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Corporate LMS adoption may come down to donuts

Corporate learning management systems can be popular with employees. But adoption requires planning and maybe a little schtick, learning development managers said.

Corporate learning management system programs are like any other product: It takes advertising, raffles, free donuts and ambassadors to help them take off.

That was a key message from users at Cornerstone OnDemand Inc.'s recent virtual user conference. Several Cornerstone customers described initiatives to get employees to become learning management system (LMS) users. The customers are using Cornerstone's Learner Home, which is a hub for training. The implementations and relaunches were recent endeavors.

"We tried to think of an out-of-the-box way to market the LMS," said Alina Chau, digital learning program manager at Hulu LLC, the video entertainment firm.

One thing Hulu did was create a "watch contest." Employees posted content they liked of any type, for either professional development or general learning, on the firm's intranet and why they recommended it, which entered employees into a raffle.

Chau said, "there definitely is an eagerness to learn." But it's important to listen to how employees want to consume content. It could be in person, online or a combination of the two, she said.

DaVita Inc., which provides kidney dialysis services, worked with its own marketing team to launch Learner Home. Efforts included office banners and advertisements via screensavers.

We tried to think of an out-of-the-box way to market the LMS.
Alina ChauDigital learning program managers, Hulu LLC

"We wanted to make sure that if you are logging into a DaVita system, you knew this was coming soon," said Kyle Feno, learning management system lead at DaVita. "Our biggest obstacle, really, was just ensuring all of our teammates were ready for this change."

Donuts help launch

DaVita ordered several thousand donuts in the shape of its star-like logo for the corporate LMS launch. The firm has some 55,000 employees in the U.S. alone. It also added a small flag to the donuts, advertising the rollout. As people arrived for work, the LMS team pitched the learning platform.

The Bancorp Inc. has used Cornerstone since 2016 for regulatory training. But there was a downside: The training "had become synonymous with regulatory," and the company wanted employees to see its LMS platform as something more, said Sari Daisey, director of talent management at Bancorp, a financial services firm.

Bancorp's LMS is now broadly used for professional development and continuous learning.

The firm creates recommended content based on position and department. In recent months, playlists were added by the LMS team about running virtual meetings and managing remote teams. With the current wave of social unrest, it created another playlist focused around unconscious bias, Daisey said.

To help promote its corporate LMS, Bancorp created an ambassador program. Employees who take on the role were identified as such on a sign near their desks and helped promote the program. That worked as a conversation starter, according to Daisey.

Cornerstone recently merged with Saba Software, a rival corporate LMS vendor. Saba CEO Phil Saunders was appointed CEO of the combined firms, which together have more than 3,000 employees, 6,300 customers and 75 million users, he said.

While there is some overlap in their products, many customers rely on separate and discrete offerings, Saunders said in an interview.

"We are going to be going forward with an approach that has continued investment and innovation on the respective discrete offerings," he said. "Those two platforms will continue to live on."

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