Rethinking Compliance Training: How to Manage Complex Training in a Post-LMS Era

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Is your training a matter of record?

Compliance training

As employee training environments become more complex, so does the management of the training. Many employers in the U.S. must comply with complex training and recordkeeping requirements which dictate that employers must keep an employee’s current and historical training records as long as the individual remains an employee.

These records include the most recent completion dates, description of training materials, names and addresses of training providers and, finally, a certification that the employee has been trained and tested.  This is usually in the form of a standard “certificate of completion” that can be provided to the trainee but then is maintained by the employer.

As an example, for hazmat training, all of these records must be maintained during the period of employment and plus 90 days after the employee is no longer employed.  The employer must make this information available to an auditor upon request.  For many industries, training must be instructional as well as practical and involves a final evaluation of the trainee.  The common theme running throughout all of these training situations is that companies need to be prepared to retain and reproduce records for inspectors.

The reality is that a lot of companies rely on paper methods or spreadsheets to manage their training. Having a training management system offers the freedom to break away from these sometimes risky practices by electronically managing training courses and records.

When paper records are the only method of tracking and retaining training information, managers are often unsure of where a trainee’s status actually stands; ATMS (Advanced Training Management Systems) allow for a centralized data repository with a summary of each trainee’s real time status, history, and future training requirements.  Companies that manage an extensive catalog of training with varying regulatory bodies across many modes of transport and geographic locations can especially benefit from the ability to centrally locate and manage all of their training courses.

Compliance training

Simplify your training within a single system

ATMS combines regulatory compliance training requirements into a single, integrated recordkeeping system which substantially reduces the possibility of missed or overlooked training requirements.  These systems allow training records to be maintained within one centralized location across multiple regulatory agencies; completion dates and scores can be viewed for all training courses. ATMS can also be used to store and manage employee certifications and personal HR data and identifying information (STAs, SIDA badges, employee IDs, passports, etc.). They are essentially a one-stop shop for all training and HR recordkeeping data.

Train end-to-end. Improve safety. Reduce costs.

The majority of incidents are the result of human error; training is the best approach to incident prevention. The burden of maintaining training records between a small and large corporation is the same. Whether a company is large or small, they are faced with the same challenge of maintaining safety and compliance.

Smaller organizations tend to have fewer resources dedicated to tracking their employee training records.  Those duties may be split among multiple personnel responsible for different groups of trainees, each using their own recordkeeping methods.

Large corporations manage higher volumes of employee training and may have more resources dedicated to recordkeeping, but do not have a cohesive way to effectively manage their process. They also may be burdened with providing vendor/partner training across multiple geographic locations. Regardless of the size of an organization, there are common challenges that companies face when they are relying on manual processes.

A training management system helps companies organize and issue their training materials, deliver the training, record, and store the required results and information.

Compliance training

Choose a TMS with a built-in LMS

ATMS systems offer more operational efficiency and organization to companies than just a straight LMS by maximizing productivity, eliminating human errors and saving valuable time from manual recordkeeping done with archaic paper filing and spreadsheets. The system manages the entire end-to-end training process from course set-up to scheduling resources (trainees, instructors, and devices such as classroom and CBT for eLearning), recordkeeping, and maintaining recurrent training. Automatic re-queuing and notifications allow peace of mind that trainees will not go past their training due dates.

One of the greatest advantages between an ATMS and a typical LMS is that the ATMS often provides unlimited training courses (from classroom to eLearning) without charging additional fees; an LMS will sometimes charge a fee for every course taken. Even for a small size company, the cost could be exorbitant if each employee has to take multiple courses to complete their annual training requirements. Another advantage ATMS has over an LMS is that it is an integrated training system with a built in LMS to manage all eLearning content; companies will not have to pay for a separate LMS service.

Whether a company decides to use ATMS installed on-site or in a hosted environment, the feasibility of the system provides plenty of options to meet all needs.

Avoid common errors a TMS can help avoid

The reality is most companies have many different departments managing their training processes. Because these responsibilities are spread out over an organization and multiple managers, miscommunication and disorganization can multiply. An ATMS allows all of these departments to essentially come together.  A trainee exists once in the system but everyone can see where that employee stands in regards to all of their training records and information.

Organizations also run into pitfalls when trying to use only an LMS to manage their training. They may receive notifications of completion but the actual management of the trainee and all aspects surrounding their payment are not handled. Companies often purchase courses through an LMS provider but then have little control over the management of the courses or the billing for those courses.  They are even charged by the LMS vendor for delivering courses that were developed and owned by the company.

An ATMS includes a built-in LMS, managing all training requirements for those in the regulated environment.  ATMS goes beyond just completing an eLearning course and getting a notification by managing multiple training schedules, collecting grades on any type of training, handling vendor training they may be responsible for, manage training expiration dates for qualifications, handle recurrent training, and managing billing.

Choose the best training courses with a system in mind

Purchase training courses from reputable companies that are members of their respective trade associations/groups. Understand employee job duties and ask for employee feedback on training.  Employees are key indicators regarding effective training; after all they want to be confident at their job duties.

It may be wise to review a course for effectiveness or ask others in peer groups for recommended courses. Courses are not given a seal of approval by government agencies so it is important that organizations understand their industry’s training standards and what is required for proper training of their employees. An ATMS provides a modern, integrated system that maintains accuracy and currency of training records that gives companies the confidence and assurance to be audit-ready and compliant enabling companies to better manage today’s increasingly complex training environments.

How has your organization dealt with compliance training?  Add your experiences in the comments!

Header by Rachel Wille

Looking for Learning Management System software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Learning Management System software solutions.

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About the Author

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Elizabeth Donahey

As AQT’s Director of Marketing, Elizabeth Donahey has a deep understanding of training management systems. As an assistant professor for over five years, Elizabeth taught information technology and operations management which complimented her work in IT performance and quality control programs throughout her fifteen years of experience within the IT industry. She also holds a certification in ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library). Elizabeth’s practical and theoretical knowledge of computer-based training systems is complimented by her passion for continuous process improvement.

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What would be a solution to combine multiple ATMS so that all training is conducted on one system (the employee authenticate once and can complete multiple manual training requirements under one roof)?

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