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Gamification: A gamechanger for businesses?

Lisa Brennan and Sarah Byrom, HR consultants for Construct

Since the 1950’s, games, and their ability to captivate the attention and imagination of players across the globe, have grown exponentially, with billions taking part in the popular pastime each year.

But when it comes to utilising games outside of recreation, gamification has become an increasingly popular tool within business with the ability to, generate engaging and informative materials through the addition of game mechanics into traditionally non-game environments.

Across multiple sectors, the application of gamification could help overcome barriers to learning and working, generating an engaging and interactive experience that teams can use and re-live again and again.

By implementing game mechanics into training tools and recruitment materials, businesses can develop compelling games with clear-cut objectives and goals for their employees, providing immediate feedback to inform development.

Although many have been put off by the high costs associated with traditional gamification, new, browser-based tools are becoming increasingly available to businesses, giving employers the power to create their own high-quality games in just a few hours.

With frequent changes to regulation in a number of sectors, particularly the professional services industries, compliance training can often take up considerable time for both those delivering the training and those attending. By transforming what is typically delivered as a presentation into an interactive online game, not only improves engagement with the material, but can also increase employee retention.

Games that take traditional training and diversify the delivery to include avatars and experience points can provide businesses with a global portal to identify the distribution of skills not only for each employee, but for the workforce as a whole.

By playing games based around a range of training topics, individuals can develop their avatar’s skill set, reflecting their real-life skills as they progress through subject materials.

“When we think about the essentials that firms have to cover during training, it’s usually topics such as compliance and health and safety that fall to the wayside,” says Lisa.

“Employees often see these compulsory modules as a means to an end, although important, the delivery can be quite dry, and they’re often seen as a checkbox exercise crammed into already busy schedules.

“By livening up how we go about teaching these topics through gamification techniques and platforms, it would help motivate employees to take part.”

According to Sarah, the use of gamification could even work to free up schedules, allowing employees to take control over their own development.

“Most employees don’t have the time to do some of these training courses, which leads to some elements being neglected and, in turn, a lack of attention towards topics that are incredibly important.

“If they can undertake these fun training sessions at their own pace and at a time that suits them, then it’s no longer a chore or something teams worry about, but rather an opportunity for workers to take control of their own career and development.”

When it comes to new talent, ensuring adequate numbers of graduates are entering the world of work to replace an ageing workforce is a challenge many firms face. The question of how companies can engage and attract the next generation of workers could find its solution within simulation-style games, showcasing the exciting possibilities of a number of careers, highlighting many paths that many may not consider.

Lisa believes gamification can aid the recruitment process.

“In HR we see quite a large turnover of staff and an increasingly ageing workforce within the insurance profession. If we want to attract fresh talent to our industries here in the UK, we’ll need to change the way we approach recruitment, especially where graduates are concerned.

“By applying gamification tools, we can showcase careers for what they really are, highlighting the exciting challenges workers might come up against and amplifying the message that lots of sectors are undergoing rapid digitalisation, something that ultimately might appeal to Gen Zs.”

According to Sarah, gamification can have other benefits for recruitment, including the personalisation of roles and career development.

“When we look at recruitment from our perspective in HR, we see a lot of people applying for roles, but it can be a lot more difficult to see potential talent and how an individual might fit into the workplace culture.

“Using gamification to highlight those that are well-suited early in the recruitment process can be incredibly beneficial for employers to not only spot potential for their teams, but to ensure employee retention later down the line.

“Not everyone may be suited to leadership opportunities, when it comes to career development a one-size fits all approach doesn’t benefit everyone involved.

“Through the use of games, we can work to find out where an individual’s strengths lie and put them on a more personalised path. It’s really this attention to detail that ensures that employees feel valued.”

Company lifecycles
There are a variety of processes team members may take part in during their time at a firm, such as joining a new team, receiving a promotion, working overseas, taking maternity leave, or even heading into retirement.

For many, a lack of knowledge as to how to go about this means that many may not ask the question or speak to their manager about it, which may lead to missed opportunities.

When it comes to lifecycle training, Sarah believes occasion-based games could be the way forward.

“In HR, we see a lot of instances where someone might want to take time off work, or explore moving into a different role, but they don’t know where to start or who to speak to.

Gamification could help solve this issue by simply providing employees with a tool to provide them with information and resources.

“An online platform game that can run employees through these various lifecycle processes and teach them about the protocols involved at every step would be hugely beneficial to companies across a range of sectors.

“When you’re managing hundreds of employees it can be hard to see those that are struggling if they don’t speak up, so having fun, informal ways for individuals to get the information they need doesn’t only help those looking to find answers, but also those coordinating large teams.”

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