specific requirements.
  • Product or Service Training - If your company offers services that are distinct or products that are designed and developed by you, you may need to create training content that covers their features, benefits, and usage.
  • Custom Onboarding Materials - When onboarding new employees, you may want to create content that introduces them to your company culture, values, and specific job expectations.
  • Industry-Specific Compliance - Certain industries have industry-specific compliance requirements that might not be adequately covered in standard compliance training materials. Custom content can help address these unique needs.
  • Role-Specific Training - Different job roles within your organization may require distinct training materials. Creating custom content allows you to tailor training to the needs of specific roles or departments.
  • Case Studies and Scenarios - Custom content can include case studies, real-world scenarios, and examples relevant to your company's industry or specific challenges employees may face.
  • Soft Skills Development - Soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving can be specific to your company's needs, and custom content allows you to address these areas effectively.
  • Values and behaviors - Custom content can be designed to help employees understand and develop the skills and behaviors expected of them.
  • Mandatory Safety Training - Safety training programs should be customized to reflect your company's specific safety protocols and regulations.

In these cases, creating custom content ensures that your training materials are tailored to your company's unique requirements, culture, and industry-specific needs. An effective LMS should provide you with tools and features to easily develop, manage, and deliver this custom content to your employees.

Integration with Existing Systems

Check if the LMS can integrate with your existing HR software, such as an HRIS (Human Resources Information System), for streamlined data management and reporting.

Here are some other systems you might want to integrate with your LMS and the benefits of doing so:

Skills Intelligence Systems

Benefits: Integrating with skills intelligence systems like tilr allows you to identify skills gaps and recommend the right courses to employees.

Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

Benefits: Integrating with your HRIS simplifies user management and reporting processes. It allows for automatic user provisioning and de-provisioning. It ensures that employee data, including job titles, departments, and contact information, is up-to-date in the LMS. 

Single Sign-On (SSO) and Identity Management Systems

Benefits: SSO integration allows users to access the LMS with a single set of credentials, streamlining the login process. It enhances security by ensuring consistent user authentication and reducing password-related issues.

Payroll Systems

Benefits: Integration with payroll systems can help in tracking and verifying employee training for payroll-related compliance, such as pay grade increases linked to completed training milestones.

Performance Management Software

Benefits: Linking your LMS with performance management systems enables you to align training and development with individual performance goals and assessments. This integration ensures that training efforts are directly tied to employee performance improvements.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

Benefits: Integration with a CMS can help manage and organize training content efficiently. It simplifies the process of updating and publishing content within the LMS.

Talent Management Systems

Benefits: Integration with talent management systems allows for a seamless flow of employee data related to recruitment, succession planning, and career development, ensuring that training aligns with talent strategies.

Learning Content Providers and Libraries

Benefits: Integration with external content providers or libraries can augment your internal training resources, providing a wider range of learning materials and reducing content creation costs.

Survey and Feedback Tools

Benefits: Integrating survey and feedback tools into your LMS allows for the collection of learner feedback, helping you improve the quality and relevance of training content and courses.

Onboarding and Offboarding Systems

Benefits: Integration with onboarding and offboarding systems ensures a smooth transition for new hires, including user access to the LMS and removal of access for departing employees.

Calendar and Scheduling Software

Benefits: Integrating with scheduling systems helps in organizing training events, webinars, and in-person sessions, making it easier for employees to access and enroll in training sessions.

Integrating with these systems helps you automate processes, reduce manual data entry, improve data accuracy, and provide a more cohesive and efficient training and development experience for your employees. It also allows you to make data-driven decisions and gain a deeper understanding of how training efforts impact your organization.

Other Factors to Consider

These are some additional elements to consider when choosing an LMS:

  • Scalability: Ensure that the LMS can accommodate your company's growth. It should be able to handle an increasing number of users, courses, and content as your organization expands.
  • Mobile Compatibility: If your employees want to learn on the go, mobile learning could be important.
  • Support and Training: Consider the level of support and training provided by the LMS vendor. You'll want a reliable support team to assist with any issues that may arise.

Making the Right Choice for Your LMS

Selecting the ideal Learning Management System (LMS) for your organization is not a decision to be taken lightly. It's about empowering your employees with the right tools to learn, grow, and excel in their roles. Much like choosing the perfect car to suit your lifestyle, picking the right LMS requires a thoughtful assessment of your company's specific needs and goals. The key lies in understanding your unique objectives and aligning them with the features and capabilities of your chosen LMS.

As we've explored in this blog post, considering factors like your company's goals and objectives, content creation and management, integration with existing systems, and more, can make the difference between a successful and a lackluster learning and development program. With the right LMS in place, you can take your training efforts to the next level, ensuring that your employees are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to contribute to your company's growth and success.

So, before you make that important decision, take the time to understand what your company truly needs. Like a well-tailored suit, your LMS should fit seamlessly, ensuring a productive, engaging, and customized learning experience for your employees. With these considerations in mind, you're on the path to making a smart, informed choice that will benefit both your organization and its valued workforce.

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