For a while now, since October 2010 when gamification was mentioned for the first time, we have been hearing about gamification in business and even more in HR related areas as recruitment, engagement, attraction... But what is exactly and why is it making such an impact in the industry?
We can define gamification as the application of game theory concepts and techniques to non-game activities. And the game theory as a branch of mathematics that seeks to understand why an individual makes a particular decision and how the decisions made by one individual affect others. But why is it really the word game being used in such a context? Are we making our employees play during working our? Or trying to decide if someone is suitable for our company based on what a game says? I believe the word game might get people confused and that’s the reason even today there are still sceptics that do not believe in what gamification can do in a business environment specifically in HR.
The word game is defined as an activity engaged in for diversion or amusement; but also as a procedure or strategy for gaining and end and the combination of hose two is the reason for experts to have chosen this word to sum up this new concept.
The use of gamification in HR is diverse even if in general we have seen it applied in recruitment; it´s applications are numerous; for example:
- Promotion: Using gamified crowdsourcing activities, open-source projects or even serious games to increase the brand perception and so also its appeal to potential new employees.
- Recruitment: For example by using game-elements to get people to solve different problems and challenges that help the HR-department to find the right people for the right job.
- Development & Education: Applying game elements like clear goals, rules, missions and challenges to help employees learn and expand their knowledge in company strategies, processes etc. This way people know better what is being expected from them, what are the possible ways to do so and where to start.
- Knowledge management & Teamwork : Implementing almost real-time feedback as in board and online games provides fast and individual guidance through complex and abstract work processes. The feedback combined with goals, rules, missions and challenges boost people to collaborate and to share knowledge with the purpose of achieving a common goal.
We can find various of the biggest companies applying gamification activities in their companies now a days; SAP uses games to educate its employees on sustainability; Unilever applies them to training; Hays deploys them to hire recruiters and the Khan Academy uses it for online education. (Source: www.wired.com/ article: Winning the Talent Game: How Gamification Is Impacting Business and HR)
Some of the best practices I found are; the Nike training application, Nike+; the IBM platform Kudosbadges or the international student contest of L’Oreal Brandstorm. There are even companies focused in gamification services for other companies as Bunchball they ensure that “Bunchball motivates millions of people to take action every day. Using our gamification platform, our clients’ customers, employees, online communities and partners do more, learn more, and share more in ways that matter to their business.” (Sources: www.informationweek.com/ article: 7 Examples: Put Gamification To Work & www.bunchball.com/)
About what the future of the gamification holds we cannot be certain but the Gartner research indicates that by 2015, 50% of organizations that deal with innovation processes will gamify those processes; also a report by M2 Research predicts business spending on gamification to scale to $2.8 billion in 2016. (Reference: www.elearningindustry.com/)