In other articles, we've explained what an LMS is and demonstrated how you can use an LMS to improve your EHS training program and your new employee safety onboarding, and we've even given a free LMS Buyer's Guide checklist to help you get the right LMS for your company the first time.
Hopefully you've read those articles and enjoyed them (although it's not necessary to read those articles before you read this one). And maybe you even learned a thing or two.
But maybe your thoughts are stuck on a single point, one that is often relevant in our society: the almighty dollar and your return on investment (ROI).
Specifically, maybe you're wondering if an LMS would be "worth it?" Is it just a shiny new toy that you can't afford and that will never help you recover its purchase price? Or is it one of those things that you will purchase and have it save you so much money you come out looking like a genius and smelling like roses?
Well, we've got some thoughts about that in the article below. Read on and reap the profits (ha ha!).
You might also find a LOT of stuff interesting and helpful on your online safety training search in the guide below.
It's probably not possible to create a comprehensive list of ALL the ways an LMS can help save you money on your Safety or EHS training program. That's because everyone is going to use the LMS a little differently or will use it in different circumstances. We frequently hear surprising success stories from our customers that we had never anticipated before.
But, we can easily think of at least ten ways that an LMS can positively affect the ROI of your safety training program by:
We'll look at each of the ten points listed above in more detail in the section below. But if you need something to get you on this idea of an LMS and what it is, the short two-minute Convergence LMS video overview below should do the job nicely.
As we mentioned earlier, you can use an LMS to administer different "types" of training: eLearning, instructor-led, written materials, videos, field-based/hands-on training, and more.
Learning and development experts recommend using these different types of training in what's called a blended learning solution. That's what ANSI Z490.1, the U.S. National Standard on Accepted Best Practices for EHS Training, recommends too.
When using a blended learning solution, you'll often want to pick the type of training activity that's going to be most effective for a given training need. For example, there are times when the sophisticated visuals of an e-learning course, or the self-guided learning nature of an e-learning course, will lead to the most effective training. Likewise, there are other times when instructor-led training or hands-on training in the field will lead to the most effective training.
Because your goal is always going to be to have the most effective training, and therefore the safest workplace, this ability to pick and choose types of training to match your training need is a huge bonus. You won't be stuck "going to the well" of one type of training--all instructor-led, or all field-based, or all video-based--too often. You'll have a full quiver of training solutions are your disposal.
And, to bring this back to the ROI of your health and safety training program, effective training is going to lead to fewer costs as a result of incidents and citations.
In some cases, you'll find that more than one type of training would lead to training that's equally effective.
In those cases, you can use the freedom that an LMS provides you to pick the type of training that costs less money. In many cases, the answer to this is something you can deliver online, such as a written document, a video, a webinar, or an eLearning course. Employees can watch these remotely, cutting travel expenses, and they can watch them on their own work schedule, cutting overtime expenses.
Do this for one training need, and you'll save yourself a pretty penny. Do this strategically for many training sessions throughout a year, and you'll find you're saving your company some major cash.
True story: A training manager at a paper mill in Louisiana purchased our learning management system about six years ago. He got it on a Thursday, and on a Friday he used it to deliver a single online training course to his workers.
He later told us that his purchase of the LMS paid itself off that very first weekend (!!) by allowing him to avoid the costs he would have incurred if he had done the training as an instructor-led session (he would have had to pay a trainer, rent a facility, pay overtime, pay for lodging and food for some of his employees, etc.).
Sure, in some cases, he'll continue paying the additional cost for instructor-led training, but now he's free to use a less-expensive alternative when it's appropriate to do so. We're happy to say that this customer is still with us, is still using our LMS, and that as many as twenty other mills owned by his parent company, as well as other divisions also owned by the parent company, have joined this Louisiana paper mill as users of our LMS.
If you're administering your health and safety training program manually, we don't need to tell you how time-consuming that all is. And of course, chewing up all that time on training administration also chews up a lot of company dollars.
Stop and think about all the stuff you do manually and how much time it takes: scheduling training, notifying workers and supervisors of training sessions, creating records of completed training, storing those records, finding those records later to see who's done and not done, etc. Now figure out your hourly wage and multiply that by the number of hours you're spending on training administration. Ouch!
Why keep spending all this money on training administration when an LMS can do so much of this work for you while requiring very little or none of your time?
Your employees value their health and safety. And, they're not stupid.
If you run a dangerous workplace, many employees will leave over time, and you'll have to spend more and more money hiring new workers, onboarding them, and getting them up to speed.
That's true even if there's only a perception that your workplace is dangerous or that your company doesn't value the health and safety of workers.
One good way to (1) have a safe workplace and (2) demonstrate to your workers that you value their health and safety is by having an LMS. Having an LMS, and using it to coordinate an effective health and safety training program, shows your workers that you value them. And that, in turn, will reduce turnover. And that, in turn, will reduce your costs.
To see how this might happen, read this true story from one of our recent LMS customers (it's the first story in the article, the one about the Hawaiian corrugated board manufacturer).
The point of getting an LMS for your health and safety training is to let you deliver effective training that will reduce the chances of an incident.
We've already shown you that an LMS can help you select the most effective type of training for each training need. So you can see how that would help reduce the chances of an incident.
And another way an LMS helps with this is by making it easier to make sure everyone's received that training. With an LMS, it's easy to:
By doing all this, and doing it all automatically, the LMS greatly reduces the chances that someone will slip through the cracks and not complete required training, and you won't have dangerously untrained workers.
True story: A new LMS customer explained to me that they were making an investment in safety training, and in our LMS, because an employee had recently suffered a back injury while lifting materials improperly from a conveyor (even though there was a mechanical lift for that purpose). In one year, direct costs associated with that injury had totaled $200,000, and the company had to reassign the worker to a position they created solely to keep that person employed.
An LMS can also help you avoid citations from regulatory agencies like OSHA, MSHA, and the EPA.
The LMS can help you do this in a two main ways.
First, by letting you use a blended learning solution to deliver the best possible safety and health training to your workers. If you're providing great training, you're sure to reduce the chances of an incident that could in turn lead to a citation.
And second, by making it easier to ensure that everyone's getting the training they need and you're compliant on your training requirements. Why get a citation simply because you didn't realize the new worker in Quality hadn't finished training?
True story: One recent customer recently adopted our LMS and some of our EHS eLearning courses. After that, a disgruntled employee left the company and complained to the state-run OSHA program, claiming the worksite was dangerous and the company offered no safety training.
A state-plan OSHA inspector arrived to investigate these claims, and the training manager set the inspector up with access to the LMS so he could see the safety training program that had been set up for employees and the records of completed training.
Not only did the state-plan OSHA inspector not levy a fine against the company, he rewarded them, congratulated them on their safety training program, told them to keep doing what they're doing, and said he wished all companies in the state were using a similar program (including the LMS).
Your insurance company makes more money if you pay them for coverage and then never make a claim.
And they're smart folks. They know if you have a good health and safety training program, you're less likely to have an incident and therefore less likely to have a claim. And so they'll cut you a deal if you can show steps you've made toward effective health and safety training. And having an LMS that can ensure health and safety training compliance is one factor in that.
Worth a shot, no? It's not a bad idea to touch base with your insurer and see what they're looking for.
If you're a vendor, and you supply another company with parts, material, or a product, that customer may often want to audit your site. As part of that audit, they'll want to audit your training program in general and your safety training program in particular.
If you're health and safety training program is incomplete or not up to snuff, you're not likely to get that spot as a preferred vendor, or maybe they'll drop you as a vendor entirely. Having an LMS is going to make it a lot easier for you to provide adequate health and safety training to all your workers instead of having the inevitable training gaps that come with having no system in place.
In addition, having an LMS will make it a lot easier to demonstrate that your training program is complete. The LMS will save all your completion records in one place, and all you've got to do is run a few reports. What's not to like?
True story: A company that produces paper products in the northeastern United States adopted our LMS about seven years ago. The decision to adopt the LMS was made by their Production department, and they also hired us to create training materials to help their line workers get up to speed on necessary job skills. However, their Safety manager, a guy named Jeff, told me he was excited as well.
Jeff explained that his company was a vendor to a major American retailer (hint: you've heard of them) and that the retailer audited his safety program on a frequent basis. Jeff explained that even though he was working very hard to provide safety training before his company got our LMS and EHS eLearning courses, the audits were excruciating. No matter how organized he tried to be during the year, come audit time it was always impossible to find all the appropriate health and safety training records. He explained that he'd typically have to devote one or two full days to getting materials together for this, and that inevitably those records would be incomplete. As a result, the scores the retailer gave Jeff's company on their audit were typically in the mid-80s (on a scale of 1-100).
I went back to visit Jeff two years after he began using our LMS. He told me that audit days now only took up about 15 minutes of his time. He'd simply run a few reports, drop them off in a conference room, and say hi to the auditors over morning coffee. Even better, because the LMS stored all training records indefinitely and made it easy to document all that training in reports, his company's audit score went up significantly--Jeff reports they jumped from the mid-80s to the high-90s. And this allowed them to sell more to the massive retailer. Win for Jeff and win for all his company!
You imagine that Jeff's boss may have been happy with him for positively affecting the company bottom line, right?
Without an LMS, you're going to have to rely a lot on training that's (1) coordinated and scheduled by the safety training manager and (2) instructor-led or field-based training.
That means you won't be giving much freedom to your workers to let them determine when training fits in their schedule. Inevitably, this will drive up costs, as scheduled training sessions interfere with scheduled work, or as training requires paying workers overtime.
But with an LMS, you're putting the workers in the driver's seat. Or at least you're sharing the wheel to an extent. An LMS lets a worker log in, see what training has been assigned, and then complete it on his or her own schedule. That means workers can complete some training, especially things that can be completed online like eLearning, during periodic slow points on the job. And that's going to have a positive effect on your bottom line.
To add to this, having an LMS that can also deliver training on mobile devices puts your workers in even more control, and will provide you even more cost savings.
Learn more about our mobile apps for mobile learning and even incident reporting.
New hires must receive proper initial safety and health training as part of their new employee onboarding process. But as important as this is, it's also a time-consuming process that creates logistical challenges for everyone involved and runs up expenses quickly.
By using an LMS to create a standard, organized safety and health component of your new employee onboarding, and allowing workers to complete some of it online, you can compress that time cycle, cut training-related costs, and get the new employee working sooner instead of later.
See our Using an LMS to Provide New Employee Safety Onboarding article for more on new employee safety onboarding with an LMS.
To learn more about LMSs and how they can be used for training, check some of the articles below:
And here are some additional articles about LMSs that you may find helpful:
And of course, let us know if you have any other questions about LMSs and online safety training!
We hope we've answered a few questions about how you can use a learning management system, or LMS, to make your EHS training program more effective, more efficient, and less costly.
If you'd like to see more, check out any of the following LMSs that we make:
Of course, feel free to contact us too if you have any questions. And don't forget to download the free guide, below.