Finding employees with the right skill set is a struggle for many small and midsize businesses (SMBs). In a 2017 Software Advice survey1, SMBs revealed that hiring the right people was their top business constraint.
To overcome the challenge of hiring employees who lack skills and industry knowledge, businesses of all sizes use online training programs to bring new hires up-to-speed on industry best practices. But a key challenge of online training programs, whether delivered in-house or via third-party training firms, is the notoriously low completion rates.
One way SMBs can dissuade employees from abandoning online training programs is by making certification mandatory. They can do this and track course completions with the help of certification tracking software (CTS).
These tools are especially important in specialty industries, such as construction or health care, where employee certification is necessary to meet compliance requirements.
There are many CTS tools to choose from that offer a variety of features. The right tool for your business depends on whether you want to just manage employee certification or create training courses using learning management systems (LMS).
We created this Buyer's Guide to help you understand the core capabilities and use cases of certification tracking software. Use this report as a starting point to analyze and compare different CTS systems and make an informed purchase.
Here's what we'll cover:
Certification tracking software helps you create, manage and track your employees' certificates. For instance, a medical practice requires its employees to complete different certifications throughout their careers. The practice can then use the software as an online repository to store and manage employee certifications.
Along with tracking employee course completion rates, these tools help you set up automatic certificate expiry alerts. These alerts remind employees to retake certain training programs.
Certification tracking dashboard in Talentguard (Source)
An important caveat is that CTS solutions are different from compliance management systems. CTS solutions are part of the larger LMS category, and they let you track certificates related to employee training programs. Compliance management systems are more specific to meeting compliance requirements regarding your corporate ethics policies, partner policies and other business-related policies.
Certification tracking helps you assess whether employees have successfully completed the training and make a correct analysis of their current skill sets.
Here's a look at the key features found in CTS solutions:
|Certificate creation||Create new certificates using built-in templates or edit existing ones before issuing them to employees.|
|Document management||Upload, store and retrieve employee details and digital copies of their certificates.|
|Compliance reporting||View the status of employee certification and set automated reminders for recertification.|
|Self-service portal||Allow employees to upload their certificates and notify their managers/HR team/trainers to approve the certificates.|
|Certification roadmap||Build workflows to help employees understand the training certifications they need to complete in order to advance their careers.|
|Online workspaces||Communicate and interact with employees via online discussion boards.|
Certification tracking software has two primary buyer types—those whose priority is compliance management and those whose priority is creating training certification programs for their employees.
Here's a quick look at the two buyer types and their primary concerns:
Buyers primarily looking for compliance management. If you fall into this category, you're mostly interested in maintaining a detailed record of employee certifications for compliance requirements. Therefore, you should look for a best-of-breed tool that offers specific functionalities such as the ability to track details and certifications of the entire workforce, which may be spread across multiple locations.
An important feature for these buyers is a self-service portal, which lets employees submit their certificates for management's approval. The automated notifications feature that sends certification expiry reminders to employees is a must-have functionality for such buyers.
Buyers that need to create employee certification training programs. If you fall into this category, you not only want compliance management functionalities, but also the ability to create training programs. In other words, you want a full LMS with built-in certification tracking capabilities.
You most likely want the ability to administer training to employees and follow it up with course certification. For that reason, you'll need the whole gamut of LMS capabilities such as course authoring, learner progress tracking, a content management system, virtual classroom and quizzing/testing features.
Certification tracking software can augment your organization's learning and development programs. The right tool for you depends on your industry, organization size and software budget. Therefore, you need to keep all these factors in mind when you decide to purchase a CTS solution.
Let's take a closer look at these considerations:
Gartner conducted this survey in April and May 2017 among 699 U.S.-based SMBs with more than 10 employees and annual revenue of less than $100 million. The survey excluded nonprofit organizations. The qualified respondents are decision-makers or have significant influence on the decisions related to purchasing technologies for their organization.
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