Disclaimer: The contents of this post are tested to upset some HR Technology providers. So do (not) read this post if you are a training or learning or talent management software provider at your own risk.
This post came about because I had the pleasure of recently implementing a training and learning management system. In fact, I have implemented a few instances of such systems and I wanted to share with you some of my insights and things to consider BEFORE you purchase or upgrade your NEXT training or learning or both management system. There is a difference between the two. A traditional training management system is designed to enable data collection on training i.e. course attendance and training/skills acquired. Usually the system gives you a platform to STORE data entered by a human. A learning management system is designed to provide a platform for discovering and facilitating online learning. And the two together will enable (hopefully) a seamless data flow where learning will be enabled and recorded seamlessly without human data entry. And finally, if you want this training to be customised to meet individual development goals then you are looking at a talent management solution which includes performance and development management platform.
Start with WHY?
This is not news, most change comes about because you or a collective has asked the question WHY. A few common questions relating to learning and or training management systems are “WHY can’t I have a system where I can complete all my learning online?”; “WHY do we have to record results of training conducted (before or after the event) manually?”; “WHY doesn’t the system suggest courses that are appropriate to my development needs?”I chose these questions because I want to show you that different stakeholders depending on end-user, trainer, administrator, etc. will require systems for different purposes. So ask if you need a training management system to record results and report on them OR a learning management system that provides an online learning platform OR BOTH. There are several systems that can now do both BUT not necessarily equally well in all cases. So think about WHICH is important, and yes both could be equally important.
Once you know the why, ask HOW?
By how I don’t mean asking how the system(s) can do it, I will ask that in a second but right now, I want you to think about HOW do you CURRENTLY (don’t) do it. If you don’t do it then of course the path you will take is relatively straight forward, think about what you want the process to be and ask the vendor to showcase how it can support that process via the shiny new system. However, if you currently have a process and it needs a refurbish then before you engage with any HR Technology vendor spend a day or two or a few hours drawing up what you need to refurbish and go back to WHY above. Once you have this you’re enabling yourself and your system vendor to show how they can support your process best. WIN-WIN!
And finally Not All Fingers of a hand are Equal, so learn to be REALISTIC, COMPROMISE (if required) and PRIORITISE
Not all system vendors can provide for all the training and or learning management needs even if they profess to do so. So ASK if their system can do what you want (training or learning management or both). Get them to use YOUR DATA to show proof that they can meet your needs. Once you have scanned the market, done research, seen demos, ASK yourself can I realistically get what I want (versus need), do I need to COMPROMISE based on my priority (of needs versus wants). And do not hesitate to ask for a trial run of the system after all if you wouldn’t buy a new phone ($$$$) without reading reviews why would you purchase a new HR system ($$$$$$ upwards) without asking for a trial run!
If you need any help in determining how to go about identifying your needs or evaluating your current processes feel free to give hrtechgirl a shout!