Over the last decade or so, just about every industry has increasingly digitized its employee training. Rather than gathering employees in the same room to watch prepackaged videos, many organizations have them learn and take assessments online while remaining at their desks. Organizations have adopted various learning management systems (LMS) to facilitate this change, which can deliver training and keep track of employee development.
The utility and damage prevention industries are highly regulated and require workers to have a robust working knowledge of rules and procedures, which makes finding the right LMS particularly critical.
Learning management systems originated in the academic world. Universities and grad schools use LMS software, such as Blackboard, to give students an online portal to keep up with the curriculum, take tests, and submit assignments. LMS software has also made it easier for instructors to keep track of grades and ensure that students reach educational goals.
In the corporate world, companies began developing more specialized LMS software that could make employee onboarding and training better and more consistent. These LMS help companies deliver HR training around important subjects like personal conduct, diversity, and cybersecurity. They can also be an effective platform for job-specific trainings, certification tracking, quality assurance audits, and performance reviews. Many 811 call centers use our LMS for new employee onboarding, board member training, and training and providing certifications for people outside their organization.
As mentioned above, the stringent rules and regulations inherent to the utility and damage prevention space make consistent, high-quality training even more important than in other industries. Compliance is key, and a good LMS can help utility companies not only educate their workers on how to comply with various requirements, but also ensure that they’re retaining what they learn so they can use that knowledge in the field.
Utility companies also need workers with ultra-specific skill sets. And because it can be hard to find someone with experience with, say, FLISR or VVO, the best route may be to train up current employees. A good LMS can deliver focused training to develop utility workers into super-competent specialists.
Learning management systems can even help protect workers and the planet. Optimized OSHA certification training can keep workers safe, while updated education around EPA standards can help utility companies accomplish business goals without threatening the environment.
A LMS provides utilities with tracking of certifications and performance measurement in one platform. Consolidating all activity in one system ensures consistent onboarding and continuing skills development for in-house talent and training partners throughout your enterprise.
The utility industry is unique, so a utility-centric LMS needs to offer features tailored to the industry’s needs. Finding what you need among hundreds of LMS is challenging unless you understand what’s critical. Features utility and damage prevention organizations should look for in an LMS, include:
Hybrid training capabilities.
While most learning management systems are geared primarily toward online learning, some things still need to be taught in person—especially in an industry that sends many workers into the field. A good utility LMS should accommodate both online and classroom-based, instructor-led learning. If a particular course requires a more hands-on approach, the LMS should track objectives and results alongside self-led, online courses. This integrated approach helps companies manage training across environments without letting anyone slip through the cracks.
Detailed performance metrics and analytics reporting
A utility LMS should provide granular quantitative insights that help orgs ensure learning objectives are met and spot opportunities for improvement. It’s not enough to simply deliver the training and generate broad pass/fail figures; a good LMS will show the precise areas where learners excel or struggle. After all, this industry is all about risk management, and nothing is riskier than sending someone out into the field without knowing if they’re ready to do their job. If you can identify specific subjects, objectives, and learning environments where results are lagging, you can make adjustments, close competency gaps, and better prepare your workers.
The ability to incorporate changing requirements
It can be hard to keep up with the ripple effects of new federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Just as your organization finally gets a firm grasp on what it needs to do to comply, something changes and throws a wrench into the works. Combine that with shifting market demands, and you get a real need for training that can be updated quickly. A good utility LMS should be agile enough to allow changes to specific learning areas without blowing the whole thing up.
Train stakeholders outside of your organization
Utilities need a tool to administer and report on training offered to external stakeholders, such as excavators and contract locators. When an asset owner has a direct connection to the platform and can control the curriculum used to train the teams working in, on, or around their critical infrastructure, they can adjust their education requirements as needed to achieve the best results and prevent damages.
If you’re looking to cut down on mistakes and damage in the field, better training could be what your organization needs.
Irth's market-leading SaaS platform improves resilience and reduces risk in the sustainable delivery of essential services that millions of people and businesses rely on every day. Energy, utility, and telecom companies across the U.S. and Canada trust Irth for damage prevention, training, asset inspections, and land management solutions. Powered by business intelligence, analytics, and geospatial data, our platform helps deliver the 360-degree situational awareness needed to proactively mitigate and manage risk of critical network infrastructure in a changing environment. Irth has been the top provider for 811 (one call) ticket management and utility locating software since 1995.