Your employees might be sitting at their desks within 50 feet of you, but if you occasionally feel that they aren't entirely present, you're not alone. Low employee engagement is a big problem for businesses -- not only does it cut productivity and retention rates, but it can unnecessarily cost a fortune.

According to Gallup, a mere 15 percent of workers around the world arrived at their jobs this morning with a high degree of engagement. The other 85 percent are unlikely to remain in their positions for long. To make things worse, it's become incredibly easy for disengaged employees to browse job sites and social media to find opportunities that do get them excited.

Employee retention is a vital priority for more than 87 percent of human resources leaders around the country, and it's no wonder. Filling vacant roles can be time-consuming and laborious, and no matter how thorough the hiring process, organizations inevitably risk selecting unfit candidates.

Given this backdrop, it may seem astounding to learn that some standout organizations manage to create cultures in which an average 70 percent of their workforce is motivated and ready to meet challenges head-on. What's their secret?

While there are, no doubt, many factors that separate organizations that engage their employees from those that don't, one of the most basic and actionable is implementing an effective learning management system (LMS). The functions of an LMS will vary depending on the specific goals of your organization, but they're most commonly used to deploy online training materials and then track employee progress. As a result, leaders are able to take a macro view of their workforce and fill gaps in knowledge that increase performance company-wide.

To make finding the right LMS easier, eLearning Industry ranks the top 20 training management software solutions by user experience scores. This list is a great starting point as you shop around for the best LMS for your organization. The right solution will go a long way toward increasing engagement and employee satisfaction, not to mention productivity. Still, every implementation is different, so you'll want to select an LMS with features that:

1. Bring your employees together

It's almost guaranteed that most of your employees use at least one form of social media. Now, LMS vendors are capitalizing on our propensity for interaction by including social features in their software. The majority of LMS solutions now have news feeds, chat capabilities, and learner content ratings, which keep employees more engaged with the company because they can more easily engage with each other.

2. Let them play games

Gamification is a proven way to drive employee engagement with learning software and surveys. By rewarding users with digital badges, trophies, and points when they complete tasks, you can motivate them to continue making progress and logging in on a regular basis. Even a simple progress bar improves engagement.

3. Enable workers to get away from their desks

Mobile LMS capabilities are increasingly popular, as they allow your employees to learn on their own devices where and when they like. Instead of completing training at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, they can do the same tasks on a long flight or in a cab. Some solutions even allow for content to be consumed offline, giving users unparalleled flexibility.

4. Assess concerns and knowledge gaps with data-driven insights

An LMS would be far less valuable without the metrics that it can provide. Beyond getting visibility into employee performance on an individual basis, you can view weekly logins and the length of time learners typically spend on particular set of information. Looking at the highest-performing teams in the company and dissecting their approach can help you determine how to bring the rest of your organization to that level.

Whether or not your organization is beset by low engagement numbers and retention rates, there is always progress to be made -- and such progress is no small thing. Gallup reports that engaged employees increase company profits by 22 percent, but there's more: With an engaged workforce, you'll enjoy more positive customer ratings, produce higher-quality products, and experience fewer safety incidents. And if that isn't enough to motivate key stakeholders, research also demonstrates that engagement increases earnings per share.

It won't happen overnight, but a carefully selected LMS will start improving employee engagement and pushing the needle toward a slew of benefits for your business.

Published on: Jul 26, 2018