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With the current state of virtual work environments and abundance of remote teams now in place, keeping your staff engaged and informed through an online employee education program is more important than ever before. With the help of an online learning management system (LMS), you can quickly create productive training materials that are accessible no matter your location, provide a cohesive message, and easily update content to sustain the longevity of the course itself and your ROI.

Not sure where to get started? Learn below how companies easily miss the mark when it comes to employee education, the value proposition of having an LMS partner, and our five easy steps to help you kickstart your first employee training program.

Related article: Learn How Procurify Saved 15+ Hours A Week in Employee Training With Online Education

Don’t miss the mark on employee education

A report from the Harvard Business Review found a 23% turnover rate among new hires before their first anniversary due to a poor onboarding experience. Yet, employee education impacts more than your turnover rate when built correctly. A solid employee education program can be used as an engagement tool for new and existing employees, and it can also boost ROI by saving employees time when learning a new product or skill. 

So why does employee training fail? 

Here are a few reasons we’ve come across:

  • Many companies either don’t have a formal onboarding or training program, or if they do, they lack structure and require employees to opt-in
  • Coaching, mentoring, and 1-on-1 check-ins are not offered, making it difficult for employees to express their growth needs to their manager or have them feel valued at the organization
  • In their onboarding, clear expectations were not established at the beginning for their role within the company
  • Training stops after the first week. Some sources say the average time frame to fully ramp up an employee is eight months, so by ending training at the first-week mark, you’re setting up your new team member for failure without even realizing
  • Lack of data and analytics makes it difficult for HR professionals to track where things go wrong in their process due to minimal analytics capabilities

Each of these scenarios are addressable with the adoption of an LMS to host your online employee education program.

The LMS value proposition

Standardized training 

One of the most beneficial aspects of an LMS is it helps make employee training uniform across the organization. So, no more wondering if employee trainers are hitting on the right messages every time.

An LMS lets you store all your content in one place, reducing the risk of losing critical information. Each team member can then access courses, information, or other training materials through the platform’s cloud storage system any time they need it. 

To make sure training is consistent, managers can monitor their staff’s progression through the training programs easily on the LMS dashboard. Then, when an aspect of your business changes or material becomes outdated, you can easily send out updated training to your distributed team using email notifications and drip content.

Reduce training costs

Face-to-face training is expensive, especially if your business spans across multiple locations or – as is the current state of affairs – your teams are widely dispersed in remote locations. With online employee education, you can cut out the added costs of travel and accommodation expenses, catering, venues, and of course, fees associated with facilitators or physical training materials. 

An employee education program facilitated through an LMS reduces these costs by applying learning material online, which can be accessed anywhere, at any time.

Pro Tip: Through an LMS, online employee education courses can be recycled and easily updated so once they’re created, they can continue to add value even if the information needs to be refreshed.

Support remote staff

Training and onboarding remote team members who work outside of the central organization can be a challenge. You can easily eliminate this issue by providing remote staff with online training.

Not every person learns the same way and being remote makes it difficult to digest a lot of information easily. Some might retain more knowledge through videos, others might prefer written notes, and some might need practical exercises before they truly grasp a new skill. An LMS gives you the opportunity to teach your staff in all these formats.

Measurable results and reporting 

“How effective is my employee training?” This is the question that every organization should be asking because an investment is only well-made if it helps to achieve business goals.

When online training takes place through an LMS, it’s quick and easy to pull the data you need to measure its effectiveness. Information like course completion rates, engagement, assessment grades, and employee feedback can all be gathered directly from your LMS platform.

Related article: See our Best Practices for Onboarding Remote Employees

5 Steps to Building an Online Employee Education Program

Step 1: Define the ‘why’ 

Before jumping into an in-depth program, remember to ask yourself: why are you building a program? 

What do employees need to know – or what skills do they need to master to make them better at their jobs? The answer could be technical skills (i.e. product or resource knowledge), soft skills (i.e. time management or project management), or even company-related knowledge (i.e. core values or HR-related policies). 

Knowing and understanding the purpose of the training and how it will help employees improve their performance in their roles is the first critical step in kick-starting your online employee education program.

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure exactly what training will benefit employees – ask. Employees will have plenty of ideas on what they need to feel more confident in their work, and managers may have suggestions on what skills could improve their team’s overall performance.

Step 2: Determine your business learning outcome

Now that you’ve outlined your ‘why’ to building an online employee education program, you’ll need to establish what business objective you want to meet with it.  

Aiming to improve employee retention? Want to double your customer base? Whatever your business goals or areas of improvement, make sure to define them clearly so they are easier to measure.

From your business goal, you’ll create a training program to target specific areas for growth.

Related article: Learn how MyTutor elevated employee training with online education

Step 3: Select your LMS

At this point, you’ve identified the purpose of your online employee education program and the business objectives you want to achieve with it. Now it’s time to select your LMS partner; but before doing so, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself when considering platforms:

  1. How easy is it to set up? Unless you’re a developer yourself, it really helps to be given a suite of tools to get up and running quickly.
  2. How much ownership and control will you have? Find out if the platform controls course pricing or branding – or takes a percentage cut of your sales.
  3. Does the platform integrate with tools for e-commerce, marketing, and student success? These tools will help you save time and scale your business quickly.
  4. How’s customer support? Look for a platform with a responsive team and resources to guide you through your journey.

With plenty of LMS platforms to work with, why choose Thinkific Plus?

  • We help you scale with confidence – Thinkific Plus gives your high growth, high volume business the scalability, flexibility, and reliability you need to provide online education the way you want it. 
  • We provide you with a dedicated Customer Success Manager – Your business means everything to you – and to us. You can relax knowing you have white glove service every step of the way. 
  • You have access to features that support growth – With an open API, Single Sign-On, unlimited administrators, B2B group management, and more, you’ll never be restricted as you scale. 

Still not sure? Check out what our customers BankersHub, CFI, and Hootsuite have to say about their experiences. 

Step 4: Bringing it all together – building your online course

Now that you have the content your employees want to learn, which is aligned with your business objectives, and your LMS is in place, it is time to bring it all together and create your online employee training course for your team.

Most likely, you already have some content used to support your internal training needs. While it can be tempting to throw everything into a course, remember what your business outcome is and build off that. Once you take stock of your existing material, it’s time to choose a format for each lesson and learning support.

Bring your content online quickly using Bulk Importer

Once you’ve determined the content you’d like to include in your course, repurposed or new, Thinkific Plus enables you to quickly and easily upload your documents, worksheets, PDFs, and audio files, among others, using our Bulk Importer to help you put your course together faster.

Get started fast with Thinkific Plus course templates

Not sure what format to build your course? We’ve got you covered. Thinkific Plus’s course templates help you quickly organize your ideas into courses your employees will love. Each template contains a set of lessons assembled by learning best practices, and there’s also an instructional lesson at the beginning of each template to help you make the best use of it.

When creating your lessons, here are some of our general rules of thumb:

  • Make lessons budgetable for students. They might be on their lunch breaks or want to plan an evening after work, so make lessons short and to the point.
  • Use more lessons than you think. More lessons mean more lesson names and more names mean more keywords – so your lessons become more searchable within the course as a result.
  • More information in your course doesn’t mean more value. Employees are looking for the most valuable information rather than an overload of details.
  • Design for iteration. When you launch your course, make sure to plan to ask for feedback. You can do this in a survey in the course or an email follow up.
  • Expect revisions after students give you feedback. But don’t forget, done is always better than perfect.

Pro Tip: To better support your teams remotely, you can also use blended learning with the Thinkific Live Lesson feature. Schedule Zoom meetings or webinars directly within the course builder to better engage your team and track training progress.

Leverage your Customer Success Manager

If you’re in need of additional support or best practices, your dedicated Customer Success Manager is there to help guide you through the entire setup process. Don’t forget, your Customer Success Manager is not just an expert in Thinkific Plus but will also have a sound understanding of your business and your objectives to ensure ongoing success throughout the launch process.

Step 5: Analyze results and continue to make improvements

You’ve now officially launched your online employee education program – congrats! Getting your first course off the ground is a great accomplishment, but the work’s not over yet. It is important to remember that while it is published, it is not perfect and can always be improved upon.

With an LMS partner like Thinkific Plus, you have data analytics tools at your fingertips to better understand where you can improve your course. Here are our tips when looking at the data:

  • Review your reports, quiz scores, and how employees interacted with your content
  • Compare reports with survey results and employee feedback
  • Measure training completion rates against benchmarked business goals
  • Synthesize data to determine the outcome and make changes

In the current environment and mass transition to remote working teams, now is your opportunity to kickstart your online employee education program. With an LMS partner like Thinkific Plus, you’re easily able to provide standardized training to your entire team, reduce in-person training expenses, reach both in-office and remote employees, and have access to reporting to measure overall program success. 

To get there, start by identifying skill gaps and talking to your team. Then, align training to your business goals. Finally, once you’ve created and launched your first course, remember to measure results and make necessary changes to sustain the positive, long-term ROI you can expect by selecting Thinkific Plus as your LMS partner.

Need help getting your employee education program started on Thinkific Plus? Book a call with our solutions team and get all of your questions answered!

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