If the past year has taught business executives and other leaders anything, it’s that their organizations weren’t nearly as agile as they’d previously believed. While no one could have reasonably predicted just how disruptive and destructive the COVID-19 pandemic would prove to be, too many companies were still caught flat-footed by the widespread impact of their entire operation and workforce going remote seemingly overnight.
Recruiting came to a screeching halt while teams scrambled to adjust their hiring plans and processes. Payroll and time and attendance became increasingly more fraught, as errors and miscalculations from extensive manual data entry took even longer and more coordination to fix.
But the fundamental business function perhaps most adversely impacted by the pandemic has been employee learning and development. Coordinating new-hire training and onboarding, along with recurring training and development programs for existing employees, became increasingly more challenging without the benefit of live, in-person classes so many organizations have come to rely on.
If anything, COVID has helped surface for many business leaders critical flaws in their operations and workflows. And in the case of maintaining a well-trained, engaged, and responsive workforce, that means a dire need for properly integrating their company’s learning and development systems with their core HR system.
Many digital-first organizations have already adopted and deployed human capital management (HCM) systems. These platforms help unite essential HR functions such as payroll, benefits, and performance management into a single platform for seamless data flow and more efficient operations.
But too often learning and development platforms — Learning Management Systems (LMSs) to most people — are still regarded as separate, standalone systems, which makes authoring high-impact (and appropriate) training content quite difficult for overmatched HR teams.
Worse, the siloed, locked-down legacy platforms make the already difficult task of tracking employee progress and success during on-site training virtually impossible when so much of the workforce is no longer working from the same office or location.
Instead, integrating the learning and development system with an HCM enables organizations to take a more data-driven approach to employee training and development, while also delivering more personalized, effective learning experiences. Better yet, it brings together various data points that enable businesses to connect the dots between the skills and competencies employees need, deliver related training, and then provide the feedback necessary to improve performance.
Integration creates a better employee experience
One of the biggest training and development frustrations employees express — and the main culprit of poor adoption and long-term performance — is that many LMSs are too complicated or inconvenient to use. Making employees log in an out of different systems, remember multiple passwords, or having to consume training content on a particular device or platform are surefire ways to tamp down enthusiasm and performance.
In a 2020 survey, nearly 60% of workers said their HR systems are “disjointed, difficult, outdated, and glitchy or provide a poor user experience.” Integrating an LMS with a company’s existing HCM prioritizes the employee experience by creating a single system that efficiently guides them to the right information on both mobile and desktop environments and enables them to complete tasks either online or offline and get relevant help at any time.
More importantly, this arrangement means that employees don’t have to jump from one system to another, simplifying navigation, reducing the frequency of forgotten passwords, and eliminating all of the little barriers that undermine the value of a comprehensive learning and development program.
LMS + HCM = Better performance conversations
Assessing training impact is often challenging for managers because the relationship between learning and real-world performance isn’t always apparent when teams use separate LMS and HCM systems.
Tying learning to performance becomes more of a guessing game than a data-driven strategy. But, integrating an LMS with the HCM gives training developers, departmental managers, and business executives clearer and more comprehensive information how employee development and business initiatives align.
Employees complete assigned learning modules and their scores are recorded in the LMS and synced to matching records in the HCM. Any manager or executive can get an updated, at-a-glance view of how many employees completed a particular module and how well they fared to get a better understanding of overall performance and progress.
At the same time, leaders also have easy access to historical data such as positions held, previous evaluations, and training completions that make it easier to establish individual performance milestones and further personalize development plans.
Good for all: integration leads to more efficiency and cost savings
In an ideal world, employee training and development is a business driver, arming everyday contributors with the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs and empowering HR and line of business leaders to take an active role in each employees’ long-term success.
The reality is that continued reliance on non-integrated learning and HR systems pushes organizations further from each of those goals. In fact, using disparate systems can significantly increase operating costs and complexity because of all the manual data entry and performance monitoring, while reducing organizational efficiency and both employee productivity and satisfaction.
However, recent reports estimate that integrating an HCM with other key systems like an LMS and taking full advantage of automation capabilities can reduce the amount of time spent on routine tasks by more than 20% per employee, substantially reducing how much time teams spend fixing data errors and how much money they’re wasting do so.
Combined with the other benefits of deep integration — greater visibility, more transparency, improved engagement, and better data for more strategic learning plans — and it becomes apparent that integrating an LMS and HCM is a simple, straightforward, and underappreciated opportunity for organizations to radically improve their ability to maintain a well-trained, engaged, and productive workforce.
SyncHR partners with learning management providers to ensure you have the integrated solution you need. If you’re interested in seeing how we help our customers bring learning and HR into one system, click here to schedule a short 20-minute demo.