The construction industry offers a variety of positions from entry-level laborers and apprentices to journeyman welders, project managers and owners. It’s one of the great things about pursuing a career in construction; there’s always a way to climb the ladder. Obtaining a certification for a specialty position is one way for employees to get ahead. And while earning some certifications is purely motivated by career mobility, others are required to comply with government regulations, like OSHA training. And if you’re keeping track of all your employees’ certifications on a spreadsheet, you could miss out when a renewal is due, setting your company up for noncompliance. 


Three Major Issues with Spreadsheets 

Spreadsheet programs have been around almost as long as computers themselves. Spreadsheets are a great tool for many applications, but tracking employee certifications isn’t one of them. 

Spreadsheets Don’t Provide Uncompromised Tracking 

Certification standards and requirements are different for every employee. Some may receive certifications for their position, like welding or masonry, and there are other certifications, like for OSHA, the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency and various state agencies, that are required to do business with federal and state governments. Tracking which employees have what certifications and when they expire can become a huge issue if you’re using spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are not user friendly when they contain a lot of data. Consider how many rows and columns you’d have to scroll through for 100-plus employees. With a spreadsheet, it’s hard to get a good look at all your employees’ certifications. 

A good learning management system (LMS) allows you to easily see and track employee certifications company wide. It can also automatically add new employees to learning plans.   

Spreadsheets Don’t Send Renewal Reminders 

Once a certification is acquired, it must be maintained and renewed by employees. For example, the DOL’s OFCCP Affirmative Action Compliance (AAP) requires certification to be completed annually. A spreadsheet won’t automatically know when a renewal is coming up and – unlike an LMS – won’t alert you when a certification is about to expire. If you’re relying on spreadsheets, renewal dates could be missed, leading to outdated certifications and noncompliance.  

A good LMS will automatically send out reminders to all or select employees when certifications need to be renewed. By setting up reminders, HR staff can relax knowing employees will be notified about due dates without the need to send manually hit send. 

Spreadsheets are Prone to Human Error 

A spreadsheet’s ability to be collaborative is also its downfall. Since spreadsheets can be accessed by anyone, the data contained within isn’t secure. Anyone can change the data contained within the cells and it can be difficult to determine who did what and even what version you’re looking at. And if an employee quits or is fired, the data contained within a spreadsheet can easily be shared outside the office. Don’t forget that because spreadsheets rely on humans to input the data, and create formulas to calculate it, errors can easily occur. One formula mistype can throw off an entire sheet. 

Arcoro’s LMS is a secure system that requires credentials to change the data. And since it automatically sends reminders about renewals, HR staff don’t need to constantly be in the system – thus decreasing the chance for human error. But Arcoro’s LMS also gives employees the power to view and control their certifications. With our LMS, employees can not only track their certifications but upload documents for certifications they’ve achieved on their own, outside of work.  

And soon Arcoro’s LMS advanced analytics capabilities will give administrators the ability to see when employee learning plan tasks are due, overdue, expiring or expired. And data can be both imported and exported.  

If you’re tracking certifications in spreadsheets, you’re not only making your job harder but you’re setting yourself up for error and noncompliance.

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Schedule a demo of Arcoro’s LMS to see how our software can simplify and streamline your certification process.  

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