Gamification is the use of game-like thinking to non-game environment such as business and its processes. Games were introduced to us while we were toddlers and they were used to instil ‘values’ within us. For instance; Monopoly, Football, Chess, and Uno fundamentally taught us basic concepts of life in a fun way and didn’t impose heavy lectures on us. All the games we played in childhood have two things in common: Firstly, they bank upon our competitive tendencies from the evolutionary era and add a little incentive to help us feel good upon achieving an objective. This whole concept is also similar to schooling systems which use interactive learning methods. Inter-weaving Gamification with HR is a new management theory decoded here which shall be extensively visible in the years to come.
“Anyone too busy to say thank you will get fewer and fewer chances to say it” - Harvey Mackay.
Sticks vs Carrots: The scientific narrative regarding use of Gamification in HR.
Speaking in terms of neuroscience, the neurotransmitter called ‘dopamine’ which is responsible for feeling energized is triggered when we are rewarded. This is as habit-forming as alcohol and nicotine and perhaps you can use it to get your employees addicted to performing better! Gamifying applies the same principle to get things done enthusiastically through self-motivation instead of compelling them. Thus, the HR can use this strategy to help employees feel good by adding an element of surprise in regular work and incentivize the good traits in employees. Thus replacing the old ‘reward and punish’ system is a great move when the individuals are getting flexible with their career choices while the freelancer and gig economy is booming. We can harness Gamification principles in various industry verticals for which we shall refer the study from Hense, Mandl, and Klevers which states that people get motivated differently such as autonomy, recognition, incentives, etc and it can’t be guaranteed that any two individuals can be motivated in the same way irrespective of the similarities in their work profiles. When setting such ‘goals’, one shall be specific about being able to measure them on a continuous basis and keep the ultimate result sought in mind. Failing to set measurable goals may not reap the intended results so being specific is always better.
Use of Gamification in HR Software:
An HR and payroll software can serve as the basis of data collection which can be used to gamify processes. It is because an HR Software provides the customarily required inputs to measure productivity and employee engagement in the form of KRAs and KPIs. The data provided is also In order to leverage from this data, Social Network Analysis can be applied to further integrate Gamification and HR Software. The use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning also helps deliver better employee experience while boosting the analytics. Some of the illustrations of using Gamification are discussed below:
Staff Punctuality: If you’re willing to organize a game where employees reach office on time to play a treasure-hunt, the attendance module can confirm eligibility for participation.
Employee Opinion: The ESS Portal can be used to run polls for getting work culture inputs without bothering them in return of vouchers.
Department Specific Applications:
Sales: You can identify the star performers of the sales department to deliver a keynote address based on performance management report for peer recognition.
Recruitment: Assigning points to stages or mock recruitment drives can make your HR confident about the ideal person for the profile.
Learning and Development: It can be done through Role Playing Games based on the profile requirements.
These methods can elevate the level of employee engagement which is backed by the fact that 71% of Millennials state that an organization’s view of technology will influence whether they want to work there along with 66% of Gen X and 53% of baby boomers affirming the same (CompTIA) which translates to better employee retention. Thus vendors such as Influitive and Badgeville are providing businesses with such solutions. Some of the key benefits of Gamification and HR Software duo are as given below:
- Greater Enthusiasm
- Better Talent Recognition and Nurturing
- Innovation and Higher Engagement
- Better Work Culture
- Self-Motivation and Commitment
- Stress-free and Healthy Environment
- Lower Employee Turnover
Here are some Success Stories from the top Guns:
- Oracle, harnessed Gamification in their health sciences division to deal with slow data entry rates (Bloomberg)
- Lawley Insurance invested heavily in a CRM but faced challenges in motivating employees to work with it. Subsequently, it used LevelEleven programme to set performance levels enabling employees to track down their progress and earn rewards for the data entry tasks and recorded a significant rise in employee activity on the same CRM (Entrepreneur).
- PwC launched Multipoly in Hungary to gamify Recruitment as it set up a virtual recruitment drive with virtual applications, interviews, and internship along with iPads and MacBooks and career-building opportunities which resulted in candidates in the pool being increased by 190% (Forbes).
- Deloitte used gamification in health sciences division to set a Leadership Academy that uses missions, badges, and leaderboards to motivate employees in gaining skill-set relevant to the company (HBR).
When implemented in an efficient manner, the following are some salient benefits include raising employee motivation to perform better consistent basis, reduce the employee turnover through smoother engagement, and also portray stronger employer brand. All of them contribute to healthy environment where employee participation is valued by the employer in a constructive manner. The main objective shall be identifying the correct opportunity to appreciate an employee’s contribution. One thing to be kept in mind is to save yourself away from over exploitation of the gamification principles as it may take away the charm from the very essence of fun and informal ways of motivation through element of surprise.
My Two Cents:
Of course, Gamification is a great strategy to drive employee engagement but be specific about the results you want and know what suits your employees better. Opting for a Stand-alone Gamification Software may be debatable but integrating it with your HR Software is worth every penny invested. Many vendors are enthusiastic for providing HR solutions with in-built Gamification capabilities in the Indian subcontinent. In case you are considering to migrate to a cloud-based HR Software or change the existing one, have a word on Gamification compatibilities, future prospects and consult your staff about the areas of their job profiles to develop concrete and well-segmented SMART goals to get better results.