Get the Most Out of Your Learning Management System

Laurie Ruettimann (she/her)

Founder of "Punk Rock HR"

My first job in human resources wasn't glamorous. I was an HR administrator at a candy factory on the north side of St. Louis. My company made old-timey sweets like Switzer Licorice, Chuckles and Good & Plenty.

My job, deep in the bowels of the factory, required me to become a master of the three-ring binder. Undocumented absence? Request for PTO? Annual performance review and pay raise? There was a binder for it.

My largest binder was filled with compliance-driven documentation related to our training and development programs. Workers would enroll in safety courses, technical modules, and professional development programs. It was my job to track completion rates and file any necessary certification paperwork.

Our learning management system (LMS) was old-school, but in many ways, it probably resembles the same approach you have to your cloud-based LMS. We didn't align our programs to the career development needs of our workforce. We didn't ask people what they aspired to be when they closed their eyes and dreamed at night. We simply focused on compliance, checked a box, and filed some paperwork.

That was a missed opportunity in 1995, and it's a missed opportunity now.

LMS that go beyond compliance

Complying with municipal laws and professional guidelines will always fall under the purview of the local human resources team; however, compliance is one small aspect of a robust learning program. While it's important to make sure your workforce is trained in safety and the basics of employment law, it's also important to consider the evolution of your workers.

If you're fighting a war for talent, the assessment of your workforce will help you understand skill gaps and deficiencies. Human resources professionals can make a difference - to their companies and the overall profession - when they evaluate those assessments and deliver strategic workforce plans.

A robust training and development program that's aligned with the aspirations of your employees can also help your human resources team think about the expansion and growth of your business. Are your employees mobile? Can they relocate? Do they want to take on more work? Will they accept fun and interesting projects that will challenge them in creative and important ways? It's important to know the answers to those questions if you wish to have any credibility with your leadership team.

Finally, when you align your LMS with the career development needs of your workforce, you're also investing in your culture and building a future workforce that will move your company ahead of its competition. While some people work for money, most of us want to work for a first-rate company that has plans to evolve. Offering LMS modules that are focused on personal growth can help your workers envision the future, even if they can't directly see it.

Focus on empowerment, not paperwork

Although many HR professionals have escaped the physical world of three-ring binders, they haven't quite escaped the mentality of structuring their LMS platforms to focus solely on the compliance-driven needs of our organization. Aligning your LMS to the individual needs of your employees will help you break stereotypes about HR and empower a more engaged workforce. Most importantly, it can help you to create a future for HR where your job is associated with talent agility instead of paperwork.

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