Still wondering about whether or not your potential decision to purchase an LMS is justified? Well, literally hundreds of thousands of corporations worldwide have made that very decision after having undergone the same type of analysis you may currently be undertaking. These corporations articulated numerous reasons for their subsequent LMS acquisitions, and here are what we view as the top 10 reasons behind their decisions:
Reason 1: Increase the accessibility of elearning
It’s one thing to have e-learning content, but it’s another thing to have a single, branded portal for e-learning delivery. In corporations without an LMS, elearning modules are haphazardly distributed, sometimes sent through email, sometimes residing in a shared folder which may later be accidentally deleted, and sometimes bookmarked on a website, with no rhyme or reason or taxonomy that delineates a hierarchy of courses and that links those courses to the end-user’s business role(s).
When you have an LMS, that problem is no longer an issue. Because an LMS by default provides “one-stop shopping” for your e-learning initiatives, it provides a single repository within which the e-learning is housed, and a single point of contact for learners to access that e-learning, through a designated portal. By having this single point of contact, the accessibility of e-learning is increased, and by increasing this accessibility, the probability of its being utilized by the learners will likewise be increased, further justifying your e-learning investment.
Reason 2: Reduce the tedium of training administration
Like any corporate initiative, rolling out a training program has its own set of overhead requirements. Managing instructors, equipment, and resources, not to mention dozens or hundreds of web-based training modules, and the performance of the learners in relation to those modules, is no easy task when it is done without an LMS. In fact, when it is done without an LMS, it’s a real-life administrative nightmare. The LMS streamlines these administrative concerns in one fell swoop, automating the administrative process with a virtual worker that handles these numerous details silently, without complaining, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Reason 3: Enable the creation of an integrated curriculum relevant to job roles
Behind every LMS resides a database, and anyone who is familiar with the concept of the database knows the power a database offers to empower management to pursue initiatives that were formerly unthinkable (due to their high cost). By being database-driven, the LMS not only provides a central point of administration, but by virtue of that centrality, is able to assign every user a unique identifier. Once the identifier has been linked to a job role, it then becomes trivially easy to create a training program that is customized for each role. The virtue of this customization is that it enables a curriculum that is integrated and completely on point with the tasks that are performed by your employees on a daily basis, and allows your business to manage the learning for your end-users, without the end-users having to navigate the system themselves and choose the learning that they guess — whether accurately or not — is appropriate. Thus, consistency and integrity is assured.
Reason 4: Improve compliance
In certain environments, such as hospitals and banks, compliance training is absolutely essential as an affirmative defense against negligence-based lawsuits. But it is one thing to offer training, and it is another thing to demonstrate it, and if you can’t demonstrate that the users have taken required training, then that affirmative defense is no longer available. That is where the LMS comes in. Through the monitoring and auditing capabilities that are built into its database, the LMS provides a consistent and verifiable record of training completion that can satisfy any judicial inquiry, and due to its presence, “head off at the pass” any potential lawsuits that might arise once word gets around that the corporation is exposed to risk because it cannot demonstrate compliance.
Reason 5: Provide visibility of job pathways
To reach a certain job competency level, a certain course of training is required, a course of training alternately referred to as a job pathway, learning pathway, or career path. But what training is required to satisfy that job role, and what are the holes in the learner’s competency arsenal around which a training program needs to be constructed? In this area, the LMS is extremely helpful, because it can provide job/role definitions, and then attach job requirements to those definitions, as well as a course of training linked to those job requirements. The learner will then be able to address whatever deficiencies are present to attain the competencies required for that role.
Reason 6: Improve employee on-boarding
In an economic environment where the annual turnover for all industries varies on a year-to-year basis between 10% and 15%, the average business can count on on-boarding over 10% of the workforce every year, and that is only if its workforce remains static. Of course, for growing businesses, that number can be much, much higher, with new hires constantly being recruited. But how are these new hires to be trained? For them there are a whole set of learning points that need to be digested, from office policies to job-specific related procedures to compliance regulations and everything in-between. With an LMS, you can streamline this on-boarding process, not only guaranteeing integrity by providing a verifiable record of the learning which has occurred (via a consistent curriculum), but also by reducing the amount of time the on-boarding process actually takes. Naturally, your new hires will take note of this professional approach, a not insignificant side benefit in employee retention, which takes us to our next point.
Reason 7: Improve employee retention
In a competitive business environment, it is not always possible to increase wages to improve employee retention. Luckily, there are other ways to make employees happier and provide them reasons to continue on. Wherever it can, the business should strive to provide these value-added “spiffs” for employees, because employees will be using these spiffs in their internal calculations regarding “should I stay or should I go?” Because the LMS provides the ability for learners to learn anywhere, anytime, employees can take advantage of that and do their training at their home, without having to come into the office. Allowing periodic “training days” at home saves the employee the trouble of having to commute to work, while still guaranteeing that the training is occurring because it is measured just as effectively from their home as their work environment. Furthermore, providing skills training for employees without their having to go to a university and pay for tuition, is also another significant benefit that gives the employee just one more reason to stay on.
Reason 8: Reduce training costs
Sending instructors from location to location is an inherently expensive way to do training; there are not only significant travel costs involved, but of course there is the time required for the instructor to actually do the training. In many cases, this training is done by a subject matter expert, who is paid for every instructional hour (including the preparation time). And, in many environments, training space needs to be rented, another key cost. The LMS, however, facilitates a move to web-based training and other virtual classroom technologies. Since it is less expensive to move bits around than bodies, the LMS provides an inherent cost reduction that provides payback day after day, year after year.
Reason 9: Make better business decisions
As noted earlier, the LMS is inherently a database-centric initiative. So, what data is the LMS gathering? All of the data related to training, including how many courses the learners are taking, how fast they completed the courses, how well they performed on the courses, the quality of the questions within the courses, and so forth. This mountain of data can then be synchronized with other analytics the business has gathered to determine the ROI for that training initiative.
For example, suppose that you run a retail store, and the average amount of scans per hour for your cashiers is 500. However, after a brief analysis you find out why this number is so low: the cashiers are not holding the items at the correct angle for the laser to read. You prepare a quick training video, and post it on your LMS, and have your 30 cashiers take the training. After the training, the number increases from 500 to 750. You can then synchronize those productivity numbers with the training cost, and then determine the ROI impact. With this information, you are better able to forecast future ROI opportunities in other areas of your business.
Reason 10: Improve Customer Satisfaction
It’s no secret, the primary interface your customers are going to have with your business is through your employees. But if your employees are not well trained, what kind of experience will your customers have? Here’s one example: have you ever driven up to a fast food restaurant, ordered, and then received something somewhat or completely different? Probably every month! And you weren’t too happy about it, were you? You’ve had this experience because those employees were not well trained, and you are exposed to examples of this deficiency on a daily basis. Think those businesses have an LMS? Probably not!
Of course, training is not just for employees, it can also be given to customers, and one way to improve customer satisfaction is to offer training programs for your customers, in areas of interest to them. It is just another way of bringing existing customers — and potential customers — to your website and making sure that they have positive experiences your competition won’t necessarily be offering.
So, there you have it, 10 reasons to deploy an LMS, if you haven’t done so already. With hundreds of thousands of LMS installations throughout the globe, it’s pretty apparent that these businesses know something, and a good part of what they know is contained in the article above. Of course, the best way to find out what an LMS can do for your business is to actually install one, and when you do that, you will start acquiring your own real-world data.