How to Choose a Corporate LMS
Emily Stifler Wolfe | 12 min read
Your business is growing, and you know it’s time to update your corporate training and development program.
Maybe you have a corporate learning platform that you’ve outgrown—its reporting system isn’t as powerful as you’d like, it doesn’t integrate with your other software, or your employees have simply lost interest. Maybe the pandemic prompted a switch from in-person training to digital, and you’re now realizing an LMS—that’s short for learning management system—would make everything from onboarding new employees to training current staff on new protocols more efficient. Or maybe you’re still rocking those old-school training printouts, and you’re finally considering a pivot to eLearning.
Whatever the reason you’re in the market, an LMS can help you develop, implement and track online learning. You can use this powerful tool to optimize onboarding to cut time to productivity, increase employee retention through professional development programming, and gain insight into your business via data analysis. Successful training can help your employees maintain the level of service you’re known for, even as you grow.
But your business is unique, and you want a learning platform that fits your specific needs. And with so many different types of corporate learning management systems, it can be hard to know which one to choose.
Here are six steps to help you choose an LMS that works for you.
1. Identify your company’s big picture goals.
Learning management systems for companies should support larger organizational goals. So, the first thing you need to do when shopping for an LMS is identify who your company is, and what your big picture goals are.
A fast-growing gourmet restaurant, for example, might say it’s a high-end restaurant group that aims to add new locations across a wide geographic region, while an innovative fitness company could be shooting to double its boutique locations each year over the next three years. Meanwhile, a high-growth tech start-up with a disparate and largely remote workforce may want to reduce the cost of onboarding and increase time to productivity.
Get out a pen and paper (or open a new computer window) and write yours down.
2. Determine what you want to get out of an LMS.
Training is integral to your company. But is your corporate learning and development program working as hard for you as it could? What would it take to get you there?
First, you need to determine what you want to get out of a corporate learning platform.
Do you need to train new hires? Track compliance? Improve customer service? Maybe you’re trying to reduce employee turnover and improve morale by building community and revitalizing company culture. You can use an online academy to improve customer service, increase sales, create transparency, increase safety, or even grow new leaders from within through corporate management training programs.
So, back to our examples:
A high-end restaurant group would use an LMS to improve customer service, reduce turnover, and drive culture, all toward a goal of adding new locations across a wide geographic region.
An innovative fitness company would use it to streamline new studio openings and maintain instructor consistency across all locations as it works toward a target of doubling its boutique locations each year over the next three years.
The high-growth tech start-up with a remote workforce could use an LMS to create a cohesive culture, build community and grow leaders within the company, in its efforts to reduce onboarding costs and increase time to productivity.
Write yours down.
With the differing needs of corporate training programs, and the myriad strengths of the various learning platforms, being clear what’s most important to you will help you find one that matches your needs.
3. Select features and functionality.
Most corporate LMS systems have a lot of the same basic functionality, allowing you to maintain and update a library, administer quizzes and tests, and run specific reports. But they don’t all work the same way, and certain types of features and functions will help you execute your company training program exactly how you want to.
Here are some of the options you’ll consider when searching for a corporate management training system. Write down which ones you’ll need, or print out this checklist and circle the most important features.
4. Set metrics of success.
An LMS is a big investment in terms of time, energy and money. You want to make sure it’s worth it—and be able to show that return on investment to your team.
To measure ROI, we suggest establishing clear benchmarks that help you see the impact your training software has had on your company.
By way of our examples:
A restaurant adding new locations across a wide geographic region might measure ROI on a corporate training program by working toward benchmarks of having employees complete 95% of assigned weekly content, and ultimately reaching a goal of 85% employee retention.
Doubling boutique fitness locations over the next three years and maintaining instructor consistency across all locations could mean hitting a benchmark of reducing time to instructor competency from three months to one month.
The tech start-up looking to reduce onboarding costs and increase time to productivity might measure its onboarding costs and the rate of promotions within the company.
Now write down your own metrics of success.
If you need help measuring the direct connection between continuing education and the bottom line, check out Wisetail’s guide to tracking the ROI of learning and Development.
5. Compare different Learning Management Systems.
With an understanding of the features and functions you need, you’ll be able to scope out which LMS company fits those needs.
Other details will also affect your experience. For example, you may want to consider an LMS company’s customer support ratings, if it’s independent or corporate, and where it’s located.
Your training management team might want to use a third-party software review website like Capterra or LMS.org to compare the different software options and check out reviews.
6. Build buy-in, and get your team ready for change.
Getting a new LMS set up is no small project, and organizational buy-in is critical to success. Once you’ve chosen a few systems you like the looks of, it’s time to get your team on board.
Here are a few pointers to walk you through this process:
Show the value.
Does your team need to understand the value of an LMS and how it will help the company? Put together a presentation, starting with the notes you’ve taken today, clearly lining out who the company is, what it does, and how an LMS would help you reach your goals.
Demonstrate the use.
Maybe you need to show them the difference between various systems, so they can see how an LMS would work in your specific company. Try scheduling a demo with your favorite, to show how the system works in real time.
Explain the implementation.
Is your team concerned about the onboarding process? Get on the phone with your LMS vendor, and ask them to lay out exactly what the process will entail. Some LMS companies walk you through each step of implementation, while others leave you to set it up yourself. Which works best for you?
Ready to consider an LMS?
Chat with the Wisetail team today to find out if we’re the right partner for your corporate LMS needs.
BY EMILY STIFLER WOLFE
Emily Stifler Wolfe is an award-winning independent journalist and marketing professional based in Bozeman, Montana. A lifelong learner, she works with people-centered businesses and organizations that respect the planet—which aligns perfectly with Wisetail.