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When most people think “human resources” terms like “fun” “exciting” and “entertaining” don’t usually spring to mind (well, unless you’re us, that is). But a new trend in people management aims to switch up the image of HR as boring-but-necessary: HR Gamification.

Gamification is on the rise in general, and is increasingly being applied to HR initiatives, making the typical drudgery of HR more enjoyable and efficient. HR Gamification involves applying behaviour-motivating techniques from games to non-game situations. With a growing number of tech-savvy millennials and Gen Zers in the workforce, and tougher competition than ever for strong candidates, gamifying HR activities can be the engagement edge employers need. From where we’re sitting, if there’s a way to engage employees in caring about HR-related activities, why not make it happen!

From recruitment and onboarding to training and development, to health and wellness, there are many opportunities to automate and gamify elements of traditional HR. Here are a few of our favourite ways that cutting edge companies are using HR gamification as a strategic advantage.

Recruitment

Especially in tech industries, gamification is increasingly being used to attract top talent’s attention from the get go by increasing candidate engagement. Larger companies, including tech giants like Google and Facebook are already using gamification during their recruitment processes, by introducing applicants to gamified coding challenges that highlight skills and gaps in lieu of more traditional candidate skills tests. 

If you’re not a tech giant, a simpler way to incorporate gamification during recruitment is to present candidates with puzzles or challenges to solve in lieu of standard skills tests. These games can be tailored to mimic on-the-job riddles, and can provide a good indicator of future performance in a role.

Training

Training is one area where gamification shines. We’re more likely to absorb and retain information when we’re having fun and feeling engaged, and gamifying training is a great way to do that. Gamification can replace endless PowerPoint presentations with self-directed, entertaining training that still manages to get the message across. Big box stores like Walmart have experienced big success by using gamification to train employees on safety, a topic that falls into the category as “boring but crucially important”. Instead of invoking eye rolls, gamification can promote interest in and retention of crucial safety information.

Don’t have the big bucks to shell out for a slick gamified safety app? There are simpler ways to encourage and incentivize learning. Get in the habit of sending out an email pop quiz with prizes (hint: choose prizes your team will actually value) in the weeks following training to encourage retention of important information!

Wellness

Wellness programs can get a bad rap, but nurturing health at work is more than just a nice-to-have – it’s swiftly becoming an expectation that employers will offer perks to encourage employee health. And it’s not enough just to have a wellness program. To be effective, your wellness initiatives need to be engaging and useful! Gamification can help by boosting interest and participation in employee wellness programs.

The good news is that wellness is one area where gamification doesn’t have to break the bank. Many benefits providers have built-in gamification elements like quizzes and points systems build into their online employee portals – We’d suggest taking a look at your current benefits to use what you’re already paying for! Other online wellness applications like these ones are accessible even to smaller organizations. By inspiring friendly competition, employers can use gamification to both inspire connection as well and encourage healthy habits at work.

Your Engaged HR Assignment:

Work doesn’t always have to feel like work! Take a look at the three areas listed above – if your recruitment, training or wellness practices are feeling a little lackluster, try injecting some fun by incorporating some of the principles of gamification.

Introducing gamification into your existing HR practices is an exciting prospect, but it’s important to identify what your needs are, and what behaviours you want to incentivize before you jump in. Looking to switch up your employee engagement practices? This is our jam, so give us a call!

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