Top things to know about training management software

Training management software improves efficiency and compliance for your organization.

July 8, 2021

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The right training management software makes life easier for your entire organization, not just the training director. Organizations that need to train their staff – law enforcement, healthcare, government, or manufacturing – need a way to keep track of all their training efforts.

But rather than save everything in an Excel spreadsheet, or worse, in binders and folders, training management software can help you track everyone in your organization, their training requirements, and completion status of all their training modules.

All of this can help with accreditation, industry and agency certification, and can help reduce your liability insurance, because you will be able to quickly and easily demonstrate that all necessary personnel in your organization have completed their training.

Training management software makes it possible to control and track your training requirements, training content, and additional resources for your staff to take advantage of.

In this article, we'll explain what training management software is, the benefits of using this kind of software, and how to choose the best training management software for your organization.

What is training management software?

When a company has an extensive training program they need to track and manage, there are a few ways to do it. You could keep paper logs and store all of the training reports and certifications in 3-ring binders. You could create spreadsheets that track every employee and possible training module they have to take. Or you could use training management software

Training software is a digital system for creating, managing, distributing, and tracking training course content for your organization, so you can verify and prove that employees are trained on the latest industry standards, laws, and regulations.

Training management software stores your training course content so people can access it as needed, as well as any associated policies or procedures they need to be trained on. You can then monitor whether people have completed the training and schedule automatic follow-up emails that remind employees to complete everything before the deadline.

Finally, with the right software, you can share your training completion reports with organizational leadership and connect it to your accreditation requirements as proof that your employees have been appropriately trained and educated in certain processes. But keep in mind, not every training software can do this.

What's the difference between training management software and a training management system?

A training management system is simply the system you developed to manage all aspects of your organization's training. Even if you're still using the paper-and-binders system, it's still a system. If you have Excel spreadsheets and a Google Drive folder filled with training videos, that's still a system. And if you're using training management software, it's still part of your training management system.

Training management software is a digital system that integrates the various pieces of your system into a single interface and location. It’s the most recent evolution in training management technology, and it’s necessary in developing an effective training program.

It can help you administer, track, and report on all training your employees undergo. Whether it's live and in-person, pre-recorded videos, or links to external courses, your training management software should be able to manage it all.

Your training management software should include these capabilities

There are several different options for training management software, but whatever you choose, there are some capabilities you should absolutely insist on. Otherwise, you'll spend as much time working around the shortcomings as you do actually doing the work.

  • Cloud-based: Your software should be accessible from anywhere by authorized personnel, but still secure enough to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Centralized storage: You should be able to find everything in one location, not scattered among different folders and notebooks, requiring a full search every time you need something.
  • Full integration, part 1: You should be able to upload assessment data from other applications, such as web-based training and remote learning software.
  • Full integration, part 2: It should also integrate with your favorite office productivity suite like Microsoft 365 and Google Drive.
  • Full integration, part 3: It should be able to integrate with any policy and accreditation management software you have as well. After all, you train to new policies and accreditation standards.
  • Easy tracking: See who has completed their training modules and who has yet to finish. 
  • Easy progress reports: You should be able to create progress reports for individuals, departments, or the organization as a whole, and do it in seconds, not hours of tabulation.
  • Ties into policy software: Policy management, accreditation, and training all go hand in hand. Ideally, your training management software should tie into your policy management software and accreditation management software. Better yet, they should be all part of the same system.
  • Ease of use: A user interface that lets people of different skills use the system on any device or operating system, including mobile phones and tablets.
  • In-system content creation: A robust set of tools that lets you create high-quality content on the platform. You should also be able to import third-party training content.

Prioritize these items in terms of importance: Some will be more important than others. Some you can live without, and some you absolutely must have. These are your non-negotiables, the things that you won't negotiate away because they're critical to your training functions. Keep those non-negotiables in mind when evaluating your training management software choices.

Benefits of training management software

The right training management software can help your organization in a number of ways. If you've been relying on the analog/paper method of training management, or you've moved up to spreadsheets and thumb drives of videos, you can see a number of benefits to your organization by upgrading to actual training management software.

Saves time and money

Rather than trying to keep track, by hand, of all the people who have and haven't taken a particular training session, imagine all the time you'll save if everyone could take that training online, watching pre-recorded videos that share the same information. And no more trying to get everyone to sync their schedule and get in the same room at the same time. Instead, everyone can watch the video on their own devices and at their own convenience. This will save money on travel, overtime, and facilities rental.

Delivers consistent training to staff anytime, anywhere

Trying to train large organizations often means holding multiple training sessions just to share the same information. But it may not always be delivered consistently in each session. Sharing online training from a single source means everything is consistent and that everyone has received the information.

Simplifies accreditation compliance

After everyone has completed their training, the software can notify you when all accreditation requirements have been met. This helps you track everyone's training progress and ensure they're meeting all accreditation requirements. You can even pull compliance reports in minutes, not days, to show accreditation coordinators your organization's progress.

Improve employee engagement by providing training opportunities

Employee engagement is important to keeping employees satisfied, and to keep them around for more than a couple years. Companies with highly-engaged employees outperform the competition by up to 147%, but less than one-third of employees feel engaged at work. Fortunately, companies can improve engagement through training and professional development.

Training protects your organization from liability

Business insurance providers may lower their liability insurance rates if they know you're following your licensing organization's accreditation standards, following industry best practices, and training all affected employees on those standards. They learn how to avoid mistakes and reduce errors, which saves you from costly liability and legal action.

Best practices for training management software

If you're going to use training management software in your organization, there are a few best practices you should follow before you start evaluating your choices and making the final purchase. These are the best practices we have found by working with a number of different organizations over the years.

  • Create a training team: This is the team that knows how to work with the software, coming from different departments and functions. If you don't have enough people to make a team, get a single person to manage all the training efforts and be the point of contact.
  • Get leadership buy-in: You need their commitment so everyone will comply with all training requirements. Make sure they understand the cost and time of implementation, as well as the savings and benefits.
  • Identify the problems you want to solve: Don't buy a package and look for problems to solve, figure out the problems first. Learn how much each problem is costing you. Your chosen solution should solve as many as possible, especially the most expensive ones.
  • Manage everything in one system: Track all training requirements and testing results in a single location so information is easy to find and share. You can even import your old records and analyze your old vs. new results.
  • Track completions: When employees complete training modules and outside continuing education units (CEUs), online and offline, you should be able to track them. You should be able to look up everyone's training history and ensure they're complying with the latest licensing requirements.
  • Track all test results: Training isn't effective without testing, so you should administer testing over the training modules and store the results to share with any licensing organizations. You should also link test results with ongoing training, and see trends and patterns to spot issues with your training.
  • Monitor certification and license expirations: Good training management software can track employees' certifications and licenses and send automatic notifications when renewal time is near.
  • Solicit employee feedback on training: In addition to analyzing testing results, it's important to ask employees for their own evaluation of the training they've completed. You should be able to conduct surveys and analyze the results for each course with your software.

How to choose the best training management software

Every training management software solution has a list of features and benefits, and sometimes the lists can be so long, they're hard to wade through and find out which ones are the most important and which ones are inflated to overemphasize their importance.

The best way to evaluate and choose your training management software is to create a list of questions of the issues that are important to you, ask each of the software vendors, and compare the answers. The vendor with the highest number of favorable answers is likely the best option for your organization.

Important questions to ask:

  • How much money will we save with your software?
  • Is your customer service easy to reach and work with?
  • Are there manuals available? What format are they in?
  • How much third-party training content do you have access to?
  • Who handles software upgrades, us or your company?
  • What are the security precautions your company takes for our information?
  • Can I build my own reports or do you have pre-loaded templates?
  • What kind of visual reporting dashboards do you provide?
  • Do you have a mobile app or do we use a mobile browser?
  • How scalable is the software? How do I add users? How many can I add?
  • Does your software work with Microsoft Office 365 or Google Drive?
  • What other programs do you support?
  • Do I need to provide my own training content or do you have access to third-party content?
  • Can people access the training digitally and remotely? Can I still track their progress?
  • Can I create and issue custom tests?

Key things to consider when buying training management software

When deciding which training management software solution to buy, you should narrow down your software choices to the two or three best options. These should meet all of your non-negotiables, they should provide agreeable answers to the rest of your questions. They should also be able to demonstrate how you'll see a positive ROI on the software.

Ask to speak with current and regular users of your selected vendors. Ask them what they like, don't like, and wish they had on their training management software. Ask them about customer service support and ease of use for their employees. Share your own list of non-negotiables and ask the users if their software would meet those requirements.

Ask about the learning curve and how difficult or easy it is for people to learn how to use the software. Ask about generating reports and visual dashboards, and especially how much of a financial savings the organization has seen by switching to this training management method.

Want to know more?

Choosing the right training management software can be a great benefit to your organization. It starts with assembling the right team, getting leadership buy-in, figuring out which problems you need to solve, and creating a list of non-negotiables. As you narrow down your list of choices, speak to the vendors, speak to their customers, and narrow it down to the software that will be the best choice for you.

The right training management software will help streamline your training, speed up your accreditation process, improve employee engagement and loyalty, help you reduce your liability risk, and ultimately, save you a lot of time, energy, and money.

If you're looking for a training management software solution to help you streamline your training, reduce your liability risk, and track employee training in one centralized location, PowerDMS can help.

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