How to Identify the Best Employee Training Software for Your Needs

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You can conduct employee training with nothing more than an overhead projector and a whiteboard. The question is, why would you do that when there are so many great software programs out there that can enhance your training sessions, save you time and money, and help you get better results? There are dozens of training software packages out there, so you have enough options to be sure that you find one that suits your needs. Yet you might be a little overwhelmed by all the options. How do you know which one is the right one? Here are a few questions you can ask to identify the best employee training software for your company’s needs:

What Features Does It Offer?

Before you can decide what employee training software will best suit your needs, you need to know what features it offers. This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many leaders choose a software platform based on the description the company offers or the reviews that other customers leave. They don’t know what the software actually does until they have already invested a lot of time and money. Request a demo of any software you are considering before you buy it. That way, you can fully test all the features that are included so that you know for certain if the platform will meet your needs. If you have a hard time finding the features, ask if they are available. There may be a learning curve, or you may discover that the features are missing. Alternatively, you may discover that the features are there, but that the software is not user-friendly and will require a lot of training to get your employees used to it. Always try out a software platform yourself before you buy it and fully explore its features.

What Platform Is It On?

We tend to take it for granted these days that any software package we look at will be available on any device we choose. But that is not always the case. Some employee training software is created only for specific operating systems, such as Windows only or Mac only. You should look for software that can be used on a variety of platforms. Don’t stick to software that works on your current platforms. You may decide at some point to upgrade your computers and switch from Windows to Mac (or vice versa), and you don’t want to have to change out your software also. Also look for software that will work on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. You may have employees who need to work remotely or who want to access training materials while they are out of the office. Software that works on a wide variety of platforms will give you the most flexibility.

Can It Be Customized?

Even the best software packages are unlikely to have every single feature that your company needs. You need to find employee training software that can be customized so that you can add the features that are particular to the needs of your company. Perhaps you find a software package that seems to have everything you need. You still need the option to customize it because your needs may change. You may institute a change process at some point that requires new training, and the software package you choose now may not have the features you need then. All software programs need to be customizable so you can at least tweak the appearance to conform to your brand identity. You need to be reinforcing that brand identity to your employees right from the very start, and that includes in the look of your training program and materials.

Can You Add Your Own Materials to Use It as a Resource?

If you find an employee training program that you can customize, chances are good that you can also add your own materials to it. This is important because you need to use your training program as an ongoing resource for employees. For example, employees may forget some finer point of your company style guide. They should be able to access those training materials quickly and easily to look up the applicable rule. Or they can use the resource to find things like vendor contacts, customer service scripts, or file locations. Storing these materials with your training program is a good idea because it also has employees checking in with the original source of their job knowledge. Whenever they visit the program to access materials, they can be reminded of training processes and resources. That might encourage them to review training or to stick to the processes they were taught.

Does It Include Constant Updates and Support?

An employee training program is just as susceptible to viruses and glitches as any other software program. When you are shopping for the best program, you need to be sure that any option you are considering is regularly updated for both security and functionality. In addition, you need to look for software that comes with ongoing support services. You never know when you or your employees will have questions about the software or will experience technical issues. You need to know that you will get the help you need when you need it. Support should be available as often as possible – ideally 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Any time that you or someone on your team are having a problem, you should be able to reach someone by phone, email, chat, or some other means. And, of course, you should also have someone on your staff designated as a support person. That is someone who should be fully trained on the software and can be the go-to person for questions and troubleshooting.

How Much Does It Cost?

The best employee training program or other solution that can help your company grow may be worth any amount the manufacturer wants to charge for it as a result of how much good it does for your company. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll have any amount of money to pay for it. Cost matters. You need to find a software program that offers the right balance between the features you need and a price you can afford. If the purchase price is beyond your budget, explore customization and a la carte options to get the features you need at the right price.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.