(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at SilkRoad, a leading provider of talent management software that enables companies to find, attract, develop, and retain the best talent. SilkRoad just released their annual Talent Management Technology Benchmark Report. You can download a copy here. Enjoy the post!)
When it comes to organizational talent, we have three choices: buy, borrow, or build. Buying talent refers to the process of hiring a regular full-time employee. Borrowing is when we utilize contingent workers to accomplish projects. Building is the process of developing current employees.
As organizations find the task of hiring qualified workers more difficult, borrowing and building talent is an important consideration. Some industries, like healthcare, have experienced hiring challenges for many years. We can all learn from their experience.
LCS is an Iowa based provider of high-quality senior lifestyle products and services. LCS serves over 32,000 residents in 118 communities. They have approximately 535 employees in 31 states. During SilkRoad’s Connections Conference, LCS was recognized as SilkRoad’s Champion of the Year. This is an organization that understands the importance of developing talent.
At LCS, training and development is the top company initiative on their strategic plan. Alysa Hartman, training and benefits coordinator at LCS, shared during the conference that senior leadership support has always been an important part of the company’s culture, which is why talent development became the number one goal of the organization. Yes – talent development is the top priority. They realized the need to focus on building their bench strength and preparing people for the jobs they want in the future.
But aligning the organization’s talent development strategy with the strategic business plan wasn’t an easy task. During the conference, Alysa outlined their lessons learned during the implementation of their corporate learning university, called the LCS University.
Think beyond immediate needs. Alysa admitted that LCS outgrew their first learning management system (LMS) very quickly, which ultimately led to their partnership with SilkRoad and the implementation of their GreenLight solution. When evaluating systems, think about the tasks that you will still have to handle manually and try to project your future needs to make sure the system is prepared for your future growth.
Have a plan for content development. LCS initially implemented their LMS with zero content. The LMS offered webinar technology and third-party content. After their initial implementation and adjustment period, they started developing their own content using Adobe Captivate.
Remember you can learn and have fun at the same time. LCS hires multiple professional and licensure positions such as health care administrators, registered nurses, and accountants. Hence, the organization conducts a lot of compliance training. That doesn’t mean compliance training has to be boring. Alysa said they started offering learning games such as “Are you Smarter than the HIPAA officer?” and “Corporate Compliance: Don’t Press your Luck!” Participants loved them and special courses have since been developed for marketing and finance.
Make online training informative, intuitive, and engaging. Because this was a new way of delivering content, LCS was concerned about user adoption. They included system tutorials and information about pre-requisite courses. The LMS was rolled out to employees with no training, thanks to the intuitive nature of the software! Courses are an average of 20-30 minutes long. During the course, participants are prompted to interact every few minutes.
Online training is not always a substitute for classroom training. LCS still conducts live classroom training. They have created blended learning degree programs to help employees gain skills in certain areas: finance, marketing and sales, health care, and risk management. They are considering a human resources program. This helps employees with their career development and the organizational succession plan.
Think long-term. Speaking of succession planning, LCS created a professional development program for individuals who ultimately want to be executive directors. It includes online training modules using GreenLight, classroom training, community assignments (i.e. job rotation), and a mentoring program. They are hoping to add a forum feature to develop a collaborative learning environment.
If you’re wondering how they measure results, Alysa said the department produces a multiple page annual training report. It’s a corporate report to senior leadership that includes data such as classroom training and webinars versus online learning. It also reports on hours of training, number of people trained, and program completions.
My thanks to Alysa and the LCS team for sharing their story, and congratulations again on your award. As organizations look to their future staffing needs, I think more companies will ask the same questions about developing talent.
Speaking of talent strategies, I hope you can join me on Tuesday, August 26 at 1p Eastern for a webinar on “5 Ways Your Onboarding Process Can Improve Employee Engagement”. Registration details can be found here. If you can’t attend, go ahead and register – SilkRoad will make sure you get a link to the recording so you can review at your leisure. The program is pre-approved for recertification credit by the HR Certification Institute.0