- Gamification is becoming increasingly integral to recruitment and selection processes, and is often used alongside traditional psychometric techniques to screen potential job candidates.
- Employees can benefit from gamification in terms of enhanced motivation and engagement at work if they have acquired the skills to participate.
- A recent survey revealed that 78% of job seekers would be more attracted to a company that used gamification within their recruitment strategies.
Being accused of playing games at work has generally been a negative accusation, but more and more workplaces are discovering that it can also be incredibly positive, if done right.
Gamification refers to the application of gaming elements in non-gaming contexts. In the workplace, gamification is often used to assess, train and positively modify employee behavior. When gamification is inadequately applied it can be nothing more than a short-term fix to long-term issues around demotivation at work. Conversely, successful design and implementation of gaming strategies at work can provide opportunities to boost morale and engender organizational change.
A New Approach to Recruitment, Selection and Training
Research shows gamification has been rapidly adopted in non-game settings such as workplaces, where it is frequently used in recruitment and selection processes. This often involves integrating traditional psychometric tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Big-Five personality traits test into gamification. The amalgamation of popular personality tests with gamification allows a recruiter to evaluate candidates by comparing personality test results with feedback from gamified activities such as tests, puzzles, quizzes and simulation tasks. Gamification enables employers to select candidates from more diverse backgrounds (including different skill levels, personality types and experience).
This could be why, in a recent survey, 78% of respondents stated that they would be more attracted to a company that used gamification in their recruitment practices. Companies that have successfully incorporated gamification into their recruitment campaigns include Google (they used a software-writing competition to discover new talent) and the Marriott Hotel (they request candidates to “run” a virtual hotel via their Facebook page).
Gamification can be used to assess different personality types within the recruitment process. With the MBTI test as a framework, gamification can highlight differences between extroverts and introverts. It is more likely, for instance, that extroverted candidates will respond positively to certain gamification elements such as multiplayer competitions, whilst introverts might perform better on single-player games with clearly-defined rules. An intuitive candidate who prefers having options and enjoys being creative might enjoy longer, more stimulating gaming sessions. A perceptive candidate who values freedom and spontaneity could also perform better when provided with a few simple rules, no restrictions and even some elements of surprise.
Gamification is also used for onboarding new recruits and developing the talents of existing staff. Gamified training programs can improve knowledge retention, skills acquisition, and even application in real-world scenarios. Employers now recognize the power of gamification to foster creativity and innovation among employees — empowering them to progress or realize previously untapped potential. Gamification can also be adopted as a communication tool for providing employees with immediate and meaningful feedback, enabling them to track their progress (useful for career development).
Boosting Morale and Changing Behavior in Organizations
Two years ago, Allwork.Space highlighted how one game-centric talent development platform used gamification to build more inclusive, higher-performing teams. Since then, many more organizations have adopted gamification, with some recognizing its potential to transform organizational culture. Employees are more likely to benefit from gamification if they have already acquired the skills to participate and feel comfortable doing so. It is the responsibility of employers to ensure that employees are adequately familiar with the process of gamification (prior to its introduction) and that they find the process relevant and purposeful.
Meaningful gamification can generate increased organizational integration, boost motivation and improve communications. Effective gamification can also fulfill several cognitive and emotional employee needs, such as greater autonomy over their work and enhanced relationships in the workplace.
A global IT service desk recently used gamification to enhance the performance of demotivated consultants. The company adopted the Infosys Enterprise Gamification Platform (IEGP), which taps into the desire for competition, achievement, status and collaboration. The results were positive; there were new-found efficiencies, and resolution rates (this company’s main performance measure) increased by 6%. According to Infosys, businesses can also use gamification to attract desired customers towards their brands — especially when gamification taps into an innate human need for competition and immediate rewards.
There is a psychological dimension to the concept of gamification. Organizational psychologists often discover that it can be a powerful tool for enhancing employee experiences, improving performance, and driving positive organizational outcomes. By utilizing game design principles, organizational psychologists can create engaging and effective interventions that align with individuals’ motivations and encourage desired behaviors.
The psychology behind gamification is built upon self-determination principles (striving for competency/mastery, the desire for autonomy, and the need for social connectivity). Our need for self-determination is the main reason why gamification can boost morale and motivate employees.
Motivation can be intrinsic (employees engage in an activity because they find it stimulating and challenging) or extrinsic (people are motivated by tangible rewards). The employee experience is core to the success of gamification at work; therefore, organizational psychologists distinguish between the significance of intrinsic motivation and the importance of extrinsic rewards for motivating employees.
8 Key Benefits of Gamification
The application of game design principles and mechanics in the workplace offers several benefits. Here are some of the advantages of gamification:
- Increased Engagement: Gamification makes tasks more enjoyable and engaging, encouraging employees to become active participants. By incorporating game elements such as points, levels of progression, and rewards, gamification can tap into employees’ intrinsic motivation and foster a sense of progress and accomplishment.
- Improved Training and Development: Gamification can enhance training outcomes by creating immersive and interactive environments. It encourages problem-solving, and exploration, leading to enhanced understanding and retention of information.
- Behavior Modification: Gamification can influence and shape behaviors. Through the provision of immediate feedback and rewards, it encourages employees to adopt desired behaviors or change existing ones.
- Enhanced Productivity and Motivation: Applying gamification can boost productivity and employee motivation. By introducing leaderboards, progress charts, and friendly competition, it creates a sense of purpose, recognition, and collaboration in the workplace. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and overall performance.
- Skill Development: Gamification can facilitate skill acquisition and development. Through simulated scenarios, challenges, and progression systems, it provides a safe and engaging platform for individuals to practice and refine their skills.
- Data Collection and Analysis: Gamification enables employers and/or organizational psychologists to obtain, and subsequently analyze, employee data. By tracking gamification interactions, achievements, and progress, organizations can gather valuable insight into employee behavior.
- Customer Engagement and Loyalty: By incorporating gaming into marketing campaigns, loyalty programs, or customer service interactions, businesses can create memorable experiences and foster brand loyalty.
- Community Building: Gamification can facilitate the formation of communities and foster a sense of belonging at work. It provides opportunities for employees to connect, compete, and collaborate with others.
The effectiveness of gamification depends on thoughtful design, appropriate implementation, and close alignment with a company’s ethos and values. When gamification is inadequately developed or there isn’t sufficient follow-through it often fails to be a successful tool for behavioral change. The novelty of gamification can also diminish if it is not perceived as a long-term strategy for organizational change or does not align with the company’s ethos and values. However, when implemented effectively, gamification strategies can have a profound impact on change management initiatives.