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How gamification in HR improves company culture

Sep 05, 2018

Offer ways for employees to feel empowered and engaged while collaborating with their peers and being rewarded for their efforts. All with the help of gamification.

Human Resources (HR) organizations are often tasked with improving employee engagement and building a company’s culture. However, it’s not always an easy mission.

We’ll look at some of the current challenges HR organizations face with employee engagement, make the case for gamification in HR and review some best practices to help organizations improve company culture.

Current HR challenges

Today, employees are often “job hopping.” While previous generations might spend their entire working life at a single company, the median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And it’s not just a retention problem for HR organizations. Current obstacles facing HR teams dealing with stagnant company cultures include:

  • Lack of motivation from employees
  • Employees feel they are not being heard and their opinions don’t count
  • Compliance training is often seen as boring
  • Leadership doesn’t engage with employees
  • Teams work in silos, lack of collaboration
  • Employees are not synching with company’s goals and mission
  • Employees don’t see a career path or know how to advance
  • Lack of acknowledgement/recognition when employees succeed

These are just a few of the obstacles facing HR organizations. Traditional approaches to fostering employee engagement and augmenting company culture are not made for today’s changing employee environment. HR teams as well as executive leadership must recognize the need for innovative approach that can address and solve these challenges.

The case for HR gamification

Simply defined, gamification takes something that already exists—a website, a training tool, a CRM, an online community, or other enterprise system—and integrates game mechanics to motivate participation, adoption and loyalty. Gamification offers ways for employees to feel empowered, engaged, collaborate with their peers as well as being rewarded for their efforts.

Meanwhile, as employee motivation increases, your company’s culture augments.

So, it’s just a matter of turning on a gamification program now and letting it go, right?

Well, there’s a little more to implementing gamification if you want to achieve some strategic results. Before you implement human resources gamification efforts, it’s important to consider a few best practices:

  1. Develop a Strategy – What is the goal of your HR gamification? You need to understand your audience (employees) and what motivates them. Is it for compliance reasons, employee engagement, fostering collaboration within the company? Be sure to focus on a single goal and determine a way to measure results.
  2. Get Executive Leadership Buy-In Early – Make sure your leadership team is aware of the gamification initiative, what the goals are, and the process for implementing it within the org. It’s important all leadership stakeholders approve of the gamification and that expectations are set.
  3. Manage the Initiative – Have the right team and processes in place to manage the program. How will the gamification be launched? What will be communicated to participants? Who will answer any questions if they arise? The more prepared you are for the program – before, during and after – the better you’ll be able to harness actionable insights later.
  4. Align Program Results with Business Goals -- What teams will be responsible for analyzing the results? How does the gamification program sync with the organization’s business goals. Key Performance Indicators (KPI) can demonstrate how effective a company is achieving key business objectives so it’s crucial that you identify the KPIs you want to influence.
  5. Frequently Evaluate the Program – What is working and what doesn’t work with your gamification initiative? Don’t have a “set it then forget it” approach. Stay engaged with the program and don’t let it get stale. Are there areas in the program that should be tweaked to increase employee engagement and motivation? What are some areas of the initiative that brought great results and can these be spun off into another, separate gamification program?

These are just a few best practices to consider before and during a gamification program. Overall, approaching the HR gamification initiative strategically can bring more actionable results.

Learn how gamification can engage your audience.

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