Discovering Hidden Business Value in Your LMS

Discover Hidden Business Value

The most obvious reason for needing an LMS is the ability to create, deliver, and track training courses. Did you know your LMS can do more than that?

Successful Training Leaders Know the Secret

To successful training departments, it’s no secret that your LMS can be used for more than just courses. They view their LMS as a platform and use it to address both training and non-traditional-training activities. Successful training managers avoid the curse of “that’s not a training problem”. One secret to avoiding that curse is letting go of your pre-conceived notions of training as defined by instructional design schooling. You may have started your career learning how to design effective training courses, but in today’s business climate you need to add business value to achieve success. You need to look beyond the course.

One common training request is a typical compliance requirement. Often the requirement is that companies prove that employees have read a policy document. Many training traditionalists meet this request with horror and frustration. The immediate response is to “push back”. There are certainly many training requests that require clarifying questions, but this is not one of them. In the eyes of the person making the request, this is not a complicated request. Armed with the right LMS your response is easily “Absolutely! We’ll have it published and communicated by the end of the day”.

But before we look at how let’s look at why, and consider an alternative. We could push back, or even just say no. Often we followup no with which department should be handling this type of non-training solution. And for checking the compliance box let’s imagine sending it to the marketing department. After all, they have the email tracking system. They could simply send a blast email to all employees, track who opens that email, as well as who clicked the link. BOOM! Problem solved…right?

Maybe, but we’ve given up an opportunity to show value, and given up a valuable opportunity for employees.

Employees See Things Differently

We all enjoy the feeling of accomplishment no matter how small the task. When you leave documents online and just expect employees to find it they are left not knowing who will care that they read it. Even if the email marketing system is used for this purpose you lose a valuable opportunity for employees. We all love to check the done box on our todo lists. Including this task as part of their overall training and learning opportunities within the company has more value to them than you might think.

Most employees, and Internet users in general, have no idea how the technology works. Many don’t even know email and links can be tracked. In a 21st century workplace employees like to see their data. Engaging with your marketing department to email important docs is a great way to track “opens”, and “link clicks”. But that’s where the value ends. Now that data point is in a different system. Why jump through the hoops of another department when the system you have can get the job done…and so much more?

Let’s just say you don’t care or you don’t have time for this request. The email marketing solution is good enough, and you still want to go that route. There are a few minor issues that you will need to deal with.

  1. The marketing department personalities and politics.
  2. Trusting a marketing employee, responsible for the email tracking system, has the time and desire to help you.
  3. Getting approvals to access to the email marketing system.

And there’s probably more, but you get the idea. Why own the responsibility but defer the solution to another department? Or worse, give up the opportunity to add value by sending the requestor to another department? Here’s what you lose.

  1. Control over the data
  2. The respect of the person making the request
  3. An opportunity for employees to track their own accomplishments

When training departments are already fighting for respect, the last thing you want is for other department heads, and employees to see you as the bad guy. Using someone else’s systems for solving business problems can also be a perception issue against you. And when you train leadership, through your actions, to see the value of one system(email marketing) over another(training) they may (even just subconsciously) begin to place more value on the former.
Most importantly you risk taking away your employees ability to track and monitor themselves. They not only lose the immediate gratification of finishing a task, but they have no record of its completion. There is no way for employees to have a record of their accomplishment if that record is being held in the marketing system.

Using your LMS

Employees see the training department and its systems as the place for tracking their progress while employed at the company. Their profile becomes an extension of who they are. A gamified LMS gives them a system to measure themselves against their peers as well.

The next time you are asked to “train” employees on a policy employees just need to read, and their is little concern if it’s understood, then put it in your LMS. And yes, it will be listed as a course, and that’s okay. Even if that’s an issue that goes against your belief in what training is, it’s not an issue for your employees. Your LMS is a platform to provide business solutions. Take every opportunity to do so.

Use your LMS to create a course where the first module explains what it is expected of the employee and why. If the expectation is simply that they have accessed a policy document then tell them so. Put the policy document or a link to the document in the next module so that you have accurate tracking. This gives you the same data that the email marketing system would give you, but you have avoided confusion, boosted your team’s value to the business, and given your employees feeling of accomplishment, the comfort of knowing its tracked as training, and the fun of adding to their game score.

Ask yourself, “what else can we use our LMS platform for besides courses”? Let me know what you come up with @litmos.