Does the idea of training employees seem like a real headache? • Are you concerned about the amount of time you spend on internal training? • Can you track the quality of your internal training? • Do you have a training superstar or someone that is really good at onboarding new employees that you wish you could clone? • Do you wish you had a way of re-training existing employees or adding in some formal ongoing training? • Have you had a recent Workers’ Comp claim and realize a formal training program could save you tens of thousands of dollars?
Use a Learning Management Platform
A great solution to performing super effective internal training is by using a Learning Management System (LMS). Now, before I go any further I want you to know that I don’t work for any LMS software company and I’m not even going to recommend one. There is no one-size-fits-all solution out there anyway…
An LMS is like having an online school course curriculum custom made for your organization infused with your culture, your rules, your systems, your language and focused 100% on your way of getting work done. Sounds great, right? With an LMS, you can control exactly what you are teaching your employees and ensure that they are actually learning. Yes, there can be tests and even interactions between students and existing employees / managers.
Many industries are required to use training videos and generic content to meet very specific requirements. An LMS unleashes much more potential because you are able to bring strategic content to your training programs. You may still need to use the boring OSHA or safety videos, but you can add in specific modules that speak more clearly to the kind of work you perform. If you build steel buildings for example, you need training modules that cover the safety gear and policies you actually use. Sure, ladder safety has to be covered, but what about the safety items that you are most concerned about?
Train New Hires and Your Existing Workforce
One of the really great things about an LMS is that it isn’t just useful for training new employees. An LMS is a super-tool for ongoing training. Let’s say that you are going to be implementing a new technology, product, tool or compliance / corporate policy initiative. Do you bring everyone together for multiple training sessions? What if some of your employees miss the training? What if some of them are tired or zoned out or worried about a project they are in the middle of? Do you just send an email with the new information and hope that everyone pays attention?
An LMS allows you to create ongoing educational content and track the progress of your employees as they work through it. Let’s take implementing a new software technology for your organization as another example. You’ll need to train on many levels, including the vision of what the software will do for the organization, the implementation timeframe, how to log into the application, how to get support, how soon any old software applications will be turned off, what to do if… scenarios and of course how to actually use the software. Although training on the software itself will be provided by the vendor, there will be a need for ongoing training and how to use the software “your way.”
Track Learning Progress
You will be able to track your employee’s progress through learning all the different levels of the new software. You can create different educational tracks for the different departments or functions of your organization. Depending on the size of your organization, you can allow managers to track their employee’s progress or you can assign one person to track your company’s progress as a whole.
If you notice employees are struggling to complete a certain section of the training or if training just isn’t happening, you have the ability of ensuring success by identifying problems or bottlenecks before they become an issue.
All of these things can be built into your LMS and will be useful to not only every existing employee but useful for training all new employees.
Why Traditional Training Isn’t Good Enough
I’ll outline some common traditional training methods and give you some questions to think about regarding each one. The answers to these questions will provide a basis for whether or not an LMS is a good fit for your company.
Video / TV Training
- Do you sit new employees in front of a TV or computer monitor and then send them out on the Job? These videos are often generic, boring and at best only closely related to your industry rather than being a perfect fit.
- Sure, they may make you “compliant” but do they really offer measurable value to your company?
- Do you know how much of the video content employees are actually retaining?
- How quickly can you change the content of your safety videos?
- Do you gather your workers around a Foreman or Supervisor for frequent training?
- How do you track this training?
- How do you know that the training is adequate?
- Is your Foreman or Supervisor a good teacher?
- Can you quantify how much of the training information your workers retain?
- Do you know if the training is really happening?
- Can you accurately analyze incidents or close calls and compare them with your toolbox meeting topics and attendance records?
On the Job Training
- Do you throw new workers into their daily workload and trust them to absorb what they need to know?
- Do you count on coworkers being friendly, available and capable to teach?
- Do you use a follow-me approach and assign an existing worker to your new hire and allow your new workers to learn on their own through observation?
- Does your on the job training positively convey your company culture?
- Are you able to “show” your new hires everything they need to know to be successful?
- Can you track whether or not the correct information is being taught or retained?
- Do you know how long it takes to fully train a new employee?
Training by Email
- Do you send out emails with new company policies with a read receipt request or an acknowledgement requirement?
- Do you email out links to new product documentation?
- Do you email out regular newsletters identifying new risks or opportunities you want your employees to be aware of?
- Do you know how much time employees spend reading your emails or if they actually read them?
- Do you ever worry that your emails may contain proprietary information that could be leaked?
- Do you close up shop for part of a day and bring all your employees together for training sessions?
- If you train over multiple sessions, is the material always the same?
- Are relevant questions and answers provided to all employees regardless of what session they attend?
- Do you offer make-up sessions for employees that weren’t able to attend?
- Are the actual dollars you spend for these training sessions worth the investment?
- Can you track how well these training sessions work?
- Are answers to common questions added to future training sessions?
- How do new employees get the benefit of previous training sessions?
- How often do you update in-service training content?
Stop Creating Dead-End Content
The crucial problem with the traditional training methods above is that you are creating dead-end content. You train over and over and expend immense amounts of energy, money and time without compounding your efforts or increasing quality or consistency.
A Learning Management System will transform your dead-end training content.
Create a dynamic training program that will keep pace with your company’s growth. Your training will become trackable and will provide reportable data. You will cultivate and create super-star employees who are infused with your company culture and the nuances of why your company is better than the competition.
Do you want to turn training opportunities into a continuous improvement machine that continues to work for you day after day? If you are sold on the idea of implementing an LMS, there are five crucial steps to perform before going any further. These steps require careful and methodical planning.
The five crucial steps to perform before choosing an LMS
- Write down the details of all of your current training programs – who / when / why / where, etc.
- Gather all your existing training content together
- Document the critical workflows each department / employee performs
- Design training tracks by position or responsibility
- Assimilate all relevant training and workflow documentation into modules that align with each training track
These steps are a lot of work but the information you create is critical for choosing the best Learning Management System for your company.