We are living in the world where new buzzwords are coming to light every day. Those weird combinations of technical language and marketing fluff are the indicators of upcoming trends from different branches. One that should attract your attention for more than a minute is definitely gamification.

What is gamification?

If you are not familiar with the word, let me give you a simple definition. Gamification is an idea to grab solutions and mechanisms known from games (especially strategy and role-playing games) and use them in the work environment. If tasks your employees are responsible for are monotonous, stressful, or require concentration, the best solution is to make them more fun!

What can you use it for?

Gamification, when used appropriately, can promote positive behavior among employees. It is all about encouraging people to act accordingly to their job descriptions and even beyond! For example, employees are rewarded for completing a task with a certain amount of points, which helps visualize their own development in specific skills Additionally, such behavior results in tangible benefits, related with a company’s motivational systems. For example, at Goyello, we reward our employees when they help each other by reviewing the materials or sharing the knowledge. The rewarded employee gains points for his/her positive attitude and a voucher for lunch or a cinema ticket (Kudos). Thanks to gamification employees are more willing to share their knowledge, help each other, bring their great ideas to the managers and basically act in line with the company’s values. And it is all done in a fun and engaging way.

By rewarding employees for accomplishing certain jobs or taking a certain attitude, their employer gains more motivated and happy staff. Adding the element of rivalry, a possibility to compare the results between “players”, the effect even increases.

Now, what exactly is in it for the employer? It appears that there are specific fields in the HR area which can be gamified and, as a result, have a positive influence on the work environment.

5 core areas that can be gamified are:

  1. Talent management
  2. Recruitment
  3. Onboarding
  4. Absences from work
  5. Performance measurement

1# Talent management

According to our research, HR managers crave to possess the knowledge about hidden talents their employees have. With that knowledge they can effectively build teams within their organizations. HR managers and team leaders seek for individuals that fit perfectly to the needs of specific ongoing projects. The process of finding an appropriate employee can be long and inefficient. To address that issue, companies can use gamification.

A gamification platform can provide useful information for HR managers and team leaders. Employees’ characteristics, presented in a visual form within the platform, can be divided into specific skills and achievements. Those can be gained and developed while getting certain things done. Each employee’s development is transparent, so the supervisor can easily find a person with specific skills and abilities that are currently .

Additionally, by engaging employees with gaining badges, achieving certain skills, competing on leaderboards, companies get result in staff which is highly motivated for possessing new knowledge, attending trainings and courses and seeking for new, creative solutions.

2# Recruitment

The recruitment process is one of the major tasks of every HR department. HR teams are constantly looking for solutions that will speed up the process and keep it efficient at the same time. There is an ongoing trend to involve regular employees in this task. In many organizations employees are rewarded for recommending other applicants. HR managers crave to gamify that process.

By giving it the context of a game, employers can increase their staff members’ motivation to recommend other people. It results in gaining valuable new employees from the manager’s perspective, and the feeling of agency from the employee’s perspective.

3# Onboarding

Another issue HR managers wish to gamify is the onboarding process. Big companies don’t want to lose too much time for preparing newbies to their jobs. They want them to be 100% efficient team members in the fastest way possible. But the time newcomers need to learn their duties might be too long and they may engage colleagues and supervisors too much. At the same time, allowing too little time for that process might be too risky, especially in customer service branches.

With gamification, the onboarding process can be more efficient and much quicker. Employees are more willing to help newbies learn their new tasks when they know they will be rewarded for such an attitude. From newcomers’ perspective, the process can be fun and engaging, if they can be praised for each chunk of new knowledge acquired.

4# Absences from work

Especially in customer service branches, the presence of the whole team is crucial in order to fulfill their KPIs. HR managers struggle to maintain a sufficient number of employees during shifts. That is why absences are one of the biggest issues.

Once again, this problem can be solved with gamification. If employees crave for a day-off (which is often the reason for unexpected absences), the company should give them the opportunity to gain it. By fulfilling the KPIs or being elastic in their availability, employees can be rewarded with extra holidays for their commitment. If we add the rivalry component here (offered by the gamification platform), the motivation to do the best you can increases.

5# Performance measurement

Of all the issues that are important for the company, employees’ performance plays the key role. HR managers build more or less structured systems in order to measure the performance of their teams and individuals. But the measurement is one side of the coin. The other is to engage staff to bring satisfying deliverables. That is why there is a need for attractive motivation and reward systems. Promotions, courses, benefit programs, extra holidays etc. These are all very important to encourage employees to stay in the organization. But how can we keep the motivation at the high level, especially if duties are the cause of stress or boredom?

By gamifying the work environment, HR managers can prove their employees that they really develop. Employees see very clearly that they gain new skills, which is very rewarding for them. Introducing gamification to the workplace lowers the stress level, because employees think about their tasks as if they were part of a game they crave to win. It also prevents boredom, because, as we already know, adults love to play games as much as they loved it when they were kids.

Results

The potential results of gamifying the work environment are very tempting for the organization. The benefits of gamification are connected with employees’ motivation. Not only to fulfill their KPIs, but also to truly develop themselves. HR managers who decided to gamify their companies notice increased knowledge sharing among the staff, more acts of proactivity, better control of the KPIs and better retention of the employees. In a wider perspective, gamification is a tool that supports companies in providing organizational change and maintaining it.

Researcher, psychologist and sociologist. Expert in usability research and identification of business needs. After work, he manufactures cosmetics for bearded fellows.