Once associated with compliance training and the somewhat dreary task of onboarding new employees, learning management systems (LMS) are currently being reinvented as employee engagement tools. And given how disengaged much of the global workforce is these days — according to Gallup, only 31.5 percent of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs – some might say this reinvention is long overdue.
However, using an LMS as an employee engagement tool can be quite a daunting challenge. According to research conducted by Software Advice, 67 percent of organizations say that a lack of user engagement prevents them from “adopting technology-enabled training.”
So, how can we use LMSs as employee engagement tools if employees aren’t even engaged enough to use LMSs in the first place? We’ll have to start by looking at what employees actually want in LMSs. As it turns out, most of the companies who say employees are not engaged with their LMSs are companies with LMSs that lack any compelling draws whatsoever.
What Employees Want From LMSs
According to Software Advice, what employees really want is short, easy-to-digest content. Fifty-eight percent of the employees surveyed by Software Advice said they would be more likely to use their companies’ online learning tools “if the content was broken up into multiple, shorter lessons.”
In addition to giving employees content in small, five-minute doses, many innovative companies have also found that employees want real-life incentives for using an organization’s LMS. When employers ‘gamify’ the LMS experience and reward successful employees with gift cards or personal electronic devices, for example, employees become more likely to embrace online training systems.
Employers should also consider adding social components to their LMSs. Younger workers from the millennial generation are used to learning via social platforms, which makes it easier for them to dive into LMSs that encourage social sharing. Moreover, social components — like a corporate Facebook group or a private intranet site — give new employees a forum in which they can talk to longer-term employees and learn directly from these colleagues.
The added advantage to the social approach is that it builds a collaborative, development-focused culture, as opposed to an each-worker-for-themselves atmosphere.
Another way to encourage employee involvement and collaboration is through discussion boards and forums. In fact, any process that encourages employees to communicate with each other through the LMS is likely to encourage them to be more engaged with the LMS overall.
As a company, your training initiatives need to focus on your people. Ask yourself, What do my employees want? Of course, you need to know which skills they want to improve or what knowledge they want to acquire, but you also need to know what employees want from the learning process itself. Implement an LMS that gives employees what they want, and they’ll be more likely to use it. This, in turn, is likely to create more engaged employees.