It’s hard to say when the concept of gamification emerged. Some people say that gamification took its roots in the 20th century when the Boy Scouts movement was founded. Boy scouts had a badge system to appraise its members for specific achievements and skills.
However, we know for sure when the “gamification” term emerged. In 2002, Nick Pelling, a British programmer, and creator of the computer game Frak!, coined this term designing a game-like interface for ATMs and vending machines.
Since then, gamification has been blazing a trail in web-related fields and beyond. Marketers use gamification to drive engagement, incentivize users, prolong user lifetime value, and more. In the HR field, gamification can be spotted at all levels in some way: from recruitment and onboarding to employee engagement and training.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at advantages of gamification in HR and its use cases. Read on!
Mass recruitment at large corporations can become a real challenge. While automation software helps with routine tasks, the creative part like screening the candidates and leading the critical talents through the recruitment funnel falls on the recruiter’s shoulders.
That’s when gamification comes into play.
Common examples of gamification in recruitment include:
Games. Games help improve candidate sourcing, attract quality talents, and screen applicants. A good example is Domino’s Pizza that launched the Pizza Mogul game in 2015. In this game, participants created their pizza recipes and earned money for every order of their pizza recipes. As a result, Domino’s Pizza managed to engage with their audience, boost their employer brand, and show potential hires their creative side. The company even hired participants whose pizzas were ordered the most.
Online and offline quizzes, trivia. These seemingly fun and casual formats help HR test candidates’ behavior in work-related conditions and bring in more talents that want to compete.
Hackathons. Different types of hackathons – virtual, internal, or interactive – reduce the interview cycle and select the suitable candidates offhand. Hackathons are widespread in the IT-sphere.
Points system. In this article, we’ll talk about points multiple times. As for recruitment, collecting points is used in increasing the number of referral candidates from their colleagues. Betterworks, for example, introduced a point referral system. In this program, employees get points for each referred candidate that goes past the screening phase. At the end of the year, employees can spend their accumulated points on prizes.
2. Employee onboarding
According to the Glassdoor research, a strong onboarding process improves retention rates by 82% and productivity rates by 70%. Companies with weak onboarding are likely to lose new hires within the first year due to a lack of engagement and socializing with company culture.
Key elements of successful onboarding include mentorship and coaching to help new hires assimilate with peers, immersion in the workplace culture, and on-demand learning. To create a seamless onboarding experience and make these elements work, HR managers use gamification techniques.
Points and rewards systems. Just like in a real game, points, badges, and rewards motivate employees to level up. Pro tip: keep your challenges moderate and beginner-friendly to reduce the pressure on new hires and boost their confidence with easy wins.
Games help HR make training more meaningful and fun. For example, Deloitte launched the “Chosen Analyst” game for new coming analysts. In this game, players would save the world from zombies by passing game levels and learning skills like MS Excel at their own pace. Deloitte marks the game’s success that helped HR save costs on employee onboarding and reduce time-out-of-market for new analysts.
3. Employee training
A recent survey by TalentLMS revealed that 83% of employees that train with gamification feel motivated. Interestingly that 43% of respondents haven’t even noticed any gamified elements in training.
Real-life work scenarios. A bright example of life-related gamification in place is McDonald’s. The company created a VR-immersive replica of their restaurants to train managers to control the customer flow and maintain the correct number of employees in the right places. As a result, the initiative saved McDonald’s £1,5 million on training costs of more than 50.000 employees.
Microlearning-based games. Microlearning concentrates on short training formats like quizzes, trivia, quests, educational videos, etc. Such a format doesn’t take much of employee’s time and allows them to apply learned skills faster.
At Walmart, employees play a computer game that tests their knowledge of the company’s safety policies. The game instantly provides feedback on wrong answers and will include the failed questions next time, so an associate gets a chance to retrain. After implementing this training opportunity, Walmart observed that 96% of employees implement the gained knowledge in their daily work.
Leaderboards. Good old leaderboards still work if used wisely. For instance, Deloitte used the leaderboard system with badges to encourage their leadership management to start and complete internal training courses. Participants even called this system “addictive.” As a result, the company managed to reduce the average certification time by 50%.
4. Employee engagement
Software developers and marketers use gamification elements to boost user and customer engagement. HR managers do that, too, with employee engagement.
Typical gamified employee engagement techniques include:
- Games, challenges, quizzes, spin-to-wins, and scratch cards
- Points system that allows employees to exchange points for gifts and charity or transfer to fellow employees
- Collaborative tasks to boost networking and socializing.
At Target, management noticed that cashiers rarely get feedback from their line managers. The retailer launched an on-spot game for cashiers who received instant feedback while checking out the items. This game-like experience allowed Target to evaluate the performance and customer-oriented mindset of their employees.
5. Compliance with company’s policy
Keeping employees up to date with the company’s rules and policies sounds boring? Then gamify this process to engage employees in training and make them comply with the company’s regulations.
Google employees would forget to submit their expenses after business trips. To fix this issue, the company implemented a gamification element. It allowed employees to add the remainder of their daily allowance to their paycheck, spend it on charity, or transfer it to the next business trip. This incentive helped Google reach the striking 100% of compliance with travel policy!
6. Personal and team productivity
To make pursuit for personal and team productivity healthy and encouraging, consider gamification techniques.
Amazon launched a game at their fulfillment warehouses that allowed employees to control their workload individually or with the team. The game leaders received virtual currency that could be exchanged for branded apparel and merch. This initiative is still on, and it’s voluntary to join; therefore, Amazon doesn’t push their employees too hard towards achievements.
Salesforce is another example of employee productivity gamification. They launched the “Big Game Hunter” program to increase the adoption of the CRMs in place. The CRM managers received badges and level-ups once they used extra features of the CRM software. This program helped Salesforce boost engagement with their proprietary CRM and improve compliance efficiency all over.
Gamification in a workplace isn’t purely about games and entertainment. This approach helps HR solve several core tasks, like:
- Promoting a culture of continuous learning
- Integrating learning and development initiatives seamlessly
- Successful onboarding
- Socializing new hires and integrating them into the company’s environment
- Improving recruitment processes
- Getting a positive buzz in a talent market.
Common gamification techniques in HR include leaderboards, reward systems, online games, challenges, quizzes, and hackathons. HR managers modify these techniques depending on the context and purpose. We hope this article was helpful and inspired you to spice up your HR processes.
Meanwhile, you can check out our recent vlog about gamification in HR and subscribe to our newsletter for more valuable reads on HR tech!