How to Hire for a Successful LMS

As you know a successful learning management system (LMS) can be a key driver in developing and growing your employees. But implementing a new LMS can be costly, timely, and require significant planning. That’s why it’s important to hire the right person or team to implement your LMS from the start and help minimize any negative issues along the way.

Team members for implementation

Depending on how large or small your company is and what your LMS budget is will determine what size your team will be. But regardless of your team’s size, there are some key responsibilities that this team or person will need to be responsible for when creating a successful LMS.

1. eLearning Project Manager/Team leader

The project manager makes sure the LMS implementation runs smoothly. He or she serves at the point person for the rest of the team and any other stakeholders. Plus, when bottlenecks arise in the process, the team leader is responsible for brainstorming solutions to implement themselves or for another team member to fix. This person also needs to keep the process moving and making sure other team members are achieving the project goals. For these reasons, you’ll want to hire a great communicator and a self-starter. Plus, a team leader needs to be a cheerleader for the team so a great motivator is also a necessary skill.

2. Instructional designer

This team member uses instructional design principles, models, and learning theories to structure the materials for the LMS. He or she needs to use the set learning objectives to also drive this process. Specific tasks for an instructional designer may include refining and managing elearning course content and creating instructor manuals to teach this coursework. As a result, you will need to search for a person who is up-to-date on the latest and trending elearning authoring tools.

3. Subject matter expert

When you are implementing a new LMS, it’s a great time to look at your training materials. A subject matter expert will go through all of your coursework to see what should be included and what can be omitted. Depending on the different types of training materials your company uses, you may hire a subject matter expert for each one. This individual will work with the instructional designer to determine what the desired outcome is for each lesson or course keeping in mind the learning objectives. For this reason, a subject matter expert needs to work well in a team and collaborative environment.

4. Course authoring specialist

The course authoring specialist looks at the overall structure of each course. Tasks may include course layout, making sure each course fits well within the LMS, and linking relevant courses together for a comprehensive learning experience for each employee. If you have a limited budget or an extremely qualified instructional designer, you may be able to delegate these tasks to this employee.

5. Learning management system specialist

After the course authoring specialist finishes with their responsibilities, a learning management system specialist takes over. This person’s role is to manage the infrastructure of the LMS. Basically he or she needs to double check that all courses and corresponding training materials are loaded into the new LMS correctly and that there are no bugs or glitches. Plus, a learning management specialist needs to put themselves in the shoes of an employee in training. Questions like what is the course track for each employee and what are the different tracks based on prior subject matter knowledge need to be explored and answered.

6. Graphic designer

The graphic designer is in charge of the look and feel of all the courses. He or she should be skilled in graphs, animations, and user interfaces. This person also needs to translate the design through in-classroom lessons as well as elearning interfaces if using a blended learning model. Plus, to ensure your LMS can be leveraged as an employee benefit, the graphic designer should create a look and feel to properly market it to potential new hires.

7. Communications manager

This role is a middle man between the learning team and the employees taking the training. In order to ensure course success, modifications need to be made based on learner feedback. Plus, if a learning track changes for the employees, this needs to be properly communicated so everyone is on the same page.

8. IT specialist

An IT specialist needs to be on staff for several reason. If bugs arise in certain courses, these need to be fixed quickly to optimize learning. Plus, when utilizing a new or different LMS, someone needs the technical skills to properly fix the system. And finally, if an employee is having an issue logging in or taking a course, there needs to be a point person to address these issues.

9. QA tester

This person makes sure system glitches or potential issues are minimized within the LMS. He or she acts as an editor checking for typos and other elements that are not functioning properly.

Core skills for a successful LMS

Now that we’ve discussed your dream team for a successful LMS, what skills should this team possess?  Although each person brings a different job to the table, there are some common characteristics you should look for when hiring your team members. Here are five traits they should possess.

  • Data entry and software skills

Although each team member interacts differently with the LMS, they all need to understand how the LMS works. This includes uploading training materials, migrating data if switching to a new LMS, and interacting with the key features. After all, if they don’t properly understand the inner workings of the LMS, how do they expect trainees to buy in and use the LMS?

  • Project management skills

Your LMS team needs to function as a cohesive group. So one of the most important skills is project management. Each person will be assigning tasks to different team members, tracking their progress reaching goals/milestones, and processing feedback on how the LMS is performing. Besides employees, certain LMS team members will be interacting with stakeholders as well so project management is necessary for success.

  • Problem solving skills

Another skill to look for in job applicants is problem solving. Whether it be a technical issue, an issue with an employee not understanding the LMS platform or a stakeholder not buying into a new learning program, all team members need to work through issues. If your goal is to hire for a successful LMS, your team will look for problems and solve these before they become too widespread.

  • Interpersonal skills

You want to hire the best people for each role in the LMS process. However, it’s important to keep personality in mind. If you hire people that are like-minded in problem solving, negotiating, and working as a team your LMS will be successful. Each person needs to bring their strengths to the table, but realize when it’s best to rely on other team members to complete certain tasks. Each person is only as strong as the team all together.

  • Analytic skills

Each team member needs to have a balance between creative thinking and precise evaluation. When problems arise or questions come up from employees, how will your team respond? If they look at these situations and explore all solutions versus jumping to a quick fix, you’ll set yourself up for a successful LMS. In addition, each team member needs to clearly understand their role within the team and use their skills at the right time.

Onboarding and training your LMS team

After you’ve hired your dream team, how will they be successful within your organization? This may sound odd to think about training your training team, but it is necessary for a successful LMS. The onboarding process is also super important. In fact, according to Click Boarding, new employees who received a structured onboarding program were 58 percent more likely to stay with their organizations after three years. So how do you set up a successful onboarding and training plan for your new LMS team? Here are some steps to take.

1. Pre-onboarding

Before your new employees hit the ground running, you need pre-onboarding. This process includes putting together a comprehensive welcome packet. This package will include things like company dress code, a CEO welcome letter, who an employee will meet with on their first day, employee handbook, what technology they will be receiving on the job, and more. It’s also important to include a questionnaire for this employee to fill out after their pre-onboarding experience because your process can always be improved.

The bottomline is you want your new hires to be informed even before stepping foot into your office. Your package should be as comprehensive as possible so you put these new hires at ease and they feel they made the right choice saying yes to the job. According to a Gallup poll, only 12 percent of employees reported having a great onboarding experience so you want to be known as one of the few companies with a comprehensive onboarding program.

2. First day on the job

After your new hires have read over their pre-onboarding package, it’s time for their first day. This will include any human resource paperwork and meeting with their new team. Their manager should lay out the team goals for the year and how this new hire will help achieve these goals. A clear plan will set expectations from the start and make sure every team member is on the same page.

After this team meeting, it’s time to show your new hire their workspace. Since you already communicated what technology would be given, this process should really be a formality of showing him or her where they will sit and a time to set up any personal passwords.

3. Training and development

Once the formalities are completed, you’ll want to lay out the ongoing training and development for each one of your LMS team members. Although they may be setting up an LMS or transitioning to a new one, these team members need training themselves. There should be a detailed plan of what this training path will include. It may be a mixture of online, classroom, and suggested conferences to attend. It’s vital to learn the latest technologies and industry trends in order to build and maintain a successful LMS.

Besides industry training, it’s important to train on key skill sets. According to a survey by Training Magazine, there are five soft skills companies typically train on:

  • Communication skills
  • Developing and coaching others
  • Team leadership
  • Strategy development and alignment
  • Change leadership

Covering these five major areas will add or further strengthen existing soft skills. And since several of your new team members will have direct reports, these skills will make them better managers and better problem solvers.

Lastly, make sure you ask your new team member where they see themselves in the future of your company? What skills do they feel they are lacking or could strengthen? The more buy-in you have from your new hires and the more empowered they feel from the beginning, the more willing they will stay with your organization and help it grow into the future.

Setting your LMS team up for future success

If you want a successful LMS, you need to hire the right team to make it run well. Just remember the key roles needed for an LMS team and what key skills these employees should have. Also, keep in mind this is a team and needs to function as one. So it’s vital for each team member to have soft skills like problem solving, good communication, and people who will rely on one another for the success of your LMS,

And don’t forget the importance of properly onboarding and laying out a training program for each and every team member from the start. If you communicate company learning goals, lay out a plan for employee development, and give your team the tools to properly succeed, you will create a successful LMS.

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Kristy is a content writer for Continu and marketing freelancer. When she’s not working on her latest blog post, she enjoys tackling new recipes and destressing during yoga sculpt.