Human Resources (HR) has transformed in recent years. There’s been a significant shift towards improving the employee experience, and it’s not gone unnoticed. HR professionals aren’t strangers to tedious tasks. Whether it’s routine administrative work or onboarding, monotonous tasks lead to reduced engagement and motivation.
Organizations are striving to create motivating workplaces. One approach that’s gaining traction is HR gamification. With gamification, these become much more interesting and–dare I say it–exciting. In this article, we’ll explore this concept and its principles, giving real-world examples of it in practice.
Understanding HR Gamification
HR gamification means applying elements of gaming to HR activities. This means incorporating challenges, competition, and rewards. It’s about making HR processes more enjoyable and motivating than traditional and mundane HR approaches.
These traditional HR methods are often one-dimensional and linear. Employees tend to receive information and then complete tasks. Of course, all HR tasks are necessary. But how they are done can be made much more pleasant. With gamification, processes become more interactive and multidimensional. When activities switch from being passive to active, motivation increases. And when we’re more motivated, we learn more and retain more.
The Psychology of Gamification
There are several key principles at play, which make gamification a success. These include:
- Intrinsic motivation: Games make you intrinsically motivated because they are inherently enjoyable. When tasks are satisfying and fun, employees are more likely to find them motivating.
- Achievement: With gamification, there is a structure. Employees are more driven because they have challenges rather than tasks to complete.
- Social interaction: HR gamification encourages collaboration and social interaction. This creates a sense of belonging and community.
- Feedback Loops: Gamification means employing continuous feedback loops, which guide future decision-making.
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Identifying and Addressing Tedious HR Tasks
There’s no denying that many employees view HR tasks as tedious. These necessary but often repetitive activities are time-consuming and de-motivating at times. Examples of such tasks include:
- Employee onboarding paperwork
- Data entry and record-keeping
- Leave management
- Performance reviews and appraisals
- Compliance and regulatory reporting
To address the tedium that these tasks often bring, organizations are turning to artificial intelligence in workplace settings. This is happening more and more, even in recruitment. Though AI is still in its infancy, it already has the potential to improve HR systems. AI can be harnessed for data entry, managing leave requests, and evaluating employee performance for appraisals. When HR managers are freed of tedious tasks, they’re able to focus more on strategic initiatives. This includes setting up gamification initiatives.
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Benefits of Gamification in HR
Some employees might roll their eyes at gamification. Yet, the truth is that this can be transformative–even for the biggest cynics. This potent strategy has many undeniable benefits.
HR gamification drives motivation and engagement, which leads to improved performance. By incorporating elements of gaming into the workplace, employees gain a sense of excitement and renewed purpose. Mundane tasks become more enjoyable, which prompts employees to take an active role.
Improved job satisfaction
Engagement aside, gamification has a huge impact on job satisfaction. This, in turn, leads to better job retention. When employees engage actively in the workplace, they have a greater sense of achievement and are more likely to remain committed. The competitiveness that gamification brings makes tasks more rewarding. Employees are more enthusiastic, too.
Designing Gamified HR Processes
It’s easy to say the solution to tediousness is gamification, but what does this look like in practice? Designing gamification elements is as unique as each organization.
The first step is to identify specific goals. This might be improving engagement, enhancing the effectiveness of training, or streamlining recruitment. Knowing what makes your employees tick is paramount. With this understanding, you can provide gamification elements that resonate with them.
Some options include leaderboards, point systems, badges, or rewards. Whichever mechanics you choose, you’ll need to make them purposeful. This is to enhance the employee experience.
Above all else, there needs to be established rules. Employees need to know what is expected of them and how things work.
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Implementing Gamification Tools
Implementing effective gamification requires careful thought as well as the right tools. Effective communication is at the very core of all successful gamified HR processes. With hybrid working commonplace, it is crucial to have effective communication systems. HR professionals can leverage communication solutions like Dialpaid, VoIP phone services to enhance collaboration.
HR professionals tasked with hybrid work settings have extra gamification challenges. In these situations, they need to have systems in place that foster a sense of connectedness despite physical distances. Tools like RealVNC remote access solutions can be leveraged.
Examples of HR Gamification
AI customer experience examples seem to be at the forefront of business progress. But gamification is gaining traction more and more. Here are two successful examples by Marriott and LEGO. These examples show how companies use their line of business within their HR gamification solution.
My Marriott Hotel
Marriott International used gamification techniques to target new international recruits. They launched a Facebook game called “My Marriott Hotel.” This social media game was a drive to recruit employees from developing countries. The target audiences were in locations where there wasn’t a prominent hospitality industry. This recruitment strategy bypassed traditional methods. Instead, it tested prospective employee talent before anything else.
In the game, players had to set up and run a virtual hotel. They won points if their customers were happy but lost points if they showed poor service. Players took on the role of the hotel manager and had to hire staff from a range of options. They also had to buy essentials for the kitchen and manage everything. If players achieved a high score, they were then able to click a tab that said ‘do it for real.’ This started the recruitment process.
Free to use image sourced from Unsplash
LEGO’s Brick Factor competition was also a recruitment drive. Competition participants were tasked with completing build tasks. Of course, this isn’t your usual hiring process. It would certainly appeal to the right candidate for a job at LEGO, though.
Over two days, contestants would compete in build challenges with timed elimination rounds. At the end of the first day, only ten contestants remain. On the second day, there is a formal interview, and this takes place before the final building round. This is all done during a public event so judges can also see how the contestants interact with the public.
There’s no point in implementing gamification strategies just because it’s a new trend. Like all business decisions, this needs to be something that is geared up for measurable success. To know if the gamification initiatives are working, there needs to be measures. It’s essential to plan which key performance indicators (KPIs) will be used to measure outcomes.
Here are some example KPIs:
- Employee engagement: Measure the increase in employee participation. Look at how many log-ins have occurred. Observe whether challenges have been completed. Look at how many people are active participants in any challenges.
- Performance improvement: Assess productivity and efficiency. Notice whether there has been any growth since the introduction of gamification.
- Retention rates: Evaluate retention rates. See if there have been changes since gamification was introduced.
- Job satisfaction: Surveys before and after gamification techniques were used. This will identify any correlation between gamification and job contentment.
- Effectiveness of training: When gamification is used for training, analyze skill acquisition data. This will show whether it has been impactful.
Image sourced from World Economic Forum
Challenges and Solutions
As gamification becomes more integrated into HR processes, you need to consider cybersecurity. There is a natural tendency for game elements to be seen as more relaxed. This could have negative consequences in the workplace.
Depending on the nature of the organization, it would be wise to consider cybersecurity risk assessments. But, for those who don’t know, what is a cybersecurity risk assessment? In essence, this is a systematic process that identifies, evaluates, and mitigates security risks. These are not physical risks. Rather, they’re within the digital ecosystem of an organization. For HR gamification, this means assessing potential vulnerabilities associated with gamification practices and tools.
Gamification platforms often collect and store sensitive employee data. This can make them attractive to cybercriminals. The risk assessment will help identify potential weaknesses. It will also assess the potential impact of security breaches. Organizations will know where protective measures need to be put in place to safeguard data. This will also ensure organizations remain compliant with data protection regulations like GDPR.
Incorporating risk assessments into the planning of HR gamification strategies is a priority. This will ensure the privacy and security of the organization and its employees.
Final Thoughts: Broader Applications of Gamification
Though we’ve focused on HR processes, the applications of gamification extend far beyond. The concept is a versatile tool capable of transforming various aspects of business. It could be used for supply chain network optimization, sales and marketing, product development, and training to name a few. When implemented effectively, it can boost engagement, motivation, and performance across an entire organization.