Boosting Your HR with a Gamification Program
What is Gamification?
Gamification or in other words, the application of game mechanisms to other non-game areas, has spread to many domains in the past few years: social media, loyalty programs, and of course… HR! But since the word has become a staple of the business world, have you actually leveraged gamification in your organisation? We offer you a quick and practical guide to help you develop a compelling gamification program that will get your troops motivated!
So why should HR learn from Game Designers?
Here are four reasons HR should learn from game designers to improve their HR performance:
Gamification Creates Engaging Training Programs
You won’t debate the fact that fun makes learning more enjoyable. Employees will be more involved in their personal development if they have fun. And therefore, will assimilate information more efficiently, making your learning program more effective. Video games set up the player in situations where they have to seek information and explore on their own. This makes employees more autonomous and encourages them to take initiatives. Gamification will make learning more appealing for people who prefer to self-manage, while also attracting team players in cooperative settings.
Gamification Attracts Talent and Millennials
Organisations like KPMG or L’Oréal have implemented recruitment campaigns that leverage gamification to attract talent. Through this play-oriented recruitment style, organisations can capture talent that displays particular traits or capacities such as a certain curiosity, the ability to innovate or a team spirit. Millennials are especially receptive to gamification programs. Growing up alongside computers, games and social media, it’s all natural that they feel at ease with this style of recruitment process.
Gamification Increases Engagement and Retention
Generally, implementing gamification in your organisation is not a one-off exercise; it is a continuous process, a change of mindset that encourages new ideas and innovation. By making your employees feel more satisfied, gamification has the capacity to make people more productive, therefore gaining in efficiency and creativity. When employees develop new ideas to improve their business, they are more involved and in link with the growth objectives of their organisation. Employees feel useful and more compelled to stick to their employer, which in turn reduces turnover.
Gamification Creates Advocacy and a Positive Brand Perception
Beyond the obvious benefits of gamification to create engaging training courses, it’s really your employer branding that can benefit from this strategy. By using gamification, you can improve your employees’ perception of the brand they work for. In turn, you increase advocacy and help turn employees into real brand ambassadors of your organisation. How? Using a combination of challenges and social media, like McDonalds did with the launch of its online game “World of Good” in 2014.
How to design a HR gamification program?
Time to apply the theory and move to the practise! Now that you know the benefits of gamification in a business and HR context, why not implement it in your organisation?! Gamification relies on a number of principles that, if applied to work, can create a fun environment for your employees. Here are the fundamentals of gamification applied to HR to help you implement a successful gamification program:
#1. Know your employees
In order to design a compelling gamification program to boost your employee engagement, you first need to take into account the personality of your employees. What do they like? What motivates them? How do they like to work? For example, some people might prefer to work in teams, while other will be better off on there own. Knowing who is going to play is essential to build a program that is attractive for all.
#2. Plan your program goals
You will need to show the players (i.e. your employees) their goal. Let’s assume you intend to gamify a business application your organisation uses, such as your CRM system, to boost the motivation of your sales team. You will need to clearly display the goals they have to reach.
Goals need to be plural. To keep your people engaged, you need to set short and long term objectives to keep your employees constantly challenged. This involves creating a number of intermediary milestones they will have to complete. However, you will need to ensure that these goals are attainable and realistic to avoid discouraging them.
#3. Create a fun and pleasing experience
Now that you have established the goals of your gamification program, in line with your business objectives, you will need to define your game experience. What method are you going to use to make it fun? There are four major mechanics that can help you in this task:
Cooperation – Using both emotions and a sense of community, cooperation increases the sense of belonging people feel between each other. It increases efficacy and creativity and takes advantage of the mix competencies of the group to achieve a business goal.
Role play – organising your activities with role play situations actually enhances performance by increasing interaction. It is also a deep motivator in a learning situation and helps shape habits, increasing perseverance and productivity.
Competition – involving an element of performance in relation to others, competitions make your best performing employees more loyal. They encourage people to make the most out of them and go beyond their personal boundaries. Competitions are also fun and exciting!
Storytelling – Using the mechanics of stories and narratives help entertain, attract, convince and sell the objectives that are at stake for your business. It encourages exploration and personalisation.
#4. Create a system of variable rewards
Offering rewards to reinforce positive behaviours and actions is a given when we talk gamification. Changing the type of reward your offer and the time at which they are offered pushes people to keep progressing. This doesn’t mean you can attribute rewards completely randomly though. Depending on the objectives of your gamification program, you will want to adapt the type of reward you offer.
For example, let’s say your objective is to train your employees to a brand new internal system. As complete beginners, they will expect to see the evolution of their progress in their learning journey. Beginners should be able to receive rewards easily and immediately based on the advancements they make.
Once your employees have understood the basis of your game and its objectives, they will need to perfect their skills. This is when you can use virtual gauges to encourage people to do more in order to move the needle. Advanced program participants need to feel valued for their productivity and their involvement. Being able to visualise their performance in comparison to a benchmark will help people make further progress.
Finally, experts who have already mastered the game will need to be encouraged to exceed their past performance. Employees who are experts will be particularly receptive to rankings, competitions and performance rewards that will create a healthy competition within your organisation.
Thanks to this framework, you will be able to develop more engaging training programs for your organisation. Interested in learning more? Read about these three ways to use gamification for engagement.