Alainia Conrad

Alainia Conrad


Alainia Conrad is a writer specializing in human resource solutions and business intelligence-focused content. She is a West Virginia University alumna with a background in fashion writing. In her free time, Alainia can be found in the Rocky Mountains with her boyfriend, their dog Birdie and her 35mm camera.

HRMS Software Features and HR System Requirements Checklist


HR software is arguably one of the most popular types of systems adopted by modern businesses. The majority of companies already have a solution in place, but it is an extremely common endeavor for organizations to upgrade their existing tool. If your business is among this group, we’ve compiled this comprehensive HR system requirements checklist so you know which HRMS software features are most important to consider.

Alainia ConradHRMS Software Features and HR System Requirements Checklist
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Employee Development Strategy: Staff Development That Actually Works

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If you don’t spend the resources necessary to develop your employees, your business will suffer and possibly even fail.

That’s admittedly a little overly-doom and gloom, but employee development strategy is both incredibly important and astoundingly ignored. Many companies start by using a LMS software (Learning Management System), but you need to do more than find a good platform. We’ve collected some proven employee development strategies.

Get our LMS Software Requirements Template

Taking the initiative to develop your employees helps retain them. The employees with the strongest drive to succeed are the ones you want to keep around. They want to constantly learn and develop, and if you can’t offer that, they’ll search elsewhere for the opportunity.

To reiterate: employee development strategy is pretty important.

1. Conduct a Skill Gap Analysis

According to Lorri Freifield in Training Mag, “solving a skill gap is like solving a puzzle — not only do you have to make the pieces fit, you have to make sure you have all the necessary pieces from the get-go.”

What Is a Skill Gap Analysis?

A skill gap exists when the talents of your workforce do not match their job requirements — this can be costly.

Companies can use skill gap analysis to catalog the skills and competencies of their current workforce, compare that with the needs of the company and then create an employee development strategic plan. This can be extended to future planning as well.

Why Is Skill Gap Analysis Important?

Skill gap analysis is important because you need to ensure your workforce has the skills to succeed as job roles change over time.

Skill gap analysis helps organizations and their employees continue to grow and learn in today’s fast-paced world. Organizations that choose not to engage in professional development are often left in the dust by more innovative competitors. But skill gap analysis doesn’t have to be difficult, costly or time-consuming. We’ll go through a step-by-step process to gather information and make the most of your findings.

How to Perform a Skill Gap Analysis

Describe Roles in Your Organization

First, take a look at the members of your organization: What teams and departments exist? What different kinds of roles exist?

Describe Skills and Priorities

What skills are a priority for your organization going forward? Do you plan to take on new responsibilities or projects in the near future? This is also a good time to consider your company’s missions, goals and values.

Come up with a list of the most important skills your team needs, and how important those skills are. Your list might look something like this:

  • Database management
  • Customer support
  • Web development
  • Digital marketing
  • Leadership

Perform an Assessment

There are a couple of different ways you can go about performing a skill gap assessment, including feedback from reviews, surveys and interviews. The method you choose will depend on your company’s size, resources and goals.

Compile and Analyze Results

Once you have data from your assessments, interviews or feedback, what do you do with it?

First, you want to get it into a form that is easily manageable and ready to analyze. Using the list of skills we created earlier, you can compare the reported skill levels for each position with your requirements. Any discrepancies are your new skill gaps.

Addressing Skill Gaps

If there are large gaps and one or a few people can fulfill the need, consider hiring externally. Of course, you will still need to develop your organization’s talents over time. The feasibility of a new hire will depend on your staffing constraints and budget.

If you can’t hire new employees, it’s time to make the best of the ones you have. Over time, your team will continue to develop new talents to meet the needs of a changing workplace. Here are a few employee training options you can consider:

  • Online courses/eLearning
  • Individual training
  • Private training company
  • Mentorship programs
  • Offering a stipend to employees to attend conferences, take courses, etc.

When you address skill gaps in your organization quickly and carefully, both your team and your bottom line will thank you.

Get our LMS Software Requirements Template

2. Use the Right Corporate Training Tools

From onboarding to continual development, many modern systems can help create better business models and informed employees.

The following are some of the common elements that businesses use to create vibrant training models for workers on all levels of staff.

Learning Management Systems

As we’ll discuss more below, one of the biggest and most fundamental tools for corporate training is a learning management system. These comprehensive platforms produce a wide range of training on workplace safety, individual business processes and much more.

While providing a fully functional interface for workers to self-train, the best learning management systems also offer in-depth data on training sessions. By aggregating information about results, learning management systems can evaluate the success of training.

OSHA Resources

The U.S. Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides companies with various learning tools. Specific certifications and training promote safety in many different industries. Those involved in heavy manual labor can get specific safety information tailored to their roles. OSHA resources are commonly used for trade workers in areas like electrical, plumbing and construction.


Another great resource for corporate digital training is massive open online courses (MOOCs). Many of these courses include video-based components that provide a hands-on training strategy for employees. MOOCs are becoming part of the U.S. educational system, but they can also be vital in an enterprise training context. Companies can find these resources on open platforms and integrate them into their eLearning processes.

Workforce Management Systems

Another type of enterprise software that can be helpful with training is workforce management software. Workforce management software provides resources for evaluating the activities of workers. It can integrate training functionality along with payroll, tax, scheduling and performance features. Workforce management systems can be particularly effective in evaluating the performance and learning of an employee over time. For example, aspects of workforce management software may document continuing education and professional development.


Workforce management software from Synerion.

360-Degree Feedback Tools

360-degree feedback is a software tool in which employees can self-evaluate, and are also evaluated by others. The versatility of 360-degree feedback means that these evaluations may be done by supervisors but also by peers or people outside the company.

By looking in depth at actionable feedback on employee performance, company leaders can chart a course forward for the business, focusing on the important areas in which improvement is needed.

Digital Employee Assessments

Assessment tools are also critically relevant to ongoing training. To put it simply, companies want to see results. Businesses want to make sure training strategies work and employees have broadened their knowledge as a result. Assessment tools will show how processes are working over time, and whether the business needs to put key changes in place to drive a better-educated workforce.

Compare Top LMS Software Leaders

3. Build a Learning Management Program

A learning management system is often the biggest step many businesses take as they develop their staff development strategies. However, many companies are unhappy with their LMS due to outdated interfaces, lack of customization or incomplete reporting. Doing thorough research and identifying your team’s main objectives before installing an LMS can save your company time and money.

Learning management programs help businesses and educational institutions track, administer and report on educational courses or training programs. These programs are often used when onboarding new employees, but they can also be used in more general people development strategy, such as external customer-facing training sessions.

Choosing the right software for your company is no easy task, and there’s a lot of research to sift through before making a decision. We’ve provided some of the most important considerations for you and your key stakeholders when evaluating an LMS solution:

Determine Use Cases

The first thing to consider when looking for a learning management program is the use cases and the staff development strategy you hope to provide. To do so, ask yourself these questions and share them with stakeholders:

  • Who is our audience for the curriculum?
  • Will we have one curriculum or multiple courses on different topics?
  • Will the courses be instructor-led, video-based or text-based?
  • What will the delivery method for the courseware look like? Will employees engage with training software online?
  • What platforms will the content be hosted on?
  • Do we need an LMS, or just an LCMS (Learning Content Management System)?

Select Important Features

Learning management programs can have a wide variety of features ranging from critical to “nice-to-have.” You should speak with your key stakeholders and figure out which features are most important. Once you have your list of features, you can refer to it when demoing different vendors.


Edvance360 is an example of a typical LMS.

Demo Your Options

You wouldn’t buy a car before test driving it, would you? The same principle applies to building a learning management program.

During a demo period, be sure to have your list of prioritized features at hand and ask questions like:

  • What level of support and maintenance is available?
  • What is the pricing model?
  • Does the vendor have similar customers?
  • Does the vendor have compelling reviews from similar customers?
  • Will the system be user-friendly for both the administrators and learners?

Get Buy-In

Remember that a significant software purchase like an LMS affects people across the company. You’ll want to get feedback from IT, administrators and learners (your employees or students). Since these are three completely different audiences with different goals, be prepared to answer different types of questions for each group.

IT Professionals

IT professionals are most often interested in the technical requirements for integration and the support required to maintain the system. You can ask these questions to evaluate the technical feasibility of the learning management program:

  • How does this program integrate with our existing processes?
  • What are the technical requirements for support and maintenance?
  • What customization is needed?
  • Will the LMS be cloud-based or on-premise? What are the pros and cons of each strategy for our business?


Administrators want a system that is easy to maintain and has robust reporting capabilities for measuring progress. When speaking to administrators, ask them these questions to get a feel for how the LMS will suit their needs:

  • How easy is it to add a new course?
  • How do I see which students have completed each course?
  • Which formats are supported?
  • What kind of data can I access about my learners, and how do I access it?

Get our LMS Software Requirements Template


For your learners, you’ll want to focus on user-friendliness and experience. If possible, include some of your target users in the demo and get their feedback.

Many companies end up cycling through multiple learning management programs before finding the one that suits them best, so doing your research and getting buy-in upfront can save a lot of money.

Ask these questions to evaluate the user-friendliness of the product:

  • What is the level of technical skill needed to use the product?
  • How can I find out about new courses or information?
  • How do I search for information, and how long does it take to find what I’m looking for?
  • How do I see my courses and track what I’ve completed?

Implement Your Solution

Once you’ve settled on a solution, work with IT and management to ensure it rolls out smoothly. The right LMS can help you track employee engagement, learning progress and other metrics, and ensure the success of your learning management program for years to come.

Get our LMS Software Requirements Template

Final Thoughts

It is difficult to underestimate the importance of employee development. Ultimately, creating a strategy focused on continued education and career progress will build up a driven, dedicated workforce in your business.

What employee development strategies does your business use? Tell us in the comments!

Alainia ConradEmployee Development Strategy: Staff Development That Actually Works
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HR System Implementation: 5 Key Considerations When Implementing a Software Solution

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Is your company’s current HR software out of date? Do you have an online system for employees to use? If you’re not satisfied with your business’s current HR system implementation, it may be time to decide if an upgrade is on your road map for the next year. To implement HR software is an arduous, important task that every company should treat with care, and there are many different elements to manage during the process. Five of these factors: time and budget, the project team, a phased implementation, data security and potential risks — are the top key considerations to keep in mind.

Alainia ConradHR System Implementation: 5 Key Considerations When Implementing a Software Solution
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Employee Scheduling Software Features And Requirements

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In 2017, 7Shifts reported 2.44 days as the average time in advance a restaurant posts a schedule for employees to view. This common practice of last-minute scheduling interferes with employee work-life balance. As stated in the Economic Policy Institute’s “Irregular Work Scheduling and Its Consequences,” 26 percent of on-call employees and 19 percent of rotating shift employees report “often” experiencing work-family conflict, compared to 11 percent of workers with regular hours. As you can see, proactive scheduling is conducive to employee satisfaction. Facilitate this necessary process by thinking about the employee scheduling software features and requirements that will help you consistently build successful schedules.

Alainia ConradEmployee Scheduling Software Features And Requirements
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Looker vs Tableau: Which BI Tool is the Winner For Your Business?

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Data is the backbone of business operations, and companies need to understand their data to understand their employees, customers and processes. Enter business intelligence tools — the tool has become a necessity for organizations of all sizes and industries. If you’ve evaluated competitors and your search for a BI solution has led you to the final steps of the decision making process, our comparison of Looker vs Tableau breaks down the benefits of both systems.

Alainia ConradLooker vs Tableau: Which BI Tool is the Winner For Your Business?
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Namely vs Zenefits: Which HR Software Is The Winner?


So, you’ve decided to adopt HR software. Or, you’ve decided to switch HR platforms. Either way, you’ve made up your mind and it’s time to look at vendors. You’re looking for solutions deployed on the cloud? We have just the thing. To help you peruse the possibilities, analyze the features and compare solutions, we put together a quick comparison of two HR software industry leaders. Let’s compare Namely vs Zenefits:

Alainia ConradNamely vs Zenefits: Which HR Software Is The Winner?
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Free Reporting Software Tools: Pros and Cons


Everybody loves free stuff. Whether you’re a college kid clamoring for a free T-shirt or someone who just enjoys free samples at Costco, there isn’t a person alive who dislikes free things. Believe it or not, you can even find free reporting software. Yes, that crucial, game-changing module of business intelligence software can be yours for a flat rate of $0. And no, we don’t mean free for a limited time, e.g. a free trial. We mean forever, never-have-to-open-your-wallet free reporting tools.

Alainia ConradFree Reporting Software Tools: Pros and Cons
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Workday vs SuccessFactors: Which HRIS is the Winner?


Workday HCM and SAP SuccessFactors are two of the most comprehensive HR software available on the market today. Each tool offers basic HR functionality, along with added talent management capabilities that offer insight throughout employee tenure and aid in goal setting. The two systems share aptitude in many of the same features, including employee self-service, payroll functions, time reporting and applicant evaluation. By observing the discrepancies between each system’s abilities and considering company needs, a decision can be reached on the best tool in a Workday vs Successfactors showdown.

Compare Workday and SuccessFactors Against Your Needs

Alainia ConradWorkday vs SuccessFactors: Which HRIS is the Winner?
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Payroll Software Trends: Future of Payroll Software In The Next Year


A recent study by Kronos and the American Payroll Association has found 29 percent of businesses use a payroll system that is 10 years old or older. This statistic not only includes outdated software platforms, but also includes methods such as spreadsheets and other forms of manual payroll processing. Clearly, there are many companies that need a payroll overhaul. If your organization is one of them, adopting a new payroll system should be added to your list of New Year’s resolutions. Our research and interviews with industry experts illustrate the top payroll software trends for the upcoming year to bring your business into the future.

Alainia ConradPayroll Software Trends: Future of Payroll Software In The Next Year
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Payroll System Implementation Requirements Checklist


Payroll management is one of the most essential functions of a human resource department. And in a digital world, automation is key. Payroll software streamlines the processes associated with compensation for quick and accurate action. Additionally, many payroll systems include general HR functions, business intelligence and recruitment features, offering a complete human resource tool.

Alainia ConradPayroll System Implementation Requirements Checklist
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Recruitment Software Features and Requirements Checklist


Reaching qualified professionals has become increasingly simplified with the help of online job boards and social media. However, this increases competition, and choosing the right person for the job becomes difficult with such a high volume of talented applicants. Hiring teams need to sort through resumes, schedule interviews, evaluate candidates and continually communicate throughout the process. Recruitment software steps in to automate these functions and streamline hiring procedures.

Alainia ConradRecruitment Software Features and Requirements Checklist
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Spotfire vs Qlikview vs BusinessObjects: Which BI Tool Is The Winner?

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Many companies are evaluating business intelligence tools to turn information into insight, to provide actionable uses of data assets and to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing business world. But what tools are best for business intelligence, and how are they used? Here is a comparison of three major resources for business intelligence projects: Spotfire vs Qlikview vs BusinessObjects.

Alainia ConradSpotfire vs Qlikview vs BusinessObjects: Which BI Tool Is The Winner?
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Talent Management Software Features and Requirements Checklist

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A successful workforce is the base of a successful business. With the help of talent management software, companies can hire top candidates and foster advancement in their employees.

A talent management system helps human resource departments attract and retain skilled people and assists in HR processes throughout a person’s employment. Once hired, learning systems and performance initiatives will shape employees as career professionals. Talent Management software features streamline HR functions that may be difficult to complete on existing systems.

Alainia ConradTalent Management Software Features and Requirements Checklist
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MicroStrategy vs Tableau: Which BI Software Is The Winner?

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Want to compare MicroStrategy vs Tableau to see which is the better BI software for you? Both Tableau and MicroStrategy software are prominent names in the business intelligence industry. There is a consensus that each of these platforms has their own strengths and potential drawbacks – we’ve compared the features of each to see which tool has the advantage.

Alainia ConradMicroStrategy vs Tableau: Which BI Software Is The Winner?
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Time and Attendance System Features and Requirements Checklist


Time and attendance tracking is one of the most vital day-to-day operations of any business. It may seem trivial, but the management of hours is equally important for all members of an organization. Work times determine payment and benefits, influencing financial decisions. With the right time and attendance software features, this crucial function is automated and streamlined. An all-inclusive system can handle standard scheduling capabilities as well as more advanced functions like reporting.

Alainia ConradTime and Attendance System Features and Requirements Checklist
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BI vs Big Data vs Data Mining: A Comprehensive Comparison of the Difference Between Them


Lately, there have been tremendous shifts in the business technology landscape. Advances in cloud technology and mobile applications have enabled businesses and IT users to interact in entirely new ways. One of the most rapidly growing technologies in this sphere is business intelligence, and associated concepts such as big data and data mining.

To help you understand the various business data processes towards leveraging business intelligence tools, it is important to know the differences between big data vs data mining vs business intelligence. We’ve outlined the definitions of each, and detailed how they relate and compare to each other.

Alainia ConradBI vs Big Data vs Data Mining: A Comprehensive Comparison of the Difference Between Them
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Business Intelligence RFP Template and Guide

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Business intelligence software is a powerful, yet complicated technology. Selecting the best BI platform for your business takes substantial legwork. It’s essential that your selection process, including your request for proposal (RFP), is managed well. Your business intelligence RFP will serve as a guide to yourself, your team and your management for selecting the business intelligence software that will most greatly benefit your company.

Alainia ConradBusiness Intelligence RFP Template and Guide
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