It’s not easy to be a small business these days. Social distancing has decimated some industries while others continue to search for ways to adapt without sacrificing service. When looking to trim expenses and generate revenue, there is one area that you shouldn’t cut back more than you absolutely must. That area is employee training.
The Financial Benefits of a Good Training Program
Washington State University’s Carson College of Business highlighted how training (or a lack of training) influences staff retention. Approximately 40% of employees who received poor or no job training end up leaving within their first year. This creates around $11 billion in annual losses due to turnover.
The cost is even higher when filling highly skilled job roles. Reports stated that losing employees in these roles cost 213% of the worker’s yearly salary.
A good training program will produce efficient employees that are happier on the job. It’s a recipe for higher productivity. Workers are better motivated and more likely to participate in projects, initiatives, and events.
Employee training also boosts a company’s reputation. Qualified job candidates are more likely to apply, which can further reduce hiring costs. It also encourages more consistency in customer service and other areas, which means a better experience for the people that pay your business.
An effective employee training program is a necessary component in a healthy, thriving company.
Do You Know What Your Training Program Needs?
Before implementing a new eLearning program, you must know what your company needs. This information will guide your decisions to suitable platforms and products, so you are less likely to pay for something that you don’t need.
You should first look to the near future. Consider what your team will need over the next one to three years. What are your pain points? Do you have any skill gaps that need to be filled? What problems does your LMS need to solve?
It’s important to remember that these needs can change, especially when it comes to growth. Scalability is a big plus that adds value. If your business begins to expand, you can continue relying on the training resources you already use when they can grow with you.
Create a list of anticipated use cases. Compare this to the features offered by the LMS you are considering. Make sure it can meet your expected demand.
Key Features for Your LMS
Today’s LMS platforms offer a diverse collection of features. This is overall a positive thing but can make it difficult to narrow down your options.
You shouldn’t pay more for features that you will never need. However, buying an LMS that can’t keep up with your business won’t do your budget any favors, either. The following list outlines general feature categories and what they can do for your business.
- Implementation Services
Some LMS providers include implementation services with their products. This may be built into the cost or available for an additional fee. If you are working with a complex system or simply want someone who knows what they are doing to help you get started, this is a good option.
What’s included may vary from one LMS to the next. In some cases, you may be given access to a dedicated account manager. In others, there may be self-guided or general customer support provided to assist.
If you choose a cloud-based LMS, then chances are you won’t have to do any installations. Many developers try to make their products as user-friendly as possible, which means you may be able to skip the cost of implementation services altogether.
Integration is another general area that can vary greatly from one LMS to the next.
Some platforms connect with a limited number of third-party apps while others support many. If you already use a service, make sure it is compatible with the LMS you plan to use. Also, consider future integrations. For example, if you don’t have one already, you may decide to add an HR system later. Choosing an LMS that’s easy to integrate will make this process much simpler.
- Mobile Access
Mobile access is another big benefit, especially for employees that need flexibility in their schedule. A time-strapped team will be more likely to work through training if they can do it from anywhere at any time. Mobile access can do just that.
A mobile-friendly LMS usually offers one of two options. Some have developed native apps for Apple or Android phones. Users can download the apps and access some or all the functionality of the full version.
In other cases, a cloud-based LMS may have a responsive design. That means it adapts to whatever size screen is viewing it. There’s no need to download a mobile app. The LMS will appear as it should on mobile devices just as it does on a PC or laptop.
- Hosting Options
Do you have the infrastructure in place to host your own servers or would you rather skip that expense?
The majority of LMS platforms lean toward cloud-based access. That means you don’t have to host it on-site. There’s no need to supply hardware like servers. And you don’t have to maintain servers to keep it running.
On the other hand, some businesses may need to have access to their own servers or may be concerned about security. In these cases, you should look for an LMS that allows local hosting. Just keep in mind that you will be responsible for the ongoing care and maintenance of your servers.
- Analytics and Reporting
Data drives decisions in a business. The more informed you are, the better your decisions will be. Make sure the LMS you choose includes the data and reporting tools that you are going to need on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
This isn’t just for productivity. It’s also necessary to measure the quality and success of your eLearning program. When you can see which courses are more likely to be completed and which aren’t, it can help you improve your class material. You can also identify skill gaps that need to be filled if your team is going to live up to its fullest potential.
- VR and AR Capability
VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) are relative newcomers to the industry, but they are making big waves. They can be used to create real-life situations without risking materials, people, or customers. It lets learners get hands-on experience in a safe, controlled environment.
Not every business is going to need the most advanced technology to create an effective training program. Some LMS platforms are already equipped with these or similar features, like simulations. Look for something that meets your needs without going beyond your budget.
Many businesses have found that gamification improves learner engagement. In its most basic form, this feature will turn activities and course material into a game. Points are usually awarded for completing tasks or reaching goals. This can put the learner on a leaderboard, generating a sense of friendly competition that keeps them going.
Some companies entice employees by allowing them to spend their points for perks and rewards. This could be a physical prize, a virtual badge, or something else like a paid day off. Most LMS platforms let the company decide how to set up the point system and rewards so it is completely customizable.
- Social Media
Social media makes eLearning more interactive. You can establish an internal social network that connects employees with their peers, trainers, and content experts within your organization. This also creates a space where questions can be asked and discussions can be held to share ideas and information.
- White Label Branding
White label branding refers to the ability to change the way your LMS looks. This feature allows the user to upload custom logos and change colors to make the interface match the company’s brand. This creates a more authentic experience for learners and makes eLearning courses feel like they truly belong to the business.
- This is another good feature to utilize when your training courses may be offered to customers, contractors, or outside business partners.
- LMS Support
Another major consideration to look at is how much support is included with an LMS. This usually ranges from basic email messages to live chat and phone support.
You need to know how to contact an expert in case of a bug or problem that you can’t solve on your own. It’s beneficial to find an LMS that also includes self-service options like a knowledgebase. That way, you can find answers to easier questions on your own without waiting for a response from a rep.
Is Your Business Losing Money on Your Training Program?
The right training program will help your business grow a skilled workforce. It allows you to be profitable and resilient as an organization. Even if you have a program in place, make sure it’s living up to its potential and isn’t costing you more than it should. The information listed above will help you get started. You can also check out LMS.org to read reviews of LMS platforms that cater to businesses of all sizes.