4 Reasons Spreadsheets Can’t Keep Up with the Growth of Your Training Program

Ross Sellers 5 minute read

Many training programs rely heavily on spreadsheets to manage their operations. They’re a great tool for organizing course and instructor schedules and maintaining your course descriptions…when your training program is just getting started.

However, as your organization grows, and your training program is tasked with scaling alongside it, spreadsheets start to pile up. This means more manual work for you and your team–entering data, managing all your course and instructor schedules, sending learner communications, and copying and pasting information to your EdTech systems–which becomes a drain on the time you could be spending on strategy and creative training initiatives that impact bottom-line business objectives.

If your training program is growing quickly, and you’re being tasked with creating more training in quantity and quality, then chances are you’ve pushed the limits of spreadsheets (and some of your other systems). The good news? That means your training program is healthy and that you’re ready to take the next step toward sustainable scalability.

So, as you start to strategize for scaling this year, and moving forward, here are four reasons why you shouldn’t attempt to deliver against those growth goals using spreadsheets.

1. Manual Data Management Can Compromise Data Integrity

In order to manage your training operations, it’s likely you’re required to use multiple systems – an LMS, HRIS, LXP, finance tracking, performance management, calendaring tech, event management tech…the list goes on. When you try and connect those systems using spreadsheets, you’re not only losing time with all the manual work, but you’re also compromising the integrity of your data.

Spreadsheets are very reliable; yet, managing them manually is not. At the enterprise level, errors in columns and rows of a spreadsheet can impact much more than just an incorrect word in a course description. A spreadsheet error can mean the difference between receiving the funding or support you need to pursue an impactful training initiative that will directly influence a business KPI, and having your growth initiative put in the backlog.

There are leading training teams like yours that connect all their systems together in one platform, instead of relying on a mountain of spreadsheets. Consider the possibilities of EdTech Infrastructure.

2. Accountability is Diluted by Activity

You might have heard the corporate mythology phrase “activity = excellence”. Getting tasks done is certainly important; however, if you spend a good chunk of your day ensuring that spreadsheets are up-to-date and actionable for the future, then you likely wish you were actually informing direction with strategy rather than spending time managing Google Sheets or Excel files.

What do you really want to accomplish with your training initiatives? Does manually managing your learner metrics and system connections serve that purpose?

Making decisions with disconnected tech is time-consuming and frustrating, and your time could be better spent creating workforce development initiatives that really drive your business forward.

It’s possible to take control of your goals with training management software.

3. Are Pivot Tables Really Informing Your Training Strategy?

So, you’re housing all your data from multiple systems in Google Sheets or Excel files, and it comes time to create actionable reports from that data. Luckily there are pivot tables, right? They get the job done, sure. But, how much time does it take to get to the stage where you feel those pivot tables actually inform business decisions?

Pivot tables take an immense amount of work to deliver insightful data. When the rubber hits the road (and you have to craft reports that demonstrate your team’s impact on talent retention, customer success, support tickets reduced, and partner competency) and you have to showcase how your training has led to business outcomes, reporting from spreadsheets won’t get the job done.

What if you could showcase the effectiveness of your training with reports that were saved to be sent to key stakeholders when it mattered most, and not have to worry about manually pulling data together for every modality you use to deliver your training? It’s possible.

4. Creating Economies of Scale Can Seem Impossible

Learning and development teams are tasked with what would seem like one essential business mandate: develop the workforce so your culture and people can make a quantifiable impact on the goals of the business. If only it were that simple, right? If you really take the time to sit down and think about it, it’s pretty clear that spreadsheets get in the way of those goals.

Your data is just sitting there, waiting to be compiled into a report that will really demonstrate how your learner metrics can impact the goals your organization has set for the year; yet, how do you connect that data to key organizational objectives?

How are you supposed to scale the effect your training program has on the organization when demonstrating your impact is an exercise in frustration, at the very least? How can you ask for the funding you need to catalyze sustainable growth when you connecting the dots between your training initiatives and the correlative impact they have on business outcomes means you have to comb through mountains of CSVs?

Do these goals seem impossible? They are not.

Understanding the Limitations of Spreadsheets and How They Impact Your Training Program

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You’re ready to take the next step. You’re ready to leave spreadsheets behind and jump into a world that prioritizes the impact your L&D program can have on the goals of your business.

This guide will be a good starting point. Discover why spreadsheets are so limited, and why the training function needs software that is actually designed for the people who manage training, not just the users. Discover training management software: the new EdTech innovation.

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