A Hypothetical Scenario for an Essential Worker

A large group of nurses leave the hospital en masse – exhausted, mentally drained, and hungry for rest. They’ve been on the floor non-stop during a 12-hour rotation doing everything from taking care of critical patients in the intensive care unit to looking over recovery patients in the medical-surgical ward. The nurse, the potential frontrunner poster child of an essential worker, goes home for a much-deserved break to relax.

The next day, the charge nurse noticed that a large percentage of her team had not shown up. The ratio of patients on the census to nurses working the floor is out of proportion. Word of the issue gets out to the head nurse of the hospital and he becomes deeply concerned with how his staff is handling the demands of the job, and the impact it’s having on their well-being.

To further prevent further burnout, the head nurse orders the hospital’s training manager to deploy a series of training courses focused on stress management and wellness. The “Wellness in the Works” as he calls it, is required to be taken and completed by all medical staff and bedside nurses within two months of receiving the notification email. The training project includes 10 live and online virtual sessions, in addition to at least four in-person training sessions at an activity of their choice — a weightlifting class, yoga, culinary cooking, or indoor cycling.

According to the register, there are over 5,500 nurses listed on staff within the hospital system,  all with varying work schedules.

In a time crunch, the human resources department and training manager collaborate on how to best schedule the instructor-led training held both online and in-person. They begin comparing nurse schedules by shift, and then by specialty, and then by time off. Regardless, it proves to be tedious to schedule the courses, and manually input duplicate courses into their system, let alone finding the group of available and qualified instructors to lead the array of classes in a span of two months.

So, how do organizations responsible for administering training for an essential workforce better efficiently manage schedules and resources?

scheduling courses for nurses who are stressed

Managing Training for Frontline Workers: Is Your Learning Management System Helping or Hurting?

The task of scheduling training for essential workers is easier said than done. In the case of frontline workers, there’s a high likelihood that the training team is utilizing a Learning Management System (LMS) along with other tools such as spreadsheets and calendars, to plan instructor-led course calendars and schedule training sessions. While using an LMS for course scheduling can be done, it lacks specific features meant to optimize for that particular task – scheduling, whether that be for sessions, resources, and/or instructors.

It may seem logical at first for training managers in charge of training frontline workers to rely on their LMS to schedule both Instructor-Led Training (ILT) and Virtual Instructor-Led Training courses. What could go wrong when trying to manage both the scheduling and availability of courses with a system that’s not built to do so? Quite a lot actually. 

LMSs don’t cater to managing back-office scheduling for a multitude of in-person and virtual courses in the manner they’re used to acquire eLearning registrations from learners. To make a difficult situation even more complex, internal training teams are left to manage their training operations manually, in part with the LMS, along with other tools. From cross-comparing course schedules on a multitude of spreadsheets containing course details, instructor schedules, training resources, and associated costs, to managing communications through email and shared calendars, there’s a lot of manual work that takes a lot of time – maybe even longer than most frontline workers’ shifts! 

When it comes to organizing training for your frontline and essential workforce, evaluating where the gaps in your learning tech are leaving you less than optimized, could be an important step.   

Utilizing a Training Management System to Organize Essential Workforce Training

This is where a training management system or TMS comes into play, in helping to reduce that burdensome task of endlessly playing “course matchmaker” between competing schedules, resources, and instructor availability, along with the dozen or so other duties training delivery managers have to deal with.

Simply put, a TMS replaces spreadsheets containing schedules, course details,  resources, and instructor skills and availabilities, and integrates them onto a single, easy-to-use platform. The TMS then lets you easily schedule courses and then find and assign the best available resources and instructors based on the criteria and filters you’ve set.  This can include anything from available dates and times, language of instruction, instructor skills, and whether the course is conducted in-person or online (ILT and VILT) or done in a hybrid model.

A TMS makes it significantly easier for members of the training team to manage training operations for their frontline workforce training.

Optimizing the Registration Lifecycle

In addition to training operations, when it comes to getting your frontline workers registered for training, the situation becomes even more complex and the registration lifecycle can break, particularly in these scenarios: 

  • No Email or LMS Access: Your learners don’t have a corporate email or access to the LMS 
  • Not Yet Registered in the Corporate System Before Onboarding: Your learners aren’t yet in the corporate HRIS or LMS, but onboarding training needs to be scheduled!
  • Limited or No LMS: Your LMS doesn’t handle registrations, or your organization doesn’t have an LMS 

How does a TMS address the registration issues commonly found in an LMS?

The primary advantage of using a TMS for essential workforce training is that it can bridge the registration gap. While you can improvise administrative tasks using your LMS and spreadsheets, this can lead to mishaps that can make it more difficult both for the employee and the training team throughout the registration lifecycle.

Process of registration lifecycle for training employees

The Registration Lifecycle

There are four main phases within the registration lifecycle for classroom and virtual classroom training:

  1. Registrations:  instructor-led training via online video or in-person session
  2. Invitations: Details on the course including location, materials, and meeting time.
  3. Attendance & Completion: Ensuring learners are finishing learning modules and assigned material.
  4. Certifications: Proof of training proficiency and pending renewal.

But, when an internal training team decides to utilize their LMS instead of a TMS to manage enrollment, this can cause a few cracks to form in the course registration process which can lead to miscommunication and more admin work for training teams. Let’s take a closer look at the four phases:

  1. Step 1 – Registrations: In a TMS,  learners can be quickly and automatically enrolled in training. This is especially helpful in situations where the L&D team needs to schedule training, like onboarding for example, before the employee has an account in the LMS or is input into the HRIS. The TMS automates this otherwise very manual process.
  2. Step 2 – Invitations: With a lack of calendar automation in the LMS, invitations, and change notifications are often sent manually. From enrollment in the course, to confirmation, and even reminders of date/time changes or when important course dates are approaching, a TMS simplifies this process by auto-generating these.
  3. Step 3 – Attendance & Completion Tracking: From managing a waiting list to knowing the big picture on how learners are progressing, the LMS falls short when it comes to your ILT/vILT courses. The TMS gives the back-office user full visibility into attendance and completion.
  4. Step 4 – Certification Management: Certification awarding, expiration tracking, and renewal are poorly managed by LMS platforms since they don’t have the capacity to manage these operational processes. And, as frontline workers require a multitude of certifications by state and governing associations, this becomes a much-needed necessity.

While admin staff can never completely solve the complexities of frontline workforce development, utilizing the capabilities of a TMS can ease a majority of the tasks found in scheduling training time for essential workers. Managing endless schedules on spreadsheets can be just as stressful as your frontline workers responding to an emergency. Don’t let it get the best of you just yet!

See how Training Orchestra can save hours of admin work and better equip your frontline workforce today!

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