New Hire Orientation Blog
Onboarding Turf Wars: Who Takes the Lead?
As more companies realize the value of new hire orientation training and move away from something that feels more like waterboarding than onboarding, one thorny issue that comes up is where onboarding lives in the organization chart. The problem here is that there is significant overlap between the HR (human resources) function of recruiting/hiring and the LD (learning and development) task of training new hires. If your company is planning to have software play a significant role in onboarding, should it be through the talent management system (TMS) or the learning management system (LMS)? Let the onboarding turf wars begin!
Software in the Onboarding Turf Wars: LMS versus the TMS
Note that in this article TMS means talent management system, not training management system, as it is sometimes also used. When “talent management” was a new concept, the software developed was mostly focused on the recruiting and hiring process. As TMS software offerings evolved, additional functions were added in, such as onboarding, performance review, compensation management, learning and development, even career and succession planning. Most robust TMS software offerings these days are touted as complete employee life cycle management solutions.
An LMS, by contrast, is solely focused on delivering, managing and tracking a company’s learning and development programs. In most cases, when a software offering is expanded over time to include multiple domains, the additions usually aren’t as strong as standalone systems. In other words, you can generally expect a standalone LMS to be a more robust learning and training solution than the L&D piece of a TMS. In this sense, a TMS might not be the best solution for meeting the learning and training needs of new hires. However, it’s also true that software solutions of any kind differ widely. If your company has a fantastic TMS with an L&D component that outshines your LMS, then it might make sense to manage new hire orientation and training through the TMS. But if your LMS is better, then by all means, use it instead.
Content Development Stays with Learning Professionals
But besides figuring out which software system will be used to manage the learning and training needs of new hires in the onboarding process, there’s the matter of who is responsible for developing the content. For many companies, when they first started out they probably had HR staff early on but not learning and training staff. This helps explain why the initial training given to new hires, if there is any, ended up falling under HR both to develop it and manage it. If a company grows enough to have dedicated learning and training staff, then the development of new hire learning and training content should be turned over to them, or at least outsourced to L&D professionals. It’s not uncommon, however, for it to continue to be the responsibility of already-overworked HR staff to handle it all.
Solutions to the Onboarding Turf Wars
Those are the two main issues related to the onboarding turf wars: Who should be developing the content and what software should be used to manage it. As for the software, go with whichever system is more robust (assuming your company has both a TMS and an LMS) for the purpose and the ultimate users – the new hires who need training. If your company only has one of those applications, use it. But if your company has neither of those apps, I’d recommend going with an LMS rather than a TMS – especially if you have or are planning on having in-house L&D staff to develop learning and training programs.
If you’re in the situation where you have L&D staff and an LMS as well as a TMS for HR staff to use, then you can go with a more collaborative approach where the L&D staff are the ones to develop the learning and training content used during onboarding, but let the HR staff manage the administration of those pieces through the TMS if that’s what makes sense. In other words, none of this has to be a hard-and-fast division between functions and systems. You can adapt to whatever makes the most sense given your company’s mix of software and staffing in each area.
Another way to approach the issue is to view the TMS as complementing the LMS. In this approach. L&D professionals use the TMS like an LMS for new hire learning and training during a defined onboarding period. After that, their ongoing learning needs would be met primarily through the LMS. But the TMS can still provide ongoing insights through its performance management function about knowledge and skill gaps that need to be addressed with new learning programs delivered through the LMS.
How your company solves onboarding turf wars ultimately depends on the mix of staffing and software you have available. As those factors both evolve over time, the best approach is one where L&D works hand-in-hand with HR to onboard new hires with the top-notch learning and training they need to quickly become highly productive employees.
If your company is ready to find its first LMS or needs to make a switch, put eLeaP on your short-list of options for closer examination. It has all the LMS features you need to efficiently create courses and track results, comes with a great library of 850+ training videos on a wide variety of topics, and has been ranked #9 on the Capterra list of Top 20 Most User-Friendly LMS options available on the market today. You’ll also appreciate its affordable monthly pricing, but you can try it out now when you sign up for a free 30-day trial and see if it’s the right solution for your company.