What is gamification?

Gamification is the integration of games or game-like elements into business processes to boost employee participation and engagement. Gamification applies the same principles which attract people to recreational games such as football,  chess, or Minecraft to the workplace. Gamification in HR is often used to:

  • Boost collaboration 
  • Streamline the onboarding process
  • Promote innovation 
  • Elevate employee performance 
  • Increase the effectiveness of training and development programs
  • Improve recruitment practices

Gamification methods can be conspicuous, such as a reward or point system, leaderboards, badges, or pay raises. Or, it can be subtle, such as incorporating a captivating narrative into an onboarding program or a compliance workshop.

Why should HR leaders care about gamification?

Gamification aims to leverage human nature and spur employees to participate in workplace learning and tasks. Ultimately, it can elevate business processes and prompt employees to work with more verve– leading to increased productivity, engagement, and retention. 

What can HR leaders do to implement gamification?

These four practices can help HR integrate an effective gamification system:

  • Design a strategy. Start by pinpointing the purpose of the gamification. HR leaders can ask: Who are our target players? What types of behavior are we aiming to motivate in them? How can gamification stimulate their personal growth? Which HR processes should involve gamification? An effective strategy should continuously ignite employees to improve their performance and maintain learning and development over the long run.  
  • Aim to have many winners. Gamification should nurture, not erode engagement. Thus the goals of each game should be challenging yet realistically doable for ordinary employees. HR professionals can even invite employees from their targeted pool to share their feedback and perspective to ensure the gamification methods will genuinely spur motivation.  
  • Choose goals wisely. Karl Kapp points out that games differ from regular play because they include goals. He explains: “The simple introduction of a goal adds purpose, focus, and measurable outcomes.” Kapp also suggests that gamification should integrate micro-objectives that culminate in a long-term goal to encourage employees to build up their skills and knowledge level gradually. Moreover, incorporating job-specific milestones helps leaders determine the effectiveness of the goals and the gamification system overall.
  • Periodically evaluate. HR professionals should frequently assess the gamification methods to ensure that they align with business objectives. Periodic check-ins enable HR to keep a finger on the pulse of the gamification program so it can continuously motivate the targeted employees. 

How can gamification improve company culture?

Gamification can make uninteresting tasks at work more fun and infuse them with vitality. It’s a creative, unexpected way to boost employee engagement, promote learning at work, and ultimately nurture a more lively and enjoyable culture.

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