This article is part of a larger series on Hiring.
Small businesses use personnel training software, such as learning management systems (LMSes), to keep their employees compliant and allow them to continue their career education. Designed for the delivery of educational and training courses, the LMSes we evaluated all offer a large library of created courses, as well as the ability to import and/or create your own custom courses.
The six best employee training management software for small businesses are:
- Thinkific: Best overall employee training software
- 360Learning: Best for collaborative learning
- TalentLMS: Best for industry compliance
- Trainual: Best for onboarding/new hire training
- SAP Litmos: Best for supporting employees in multiple locations and languages
- Bridge: Best for performance management and testing
Best Personnel Training Software Compared
Customized Tracking and Reporting
Supports Multiple Languages
Live Support (phone, email, chat)
Starts at $39/month
Starts at $8/month per user
Starts at $89/month
Starts at $119/month
Starts at $4/month per user, but requires custom pricing
Requires a minimum of $12,500 per year
Note that all personnel training software in this guide have these in common:
- Large library of training courses
- Create customized courses from scratch
- Integration with common software
Thinkific: Best Overall Personnel Training Software for Small Businesses
Thinkific is a content-creation platform; it allows small businesses to create engaging employee training programs through customizable templates for quick course creation or an easy-to-use course builder when creating courses from scratch. You can use live streams, presentations, and other media to build content. At the end of the course, you can also reward your employees with certificates of completion. You can easily track employee progress, course completion rates, and monitor engagement. Thinkific even offers a plan for those planning to rebrand their training courses for corporate clients or for high-volume businesses.
Although it doesn’t have a mobile app, it’s designed for easy access via any browser on mobile devices. In building content, you can even check how the course looks on both desktop and mobile browsers.
Thinkific’s overall score is 4.94, with perfect marks on pricing, functionality, training tools, reporting, and popularity. While user-friendly, its platform can take time to explore, especially for beginners—something that hindered it from getting a perfect mark for ease of use.
Thinkific lets you focus on creating good employee training materials. Here are its features to let you do that:
- Free Plan: Of the software in this list, only Thinkific and TalentLMS offer free plans. With Thinkific’s free forever plan, you can try its core features and create a trial course for an unlimited number of employees or students. It comes with one site admin account, website templates, drag-and-drop course builders, email, and phone support.
- Wide range of multimedia: Thinkific really shines when it comes to the variety of content you can add to your training courses. You can create training materials using various media, including videos, text, downloadable content, PDF, and presentation. You can even add surveys within the platform to help you gather feedback from employees. Employees can provide feedback in different ways, including ratings, scales, and providing answers.
- Organized admin dashboard: The dashboard is organized but could use a more modern touch. Despite it looking a bit outdated compared to other software on this list, Thinkific works smoothly when creating a course and even supports more than 30 languages, which makes it even easier for businesses using languages other than English.
- User-friendly student or employee interface: On the employee/student side, the course player is simple to use. The user can immediately access the chapters in a drop-down style menu. Your employees can also access the training via mobile browsers to make learning more accessible and flexible.
- Drip scheduling: If you subscribe to Thinkific’s paid plans, you can schedule your lessons or training as you please. If you plan to have a weeklong training session, you can, for example, schedule one lesson per day. This helps ensure that your employees have enough time to digest the training lessons and prevent information overload.
What Thinkific Is Missing
Thinkific has all the tools typically needed to create an employee training course—plus, you can check its basic features for free. However, the platform has a slight learning curve and may take some getting used to. For a friendlier experience, you may want to look at 360 Learning or Trainual.
360Learning: Best for Collaborative Learning
360Learning is an LMS best suited for small to midsize businesses and nonprofits due to its employee and compliance training, customer training, employee onboarding, and extended enterprise support. The platform is based on collaborative learning, where employees can share their skills and expertise with each other—very much unlike the traditional top-down learning style.
It outranked most of the other employee training management software with a score of 4.75 out of 5. This is primarily because of its ability to deliver an interactive experience with a large library of over 6,000 content resources at an affordable price—starting at $8/month per user.
360Learning’s mobile app does generally well with users, scoring a 4.8 out of 5 on the Apple App Store and 4 out of 5 on the Google’s Play store (due to some minor bugs). The only thing preventing 360Learning from achieving a perfect score in our review is its lack of a free plan. However, its 30-day free trial should give users enough time to learn its features and make a final decision.
360Learning offers easy course creation features, as well as advanced content integration. These features help make learning easy for employees.
- Free Trial: 360Learning offers an impressive 30-day free trial. This will give your business plenty of time to learn the system, explore its over 6,000 available courses, and even create your own customized courses. Additionally, courses can be integrated with over 200 institutions, including Coursera, to bring you thousands of available content modules, including employee policy training, workplace harassment, OSHA training, and more.
- Collaborative Learning: 360Learning’s platform is based on “collaborative learning” (peer learning), in which anyone can address questions within training courses as well as suggest improvements or changes to the training based on a specific department, project, or organizational needs and desires.
- User-friendly: Flexibility, ease of use, and customization make 360Learning an ideal employee training management software. It is available in several different languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Russian, and Japanese. Unlike other software—such as Trainual, which is only available in English—360Learning allows you to translate content into just about any language and then offer that language to your users. Additionally, the dashboard and course content are easily distributed to any mobile device for on-the-go learning and management.
- Course Creation Enhancements: It offers an intuitive platform that can reduce course creation time to as little as 17 minutes. Additionally, you can leverage content across your legacy LMS and integrate it into 360Learning’s platform, as well as create new or use existing content.
- Personalized Learning Experience: The learning experience includes blended learning, incorporating live training and online study. Besides that, companies are equipped with the ability to assign paths based on the learner’s needs, with assessments to ensure knowledge retention. Certificates are awarded upon course completion, highlighting the newly acquired skills your employees have obtained in their industry, which can lead to promotions.
What 360Learning Is Missing
While 360Learning offers a 30-day free trial, it does not come with a free plan, nor does it offer transparent pricing. Some pricing is noted on its website; however, custom features and plans must be discussed with a representative. Additionally, the features available are basic, lacking varied tools to build courses and certain “extra” features such as integrated gamification. SAP Litmos scores better for customization and features.
TalentLMS: Best for Industry-specific Compliance
TalentLMS is ideal for businesses that need to offer industry-specific training. Its tools allow for personalized and customized training no matter your industry. It serves a broad range of industries—be it in automotive, hospitality, or even in technology—and offers leadership courses that can help employees rise within the company.
It ranks in our No. 3 spot with a score of 4.57 out of 5 due to its easy-to-use interface and customizable features, such as branding and colors, giving users the experience that they are working only with your company. TalentLMS fell short with its limited live customer support and lack of a free trial (the only LMS on our list that doesn’t offer this feature). Thinkific and TalentLMS are the only personnel training software in our guide to offer a fully free plan, but it is limited in scope, as well as in the number of users allowed.
TalentLMS offers a buffet of features to help businesses with tracking, compliance, and course creation, and the user with course completion.
- Customized Courses: Employers can easily create customized courses with various types of media such as videos, presentations, and documents. Training includes quizzes and tests to help measure success, as well as gamification for an overall enhanced user experience. Additionally, TalentLMS offers the ability to build your courses seamlessly.
- Industry-Specific: TalentLMS courses are offered across a wide range of industries. Its corporate training platform enables businesses to offer compliance training to their employees that result in the issuance of certificates and certifications. Industries include:
- Automotive: Inform technicians about new regulations and introduce new models to dealerships
- Aviation: Ensure your employees are compliant with regulations, systems, and standard airline procedures
- Call Centers: Train your employees to handle a variety of call types
- Education: Allow for distance learning and traditional in-classroom training for your educators
- Food and Beverage: Help with onboarding and employee training
- Franchise: Train your employees across multiple locations in company core values and standardized procedures
- Healthcare: Train your workers on new medical devices, procedures, and compliance
- Hospitality: Instill customer service values in your staff
- Manufacturing: Instruct employees on standardized procedures as well as OSHA compliance
- Nonprofit Organizations: Train your volunteers on all organizational procedures and policies
- Retail: Build your own online procedural training courses to use for employees across multiple chain locations
- Supply Chain: Train your warehouse employees on new and existing operational procedures
- Technology: Share best practices in the IT field and train on new procedures
- Telecommunications: Reach thousands of customer service reps and technicians with specialized training
- Adaptive Interface: This software is equipped with a simple, customizable interface where users can learn and adapt. This means that users experience training that feels comfortable from the very start. Additionally, TalentLMS offers the ability to toggle between an online learning experience and mobile applications. However, the mobile application does not offer as many features as the web version, causing TalentLMS to score 4.2 out of 5 among Android users and 4.7 out of 5 among iOS users.
- Extensive training software: It includes compliance training, onboarding, sales, partner training, and extended enterprise training. With it, companies have the tools available immediately to onboard new employees with a seamless training experience. TalentLMS also allows companies to provide compliance training to employees to keep them on top of industry standards and requirements. The only difference is that this provider does not provide standard operating procedures and policies in its platform like Trainual does.
- Quick Setup: It offers the ability to create customized courses in just a few short steps, allowing you to offer training to your employees quickly (sometimes on the same day). You simply log in to your portal, navigate to the Add Course page, and build your course from there. Experiences can be personalized to match your employees’ career needs by creating sub-accounts, allowing for individual department content.
What TalentLMS Is Missing
TalentLMS doesn’t offer a free trial (the only LMS in our guide that doesn’t); therefore, you must buy the software without testing it out first. TalentLMS does offer a free plan, although it is only for up to five users and 10 courses. This may not be enough user capacity—so 360Learning may be better suited for a small business that needs to test out the product first, as it offers a 30-day free trial.
Trainual: Best for New Hire Training & Onboarding
Trainual brings together all your company’s processes, procedures, and training policies into one system to make onboarding and learning easier. With all your training and onboarding documents in one place, your newly hired employees will be fully trained and ready to start their new jobs quicker. It is ideal for smaller businesses; pricing is custom and increases by 25 user increments.
Trainual, with a score of 4.43 out of 5 on our evaluation, provides a customizable dashboard for creating documentation and manuals and allows for continued employee training. Keeping Trainual from achieving a perfect score is its lack of ability to customize reports and limited language support.
Trainual’s capabilities are largely in policy, SOP, and handbook creation. Additionally, it offers features for onboarding and delivering content to employees based on their roles, department, or location.
- Policy (SOP) Creation: Over 150 templates are available for the creation of policies and SOPs. Trainual stands above other LMSes, such as Bridge, for its ability to not only create courses but provide policy training manuals. These templates allow for the creation of training materials that can be accessed by multiple employees at one time, including onboarding documentation. Some templates include:
- Diversity and Inclusion Policy
- Bereavement Leave Policy
- Solicitation Policy
- Compensation and Development Policy
- Workplace Harassment Policy
- PTO and Sick Leave Policy
- Anti-Discrimination Policy
- Disciplinary Action Policy
- No Retaliation Policy
- Sexual Harassment Policy
- Employee Performance Review
- Mobile-friendly: Trainual is easy to access, track, and update from any device. Policies can be reviewed and studied from a mobile device, giving your employees on-the-go participation. Trainual scored an impressive 4.7 with Android users based on the ease of having all training at their fingertips. Its iOS score was 4.5; however, the experience was similar to Android users based on the ability to search all policies from a mobile phone.
- Easy to Manage: A simple and intuitive interface makes it easy to create and manage policies. There are built-in guidelines and tutorials to get you up to speed, and it is easy for employers to create and manage custom courses in minutes.
- Customized Features: Companies can supplement training by adding videos, in-house stock photos, and GIPHY integration. While all of the LMSes we reviewed support some of these features, they do not support all, giving Trainual an edge by enhancing the overall user experience.
- Organization: Policies and SOPs are easily organized in one place for instant access from any device. It is a “playbook” in your pocket. Training is highly searchable, right down to the word, making it easy to find the policy you are looking for.
What Trainual Is Missing
Trainual is heavily focused on employee onboarding and training policies—and therefore does not offer a large library of continuing education courses, like the 6,000+ courses offered by 360Learning. Additionally, while Trainual is ideal for small businesses with 25 or fewer employees, if your company has more than 25 employees, it will cost you more—up to $335/month for 100 users. If you employ more than 25 workers, then TalentLMS, at just $279/month for up to 500 users, is a better overall value than Trainual; however, it is limited to English-only courses.
SAP Litmos: Best for Businesses With International Employees
SAP Litmos works for companies of any size, from small businesses to enterprises, in any location. We’ve determined it best for those with a global workforce because you can create courses in some three dozen languages, on top of its offered courses on Determining International Employee Compensation, Managing a Remote Team, and Culture Series – Discrimination Prevention. This makes it our top pick for businesses with international employees.
With a score of 4.27 out of 5, it was dinged for issues related to customer service quality and the lack of transparent pricing. Its solutions are tailored toward an industry’s—or company’s—specific needs and learning styles (in areas such as security, ease of learner use, and scalability, for example). This gives SAP Litmos an advantage over other LMS software, such as Bridge, which doesn’t offer as broad a range of services. It is also one of the best at taking its pre-packaged content and merging that with companies’ specific needs and interests relating to employee learning.
SAP Litmos Features
SAP Litmos has a range of user-friendly features, including interface options, multiple learning types, and security. Mobile users agree on its user-friendliness, according to the 3.8 out of 5 review score in the Google’s Play store and the 4.6 out of 5 score in the Apple App Store.
- Diverse Learning: Courses are offered in multiple languages to assist learners of all backgrounds in achieving their educational and career goals. SAP Litmos facilitates courses in 35 languages, including English, French, Chinese, Spanish, and more.
- Learning Tools with Gamification Features: Enhanced mobile and cloud-based learning tools provide the ability to develop training modules to appeal to gamers, remote and international learners, and blended learning types. These tools increase learner engagement by awarding achievements, badges, and points within the system, competitions with others and structured gameplay designed to assist users in actively completing courses. Companies can also issue badges that users can download to accentuate their achievements. While this is also offered with other LMSes, such as 360Learning, it is worth noting that SAP Litmos relies heavily on this feature for course interaction. Gamification features can make learning for those with language barriers or cultural differences easier.
- Customizable Platform: Companies can create their own branding within the platform, creating a personalized experience for both business owners and users. Courses can be grouped together to create personalized learning paths for employees.
- Third-party Integrations: SAP Litmos offers a learning management system marketplace to integrate with multiple applications, including DocuSign, ADP, BambooHR, Centrify, Dropbox, Mailchimp, Namely, Salesforce, and more. By offering an expansive library of integrations, SAP Litmos can seamlessly integrate with your current operations.
What SAP Litmos Is Missing
With its gamification features, SAP Litmos’ courses may be less structured than some companies require. Additionally, some features of the program, such as compliance management and document management, are not included in the subscription plans, meaning you must add them on at an extra cost to get the value. SAP Litmos lacks certain customizable features such as reporting, templates, and quizzes, making it less desirable than others on our list, such as 360Learning, which offers these customizable options.
Bridge: Best Performance Management Platform
Bridge delivers tools that talent and HR leaders, organizational and leadership development managers, and supervisors will enjoy due to the customizable way that this product works. As our best for performance management, Bridge offers skills assessments and performance analytics that help managers evaluate their teams and deliver necessary learning enhancements. This will, however, require businesses to purchase the second-tier plan: Learning + Performance.
Bridge’s training platform also engages learners by requiring the user to click into specific modules at designated times and soliciting responses to questions that are based on actual real-world situations. Due in large part to its limited affordability for small businesses, Bridge placed sixth on our list, scoring 3.98 out of 5. User reviews lean toward those businesses with 1,000+ employees.
Bridge offers contemporary features that businesses can use to enhance their employee course experience. Additionally, supervisors and managers have multiple options for tracking and analyzing employee success.
- Customized Courses: Bridge does a nice job of taking out-of-the-box courses (over 20,000 courses available) and making them customizable for customers so they can add to or evolve the training to their liking. Courses include HR compliance, onboarding, performance management, and sales training, among others.
- Ongoing Support: It offers 24/7 live phone and online chat support. Live phone support is a feature that is not offered in all LMS platforms, such as TalentLMS and SAP Litmos, giving Bridge higher customer satisfaction.
- Mobile-friendly: Platforms are available on Android and iOS, making it mobile accessible. Users find Bridge’s mobile platform to be intuitive and easy to use. It scored a 4.1 out of 5 among Android users for its simple layout. Similarly, Bridge scored 4.4 out of 5 among iOS users.
- Analytics and Insights: The platform allows for easy tracking, and learners can pause and resume as desired. Supervisors can run reports or check in on individual employee progress, as well as create customized downloadable reports. Employers can track employee performance, align individual goals, and manage skills assessments. Bridge outperforms Trainual and SAP Litmos in this category due to its customizable reporting.
- Skill Development Planning: Customized development plans can be created to assist employees in meeting their career objectives and goals. This enables employee growth by aligning skills and career development into one vision. Trainual offers similar plans, but these are more geared toward policy implementation.
What Bridge Is Missing
While Bridge offers transparent pricing on its website, the minimum requirement of $12,500 annually makes this option less affordable for small businesses. Other personnel training software on this list is more affordable, with TalentLMS offering a free plan option. Additionally, some system functionality, such as text editing, video uploading, and quiz responses, is slow and/or insufficient.
Other LMS Software to Consider
The following LMSes didn’t make the cut for our best overall employee training management software; however, you may want to consider them.
- Udemy Business (Overall Score: 3.93 out of 5) – Offers a consumer-first, on-demand learning platform through which employees can learn at their own pace. There are tons of courses you can choose from, each with reviews available so that you know how effective they are. Additionally, you can leverage your own content and distribute it through the platform if you’d prefer. It’s cheaper than purchasing a complete LMS and gives you more flexibility until you’re ready to commit.
- Tovuti (Overall Score: 3.83 out of 5) – Delivers an all-in-one cloud-based LMS that small businesses can benefit from. Tovuti offers creative features, including technology compliance, an integrated course content library, and personalized learning paths, that can help you create a robust learning platform to drive engagement among your employees.
- LearnUpon (Overall Score: 3.77 out of 5) – Offers strong mobile learning software components. Best for small businesses with diverse needs by providing learning tools for impactful training directed at employees, partners, and customers. Although LearnUpon may be costly for small businesses, it offers excellent customer support, according to user reviews.
- Lessonly by Seismic (Overall Score: 3.32 out of 5) – Now part of Seismic, Lessonly personalizes professional growth. If you’re looking for on-demand training and coaching, Lessonly received excellent reviews from its customers.
Although the above LMS software applications offer strong features and course options, these didn’t make it into the top six due to their inability to offer various customized options and lack of affordability for small businesses.
How We Evaluated Employee Training Software
When evaluating each LMS for employee training, we took into consideration the most popular training tools for small businesses. For specifics on our evaluation process, click through the boxes below.
To see our full evaluation criteria for the best free time tracking software, click through the tabs in the box below.
25% of Overall Score
Each employee training management software was evaluated for overall affordability and price transparency. Thinkific and Trainual received top marks in these areas. Plans that offered a free trial or free plan option were also prioritized.
20% of Overall Score
Personnel training software that offers personalization and extended features makes the learning experience more user-friendly. Those that deliver a large catalog of courses with the ability to offer quizzes and tests scored higher. Points were also granted for training schedule features, such as calendars and reminders, as well as the ability to track user progress. Thinkific, 360Learning, TalentLMS, and SAP Litmos got perfect scores for offering the best training tools available.
20% of Overall Score
15% of Overall Score
10% of Overall Score
10% of Overall Score
Reporting was scored based on whether the software provided analytics and a good variety of reporting features. Additionally, if reports were customizable, the software scored higher. Four out of the six software reviewed offered customizable reports, including Thinkific, 360Learning, Bridge, and TalentLMS.
Our guide is meant to be a tool for deciding which employee training management software is the best for your business. While each LMS we reviewed offers something different and specific for your company’s needs, the overall winner, Thinkific, outperformed the others in value and features available.