Using your HRMS to keep track of workforce training

Whether you call yourself a ‘learning organization’ or not, there’s no doubt that one foundation of any success is the skills and capabilities of your workforce. And of course, in order to take full advantage of those skills and capabilities, you need to know exactly what they are and how they match (or not) the requirements of the business – and that’s where an HRMS training module can help.

Workforce data

The first step is to decide what workforce data to record. Traditional ‘training administration’ tended to focus on training courses attended but you might also include information on prior education, university or college qualifications, languages spoken, and even proficiency in hobbies or sports in your HRMS training module.

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The key is to ‘translate’ this information so that people’s skills and abilities can be matched to the requirements of specific roles. This data can then be used to facilitate workforce planning activities, and to identify key areas for workforce development.  The key to this translation is usually an organization’s competency framework, a set of specific knowledge and skills descriptions that can be chosen from to define a job, and which can also be mapped across to the learning gained from specific training courses.

So, what can an HRMS training module do for you?

The following key functions are available in many if not most HRMS packages:

  • Scheduling – essentially, this is a sophisticated calendar application to keep track of the training being delivered and link with other relevant system functions such as time and attendance (once booked on a training course, the employee is not available for work on the shift rota). Traditionally focused on face to face, ‘classroom’ events, these days this feature might incorporate coaching, online or e-learning, gamified exercises, and tests. Factors tracked by the system might include accommodation (training rooms), trainer availability, pre-course notifications, and the competencies associated with each training exercise.
  • Delivery and maintenance of modules – for e-learning or downloadable materials, the system may manage access, depending on set criteria such as role, seniority and previously completed training exercises. 
  • Evaluating training – a formal evaluation process to ensure your workforce development efforts are on track. This includes pre-training objective setting, to post-training questionnaires, to follow-up surveys or interviews with the trainee and their line manager, to formal knowledge and skill tests can all be coordinated by the software. In and of itself, is not useful unless the training is absorbed.
  • Individual records and progress – multi-event series of training can be tracked by the system; either a standard program (such as mandatory training for new hires or newly-promoted managers) or a one-off bespoke program tailored to an individual’s needs. For training that results in certifications or qualifications the system automatically updates individual trainees’ personal records.
  • Legislative compliance – certain training is mandatory as a  legislative compliance issue (such as health and safety for specific role types, or transmission of particular information) and a training module can be used to track – and prove – that such training has taken place.
  • Reporting – a standard feature is the facility to compile reports on various aspects of the above functions, providing hard data for strategic business discussions (for example, evaluation reports assessing the success of key training programs).

The key to getting the most out of your HRMS training module or learning management system is integration. To put the training data and outputs into a meaningful context, it must be combined with data from other modules and systems, such as performance management, customer relationships and other relevant business data.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall