LMS for employee training: a buying guide for growing companies

Published on
November 11, 2020

Life at a scaleup or growing company can be somewhat chaotic. New locations, new product launches and new talents join the organization. Although exciting, the company is soon faced with new challenges, such as rapid onboarding for new roles and team structures. Scaling your employee training programs along with your business is therefore essential for continued success.

Having supported many of our customers on their growth journeys, we have identified 3 important milestones. Each with challenges that reflect the company's maturity. For those looking to buy an LMS to structure onboarding and scale learning initiatives, we have gathered learnings and recommendations for each phase.

Early scaleup

At the initial stage of the growth phase, your business is finally starting to take off. New talents are hired to help meet the growing demand and fuel the ambitious growth plans. A large part of your workforce now consists of new employees. Yet, there is no established Human Resources (HR) or Learning & Development (L&D) function to manage the new employee onboarding.

For the first time, your company is considering a formalized onboarding program. This is an essential part of getting your new workforce up to speed. The implementation usually falls on line managers or colleagues within business, commercial or operations. These departments usually lack training experience and find it challenging to manage employee onboarding. Especially alongside the many other day-to-day tasks.

What to prioritize?

  • Clear and defined learning goals. Specify what your organization wants to achieve through training.
  • Structured learning resources. This will save time and prevent you from starting over each time a new talent joins. Aim to curate onboarding resources based on job roles and divisions, etc.
  • Keep administration to a minimum. Free up as much time as possible by automating onboarding-related administration. This allows managers to focus on the core business and their main tasks.
  • Get the most out of your LMS. Use the product onboarding offered by your LMS provider to help you get started and maximize the value.
  • Get into learning design. Consult experts for an introduction into basic learning design principles. If your organization lacks in-house expertise, source it externally. Or why not use course templates?
  • Roll out one learning initiative at the time. It is easy to feel over-ambitious and underestimate the time and effort required. We suggest making course creation a step-by-step process.

To support future growth, prepare to allocate more time and resources into L&D initiatives. Either from your internal capacity, or through hiring dedicated HR staff.

Scaleup

As your company continues to grow, the need for a dedicated HR and L&D function can no longer be ignored. Onboarding new talents simply takes up too much of your organization’s resources. Hiring your first Head of People & Culture becomes an important milestone. With it comes high ambitions to kick-start plenty of new skills development initiatives. As a larger employer, it is time to start building a learning culture to remain competitive and attractive as a workplace.

Juggling HR tasks with onboarding and skills development, your HR function finds the operations challenging.

What to prioritize?

  • (Re)evaluate your learning goals. Ensure that your organization is on the right track towards achieving its learning objectives. If not, what is required to move forward? Define an action plan and set up potential new goals.
  • Build an internal academy. Once having an onboarding framework in place, build an internal academy to encourage further skills development. Accessible learning resources promote self-driven development. Let your employees take ownership of their development.
  • Involve the entire organization. While some training needs to happen on HQ level, local and departmental aspects are essential to your L&D strategy. Take some workload off HR and leverage internal knowledge by delegating training responsibilities. Let the local expert contribute to your course offering and assign line managers to administer and follow up on team training.
  • Keep administration to a minimum. Streamline processes by setting up automated workflows. This allows your HR department to expand its L&D initiatives and focus on the broader People & Culture matters.

As the company continues to grow, prepare for further L&D investments, such as dedicated L&D staff to manage the operations.

Mature scaleup

Employee training is starting to pay off. Your organization now has a structured onboarding program supporting employee introduction and growth. There has also been recent developments into some further skills development. At this point, you are ready to make more L&D investments. Your organization’s goal is to build a thriving learning culture.

To meet this goal, your organization has most likely hired a dedicated L&D Manager to administer the training-related operations. Together with the Head of People & Culture, they have the capacity to implement learning initiatives in a structured and methodical manner.

What to prioritize?

  • Build a learning culture. Make learning organic and integrated into the corporate culture. Encourage peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, as opposed to top-down only.
  • (Re)evaluate your learning goals. Ensure that your organization is still on course towards achieving its learning objectives.
  • If not, what is required to move forward? Define an action plan and set up potential new goals.
  • Customized and targeted training. Ensure that your L&D strategy meets internal needs, individual requests and the external business landscape. Build a customized course workflow based on job roles, departments or career objectives.
  • Involve the entire organization. Combine company-wide training with local and departmental coaching. Distribute the workload and leverage internal knowledge by delegating training responsibilities. Invite subject matter experts and line managers to contribute to, administer and follow up on training.
  • Encourage further skills development. Build and develop an internal academy for further skills development. An accessible and inspiring course catalog promotes self-driven learning opportunities. Become an attractive employer and allow your colleagues to take ownership of their development.
  • Use learner analytics to make data-driven decisions. Optimize the learning experience and address skills gaps based on employee feedback and course results.
  • Streamline processes to maximize output. Automated workflows save valuable time. This allows your organization to scale its L&D initiatives and focus on broader People & Culture matters.

Just as your company evolves, the need for employee training changes throughout the company life cycle. With a growing workforce comes new challenges and employee expectations which put your company to the test. It is thus important to grow your L&D initiatives along with your business.

Spare your organization the hassle of swapping solutions each time your organization faces a new situation (which, to be fair, happens quite regularly!). Instead, choose an LMS that you can grow with and rely on - every step of your journey.

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