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Like most of the millennium kids, I too spent hundreds of hours into video games – from Roadrash to Call of Duty – with little to show for it in real life. In retrospection, I contemplate that what if there was a game wherein the more one plays, the better one gets in life. And as one levels up in life, the more rewards he gains in-game. Fast forward to today, you can see it the same – tons of “Productivity” apps on play store exist to make life easier, more productive and without compromising the fun part.

A scenario

Roopali is always the first person to arrive at the office every day. One needs to take a leaf out of her life and be the punctual coming office in time. And the success of the company is the outcome of the efforts put down by employees like her. Recently, it is that the employees have taken office timing lightly. There has been a spike in the number of latecomers. Just like any other company does, the management decided to take strict actions against the late Lateef. Any employee coming late by more than 5 minutes would be considered late attendance for the day. And three such late attendance occurrences would mean, the employee are marked absent for one day. And this has added to increased stress levels for employees. Wait. What did happen? Could the issue be dealt in a better way? In other words, could the operant conditioning be applied to have better outcomes?

Developed by B.F Skinner, operant conditioning is a way of learning using rewards and punishments. Instead of punishing, positive reinforcers are favourable stimuli given after the display of the behaviour. Positive reinforcement strengthens the probability of affirmative action of the person using the addition of something.

Here’s the catch – Gamification can be that positive reinforcer.

Consider this approach – Attendance is not just compliance, can be fun too. Employees will earn points for every correct attendance marking, every adherence to compliance rules. And these points can be redeemed for rewards – say meal cards. The highest point earners like Roopali become Champions of the month and get distinctive bonus rewards. Thus employees are motivated to follow the rules. The peer to peer comparison and department wise comparison will add interest and competitive spirit. All this happens in a mobile application. Software like Cuckootech does this precisely.

There are several other applications such as

Employee connect – an engaging program for improving communication,

Badgeville – a comprehensive solution for keeping a record of employee, appraisal, overtime work.

Bunchball – It is used mainly for Critical Resource Management and to motivate sales force by clearly defining sales goals, setting roles and clarifying expectations, and rewarding incremental progress towards achieving significant milestones.

There is an endless list of gamification software available on the internet.

How to use Gamification in HR

Gamification in HR is no longer a buzz word. It is a necessity. Not just in following the compliance, but gamification can be implemented almost everywhere across all HR processes.

In the recruitment process, the prospective candidates can be given rewards after completing each step in the process of application from the start. This practice will motivate the applicants to complete the tasks faster to earn rewards. Rewards need not be monetary, a leaderboard or a badge will do wonders. Gamification in talent acquisition helps to attract quality talent. Meanwhile, the entire process makes the onboarding process smoother.

Through leaderboards, badges and missions, employees will be motivated to complete their learning material as they get in spitting distance to specific badges and rewards. Even simple things such as watching videos or completing quizzes or ‘module-missions’ could be set up to earn the reward points. These points will be eventually traded in to win prizes within the game or outside the game too. These strategies will transform tedious (perceived to be) learning process into a fun rewarding and competitive surroundings. Likewise, gamification can be implemented across various functions of HR.

Pitfalls of gamification

Eighty per cent of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives, primarily due to poor design. – Gartner Report

An activity per se is not a success. One should never forget that the identification of business objectives should be the primary goal. The critical analysis of the gamification to meet the business objectives has to be done for any activity. The organisations need to quantify the success of gamification. The player’s centricity and organisation centricity must overlap the centricity of business objectives. Mandated “fun” don’t go hand in hand with the purpose of gamification.

There are also many businesses which think that older executives within the company will not accept the adopted strategy. Some old-school management members may not have a full understanding of gamification or may not approve of its use in the workplace. The best possible thing to do is check with these people to see how they feel and try to involve them more in the process so they can understand how it works and the benefits that are in abundance.

Conclusion

Gamification can without a doubt provide businesses with a unique platform to deliver a motivating and engaging experience of training. It encourages friendly competition, teamwork and provides a channel for informal communication between employees of all levels. Nonetheless, managers must utilise gamification correctly. It is not merely about turning the business into a ‘game’, it is about creating a stimulating environment which can bring out the creativity in the workforce and encourages employees to perform at their best.

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