The Power of Gamification


So, what exactly is Gamification and why has it gained a lot of attention in the digital world? In simple words, Gamification is an art of using the essence of games and applying it in real life scenarios to increase user participation, engagement, retention & motivation etc.

According to a survey by Gallup to measure employee engagement at work; only 31.5% of the workforce is engaged while the remaining 68.5% are disengaged.

Moreover, out of the disengaged segment of the workforce, millennial workers (Generation Y) were found to be the least engaged of all. Yes, you read that right!

The fact that millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 has led many organizations to use gamification in transforming the “traditional HR function” in order to attract, retain & motivate current & potential employees.

Here’s how HR Pros can “gamify” the traditional HR functions to increase engagement, collaboration, creativity and recognition in the workplace.

Gamifying HR Fuctions

Recruitment & Selection – “Play & Apply”

Using gamification can improve the quality of applicants to a great extent. Candidates who’re willing to take some time out of their busy schedule to know more about the company, will genuinely be interested. They will also be aware about what the company does and how it works. So before coming in for the test/interview; the shortlisted candidates would have a clear idea about the business, its culture, how it operates etc. This can serve as a win/win for both the parties and can save a lot of time as well.

Let’s take an example of how PwC used gamification as a simulation tool to improve the quality of applicants. Normally a candidate would spend 5-10 minutes on the website, apply online and switch to another site, that’s what the company wanted to change – their goal was to increase user engagement. So they came up with Multipoly – a game that shows how it’s like to work at the company and what a normal day would look like. They noticed that candidates who had played the game were more prepared during the live interviews and knew what was expected out of them.

Since the company launched Mutipoly, the firm has experienced 100% growth in job candidates with almost 80% of users interested to learn more about working at PwC

Knowledge Management – “Play & Share”

Knowledge management can only be fruitful if there’s active participation and user involvement. People are usually reluctant to share their ideas and knowledge with others. So, being in HR, how can you change that? How can you encourage people to share what they’ve learned with others? While I was writing this article, an idea just popped into my head; how about we do it through Gamification?

How about we use a simulation game on monthly basis in presenting a business problem and encouraging employees to take part? Each employee can come up with their own suggestion and employee with the best suggested option would receive an award/ badge along with some redeemable points. After all, who doesn’t love being recognized and rewarded? Using this technique can encourage innovation and creativity and employee participation throughout the org.

Training & Development – “Play & Learn”

With an increasing demand of virtual training and a growing number of global orgs, gamification can play a vital role in training thousands of employees, regardless of their location.

A similar technique was used by Walmart in providing safety training to 5,000 widely dispersed employees. The goal was to ensure that employees were adhering to the safety protocols. While this was hardly a three-minute gamified application, the impact it had on employees was impeccable! Employees were found to be discussing not only about the game but also about the importance of adhering to the safety protocols. Result? A 54% decrease in incidents among eight distribution centers

Retention – “Play & Stay”

With increasing number of millennial workforce, orgs are facing difficulty in retaining younger workers. Gone are the times when people used to stick to the same org throughout their career. Gen-Y workers, unlike baby boomers, are more growth oriented and like to challenge the status quo. They’re more likely to switch if they feel they’re not being valued or provided a platform to showcase their skills.

Gamification can help engaging Gen-Y workforce by providing them challenging business games, simulations, trainings etc. Through gamifaction, companies can encourage their workforce to share ideas and knowledge. If used properly, it can also be served as a competitive advantage.

And… the most important perk – It attracts all kinds of learners; be it visual, auditory, read/write or kinesthetic. Gamification uses a variety of tools and has the power to attract and engage all types of learners! So you don’t have to worry about creating a separate strategy for each learner. Awesome, right?

 While this may seem like one time-consuming project that requires a lot of efforts; it can do wonders for your org if implemented carefully. Attracting, retaining and developing tomorrow’s workforce today, encouraging employee participation, recognizing, motivating and rewarding employees can all be done through gamifying your business functions. After all,

It’s the “emotional aspect” of gamification that has the deepest benefits to alter employee behavior.


The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: