Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Gamification: Is It for Your Organization?

Gamification is a growing hot trend in HR, and in business in general. The use of game mechanics to engage people in solving problems and to encourage enthusiasm has been gradually gaining popularity in business.  It is estimated that by 2016, over 70% of Forbes’ Global 2000 companies will have some form of gamification in their business.
Marriott International has been a forerunner in using gamification as a means to recruit future employees. In 2011 they released a Facebook game called “My Marriott Hotel,” which allows gamers to manage a “virtual” hotel starting from the hotel restaurant kitchen and then expanding to other areas of the hotel. The game can be played in five different languages.  David Rodriguez, Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources of Marriott International,  states, “As Marriott expands in growth markets outside the U.S., and as we seek to attract more Millennials – those between the ages 18 and 27 – to our workforce, we must find new ways to interest them in hospitality careers…This game allows us to showcase the world of opportunities and the growth potential attainable in hospitality careers, especially in cultures where the service industry might be less established or prestigious.”  The game is located on Marriott’s jobs and careers page on Facebook and has surpassed 100,000 page views with active users from the U.S., Egypt, and India.

Besides attracting potential employees, gamification also can be used to engage clients. For instance, Global Corporate Challenge, a company that holds some of the world’s biggest corporations as clients, runs purely on gamification. The business creates a health initiative for organizations, to encourage employees to improve their health through virtual tracking of their health activities and providing challenges.  In the same vein of thought, Nike created a “tag” running app for its Nike+ campaign. Anyone using this app is put in a virtual game of tag where they must keep running to avoid being “it.” In addition, Deloitte Leadership Academy partnered with Badgeville to add gaming to its leadership development programs. Senior executives participate in learning programs online and are given rewards and badges that can be shared on LinkedIn and Twitter. Although these are nice examples, many organization wonder how they too can use gamification to their advantage.

Steve Sims, Vice President of Badgeville, wrote an article for the Human Resource section of About.com that listed 5 Ways Gamification can Improve HR Management. Perhaps this listing can help you to create some form of gamification for use in your organization:    
  • Improve Talent Acquisition and Management
“Providing incentives can not only help attract qualified candidates from the start, but can also dramatically increase onboarding efficiency, as candidates are motivated to complete various steps to earn rewards. At the same time, much like a sales function, HR teams can also use gamification internally to reward top recruiters and incentivize employees to refer top candidates.”
  • Cultivate Corporate Culture and Retain Valued Employees
“You can use gamification to promote a positive corporate culture by rewarding employees for cross-departmental collaboration, providing process or product improvement suggestions, or even participating in company-wide volunteer programs, for example. You can use a gamified platform to track these activities and opportunities, as well as showcase employee participation to their coworkers to provide intrinsic motivation.” 
  • Motivate Employees to Learn and Participate in Training
“Adding a gamification experience to the online learning program can spur action. Employees, who earn rewards and recognition for having completed these tasks, or missions in the gamification lexicon, are far more likely to make it a priority. And HR benefits from the ability to check those boxes for compliance in a timely fashion, without the pressure of having to hound employees to complete the programs.”
  • Incentivize Paperwork and Other Administrative Requirements
“…paperwork is unavoidable in areas such as completion of benefits enrollment forms and expense reports. So why not make it fun? Similar to training applications, rewarding employees with either peer or management recognition — or even tangible incentives — for completing required forms can create a friendly competition where employees try to out-do one another for the title of best expense reporter or quickest to complete benefits update forms.”
  • Map the Path to Career Success
“You can even design such programs to allow team members to recognize one another for contributions made toward a common goal. And, again, all of this data is trackable, creating a valuable historic record to capture employee and organizational knowledge. By consulting the platform, it’s easy to identify employees who have achieved certification in specific skills, worked with clients in a specific industry or make other connections throughout the data. All of this combines to create a more efficient, collaborative, productive and upwardly motivated workforce.
Does gamification seem like a feasible trend for your organization to incorporate into its HR programs?  With so many organizations taking careful consideration of this idea, why not create some internal uses for gamification in your organization?  We’d love to hear your thoughts and current progress in the area of gamification – please send us a note!

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