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Why planning your LMS is like planning the work Christmas party

Bear with us – whilst learning and development and the work Christmas party may feel worlds away, they require (almost) the same level of meticulous planning. Whilst you can expect grumbles, if you plan correctly, you can ensure a high engagement rate!

Santa! I know him!

Choosing and implementing a new LMSFirstly – get to know your audience. A team outing that may suit those in the accounts team may not be suitable for the team of young call-centre workers. Think about their requirements, and how they engage best. Will they motivate themselves to engage, or do you need to provide a little more support to get them on board?

Once you know who you’re dealing with, think about what you’ll be financially working with. What is your budget, and what will you get for your money? Are you paying per head, or for the entire package? Also think about value for money. You may opt to pay for the entire package, which may include extras that aren’t particularly relevant to your organisation and won’t be used – do you really need the additional canapés (or learning modules)?

Once you have confirmed your audience and budget, you have the perfect venue - it's time to think about the entertainment factor. It's now time to think about the theme (or e-learning). There are benefits to both off-the-shelf packages and those tailored specifically for you.

  • Off-the-shelf packages may include unwanted extras in the cost, but you can be reassured that the packages have been tried and tested by multiple organisations. Off-the-shelf packages are typically cheaper than bespoke, and require less internal resource – your teams do not need to be as involved in the planning and do not need to be experts!
  • Bespoke packages, however, can be tailored to your specific organisation. Good suppliers (of parties and LMSs) will be able to advise on the perfect solution to your exact needs. Whilst bespoke packages are typically costlier, they provide the ‘wow’ factor to really impress your audience, making them want more!


Once you have decided on your audience, your budget and the theme, then select a date for the go-ahead. This needs to be arranged to minimise disruption to your employees. Remember that you cannot please everyone, and there will never be a perfect date set. However, once you have decided on a date, you can ensure that everyone is prepared and working to that date.

It's now time to share the exciting news with your employees, and get them energised!

1. Make sure that it’s different to anything they’ve seen before – this is where the theme really comes in. Every employee has been forced to sit through dull one-way conversations, so ensure that your employees have been at the heart of planning – they should want to get involved!

2. Don’t drag it out. Forcing employees to spend more of their time than necessary at parties or in learning is a sure-fire way to lose their interest and cause disappointment. Condense it for maximum engagement!

3. Add interactivity and engagement. Modern employees are increasingly social and encouraging employees to share their thoughts with each other can only result in a stronger workforce as knowledge is shared throughout departments.

4. Add an incentive! Reward employees for their efforts, and encourage friendly competitive rivalry.

Son of a nutcracker

Inevitably, there will be grumbles but don’t take this to heart; these can be reduced with prior planning time and deep consideration into your learners’ needs.

Where possible, try before you buy – meet with your party organiser (or LMS vendor) to discuss potential pitfalls and how these can be avoided. Having seen the package as it would be used for your organisation, you will be able to envisage its fit into your plans.

Finally, keep taking feedback; find out what people think, and if there could be any improvements for the future. Take this feedback onboard and forward it onto your supplier – they should be able to make amendments to ensure the success of their product, making it perfect for the long-term success.

You did it! Congratulations! The world’s best LMS (and party)!

See, learning can be made as fun as the work Christmas party…

Merry Christmas!

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