2015 will be the year gamification inside the workplace migrates from a few isolated pilots to a new way to engage and recognize high performing employees. Gamification takes the essence of games — attributes such as fun, play, transparency, design, competition and yes, addiction— and applies these to a range of real-world processes inside a company from recruiting to learning & development.Gaming concepts have begun working their way into key HR processes in two ways: as a serious game such as the example below from PwC in recruiting new job candidates to cloud based gamification engines offered by Badgeville, BunchBall and Axonify. Both forms of gamification are moving into the enterprise as companies look for new ways to attract, engage, incentivize and retain employees.
Gallup’s latest research shows why companies are increasing their interest in gamification. The Gallup study finds 31% of employees are engaged at work (51% are disengaged and 17.5% actively disengaged). But what is most interesting is how this data compares when you apply a generational segmentation. It turns out Millennials are the least engaged generation, according to Gallup, with only 28.9% engaged as compared to 32.9% for Gen X & Boomers. What’s going on here? Gallup findings segmented by generation point to low engagement among Millennials who say they do not have the opportunity to show their best work or have a vehicle to contribute their ideas and suggestions. Using gamification to address this can impact not only engagement levels but also help a company become a magnet for best of breed talent. After all, Millennials will reportedly make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025!
To address this employee engagement crisis, the human resource departments of Fortune 500 companies are launching gamification pilots. In fact, Brian Burke Vice President of Gartner estimates “employee focused gamification applications now exceed customer focused gamification applications.”
So how can various processes in human resources or technical support be “gamified” to provide an opportunity for employees across the generations to increase their levels of engagement, collaboration and recognition in the workplace?
Here are three examples for you to consider in using gamification as you re-imagine the future of the workplace and workforce for your company:
RECRUTMENT: PwC uses gamification to simulate what it’s like to work at the firm
In the past two years, PwC Hungary set a goal: to more fully engage its pool of job candidates during the search process. Traditionally, these job candidates were spending fewer than 15 minutes on their career website and the firm was interested in creating a more professional job candidate. The upshot of this was the development and launch of a game called Multipoly, which allows PwC job candidates to virtually test their readiness for working at the firm by working in teams to solve real world business problems. Multipoly (think Monopoly for the financially savvy) presents users with tasks based on the PwC competencies the firm is developing for current employees, such as building business acumen, increasing one’s digital skills and embracing relational skills. Noémi Biró, PwC Hungary’s regional recruitment manager, noticed candidates who have played the Multipoly game were better prepared for the “live” face-to-face interviews, as the game “pre-educated [them] about PwC and its vision, services and skills needed for success.” Biró says new hires with Multipoly experience also find on-boarding at PwC easier, as they have already experienced company culture through the game.”
Now compare the experience of playing Multipoly with visiting PwC career page. A job candidate might spend 5-10 minutes on a career page versus spending up to one and half hours playing Multipoly prior to the job interview!
Since PwC launched Multipoly, the firm has reported 190% growth in job candidates with 78% of users reporting they are interested to learn more about working at PwC.
EMPLOYEE LEARNING: WALMART uses short bursts of gaming to reinforce safety training.
Walmart began using gamification two years ago to deliver safety training for 5,000 associates in eight Walmart distribution centers. Gamifying safety training addressed a significant business issue: ensuring a widely dispersed workforce was adhering to safety procedures on the job. The Walmart gaming platform was delivered was in just three-minute gamified applications, which are embedded into an associate’s workflow. Gamificaiton of safety training offers another important benefit: it is competitive and yes, addictive for associates, and before you know it, associates are talking not only about their rankings in the game but the importance of adhering to safety protocols. It’s this “emotional aspect” of gamification that has the deepest benefits to alter employee behavior. Results to date are impressive: a 54% decrease in incidents among the eight Walmart distribution centers using gamification.
INTERNAL COLLABORATION: Qualcomm uses gamification to increase collaboration among employees
Qualcomm is modeling gamification techniques employed on sites such as stackoverflow.com to its internal Q&A process where employees ask and answer technical questions and the best answers are voted up and rise to the top. In this form of gamification, Qualcomm employees receive points for their level of activity and engagement and then badges for doing unique things above and beyond, like answering a question that’s remained unanswered for 30 days. Employees who do this receive an “Archeologist” badge and recognition on the site! Plus the badge will show up on the employee’s profile rewarding and recognizing their willingness to share their knowledge.
These examples point to three lessons in using gamification to drive increased engagement inside companies:
1) Think strategy first: Identify and articulate specific business objectives you are trying to achieve with gamification. In the case of PwC Hungry, it was engaging job candidates in learning more about the firm before they entered the interview process.
2) Understand what motivates your employees: gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology. Qualcomm technical employees really wanted to answer colleagues’ questions so understanding their intrinsic motivations led to the company fulfilling its business goals.
3) Engage employees at the “emotional level”: More than points, badges and leaderboards, gamification engages at a core emotional level. Walmart associates who played the safety game not became competitive about amassing points and badges but started talking about the importance of safety protocols during their work day!
Are you and members of your team ready experimenting with gamification inside your company? What have been your results? Readers sound off in the comments section and I will respond. And hope to see some of our readers at Future of Learning and Working, register for my boot camp, here.
Jeanne Meister is a Partner at Future Workplace and co-author of the book The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today. Follow Jeanne on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn ,or sign up to receive the latest Future Workplace newsletter here
This article was written by Jeanne Meister from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.