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4 Ways to Use Gamification with Your Employees

Gamification, or the process of integrating games into a task to encourage participation is taking the business world by storm, with estimates suggesting more than half of organizations will be gamified by the end of the year. Wondering how it can work for your business?

4 Ways to Use Gamification with Your Employees

#1. Recruitment

The U.S. Army has long used games to train soldiers, but it has shifted gears to also include games in attracting recruits and promoting awareness of the armed forces. Gamification efforts began in 1999, with the first version being released in 2002. By 2008, the Army was using “Virtual Army Experience” units across the country for public events.

Businesses across a number of niches can use this strategy to show what it’s like to work for their company. These games can also be used to garner information about how well a prospective employee would work in the position. Those who do well in the job simulation game are likely to use the skills to do well in the real world.

Marriott developed a hotel-themed video game that required players to handle the responsibilities of a hotel kitchen manager. First, the game educates players on the industry, and then allows the player to earn virtual rewards, to enhance the image of the industry in the player’s eyes. Marriott wants to draw in more Millennials and has turned to gamification to draw them into careers in hospitality.

Gamifying your talent acquisition efforts provides incentives to prospects throughout various points – whenever the prospect completes a desired task – from the date of application to the hire’s start date. This can help attract more qualified candidates off the bat, and may also help your onboarding process move more efficiently, because the candidate is motivated to move through the game to earn the rewards.

Gamification can also help your current employees, by rewarding your top recruiters and provide incentives to the employees who refer the top candidates. Simply giving the employees a chance to win “Referrer of the Year” status will often motivate employees to become more active in recruiting talent, which may help take stress from your Human Resources (HR) department.

#2. Employee Training

Gamification can be used to enhance the employee training process, particularly in sales training. Learnification, or using games to learn, helped train 1,000 sales people on a new HVAC systems product from a world leading manufacturer. They used gamification to train their employees on the ins-and-outs of the new product. In the end, they achieved three times the employee engagement.

To effectively train employees, your game’s reward system translates to the real world. Giving employees a currency that translates to a real world reward can help increase participation and engagement, so the employees are more excited to train, and more serious about doing well.

Mandatory training on subjects like workplace harassment often bores employees, and while their participation may be required, many employees are not likely to be engaged in the training. This is especially the case when training on these kinds of subjects doesn’t directly translate to the employee’s job. When these activities have to be done within a certain amount of time, gamifying the experience to add incentives and rewards for participation and completion can motivate your employees to get the training done, and to get it done well.

#3. Boost Engagement

Employee engagement is critical to the success of your business. Companies lose $11 billion a year as a result of employee turnover, but engaged employees outperform competitors by up to 202%. Gamification can help with relationship building, show employee value, and encourage open communication with management.

Bluewolf, a consulting company, used gamification to build their internal #GoingSocial program. The program offered employees rewards and points for internal and external collaboration, reaching a Klout score of 50 or higher, and more. In the end, the company has a better social presence that in turn works to further potential customer engagement. The investment in the employees helped increase business overall.

Use gaming to reward employees for a variety of tasks, including: providing suggestions to improve products and services, providing suggestions to improve workflow and efficiency, working together with other departments, participating in company-wide volunteer programs, etc. When employees are rewarded for working together and bettering the company, or rewarded for providing their insight, they’re more likely to do a better job and stick around longer.

#4. Corporate Wellness Programs

Research shows that when gamification is implemented properly, it can be a powerful motivational technique. The United States spends more than 17% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on healthcare – among the highest expenses in the world. 75% of these expenses are going toward the treatment of chronic health conditions. As 154 million Americans will receive health insurance through their employers by 2016, businesses are becoming invested in keeping their employees healthy and reducing coverage costs.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the nation’s most prominent health insurance companies, launched an employee wellness initiative, Wellvolution, in 2009. Adding gamification with Shape Up Shield and Healthrageous, complete with social interaction, rewards for completing chances, etc. made results more promising. In the first four years of the program, 80% of company employees participating in one or more wellness programs, reduced employee smoking by half, and reduced high blood pressure prevalence by two-thirds.

Adding gamification to your corporate wellness program not only provides incentives to the employees for changing to a more healthy lifestyle, but allows them to work together as a team to do it. Though participation should never be mandatory, employees who choose to participate can help each other along, by providing encouragement and support to one another. Whether it’s through a friendly competition to see who can walk the most steps in a week, or through extra rewards for participating in a charity walk with the rest of the office, encouraging wellness boosts productivity while also cutting healthcare costs.

As more businesses turn to gamification, knowing how to make the most of it is key to success. Spending time to design the right kind of game and reward system for your objective is important, and can make all the difference in how well the game is received.

Images: “Gamification word on a blue background and Attract, Engage, Educate and Retain students, customers or your audience/Shutterstock.com

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Lucinda Watrous is a freelance writer and WordPress design guru. Though the bulk of her experience lies in online business, social media and general geekery, she's also a self-proclaimed foodie who enjoys health and wellness. http://lucindawatrous.com

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Comments
  • When I saw the title all I thought of was an assistant I had about 15 years ago trying to convince me that SIMS was helpful for her work 🙂 However, time has moved on since then and I can understand the points you’ve raised showing gamification as being useful in a business. Thanks for sharing them wth us.

  • Samantha Stauf

    Not sure about SIMS. But there are certainly video games, board games, and various other company made games that can be used to promote skills, encourage team work, and help co-workers form bonds. SIMS though…not sure what she thought she could learn from that…unless she wanted to pursue home design.




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