Reasons for Integrating a Learning Management System for Small Business.
Reasons for integrating an LMS for small business
The perception might be that small businesses typically don't have the extra capital to spend on seemingly fancy online training software, but consider this. If implementing an LMS can save your business money and improve processes down the road, wouldn't it be worth the initial investment?
Let's take a closer look at the main reasons why it's worth using a learning management system for small business:
Cut Down Training Costs
Using an LMS reduces costs that are typically associated with training. Let's explore the main ones:
LMS-based training solution
Online, instructor-led training
Classroom-based training, saving on travel costs, classroom costs, and time spent away from the office.
Individual, asynchronous eLearning courses
The time needed for a manager or supervisor to conduct training and be scheduled for the same working hours as the learner
Ability to train multiple people at one time
The time that would usually be spent training individual employees and instead makes training more efficient
With a cloud LMS, the ability to access training courses from anywhere
Time and money for the employee and employer with less or no need for commuting, office space costs, and more
Recognize a pattern? The main cost savings that an LMS for business provides are related to time and efficiency of training delivery. An online business LMS eliminates employees' need to meet physically at a location by providing effective training solutions online instead. This is great not only for cost savings but also for small businesses planning on joining the increasing number of companies offering remote or hybrid working options for their employees.
Have you ever worked for a company where you were trained on how to do a task, only to find out later that you were trained incorrectly? Or, you received some training, but the person who trained you missed a few key points, meaning you weren't completing your work to the expected level?
It can be a frustrating experience for both the employee and employer when training isn't standardized. It can cause confusion among employees over the right way to do a job and leave employers scrambling to get everyone on the same page with minimal disruption to customer service and job performance.
That's where standardized training comes in. With an LMS for business, you can easily standardize your training, meaning everyone across your organization, regardless of location, gets the exact training materials and methods.
This ensures consistency with training, helps you identify and fill in necessary gaps, and makes the overall training experience more straightforward and streamlined.
Ease of Creating Training Material
Think about where most of your training materials are now. Chances are they live in multiple networked folders on systems like Google Drive or Dropbox, to which only certain employees and managers have access. These materials are likely created by multiple people using different methods, like word documents, PowerPoint, spreadsheets… the list goes on.
Training materials are difficult to find, and there's no set creation process, resulting in fragmented and confusing information. Instead, an LMS for small businesses (like Tovuti) offers built-in course authoring tools and makes it easy to not only convert those word documents, spreadsheets, and Powerpoints into engaging courses but also helps establish a standardized process and all training courses a similar look and feel.
Make Accessing Training Easier
Accessibility to training materials is essential. If it's challenging to find a training course or materials, then that creates an unnecessary barrier to effective learning. With an LMS for small businesses, training courses and materials are stored in one centralized location. What's more, with an LMS like Tovuti, you can set personalized learner portals that make it easy for employees to find and engage with training as soon as they log into the system. With these portals, you can customize what sort of courses and materials show up for certain groups or individual employees.
For example, an individual employee's portal can show which courses they've been enrolled in, plus their current certifications and badges that they've earned. When combined with user groups, courses can be assigned en masse — so if you want everyone in marketing to take a course on content management, you can assign that course to that group of employees. That course will appear on every marketing employee's personalized learner portal.
Improve Employee Performance
It's common sense that performance improves if you provide your employees with effective training.
The top drivers of a great workplace culture include:
- Learning and growth opportunities
- A sense of belonging
- Alignment with organizational values
- Support for well-being
- Opportunities for collaboration
Notice how "learning and growth opportunities" is number one on that list? Employees want to feel valued by their organization, so their organization needs to invest in them. When you invest in your employees by providing them with training opportunities, it not only gives them the knowledge and skills they need to do a better job — it motivates them. With motivation tied intrinsically with employee performance, it makes sense to do everything you can to ensure employee motivation is a priority.
Grow Your Business
You might have a small business now, but what about the future? When it comes to training, it's always important to consider scalability, especially if you have goals for the continued growth of your business. Thankfully, business LMS software like Tovuti can work with your business as it grows by supporting more users, more types of users, and more back-end administrative options for managing those users — like auto notifications.
With auto notifications, users get an email and in-system notification when they are assigned a new course or have an approaching deadline. You can set up your parameters for auto notifications to suit your needs.
And that's just one example of a Tovuti feature that helps manage many users much easier and more efficiently.
Things to Look for in a Small Business Learning Management System
We get it. There are a plethora of options out there for learning management systems. It can quickly become overwhelming since many of the same features are present on different systems. This can make it even more challenging to pinpoint the difference between small businesses' so-called best learning management systems.
So how can you decide on a piece of software that will meet your business's needs?
The best way forward is to determine your training goals and needs, then match those with the features of the LMS software for small businesses.
This often means considering the following:
You'll need to consider how many people will need to access your LMS at one time and pick a business LMS that supports these users and allows you to scale up as your business grows.
Access to Content
These days, accessible LMS content means logging into your LMS from anywhere and on any device, including your smartphone and tablet. Choosing an LMS for small businesses that are mobile responsive and supports microlearning — meaning that short, bite-sized bits of content can be accessed on the go — is essential.
No matter what, the cost is always a consideration. Matching the features you get versus the cost of the overall system, plus comparing similar small business LMS offerings, will help you determine if what you're about to pay is within reason. Plus, it's good to familiarize yourself with what different LMS systems cost so you can set your budget accordingly.
When looking at different LMS systems for small businesses, you should consider how customizable your final choice will be. Some LMS platforms require your business to adjust to fit with them and what they offer, while others are more flexible and customizable — meaning that they can adapt to your business instead of the other way around. In our eyes, the latter is a more attractive option.
Ease of Use
It's pretty simple. If the LMS isn't easy to use, nobody will want to use it, and you won't see the employee adoption rates you want. That's why it's essential to know how the system works before you buy to ensure that the user experience (UX) is intuitive and easy to use. Most business LMS offerings will give you a free trial or a demo to get an inside look into the system before clicking that buy button.
LMS accessibility is an important yet perhaps often-overlooked consideration. Regardless of whether a user has differing needs with audio, visual, or mobility (ability to use a keyboard and mouse or touchscreen), the LMS should be able to meet the needs of every learner.
A good start is looking for an LMS that provides native accessibility features, including:
- A consistent UI experience, including colors and icons that remain consistent with specific actions (e.g., submit buttons are always blue)
- The option to use high-contrast colors to aid in visibility
- The option to enlarge text and UI elements, such as buttons
- Screen-reader-friendly interfaces, which means paying careful attention to coding to ensure that everything is presented in a logical, sequential order and can be navigated using the Tab and arrow keys on a keyboard
- Images, video, and audio augmented by text descriptions
There's no doubt that collaboration has a positive effect in the workplace. A recent report from Slack that gathered data from 7,000 knowledge workers in 17 countries outlined that the three most important things that employees value include:
- Being part of a team
- Having autonomy at work
- Accomplishing or mastering a skill or trade
- Wanting to work well with colleagues
- Gaining skills needed to further careers
A business LMS addresses most of this list, but let's focus on collaboration for now. According to the survey, being part of a team was one of the most important employee values. So how can an LMS provide more opportunities for collaboration? Well, with Tovuti, virtual classroom features like sharing webcams and screens and breakout rooms offer instructor-led courses with the ability to facilitate more collaborative learning between attendees. Learners can separate into groups to discuss a topic or share their screen with the class to illustrate a point.
Any LMS worth its salt should have progress tracking. This makes it easy for instructors, managers, and supervisors to see how an employee is getting on with course material and helps them identify where additional support may be needed.
Reporting and Analytics
Robust reporting and analytics are essential for measuring your ROI for your LMS. The more data you can glean from the system, the more you can identify what is and isn't working for your learners so you can adjust your L&D strategy as necessary.
Use Cases for a Business LMS
Different types of businesses have different training needs, but thankfully an LMS for small businesses can handle them all. Whether you need to train internal employees, external stakeholders, or both, most small business learning management system solutions are designed to be flexible to your needs.
Still, for the sake of understanding, it helps when you can visualize different use-case scenarios so you can have that "aha!" moment where you realize that it's describing one of your business's needs perfectly.
Let's explore some use case examples for learning management systems for small businesses below:
Some industries require that employees are educated on the latest government laws and regulations surrounding their professions. Compliance training requirements, in a lot of cases, can be facilitated through an LMS with asynchronous eLearning courses or instructor-led training.
Distributors, wholesalers, and more require training to effectively sell an organization’s products. Channel training through an LMS allows these stakeholders to log into a customized portal to take relevant courses.
The most common use of an LMS for small businesses is employee training. Flexible training allows employees to hone their existing skills, gain new ones, and immediately apply learnings to their jobs.
Starting new employees off on the right foot is essential for job satisfaction and efficiency. An LMS for small businesses is an essential part of an effective and consistent onboarding process, easily allowing you to assign relevant courses and training materials for new employees to work through.
Here are some real-world stories of small businesses that have greatly benefited from implementing an LMS.
Success Story #1: Nottingham Fire & Rescue Service
As an organization that provides citizen education on accident and injury prevention and emergency response, Nottingham Fire & Rescue professionals have already benefited from high-quality in-house training. However, they needed a more effective way to deliver mandatory training that was more engaging and attractive to firefighters, so it wouldn't feel like they were forced to take training.
Synergy Learning worked with NFRS to take existing training and modernize it, making it more engaging and easier to access. Fewer steps to accessing courses combined with the ability to take courses on any device made taking essential training more attractive and easy.
The results were as follows:
- 100% completion for all safety-critical and mandatory training
- Less time is needed to complete training — an additional 100 days to frontline services were added every year
- NFRS was named the Best Government LMS at the Totara Awards 2020, with judges praising the innovation and societal impact of the system
Success Story #2: New Start, a Family-Run Non-Profit Organization
As a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged groups across Merseyside, North-West England, New Start provides housing, support, and residential childcare.
When learning and development became a priority for a new HR director, they knew from previous experience that implementing an LMS would provide the perfect solution. The objectives of the training would be to deliver mandatory training on topics such as professional boundaries, prevention and control of infection, health and safety compliance, first aid, safeguarding, and more.
After implementing the LMS, New Start was able to centralize all of its training materials, improve ease of access, and develop its Level Two Therapeutic Childcare qualification course. Staff also have access to over 150 courses where they can increase their knowledge about various topics.
Success Story #3: InMotion Entertainment Group
As a leading airport electronics retailer, InMotion provides travelers with electronics and mobile accessories from well-known brands.
InMotion knew they needed a better solution for training once they expanded their stores, so they looked at implementing an LMS. However, once COVID-19 hit, layoffs and temporary store closures hindered training plans. But instead of giving up, they decided to take advantage of the downtime to maximize their LMS experience. This meant taking advantage of LMS features they didn't utilize before, such as user groups — a feature that allows different learning experiences to be delivered to different groups of users.
Aside from optimizing training, InMotion worked with Neovation, the LMS provider, to adapt customized user synchronizations to a new organizational structure and integrate them with a new internal payroll system.
Tovuti is the Best Choice for LMS for Small Businesses Tovuti wants your small business to succeed. After all, small businesses are the backbone of our country's economy and communities. With Tovuti, you're not only getting a highly-customizable LMS solution, but you're also getting an LMS that is built for your training needs. Rather than you having to adjust your training strategies to suit the LMS, we work with you to build the system around your needs and organizational structure.
Summary / Wrap-Up
Training for all types of companies, small businesses included, is changing. With less focus on employees and other stakeholders needing to be in-office for training, learning management systems are becoming more and more attractive as an option for facilitating remote training that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Online training is more cost-effective and often associated with better training outcomes, including the ability to offer more efficient and effective training.
Ready to experience an easy-to-use LMS that works with your business's training needs? Let's Talk!
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