Training management is the process by which an organization identifies training requirements, builds training programs, flags who needs to be trained, and executes that training. Doing this efficiently will help an organization ensure that they can effectively change business operations, and that its employees are knowledgeable, trained and fully able to do their jobs. From a compliance standpoint, these capabilities are critical. Without proper training or training management, an organization will run risk of noncompliance, safety issues and even poor quality due to operator errors.

Many companies have adopted automated training management systems, designed to automate the process of training employees. The training management system ensures that no matter who comes into the organization, there is a defined and consistent training program in place.

An automated training system is beneficial because it tracks employee profiles and schedules training events. It also manages the identification, responsibilities, authorities, training and certification requirements for all employees, providing a simple method of scheduling and recording training.

Traits to look for

There are often challenges faced with manual training processes; however, automating your training process will help alleviate these challenges.

Here are some of the top characteristics to look for in a training management system:

1) Integration of employee data: Many organizations keep employee data in a central location; however, it is essential to integrate with the system where the employee data is kept. The ability to bring employee profiles into the training management system is key. This allows an organization to make sure all employee information is up to date and that data is not double entered. The ability to group employees is also important, particularly in organizations with hundreds, even thousands, of employees. The training management system should be able to logically group employees — by department, operational area, function or facility.

2) Creation and linking of training requirements: The ability to create training requirements and link training events to these requirements is another benefit of the training management system. This allows the organization to organize training types — whether safety-based training, quality-based general human resources and more. It’s helpful to create requirements groups and create training events around these groups. This provides the assurance that the correct groups are receiving the right type of training. In addition, the training management system should enable the organization to create a course for each requirement type.

3) Integration with a document control system: Controlled documents are typically the central repository where job descriptions, processes, work instructions and more are stored. When new documents are released or existing documents are revised, employees need to be trained on them. Integrating training with the document control system helps to easily define who needs training on each document. It also automatically updates training records for each employee, allows for self-training or testing functions, and automatically updates each employee status upon training completion.

4) Automated testing: A training management system should have some form of test recording. Without proper testing, an organization cannot accurately ensure that an employee is adequately trained. Testing programs linked to training management provide a quantitative measure that training has been given and the employee has passed the training qualification process. Most systems will integrate testing into their training plans; pass/fail, percentage scores, or similar, which are common ways to accurately assess one’s ability to do the job.

5) Integration with adverse events: If an adverse event occurs, such as a safety incident or quality nonconformance, an organization can link investigations to the training record.

For example, if an organization sees a higher risk of incidents during a particular shift on the line, it can link the safety investigation back to the training records, and see if re-training is required, as well as make sure that there was prior training. This can also arise out of a corrective action; linking training to corrective action can help to uncover any systemic training issues. The goal is to increase visibility to and correlation between adverse events and employee training.

6) Integration with reporting: An organization can receive greater visibility into training with a reporting tool. The ability to see into the data and analyze trends and key performance indicators (KPI) helps to improve the overall operation of the organization and mitigate risk. A training management system linked to reporting helps uncover key trends, and pinpoints poor training by running reports on training effectiveness.

7) Linking training to change management: Change management may result from a corrective action, in which the organization may have to change or rework processes. It will also need to factor in training. It’s necessary to take into account the human element. This helps to foster continuous improvement, not only in operational areas, but also in employee development.