The use of Gamification in HR

Photo by Erik Mclean

Gamification is about applying gaming principles to other areas than gaming. It’s already used in areas like marketing and sales, and in lots of applications we use on a daily basis. The last couple of years, it’s also increasingly mentioned and used within HR services and activities. Like with many new approaches, at first the applications are rather superficial, like adding badges and leaderboards in your solutions and nothing more. In those cases, the techniques and artifacts are a goal in itself.

We need to move beyond the gimmick and use the real potential of gamification by digging into the principles, mechanics and into behavioral psychology, with the goal to apply it consciously in different HR-solutions.

When we look at the big challenges we’re facing today, they have a lot to do with a need for behavioral change. Once the wanted behaviors are defined, gamification can help to start, repeat and reinforce that new behavior. It uses behavior-motivating techniques, that go beyond compensation and benefits for employees and leverages intrinsic motivators like purpose, autonomy, mastery and relatedness. So it’s more about psychology than it is about technology, although the latter can help greatly.

Gamification increases the engagement of employees when starting, continuing or completing specific tasks. It uses fun elements to increase motivation. It can create flow in a process or project and increase productivity. And it can be used to enhance collaboration between people. Gamification flourishes thanks to the evolution in technology and digitalization, but it also has numerous opportunities offline. It has the game-changing potential to make company processes and HR-services more appealing and easier to handle for employees.

And it should be clear before starting with gamification. It’s not the holy grail, but it can be an important motivational technique if used well. Be clear on which business objective you want to achieve. And be clear and specific on the motivational drivers you want to address: what motivates your different employees? Finally, address the needs and wants of your employees at an emotional level. This is not a quick fix but starts with a deep insight in employee behavior and motivation.

Applying gamification in your HR solutions can lead to increased engagement, efficiency and learning in the specific area that you apply it in. For online gamification applications, the effectiveness can be measured more easily than for offline solutions. It can provide you with data that can be used to learn what works and doesn’t work for your employees and helps to continuously improve the flow and adoption of your HR-activities.

I’m a Behavioral Change Designer @ the Change Designers (.eu). I write about #OrganisationalChange #EX #CX #UserAdoption #essentialism #Nederlandsefictie

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