SumTotal Blog

Liam Butler (36 Posts)

Liam Butler

Liam Butler is AVP of SumTotal EMEA and has over 15 years’ experience in the Learning and Talent Management sector. His experience encompasses working with SMEs through to leading FTSE 100 organizations. His specialist domain expertise includes Extended Enterprise, Aviation, Manufacturing and other highly regulated businesses including 21 CFR Part 11 and EU GMP.

Today is Equal Pay Day: Can HR Technology Help Close the Gender Pay Gap?

Today is Equal Pay Day: Can HR Technology Help Close the Gender Pay Gap?

The European Commission’s 2019 report on the gender pay gap reveals the following:

  • Women earn over 16% less than men per hour in the EU.
  • Women earn 84 euro cents for every €1 men earn.
  • Women work around two months free each year, compared to men.

While many organisations are proactively seeking to redress any imbalance, the problem persists.  Research substantiates this claim. The latest estimates are that only 55% of employers have or are conducting remediation to resolve causes of pay inequities, and 9% of employers say the issue isn’t on their radar at all.

What is Equal Pay Day?

In the UK, it is the day when based on data about average pay, women overall stop being paid compared to men.  This year, it falls today—Thursday November 14. Organised by the Fawcett Society, the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for gender equality, the day is about raising awareness and encouraging everyone to participate in the fight against gender inequality.

Why is it important?

The reasons to support this day are too numerous for this one blog post. However, here are some of the top reasons:

  • The UK’s gender pay gap stands at 11.9%. There are no sectors in the UK economy where women are paid the same as men. Gender pay gap reporting is based on hourly wage, and therefore, numbers of hours worked does not impact the data.

Gender Pay Gap: women still short-changed in the UK

Source: Gender Pay Gap: women still short-changed in the UK

  • London has the largest gender pay gap in the UK, with women earning 30.4% less than men. This equates to women working for 71 days for free
  • Birmingham has the second biggest gender pay gap, with men earning 17.8% more than women.

How to move the scales

Resolving the disparity in pay is complex and involves more than merely a number. Employers must look to ensuring that all employees can expand their role and proceed up the management ladder to higher-paying positions. It is about reviewing how your organisation views maternity and paternity leave. It is about facilitating professional development, and it is about further government action beyond the Equality Act 2010. Above all, it is about time, as real change cannot occur overnight.

HR’s role in tipping the scales

“What HR can do is to help initiate, shape and nudge practices and required leadership behaviours. For example, HR can play a role in articulating and initiating policies in recruitment, compensation and other functional areas to ensure equal roles receive equal pay, anti-discrimination and increase diversity in terms of fair representation of different groups of people.”

Merle Chen, Chief Talent Officer, The Lo & Behold Group

Technology has a part to play also. Specifically, HR technologies that provide an employer with meaningful insight into how it is both compensating and promoting its employees. HR can leverage such data to develop company standards around pay. HR must also utilise technology to ensure all employees are assessed and promoted in a transparent and objective manner.

Leveraging a compensation management tool, an organisation today can simplify and make standard how they plan, budget, and execute their compensation and reward policies. SumTotal’s Compensation Management includes all aspects of employee compensation, including bonuses, variable pay, and long-term incentives such as stock options. Additionally, managers can review proposed salary adjustments, compare them to standard guidelines (e.g., compa-ratio) or market salary survey data, adjust as necessary, and approve the compensation plans for their direct reports.

Leveraging a compensation management tool, an organisation today can simplify and make standard how they plan, budget, and execute their compensation and reward policies

The applications of a compensation management tool are broad and particularly beneficial to global organisations. However, I believe employers can also capitalise on the function to ensure all employees are receiving equal pay.



Request a demo of SumTotal today

Struggling to Retain Employees? Career Pathing Can Help

Struggling to retain employees? Career pathing can help

The UK employment rate is 76.1 %, the joint-highest on record since 1971. In many ways, this puts employees in the driver’s seat regarding where and with whom they will work. As a result, HR can feel the pressure to not only attract employees but also ensure talent development strategies are in place to keep them.

While remuneration and benefits are critical factors when people consider a new employer, we know that training and career development are top of mind also. In Deloitte’s 2018 Human Capital survey, building the 21st-century career emerged as the third most important trend. However, all too often, what employees think of as career development does not synch with what the company offers. Traditional career planning is linear, the company or a manager is in the driver’s seat, and the outcome or destination is wholly dependent upon who is ahead of you. Modern career planning, or career pathing, is not any of these things.

What is career pathing?

For starters, it involves a fundamental change in how you perceive the notion of career development. It recognises that it is a journey, not a destination. That importantly, the employee is the primary driver, and the outcome now depends upon how quickly he/she acquires new skills. Ultimately, career pathing is aligning each individual and their aspirations with the relevant training to enable workers to attain their professional development goals.

What do I need to start career planning in my organisation? Build individual employee profiles


What do I need to start career planning in my organisation?

1. Build individual employee profiles

These must include details such as the employee’s education, experience, and current skills and competencies.

2. Establish an L&D plan

Begin by identifying the skills the employee needs to progress. Then recommend the relevant training.

3. Determine the next step

Design and create a development plan. Ideally, your organisation’s learning management system includes this capability.

Design and create a development plan. Ideally, your organisation’s learning management system includes this capability.

Want to learn more about career pathing?

Struggling with how to implement a career planning strategy at your organisation? We can help. SumTotal is partnering with HRreview and hosting a webinar – Career Pathing Is Your Best Employee Retention Strategy. On Thursday, October 24th Amanda Wellborne, Senior Customer Success Manager at SumTotal, will discuss:

  • Why career pathing is critical in today’s multigeneration workplace
  • How to define your organisational needs and areas of future growth
  • What digital tools you need to support your objectives
  • How to measure progress

Register for webinar "Career Pathing Is Your Best Employee Retention Strategy




On the Road: Highlights from SumTotal’s 2019 European Roadshow

On the Road: Highlights from SumTotal’s 2019 European Roadshow

We are on the move! On Wednesday 11th September, we had our first ever SumTotal Customer Forum in Amsterdam. We used this day as the ideal opportunity to showcase the many ways customers can optimise their SumTotal solutions and services. It was the perfect time for subject matter experts from our solutions development and management team to speak directly with the people who utilise our products daily. Some highlights from our adventures in Amsterdam:


Urbain Lebelec, Solution Architect at SumTotal, explored how SumTotal customers with the proper administrative permissions, can leverage dashboards — from managing them to configuring the pages the dashboards use. Administrators can also assign dashboards by security groups, create master pages, and of course, personalize them. Here are a few sample use cases:



Career progress dashboard

Team training process dashboard

Reporting – best practices

Kumar Murugan, Practice Director for Professional Services at SumTotal EMEA, discussed the topic of human capital reporting. As he said, although it is often underdeveloped, human capital reporting is too critical to ignore.  Kumar gave some tips including this one for those organisations running reports with large amounts of data:

For reports returning more than 30,000 rows of data, run the reports in the background and store report output in a custom folder in the repository. You can then schedule the reports and export report output to the FTP server SumTotal assigned to you.

He also provided a step by step guide to running a report in the background, how to schedule reports, and an overview of authoring reports and report widgets.

Continuous feedback

Jon Drake, Solution Architects Director at SumTotal, spoke about how organisations are moving away from the traditional approach to performance reviews and instead are embracing the concept of ongoing reviews. One of the main benefits of continuous evaluation is that it conforms to employee expectations. Jon explained how using SumTotal’s Continuous Performance Feedback, employees can capture real-time feedback, in the 1:1 Journal, and tie this back to their goals and performance review. Plus, it is all fully supported on mobile, making it very useful for companies working with employees in multiple dispersed locations.

Mobile app best practices and mobile app roadmap

Speaking of mobile, Jon Drakes and Debasis Dutta, VP of Product Management for SumTotal, gave a joint presentation and demo of the incredible variety and value going mobile affords. What are the benefits of SumTotal Mobile?

In a nutshell, mobile

  • improves completion and compliance rates;
  • enables employees to give and receive feedback;
  • helps employee personal growth and development; and
  • encourages collaboration and communication.

Customer Service Managers (CSMs)

Throughout the event, there were some common themes on how customers can get the most out of their SumTotal Customer Success Managers and utilize them as strategic partners. Essentially, our CSMs are dedicated ambassadors, serving as the go-to person within SumTotal to prioritize critical requirements.

We hope this event achieved its objective and our customers feel informed on how to get the most out of their investment in SumTotal.

Thank you for joining us!




9 Indicators of Workforce Success

9 Indicators of Workforce Success

The modern workplace is in a state of constant change. Successfully managing this perpetual motion is a challenge. What is becoming evident is that to do so requires giving talent management the same level of attention as operations, finance, and strategy.

Leveraging talent management to achieve better business outcomes

To win, organisations must integrate learning and talent management. If you can align with business goals, increase communication, and share these priorities across these three functions, you will enable employees and organisations to achieve strategic results.

How do you know if this collaboration is achieving the result you want? Easy. Here are nine key indicators that companies can use to establish where they are now and how to reach higher levels of excellence.

1. A people-centric culture

A “people-centric” culture plays a fundamental role in getting the best out of employees and can impact employee tenure. Easy to overlook, culture determines both the way employees interact with one another and how well the organisation functions collectively. Enterprises that foster a healthy culture recognise it directly correlates to employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. Plus, employees today often seek out employers for their culture, ahead of pay and benefits packages.

2. HR plays a critical role in the company’s people strategy

Many HR departments struggle to connect with their employee base fully. Often, they are left feeling like they’re pushing boulders uphill to encourage participation in HR programs.

To redress this attitude, organisations must analyse the employee lifecycle and address each member of their workforce as a unique individual. If possible, utilise the Chief People Officer (CHRO) to position the learning and talent functions and promote them as critical contributors to the company’s success.

3. Curation strategy aligns with organisational needs

Learning and development (L&D) is shifting from internal programs aimed at training people to innovative environments that encourage employees to develop themselves. In more advanced organisations, employees are motivated to take active and proactive roles in their professional development. In some instances, organisations are even allowing employees, not just subject matter experts, to contribute to the development of learning content.

4. A sharp focus on the user experience

Today’s users expect more from HR, learning and development, and the user experience (UX) they deliver. Ideally, cutting-edge, state-of-the-art design principles should equate to next-generation, consumer-grade learning experiences that are simple, effective, and enjoyable. HR and L&D must explore and implement learning technologies that compel employees to explore more of their capabilities. What sort of technologies? Ones that improve decision making, save time through automation, reduce the potential for errors, and deliver personalised value to each employee. The use of robust employee profiles is essential to driving personalisation and relevance to the platform experience.

5. An advanced technology infrastructure

When an organisation interweaves rich employee profiles with intelligent learning and talent management software, the results are extraordinary. High performing organisations, i.e., those that are getting results, use their learning platforms to exploit the advantage big data algorithms provide. They build out ‘smart systems’ that get more intuitive over time. HR and L&D can then leverage insights into workforce capacity, and capability to maintain organisational agility. This ability is crucial as it facilitates adaptation to changing industry dynamics, regulatory laws, and information technology standards.

6. Elective participation

An organisation can gauge the level of support for its talent and learning strategy by the degree of elective participation it receives from learners. Ideally, organisations will benefit from advocates who turn toward the HR experience to continue to grow capabilities and cultivate careers. There is more employee “pull” because the value of HR programs and applications is contextual and accessible in the employee’s moments of need. More mature organisations also leverage engagement tactics fuelled by big data to encourage more voluntary participation.

7. Solid governance

HR’s ability to instil authority is a clear sign of its maturity level. At an earlier stage of maturity, it is common for organisations to establish steering committees of key stakeholders from across the business, which eventually transitions into formal command structures. In fully mature organisations, the oversight for learning and talent management jurisdiction is clear and intuitive. These organisations also operate from a fact base of data to optimise efficiency and continually enhance their effectiveness.

8. Getting funding is painless

As an organisation’s funding strategy improves, it becomes easier to work collaboratively with those in charge of procurement and other stakeholders. More evolved companies recognise talent as a critical investment that directly influences the organisation’s strategic success. Therefore, at the higher levels of maturity, investment in learning and development programs often exceeds industry benchmarks.

9. Higher utilisation of reporting and measurement

Data is everything. Data-driven decisions are now more prevalent everywhere, and HR is no exception. As organisations transform beyond traditional HR practices, it makes sense to define a clear and comprehensive measurement strategy for all L&D programs and initiatives. Be sure to stress the importance of making the business impact a key performance indicator of success.


Read the Latest Insights on Talent Management and People Development in Practice

Read the Latest Insights on Talent Management and People Development in Practice

Most of us are familiar with the idea of a Catch-22.  While it originally referred to a military rule in Joseph Keller’s 1961 masterpiece of the same name, we now use it to apply to any time you are caught in a frustrating situation, trapped by contradictory regulations or conditions. I think most of us can cite numerous examples of Catch-22 scenarios in the workplace, but recently more data has come to light to suggest HR and talent management, in particular, is currently plagued by a very troubling Catch-22.

Together with the Fosway Group, SumTotal recently completed extensive research into what’s working in talent management today and what isn’t. The work builds on a previous collaboration between our organizations, Transforming Talent in the Modern Workforce, which looked at how the workplace is transforming and the impact technology is having on this new order. This time we wanted to take a closer look at what’s happening in workplaces and HR teams across EMEA.

The results from the study highlight some common trends that stem from the fact that work is changing so the way organisations attract and retain new talent needs to change. However, while we can all agree on this impact, the question we asked is are HR departments meeting this expectation in the real world?

Not quite. Only 4% of enterprises have fully completed the digital transformation of their people functions. The majority (62%) are still in the process and therefore, yet to fully realise the full effects of digital transformation. In other words, most are still missing out on the potential of HR moving from being a “translator” of people processes (absence management, payroll and recruiting) into a strategic influencer and enabler for organisational success.

Crisis in innovation in HR

Almost 70% of those we surveyed believe their HR systems are not fit for the modern workforce. That’s an alarming figure given that everyone in the profession acknowledges that HR systems need to align with the expectations of both the employee and the business.  Only 9% think their tech is fully ready to meet employee expectations. I was surprised to learn that 33% are still using spreadsheets to execute their daily HR processes, and 14% are using nothing at all.

If you were to ask HR professionals why there is such a disconnect, I think most would agree that although HR needs to prove its ROI, it is hampered by its inability to automate and track the effectiveness of its practices. Here’s the Catch-22. HR needs to update its technology but to do so it needs to prove its worth and to do this, you guessed it, HR requires the technology to automate reporting.

Currently, HR is using these measures to prove impact and value:

When the conversation turns to areas like talent succession and workforce management, it gets even harder with over two-thirds saying they find it difficult to measure their effectiveness.

Making it even more challenging for HR is the reality that only one in three operates with a significant demand to prove their value add and a quarter have little or no demand. Again, we have a situation where there are no metrics to demonstrate the quantifiable impact; therefore, it is hard to prove the worth of HR efforts resulting in systems not meeting employee expectations.

Consequences of failing to live up to expectation in HR

Apart from the frustration felt by HR, there is also the issue around talent. Again, everyone is aware that we are facing a skills crisis so companies that excel in their talent management will be those companies that rule in the war for talent. Employees are looking at employer brand and are willing to switch employers to brands synonymous with developing its people and powering their careers. It is imperative now that HR systems have the features and capabilities to nurture and grow and deliver the experience workers find outside of their jobs.


Highlights from EMEA Perspectives 2019


Highlights from EMEA Perspectives 2019

As we finally draw breath after another hugely successful EMEA Perspectives, I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on last week’s event. It was our biggest customer event to date – we had a record number of attendees -and I’m delighted to say that the day held true to my predictions.

Our SumTotal breakout sessions proved to be popular – it was standing room only as we discussed several topics, including talent development in the employee lifecycle, the SumTotal Organisational Maturity Index, the latest and greatest product releases for 2019 and finally the benefits of using the SumTotal mobile app. These are exciting times for HR professionals as the changing nature and makeup of the work landscape sees our role shift and move to the center of an organisation.

Other highlights of the event include: Ron Hovsepian, Skillsoft’s Executive Chairman, kicked off the day with a comprehensive overview of SumTotal’s operating strategy for the coming months. As the lines between talent and learning blur, SumTotal customers are ideally positioned to navigate through this new terrain, and we are here to help you with every step. Further reinforcing our position as content agnostic SumTotal has added new platform relationships like LinkedIn Learning and Udacity to our growing library of content aggregation partners. Customers now have access to an even broader range of content across numerous domains. SumTotal is also continuing to promote the idea of learning in the flow of work, and to this end, we have enhanced our mobile and consumption experience with enhancements to capabilities and functions that include push notifications and the ability to launch content outside the learning management system (LMS). In addition, new partnerships like that with IBM Watson Talent means customers can expect to see a frictionless journey from recruitment through to onboarding and development at your fingertips.

Morné Swart, VP of Global Product Strategy, talked about the three D’s – digitisation, digitalisation, and digital transformation. He spoke eloquently and passionately about the fact that everyone is embracing people development and while executives are in agreement of the theme, often CEOs and CHROs disagree on how to accomplish this objective. He encouraged everyone to own their organisation’s story that to let Glassdoor and other recruitment resources become the voice for your brand is not a good idea or strategy. Morné stressed that with the UK enjoying its lowest unemployment rate since 1973, attracting and retaining the desired talent is going to get more difficult, which is why it is imperative that companies look to develop internally. Develop intelligently, mindful of the current challenges employees face daily.

Employees today are overwhelmed.

Sheri Zee, Skillsoft’s SVP of Talent and Culture,  took the audience on a journey through the Skillsoft employee experience and how Skillsoft and SumTotal are working to #MakeWorkMatter. How? Everything from employee spotlights, employee recognition cards, social media campaigns, and video clips are all components of an overall strategy designed to improve company culture.  We use the SumTotal onboarding module for recruits, and while we got rid of the annual review, SumTotal uses the 30 x 30 continuous feedback model on its employees.

Our keynote speaker, Shivvy Jervis, was phenomenal. While on the one hand, Shivvy shared her excitement and passion for all things tech, she did ultimately remind us that humans will always play the central role in the workplace. Given that she spends her time travelling the world following the latest technology trends, here is her list of the top four technology areas to have on your radar:

  • Emotive AI: this is referring to the bots or avatars who will help people complete tasks with a human touch. Already such digital humans exist in the form of Xinhua’s AI anchor and Sophie Air New Zealand’s digital customer service rep.
  • Next Gen Data: Currently, 80% of data is dark or unknown. This figure will change as the flood gates open, giving organisations access to untold amounts of data for analysis and application.
  • How will we interact with the future workplace: We can expect to see more virtual reality, a more immersive workplace, and the use of augmented reality to boost engagement.
  • Digital identity: 42% of security breaches stem from within the organisation. With the average cost of a data breach hovering around the £3 million, companies want to change this abysmal figure. Expect to see the introduction of biometrics as the first line of defence. Shivvy spoke of examples like a heartbeat ID or a brainwave ID.
Shivvy’s prediction about the new jobs of the future.

Torsten Schuhardt, the Learning and Development manager for JYSK, part of the Dänisches Bettenlager group, gave a candid account of moving from instruction-led-training (ILT) to online learning. Making this transition even more challenging is that JYSK operates in retail where most of the employees will access this learning on their own devices and on their own time. However, despite these obstacles, the transition is a success with an estimated €430,000 in cost savings. Additionally, they now have a way to identify talent and prospective leaders, so it’s a win-win.

Torsten talking about training retail talent.

As the CEO of Fosway Group, Europe’s leading HR industry analyst, we’ve all come to expect rich and in-depth insights from David Wilson. He didn’t disappoint. He showcased Fosway’s latest findings illustrating just how ill-prepared most organisations are for the modern workforce. He also reminded everyone just how much technology is impacting HR and why everyone in the industry needs to be aware of artificial intelligence and robotic process automation (RPA), and how each is changing the profession. David also gave his predictions for the top three ways technology will be adopted in an organisation:

  • Predictive analytics
  • Chabots
  • AI-led candidate recruiting


I want to thank everyone who joined us at the Royal Lancaster and look forward to seeing you all again in 2020.

What EMEA Perspectives 2019 Means for SumTotal

What EMEA Perspectives 2019 Means for SumTotal

This year EMEA Perspectives has got a bit of a makeover. For our biggest EMEA event of 2019, we have chosen to host our annual user conference at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London, Hyde Park’s architectural icon. The hotel is the perfect setting for SumTotal to bring together customers, prospects, and industry advisors to showcase transformative learning & development programmes that help prepare workforces to succeed amid rapid changes in digital tech.

We’ve designed a compelling agenda that I firmly believe will elevate the EMEA Perspectives experience and make May 21st a most productive and informative day.

Here’s a snapshot of what we have planned for our SumTotal attendees.

SumTotal executive speakers

  • Ron Hovsepian, Skillsoft’s Executive Chairman, will open the conference and provide an in-depth look into SumTotal’s strategy and an update on both the latest product releases and the 2019 roadmap.
  • Morné Swart, Vice President of Global Product Strategy, will later discuss why organisations need to focus on talent agility as the skills crisis continues.
  • We’ll also hear from Sheri Zee, Senior Vice President of Talent and Culture, Skillsoft as she delves into how best to foster a culture of engagement at your company.
  • To conclude the day, Chad Gaydos, Chief Operating Officer at Skillsoft, will share his thoughts on the highlights of the day.

Keynote speaker

I’m really looking to hearing Shivvy Jervis, award-winning futurist and industry advisor deliver her keynote speech. Shivvy’s research, keynote speeches and broadcasts have garnered an astonishing 22 pieces of industry recognition. A seasoned broadcaster, Shivvy currently discusses hot-button industry themes on the NextTech Insider series, hosts live debate broadcasts Ericsson Ringside Sessions and is fronting a bold new documentary. She is well-known as the former creator of video series’ Digital Futures and The Trailblazers which drew a 12 million+ viewership. Both were backed by the world’s third-largest telco, for whom Shivvy was also Head of Digital for many years.

Hear from Shivvy as she previews her keynote discussion.

Voice of the customer       

We hope to make 2019 a more inclusive and representative conference. To this end, we invited Torsten Schuhardt, Manager L&D, Dänisches Bettenlager GmbH & Co., to share his story. I’m also pleased to say that we will have a customer panel hosted by Simon H Robinson, HCM Solution Owner, Capgemini and will feature Ricoh Europe, SDL, Linklaters LLP, and NXP.

SumTotal breakout sessions

We want to allow everyone to hear and experience first-hand how SumTotal’s strategy ensures our products and services are helping organisations solve business challenges such as building their digital workforce.  Each of these presentations offers attendees a more comprehensive outline and analysis of this plan.

  • What’s New and What’s Coming – Debasis Dutta, Vice President, Product Management Engineering, SumTotal
  • Unlocking Your Organisational Maturity Index Potential – Brent Colescott, Senior Director, Business Strategy and Transformation, SumTotal Systems & Liz Dowden, Customer Success Manager, SumTotal
  • How the SumTotal Mobile App Can Support Your Digital Workforce – Jon Drakes, Director, Solution Architects, SumTotal

Insights from industry experts

I’m thrilled to say that David Wilson, CEO of Fosway Group, Europe’s leading HR industry analyst firm will talk about their latest research and advise how L&D can best unlock the people potential in their organisations.


May 21st is fast approaching so book your place today. I look forward to seeing you at the Royal Lancaster.


Maximising the Automation Function of Your LMS

Maximising the Automation Function of your LMS

At the recent Learning Technologies conference back in February, I attended a session entitled Lessons from the Frontline of Learning Technology Implementations. We heard four different stories covering everything from rolling out a new LMS, designing for the many different levels of digital expertise and familiarity to creating a global connectivity infrastructure embedded into the daily workflow rather than a separate entity.

Given the conference’s overall theme of the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, it was somewhat fitting that one of the four, LMS Program Lead at Mettler-Toledo, Michael Redford, addressed how automation frees up time. He discussed how his organization is using the automation capabilities of its LMS to facilitate and increase employee learning and development engagement, particularly around critical compliance training due to the industry Mettler-Toledo operates in.

Listening to Michael got me thinking about the many automation capabilities of an LMS and how these functions increase efficiencies and results with minimal effort and time.

Manage multiple languages

Today’s organisations, in particular HR and L&D departments, are acutely aware that to fully engage and develop all employees it is no longer prudent to offer training in one language. Now it’s about choice. LMSs can provide this capability by giving each user a personal account, and when they sign up, they then can select from a list of options, including the choice of their preferred language. This feature is particularly essential for global multi-national enterprises who want to implement consistency of training across regions especially around meeting mandatory compliance training.

Deliver personalised learning paths

Learning and career development do not happen in a silo.  Employees need to see what skills they need to gain today for roles they want in the future. However, not knowing where they are at and how they move forward can prevent employees from taking action.  Personalised learning paths give employees a view into their learning progress and provide individualised recommendations – ensuring employees know what they need to do to get to their next role and staying engaged throughout the process.

Send automatic notifications

These are system generated, multi-lingual and are hugely beneficial in helping improve learner interaction with training. The types of notifications that resonate with L&D teams include assignment details, deadline reminders, and an overdue deadline note. Notifications are also hugely valuable for interacting with remote or mobile employees and facilitate a direct line of communication regardless of location or schedule of the learner.

Assign learners via a data upload job

Using the LMS data import process, an organisation can upload HCM employee data and schedule learning via the “scheduled assignment job”. This feature enables L&D or HR to then assign a group of employees to the learning needed to meet compliance needs and obtain the skills required for effective succession planning.

Schedule delivery and reports

Using this feature allows an organisation to send key stakeholders a variety of reports. Additionally, these reports are an invaluable tool for L&D departments demonstrating the value and impact of their programs on the organisation

Streamline onboarding

When a new employee starts a job, part of the onboarding process often includes the completion of specific training. Again, your LMS should consist of a function that allows you to automatically process all new hire required assignments including the welcome letter, forms, first-day schedule, recommended learning and facilitate collaboration with peers and mentors.

SumTotal’s award-winning Learning Management provides all these automation functions and so much more. See for yourself just why the industry analyst Craig Weiss said, “SumTotal has done a masterful job in the overall of the whole UI and UX” when he included the solution in his top 10 LMS Learning Systems for 2019.


5 Things We Learned at #UNLEASH18

5 Things We Learned at #UNLEASH18

The 8th annual UNLEASH World Conference & Expo recently drew to a close. Again, this gathering of the most influential community of HR and HR Tech leaders was an inspiring trip, and I came away with a renewed sense of purpose and value. It was an incredibly informative and enlightening few days, and while I heard about a vast array of topics, I believe five themes are uniting and driving our industry.

Digital transformation is about people, not technology

Josh Bersin’s opening keynote stressed that despite its name, digital transformation is not about technology but people. While it’s not a new message, it is one that is easy to overlook as organisations focus on integrating all the latest technologies into their operating systems and procedures and fail to account for the human element in their workforce. In other words, HR and IT must endeavour to include employees from the beginning of the digital transformation planning. They must also ensure all employees understand the reasons for the changes and receive the training and skills necessary to function optimally in this new work environment.

User experience is the key driver in changing HR systems

According to Fosway Group’s HR Realities Research 2018-19, “user experience is consistently the most critical driver when changing HR tech.” Further, the research shows that the number one reason given by HR leaders for changing a HR system is to improve the quality of the end user experience. Time and again we heard about the importance of meeting employees’ rising expectations. Therefore, it is incumbent upon employers to ensure that they consider employees’ needs, usage and adaptability when designing workstations and other platforms that employees use.

Wellness is becoming more and more important

The 2018 CIPD UK Working Lives survey report identifies health and well-being as the most important aspect of job quality regarding the key outcomes. The report found that while overall the numbers indicate a certain level of job satisfaction, one in ten workers (11%) reports feeling miserable at work and one in five reports feeling exhausted or ‘under excessive pressure’. We know productivity is tied to worker performance, so it’s hardly surprising that it is in everyone’s interest if employers take a proactive interest in creating a workplace that addresses employee wellbeing.

Productivity tools have grown by 1.7% despite the rapid increase in HR technology – employees are overwhelmed

We are told that new technology is the main factor in the advancement of the modern workforce. However, data presented by SumTotal’s Morné Swart shows that productivity growth has slowed, and engagement levels remain at their lowest point as employees feel overwhelmed by the amount of technology available to them. As HR professionals we must deliver new ways to engage talent with innovative solutions that know, develop, grow and reward the workforce while providing key insights to assist management make informed personnel decisions.

Despite this being a technology show – a lot of the focus was on human and feelings.

As Dorothy Dalton noted, threaded through UNLEASH was a strong emphasis on soft skills, emotions, psychological safety, trust, wellness, inclusion and ethics. This is why as another speaker, Esther Perel noted, organisations may need to consider the need for a Chief Relationship Officer (CRO) to ensure areas like absenteeism, mental health and employee engagement receive resources and attention. After all, companies function better and are more productive when employees are operating in an environment that is inclusive, empathetic and meets their needs.


Read my Day One re-cap

Read my Day Two re-cap


Going to UNLEASH 2018? Be Sure to Stop By the SumTotal Stand

Going to UNLEASH 2018? Be Sure to Stop By the SumTotal Stand

UNLEASH World Conference & Expo is back. On 23-24 of October over 5,000 leaders from the best HR technology providers, big brands, start-ups, and influencers from around the world will come together to give industry professional/attendees a first look at the newest products and solutions on the market. This year the extensive list of keynote speakers offers a diverse variety of expertise and thought leadership. I’m particularly excited to hear what Matthieu Ricard and Carolanne Minashi can teach us about building a future workforce that is inclusive and compassionate.

Those of us who have attended UNLEASH events in the past have high expectations of the calibre of the presenter and the topics under discussion. This year does not disappoint as it covers everything of interest to an HR professional. Want to learn more about employee engagement, keep your finger on the pulse of the evolving technology, or discover how other HR departments have successfully implemented projects within their organisation? It’s all here. There’s a reason UNLEASH attracts the world’s largest gathering of HR leaders and is simply a must-attend conference for anyone working in HR or an HR-related field.

This year, SumTotal Systems is an Emerald Sponsor of the event. We are hosting sessions throughout the event and are also conducting several demo sessions so be sure to drop by stand 103. From 3 pm each day we’ll also be serving cocktails, so swing by and allow my colleagues and I to show you how SumTotal satisfies all your HR needs.

  • Reimagined talent acquisition
    SumTotal has reimagined our approach to Talent Acquisition and now offers seamless integration with the rest of the SumTotal platform, including Mobile Recruiting and Continuous Onboarding.
  • Immersive learning experience
    Discover the ways SumTotal’s new learner experience combines mobile, social and gamification to engage and immerse learners.
  • Reducing compliance risk
    Learning management systems check that employees are properly trained and certified while workforce management systems schedule employees. But what if the two systems worked together to ensure that the employees scheduled have the appropriate training and certifications for those jobs? SumTotal bridges this gap and enables organisations to guarantee that employees are trained and certified for the tasks they perform.
  • Lifecycle career development
    Moving from point-in-time development to a continuous, unified approach to training, development and career planning takes your organisation to the next level. SumTotal can track an employee’s lifecycle from initial onboarding to career development opportunities, with machine learning that can recommend and match jobs as well as prescribe a development plan.

SumTotal is also hosting two sessions at the event!

Morné Swart, SumTotal’s VP

On Day 1 Morné Swart, SumTotal’s VP, global product strategy & transformation is presenting Talent Agility in an Emerging Workplace. Morné will talk about the current challenges facing HR including the millennial effect and the major shifts in how work is performed, evaluated and rewarded and what SumTotal are doing to assist organisations with these changes. Morné will also discuss how SumTotal Talent Management is driving the success of the talent development process.

Torsten Schuhardt

On Day 2 Torsten Schuhardt, head of learning & development at Danisches Bettenlager GmbH, a SumTotal customer, is presenting 20 Years later – the awakening to the Digital Age. Torsten has more than 15 years of experience in learning and development and over this time has amassed a wealth of knowledge and insight into organisational best practice. He will discuss how to wake up, shake up and convert a successful retail chain for modern living to the digital age of learning and development.

Remember, we are at stand 103 demonstrating our latest and greatest products so stop by and have a chat or even better plan ahead, and book a personal meeting.