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Table of Contents

The primary purposes of gamification in the workplace

Examples of gamification applications in HR

Why implement gamification in HR processes?

Challenges and limitations of gamification in the workplace

Gamification in HR: 4 best practices

What is gamification in HR?

Gamification in HR refers to the process of using game-like elements, techniques, and game mechanics to engage and motivate employees in the workplace. 

The use of gamification in the HR department incorporates game design principles. It features in non-game contexts, such as human resources processes, employee training programs, performance management, and employee development.

Gamification is a valuable human resources strategy that transforms traditional HR practices into more engaging and immersive experiences, boosting employee satisfaction and improving retention.

The primary purposes of gamification in the workplace

Gamification offers plenty of value to the organization. Here are a few main reasons HR managers use gamification.

Motivation and reward systems

Gamification is used to motivate and reward employees by infusing a sense of competition, accomplishment, and progress into the workplace. Through leaderboards, badges, points systems, levels, and challenges, employees are motivated to achieve specific goals and behaviors. Reward systems provide tangible incentives, such as virtual currency or real-world rewards, which drive motivation. 

Goal setting and progress tracking

Game elements such as progress bars, milestones, and visual representations of advancement allow employees to see their objectives and track their progress or competencies in an engaging way. Gamified goal setting introduces a structured and transparent approach to help employees understand targets, deadlines, and desired outcomes, nurturing a sense of ownership and responsibility. 

Competition and collaboration

Gamification encourages healthy competition among employees, fostering a sense of excitement and motivation to outperform their peers. Elements such as leaderboards, monthly challenges, and team-based quests spur productivity, competitiveness, and innovation while emphasizing collaboration. 

Feedback and recognition

Gamified feedback systems share instant feedback with employees on their performance, progress, and achievements. The feedback loop helps individuals understand their strengths, areas for improvement, and the impact of their actions, boosting employee morale while promoting a positive work environment.

Fun and enjoyment

Gamification introduces an element of fun through interactive challenges, engaging narratives, and immersive simulations. Routine tasks become more exciting, alleviating boredom and monotony. By tapping into an individual’s natural desire for play and exploration, gamification techniques encourage curiosity and contribute to higher levels of employee satisfaction (in a fun way).

Examples of gamification applications in HR

Gamification can be used for various aspects of HR, from recruitment to performance management and development. 

Recruitment and selection

Gamification in HR is used in the recruitment process to attract and assess candidates through interactive assessments, simulations, and gamified challenges, providing a more engaging and accurate evaluation of their skills, abilities, and cultural fit. For example, skills assessment online games, virtual reality simulations, gamified job applications, gamified assessment centers, and employee referral programs all make the hiring process more engaging.

Onboarding and orientation

Gamification helps new hires familiarize themselves with company culture, policies, and procedures during the employee onboarding process. Popular applications include onboarding quests, gamified training modules, quizzes, virtual scavenger hunts to explore digital environments, and social gamification to foster a sense of belonging for new employees within a distributed team.

Training and development

Learning and professional development become more interactive, engaging, and effective with the help of gamification. Human resource departments implement gamified learning modules, leaderboards and competitions, and virtual reality training simulations to create immersive and realistic training experiences — which is especially useful when developing a remote team.

Performance management and evaluation

Gamification is used to enhance employee engagement, provide timely feedback and drive employee performance improvement within teams. These goals are achieved through gamified performance dashboards that virtually display performance metrics and progress, gamified goal setting using SMART goals, and gamified feedback and recognition systems which foster a positive feedback culture.

Employee wellness and health

Gamification in HR is used in employee wellness and health to promote healthy behaviors, encourage participation in wellness programs, and enhance overall well-being. Companies that introduce well-being initiatives include wellness challenges and competitions centered around wellness activities. In other examples, wellness app gamification tracks health goals and healthy habits, and interactive wellness education delivers wellness education in an engaging way.

Why implement gamification in HR processes?

Above the practical advantages of gamification in HR, there are additional benefits for HR processes to consider. 

  • Increased engagement and motivation by leveraging game-like elements that connect with an employee’s natural inclination for competition, achievement, and enjoyment
  • Improved learning and retention by making the employee experience more interactive and immersive
  • Enhanced teamwork and collaboration through collaborative quests, team building challenges, and leaderboards
  • Greater job satisfaction and loyalty as employees feel a sense of fulfillment, recognition, and belonging
  • Higher productivity and performance as employees are motivated to excel, compete, and achieve results

Challenges and limitations of gamification in the workplace

Even with these benefits, it’s important to consider the following challenges before HR professionals implement gamification.

  • Possible design and implementation issues as game elements must align with specific HR processes and company culture
  • Over-reliance on extrinsic motivation prevents long-term engagement
  • Resistance to change and adoption can hinder the successful implementation of gamification
  • Lack of relevance and alignment with job duties if the gamified elements are disconnected from actual work tasks
  • Ethical and legal concerns should be considered to ensure fair competition, avoid discriminatory practices, and protect employee privacy

Gamification in HR: 4 best practices

Make the most of HR gamification by considering the following best practices.

  • Conduct a thorough needs assessment and goal-setting process to identify specific objectives and align game elements with desired outcomes
  • Invest in effective game design and development that includes well-crafted narratives, engaging challenges, and intuitive interfaces for meaningful impact
  • Integrate gamification seamlessly with existing HR processes and systems to create a cohesive and streamlined experience for employees
  • Prioritize measurement and evaluation of gamification initiatives to assess the impact, track progress, and identify areas for improvement
  • Emphasize continuous improvement and innovation, allowing for adjustments, updates, and enhancements based on feedback, emerging HR tech, HR trends, and changing employee needs.

Read more about Deel's role in creating engaging and efficient processes in your team.

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