What is Corporate LMS? Your Introduction to Buying Corporate LMS Software

January 7th, 2020

As the skills necessary for employees to excel in their roles change more rapidly, businesses are realizing the importance of continued professional learning and development. To ensure their talent stays top-tier, organizations can turn to corporate learning management systems (LMS) to stay competitive.

Corporate learning management systems (LMS) are platforms designed to help companies teach and train employees, customers, and/or partners. They can provide industry-agnostic technical and professional skills development, as well as serve specialized training and knowledge.

If you want to help provide your employees with continued training and skills development, but don’t know how best to do so, we can help! If the 139 listed corporate LMS products and over 1600 reviews seem daunting, we’ve provided a topshelf breakdown of what the software is, what it can do, how it can help you, and how to begin evaluating and comparing products.

Let’s not bury the lead: What can corporate LMS do for you?

5 benefits of corporate LMS

#1 Cost Savings

Continued training can be expensive. Flying employees and trainers to a centralized location, putting together an event, and possibly paying for a venue itself can be cost prohibitive.

Corporate LMS software aims to mitigate these costs. While business software is rarely free, the cost of software can be drastically lower than providing an equivalent quantity and quality of training and learning in-person, or hiring new talent altogether. 

#2 Learner-First Training

Many corporate LMS vendors would tell you that learners in the workforce have higher expectations for their experience with learning content than in the past. Corporate LMS software can help you bridge this gap.

Corporate LMS promises to enable your talent to develop their skills and knowledge more effectively on their own terms, and in the context that is most effective for them personally. In a workforce with less emphasis on being in the office in general, it’s reasonable to expect workplace learning to adjust accordingly. 

#3 Individualized Learning

Closely related to the shift to “learner-first” mindsets, individualized learning allows LMS platforms to tailor recommended content and courses to the predicted needs of employees. Employees are able to focus on the content most relevant to them, and move at their own pace, rather than being dragged forwards, behind, or in a less helpful direction by their colleagues. 

Individualized learning also yields benefits for your business. Greater learning efficiency saves employees’ time, and your business’s time by proxy. It also reduces the chance of employees getting stuck in training programs and procedures that aren’t as relevant or helpful for them.

#4 Progress Tracking

HR professionals, like most modern managers, could always use better reporting and insights into their teams. Corporate LMS helps provide that visibility by letting administrators and managers track how their teams are progressing on various learning and skills objectives. 

This visibility allows managers and instructors to preempt skills gaps in some cases. They are also able to assign various content to guide corporate learning in directions that are most beneficial for both the employee and the business.

#5 Regulatory Compliance

Corporate LMS software can play the role of the “elf on a shelf.” In other words, it will sit in the background and keep you updated when your employees risk being “naughty” (non-compliant).

A centralized learning platform can be a career-saver if maintaining compliance, either with internal policies or external regulations, is an important or critical part of you and your team’s work. At minimum, it helps relieve the hassle of delivering compliance content to your teams. At best, it can save you from fines and other punitive measures, depending on the severity and type of compliance slip. 

Components of corporate LMS

The specific feature sets and capabilities of corporate LMS offerings vary by software vendor and product scope. However, there are some key areas that are core to every standout product in the market: 

  • Content Management: Prebuilt content libraries are nearly universal in corporate LMS providers. You should also be able to author your own content as well. 
  • Multiple Content Formats and Media: Content should be accessible in a variety of ways, including video, mobile accessibility as a standard, and interactive content like gamification. 
  • Learning Management: Administrators and managers can track employees progress and assign lessons and assessments. 
  • Reporting and Analytics: Many corporate LMS products offer reporting on a variety of metrics, including leaderboards, team drilldowns, and timelines. 

Who needs corporate LMS?

Almost everyone in the workforce would benefit from continued learning throughout their careers. However, there are some segments which find corporate LMS particularly essential: 

  • Change-Prone Industries: If you routinely retrain existing employees with new skills, or you routinely train new people. Technical industries typify the former instance, and manufacturing or food service are prime examples of the latter. 
  • Regulation-heavy Industries: Is regulatory compliance a big part of your industry, like medical or financial sectors? As discussed above, corporate LMS can play a big role in easing that training burden.
  • Cultural/Interpersonal Growth: Corporate LMS has responded to companies’ needs to become more socially conscious by offering a range of Diversity and Inclusion trainings. As Gen Z enters the workforce, and your workplace, vendors are also expanding their professional skills development offerings to address predicted communication skills gaps. 

How do you pick a corporate LMS?

Differentiating between different products can be tricky. Here are some core questions you can ask yourself to help you explore your options. You can also check out the software comparison section on Corporate LMS’s category page

#1 What Features Do You Need?

It may seem over simplistic, but take the time to think through, in as much detail as possible, what your use case, and your employees’ use cases, would be. For instance,

  • Do you need training for internal personnel, external clients, or both?
  • Are there specific knowledge areas that you want the platform to have prebuilt content for?
  • Do you need robust regulatory compliance support?

#2 Standalone LMS vs. HR Suite?

In our surveys of Hr professionals, totaling 346 respondents, centralization, consolidation, and integration are consistently highlighted as valuable in HR software. Platforms that unified most or all of your HR processes, including learning management, can leverage more efficiency and data across your processes. 

However, broader HR management or talent management suites may be overpowered or cost prohibitive for what you need. You may also have other systems in place to handle the rest of your HR functions. In that case, layering a standalone corporate LMS software on top of your existing software may be the best option. 

#3 How will your workforce use the tool?

Mobile consumption of digital content is quickly becoming the norm instead of the exception. Mobile website traffic is roughly half of all traffic, and learning methods are likely to follow. 

If any portion of your workforce is mobile-first, or doesn’t routinely use a desktop to access the internet, mobile accessibility will be a crucial gateway to their ability to access your content. Mobile-ready content is becoming the standard, but you can’t assume that all vendors provide the same quantity and quality of content to mobile users as conventional users. 

What’s next?

If any of this post sounded relevant to you, or you think you could benefit from investing in a corporate learning management system, there are plenty of resources available to you. An excellent starting place is exploring your options on TrustRadius, finding reviews from users like you, and comparing products that seem like good fits for your business. 

Once you’ve developed a list of viable options, hands-on experience with the software or vendors can help narrow the possibilities. For instance, many vendors’ sites allow you to request demos or free trials of their platforms.However you prefer to approach corporate learning, don’t underestimate the impact that investing in your employees, present and future, can yield.