Keeping track of the career development of 3,200 employees can be quite time-consuming, especially if done the old-fashioned way. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) recently switched to a high-tech system to track employee training that has saved time and money and improved productivity.
Before purchasing learning management system (LMS) software provided by Pathlore Software Corp., the MTA’s training records were kept by hand or with computer spreadsheets, according to Joseph Seitz, director of the MTA’s Office of Training and Development. Not only did this create extra work, but employees wishing to tap into their own training records would have to wade through a formal request system. Using LMS made the process much more accurate and consistent, he said.
With LMS in place, MTA can save up to 1,000 hours a year in the training department’s logistics, said Pathlore spokesman Bill Perry. Additionally, all types of employees, from bus operators and mechanics to executive directors and general managers, can use LMS to manage their own career development by registering for classes and tracking professional certifications either at MTA’s computer labs or at home.
“This system changes the way we think about developing our employees,” Seitz said. “We’re giving them the power to direct their careers, and we’re holding everyone in our organization accountable.”
With a click of a mouse, employees can register for a class, review transcripts or take training and even certification tests, if applicable, online. LMS can also analyze gaps in skill sets by analyzing employee records and comparing their skills to job classifications. A recommended training course is then offered, and steps can be taken to set up a class on the required subject.
“There’s a whole level of confidence that the person you’re assigning to the position has the skills and qualifications to do what you’re asking them to do,” Seitz said.
LMS also offers a real-time snapshot of employee development. Besides analyzing employee know-how, Seitz said he can use LMS to tell his team what size classrooms are needed on any given day, how many instructors should be scheduled and how many employees are expected in the class.
“The LMS keeps training on track like an air-traffic control system keeps planes on route,” Seitz added. “It also lets our workers see detailed descriptions of the training well in advance of their classes.”
Real-time records also help MTA better comply with Federal Transit Administration audits by allowing auditors to obtain the necessary records in just a few keystrokes. Being able to provide agencies with information easily through LMS really streamlines the process, Seitz said.
“With the LMS, you have an online record of everyone who did and didn’t complete the training,” Perry said. “Managers don’t have to rely on instructors and workers to report the outcome of classes. Ultimately, this reduces the risk of fines and penalties for failing to comply with government-mandated training.”