Even if you are a small business, we know your training needs are epic. Regardless of size, the challenges you face when it comes to delivering effective, comprehensive, and ongoing training for your employees and your business can be daunting. Here’s how to find the best LMS for small business – and why it matters.
Getting started with employee training for small businesses
Your small business faces the same types of training challenges that larger businesses face, generally with fewer resources (human and capital). It can also be challenging to bring sometimes resistant long-term employees up to date (or into a new century of technology). Because of these challenges, a learning needs assessment is an imperative first step.
On the positive side of developing training for a small business, you may find that your employees are all in need of similar learning opportunities. Maybe you are just starting and your payroll is filled with digital natives. Or perhaps you are the second-generation owner with employees who are ready to dive into the deep end of technology.
Either way, choosing the best LMS for small companies is important. An LMS, or learning management system, helps you deliver and track your employee's learning. This typically includes:
- Managing employee certifications and licenses
- Monitoring progress towards learning goals
- Tracking when skills need to be updated
Using an LMS for small business takes the guesswork out of employee training, especially for companies that deal with industry regulations.
5 factors to consider when looking for a small business LMS
Your small business is not like any other small business. When choosing from the many learning management systems available, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. You'll find best LMS for your small business on the following five factors.
A close examination of the content you need to provide is important. Is your LMS going to focus on compliance with certifications, regulations, or licenses? Are you more interested in standardizing a problem-solving approach that all employees need to know? Or is long-form macro-learning more of what you need?
Deciding what content you will be creating for your employees is an important aspect of your initial learning needs assessment. If training is a road trip, think of it this way: you can’t decide on the route if you don’t know the destination.
Assessing the features of various LMS options is all about the agility of development and delivery.
For example, if you are designing your training courses in-house, can you easily upload them to your LMS? Or does it require advanced knowledge to make a simple change? And when it comes to employees, how easy is the LMS to use? Will you need to dedicate more time to training or can employees just plug in and get started?
For many small businesses, budget is understandably one of the most important factors.
When it comes to cost, though, many LMS tools come with different pricing configurations, and they can be tricky to decipher. Are prices per user, or does the LMS offer a package subscription (in case your business takes off)? Are there options that offer a free basic model to get started, with the ability to add pay-to-play features as needed? How many employees can a particular LMS handle, and is it enough for your needs now and your goals for the future?
Considerations for your LMS pricing should include not only where your company is today but also where you want it to be five (or ten) years from now.
Once you decide what you need employees to know, how to deliver your content, and how much it will cost, how will you develop your content? Turns out, developing quality online learning takes time – an average of 71 hours per hour of learning (for more interactive learning).
That’s nearly two weeks for just one hour! If you don’t currently staff an eLearning expert developer, now may be a good time to revisit your budget to include some help here. Consultants or companies that provide a full suite of learning solutions can help.
5. Customer support
You’re up and running and ready to launch... and the whole LMS crashes.
This is not the time to worry about how good an LMS is with customer support! Take this crucial element into consideration when choosing the best LMS for your small business, BEFORE you need the help.
Where should I start with an LMS for small business?
Truly, you have already taken the first step in this process: acknowledging that you have training needs to meet. Many small businesses never get to that point, instead floundering as their industry moves forward and they are left behind.
The next step is a thorough learning needs assessment. Consider completing this step with your entire team, including employee representatives as well. One of the best parts of being a small business is the ability to include everyone in the decision-making process. If employees are able to voice their needs and concerns, this can reduce friction when it comes to implementing new training systems.
The best LMS options for small businesses
Once you have completed a training needs assessment and solicited feedback from interested parties, the fun begins: choosing the best LMS for your small business.
There are many LMS solutions for small business, many of which have been thoroughly vetted by business of all sizes. Instead of wading through each LMS on your own, check out lists created by:
The last list breaks down five LMS options, including free LMS tools and those that are entirely linked to the G-suite programs. Take as many as you can for a test drive and talk to customer service representatives. Make sure to think about ease of use, adaptability to your company’s needs, and future training needs as well.
It can be challenging to narrow down your options when choosing the best LMS for small business. EdgePoint Learning can help you find your way around many different learning management systems. Get in touch today for more help!