Promoting Small Business Growth and Communicating Organizational Culture With an LMS

The use of learning platforms for employee training isn’t exclusive to large corporations: Small businesses can also reap sizeable benefits by using a learning management system (LMS). A small business may not have a massive workforce to educate, but it still stands to gain from an LMS, especially when potential improvements to organizational culture are also considered. In this article, we explore how an LMS can be used to communicate and enhance organizational cultures even in smaller businesses.

What Is Organizational Culture?

Every business has its unique ways of "doing things", from simple customer service to critical decision-making among executives. These ways, rooted in shared values and beliefs, are grouped under the term “organizational culture”. They’re always present, regardless of the size of the company.

When a business is small, this culture originates from the owner or founding partners and is ideally passed on to every new employee who joins the company. We say “ideally”, because this isn’t always the case.

Culture can remain confined to the owners, and when this happens, small businesses suffer. When culture is effectively relayed to employees, they don't have to constantly turn to leadership for decision-making. They generate ideas in line with your culture, become your representatives, and, therefore, make decisions that benefit your brand.

Understanding the importance of organizational culture presents a new challenge: finding ways to gather, record, and effectively transmit the values and beliefs at the core of your business and make them accessible to everyone at all times. As you may imagine, considering our title, one excellent solution is found in the form of Learning Management Systems (LMSs). After all, culture can be learned, and LMSs are specifically designed to improve knowledge delivery.

“Communicating corporate culture is about more than just imparting your mission and vision. If you, as a business owner, are known for your passion for learning and professional growth, why not make it so that’s a quality shared by the entire team?”

5 Key Benefits of Sharing and Furthering Your Organizational Culture Through an LMS

Let’s explore the various ways in which teaching your culture through an LMS can enhance the growth of your business.

1) Skills Development and Innovation

Communicating corporate culture is about more than just imparting your mission and vision. If you, as a business owner, are known for your passion for learning and professional growth, why not make it so that’s a quality shared by the entire team?

The brilliance of this quality is that when someone starts learning, they begin to generate ideas. They start identifying processes that can be streamlined or features that can be improved in the product or service. In other words, developing courses to enhance your team's skills equips them with the ability to innovate.

While it may not result in immediate return on investment, it’s a return on opportunities. You strengthen your company because you’re no longer competing solely on price but also on differentiation, just like major corporations.

Because of this, it’s advisable to offer certifications as they formally validate the acquisition of one or more skills. Given the evolving skills landscape, it's crucial to regularly update your courses and issue certificates with a validity period. This will help you ensure that all employees holding a valid certificate in your company are operating with up-to-date knowledge.

An LMS not only helps you automate the generation of certificates with validity periods but features like Open LMS’ Personalized Learning Design (PLD) allow you to send notifications when these certifications expire, keeping your employees informed at all times.

MORE ON LEARNING PERSONALIZATION | ‘Uncovering the Personalized Learning Designer: A Unique Feature of Open LMS

2) Evidence-Based Growth

With that said, why wouldn’t you just simply hire external trainers or enroll your employees in online courses? Both options can be effective in knowledge delivery. However, they lack something crucial: easy access to, and control over, measurement and analytics.

An LMS can capture information: who accesses it, what characteristics they have, which courses they take, or when they complete them. Then, you can organize the information based on the criteria you need, such as demographics or behavior, and analyze it.

These analyses allow you to find correlations or causality relationships. For instance, you could identify if there’s a correlation between the courses taken by employees who exhibit superior work performance. If the answer is yes, promoting the learning of those courses instead of others becomes a data-driven strategic decision.

Furthermore, you retain ownership of all this information. When you outsource it by, for example, hiring a trainer, you must first impart your culture to the third party. If, for some reason, you can't rehire them, not only do you have to reeducate the next trainer, but you also lose all the first trainer’s accumulated knowledge. With an LMS, that's not the case—all the knowledge remains collected in one place.

Finally, thanks to having this information, you can establish knowledge maintenance cycles: knowing which skills add value and which do not, you can dictate which courses are retained and which are replaced. Ultimately, this ensures that your company can adapt and thrive over time.

Fortunately, having your culture safeguarded in an LMS makes it more likely that anyone entering the business will learn your company's ways, not vice versa. It guarantees that what makes your brand unique will always be present. It can even enhance a merger and acquisitions (M&A) offer.”

LEARN MORE | ‘What Is Learning Analytics? Key Trends & Use Cases

3) Security During Growth

While organizational growth often seems inherently attractive, the appeal is offset by the fear of losing control of critical aspects of the business. Culture is one of these aspects. Without the tools to communicate and perpetuate your company culture, there’s the possibility of outside forces arriving and fundamentally changing the way you do things.

Fortunately, having your culture safeguarded in an LMS makes it more likely that anyone entering the business will learn your company's ways, not vice versa. It guarantees that what makes your brand unique will always be present.

An LMS can even enhance a merger and acquisitions (M&A) offer. If a larger company offers to buy yours an educational platform that contains everything about how you do what you do will help the new owners preserve the essence of your business post-merger. This makes your brand and offering more sustainable in the long term, and a more attractive target for acquisition.

4) Transforming Workers Into Teachers

Learning imparted by fellow workers can be facilitated with the collaborative features of an LMS such as discussion forums or internal social platforms.

This informal training can be beneficial for sharing practical knowledge that can only be gained through experience within the company. For example, a long-time employee in a technical department could share tricks they've developed to solve common issues. Or a department could share with everyone else a method they've discovered for leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) in budgeting. Meanwhile, HR teams could continue to exercise control over this process by taking on the role of curator: formalizing and/or boosting informal training for a wider audience.

Taking an active role in learning content creation helps employees feel better integrated into the organization's culture. They would be shaping it themselves—not solely receiving it from above.

5) Enhanced Reputation

With LMS-powered learning programs, your company becomes a stronghold of knowledge in the eyes of the market. As word gets around that you give your workforce plenty of professional growth opportunities, this reputation can capture not only your competitors' attention but also that of their employees.

Even if your monetary salaries are similar, if your emotional salaries are higher due to the learning opportunities you offer, employee retention becomes easier, and the potential to recruit the best talent in the market increases.

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Organize Your Organizational Culture With an LMS

Communicating your organizational culture provides a foundation for sustainable growth. Strengthening it with the help of a reliable LMS multiplies the opportunities for this growth to occur, helping you transform employees into innovative ambassadors in a measurable and secure environment.

At Open LMS, we assist businesses of all sizes to enhance their learning programs. Our solution, Open LMS Work, is crafted to strengthen your organizational culture. Contact us today or request a demo to see all its features in action!
Jorge Vela
About the author

Jorge Vela

Project Manager

Jorge Vela is a Project Manager at Open LMS. As a passionate eLearning advocate, he’s responsible for holistically mapping and aligning clients' business strategy with the vision and services of Open LMS. Jorge has 20+ years of experience as a systems engineer, including 12 years as an eLearning consultant. In that time, he has successfully managed a significant number of implementation and virtual course development projects. Jorge’s multiple certifications include Disciplined Agile Scrum Master from the Project Management Institute, Gamification from the University of Pennsylvania, Agile Meets Design Thinking from the University of Virginia, and Moodle™ Course Creator from Moodle™. He has also contributed as an author to prominent journals in the field of eLearning and has been recognized as a Top E-Learning Voice by LinkedIn.

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