How to Work With SMEs Effectively

Designing Digitally


How to Work With SMEs Effectively

Subject matter experts (SMEs) are people that have in-depth knowledge on a particular topic. From business development to employee training, subject matter experts can hold the needed knowledge and experience to help your business flourish. When looking to build an eLearning course for training your employees, an SME is instrumental in the planning and development stage.

Whether you choose to hire an SME, or you already have one on your payroll, he or she can be a valuable asset for the smooth running of your organization. They'll help you align business goals, learner needs, and learning objectives to benefit employees and the company as a whole. An SME will also be in charge of centralizing your workflow, providing quality content for your employee training modules, and helping you cut down on costs.

The Benefits of Working with SMEs

Working with SMEs comes with a wide range of benefits that you'll be able to see as your eLearning project starts to take shape. Working with subject matter experts helps define your goals and the desired learning outcomes of your employee training course. Your instructional designer will design the look of your training module and arrange the course content. But, it is the SME that establishes procedures, performance objectives and suggests procedural improvements.

  1. Streamlined Communication

Being able to quickly and efficiently convey your needs to your employees is crucial for any business. SMEs also need to be kept in the loop. Keep channels of communication open at all times. Having your own internal tool for communication is also recommended. Esure you choose one that can correlate tasks and other tools that are already in place.

  1. Higher Quality Content

An SME will be able to offer you high-quality content at a faster rate than your average employee. But, they will need accurate, detailed information about your business. They already have the know-how; all they need are the particulars of your business. Being able to convey precise information in an easy-to-grasp manner will give you the best results over time. 

  1. Improved Teamwork

An SME does not necessarily have to become a part of your regular workforce. But, it is a good idea to tie them in with other coworkers that could help make their job easier. Interdepartmental cooperation is generally the norm in most companies, so SMEs should not be treated any differently.

SMEs with experience will generally be very apt at integrating into your workforce since they have done it before for other companies. The responsibility is on your employees to make them feel welcome and a part of the team.

Read also: eLearning Development and The Role of SMEs

  1. Lower Costs

While generally, an SME can be a more expensive asset than a regular employee, their efficiency makes up for the higher investment. Studies have shown that an SME will lower your costs for a project, in most cases quite noticeably. 

Be wary of the fact that this is not a given. You will have to work closely with your SMEs to ensure they are working at their true potential.

  1. Better Time Management

An SME should know precisely how much time a task should take up during a given workday. If the nature of your business is predicated on punctuality, SMEs will be of immense help over time since they can usually finish a task before a regular employee.

But, this can also be dependent on the overall workflow of your business. If things delay because of other colleagues, SMEs can’t fix that. So, make sure that everything is working like a well-oiled machine for fast results.

  1. Faster problem-solving

No matter how efficient your roster of employees is, problems will arise from time to time. Sometimes finding the fix faster can be significant when delaying it isn’t an option.

This is where a capable SME will offer input and expert skills to fix it as fast as possible. Given enough time, the speed at which they can handle any situation will improve as well


SMEs can add value to your business and help move employee training programs along. You'll invest a bit more money initially but get the benefits of working with a professional who knows their subject inside and out. Regardless of the size of your company, your business goals, and your learning objectives, you can rely on a subject matter expert to get the desired results.

The Designing Digitally team works closely with your SMEs to create powerful online training solutions that foster positive workplace change. We combine this with our expertise in various training and development areas and collaborate to understand your specific needs and challenges. If you are looking for a partner who will take your employees and business to the top, get in touch with one of our experts today.