Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems and increase users’ self contributions. Gamification uses an empathy-based approach (such as Design thinking) for introducing, transforming and operating a service system that allows players to enter a gameful experience to support value creation for the players and other stakeholders (Definition according to Wikipedia). The mechanics involved typically include virtual currency, leader boards, badges and leveling up. Some typical examples of Gamification are  SAP Community Network, Stack Overflow, Yahoo! Answers, LinkedIn, Amazon.com etc.


Gamification has gained a lot of attention in the online world as a way to engage customers and build loyalty. While many of us still struggle to understand how playing a game can have a real business impact, companies that have implemented gamification have discovered that there’s far more to it than we see. These programs have tremendous power to encourage motivation and influence customer behavior.


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How does Gamification work?

Gamification applies behavior-motivating techniques from traditional and social games to non-game environments. An effective gamification program actually looks more like a loyalty program charged to help achieve real business goals when it is expanded beyond points, badges and leader boards.

The power of Gamification works like this: it utilizes the competitive line we all have within us and as we play a game, we become more engaged, we feel a greater sense of achievement and are more willing to go the extra mile in either making more efforts to choose the right people, or completing more training programs, or even helping employees to stay motivated. And as we progress, we continue to increase our engagement with the game and reach new levels.


What it can brings to HR?

According to SHRM, there are two types of gamification: structural gamification and serious games. In structural gamification, you apply gaming elements (badges, levels, points, leaderboards, etc.) to activities and processes. Serious games are where you create a game or simulation for purposes other than entertainment, such as a training simulation. Gamification is the usage of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game scenarios such as business environment and processes, specifically in recruitment, training and development, and motivation; in order to engage users and solve problems, as defined by Gartner Group.

So, gamification allows organisations to drive constant improvement in performance through the application, social and mobile apps that enable, enhance and measure the impact of employee behavioral change. Combining game mechanics with technology advances and mobility allows businesses to align employees behind corporate goals, enable cross collaboration, promote competition, ensure compliance and allocate compensation.

But the reality is what individuals expect from their organisations is changing rapidly. The entrance of new generation into the workforce is fundamentally changing the way that organisations have to operate. Concepts of rights and responsibilities evolve as the once hard boundary between what was once considered work and leisure time blurs. Company technology are need to get adapt as employees want the same devices in the workplace as they have in their home – they want mobility. As this is the age of BYOD – bring your own device.

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Here are the some of the common ways that how a HR teams can support gamification to achieve business goals.

  • Talent & Recruitment Management: Gamification can be implemented in all aspects of the hiring process, from the application process to the joining date, to increase on-boarding efficiency. One can easily turn the hiring process into a gamified experience by rewarding with both acknowledgement and tangible perks for completing each step, from application to joining date. At the same time, HR teams can also use gamification internally to reward top recruiters and incentive employees to refer candidates.
  • Corporate Culture & Retention: Once the employee is hired, retention becomes very important. Gamification can be used to promote a positive company culture, rewarding employees for cross collaboration or company volunteer programs. A gamified platform can be used to route the available opportunities, make these transparent to the employee and provide a history of all employee engagement in similar programs. The objectives of engagement and retention are two of the most objectives of gamification.
  • Learning & Training: One can use it to motivating employees to complete training programs (mandatory HR training, like harassment, diversity and other compliance programs) within the time, especially if it doesn’t relate directly to their daily operations it can really help. Adding a gamified experience to on-boarding and enablement programs can increase information retention and speed program completion time. Many companies are also investing in gamification to stimulate corporate education programs and optional employee training programs.


Employees who earn rewards and recognition for having completed these tasks, or missions in the gamification , are far more likely to make it a priority. And HR also benefits from the ability to check those compliance in a timely fashion, without the pressure of having to followup employees to complete the programs.

  • Benefits & Expense Management: Similar to training, the completion of benefits management paperwork can be gamified as well to motivate timely and accurate results. Providing a scalable, gamified benefits management program reduces HR expenses and overhead, and results in a happier workforce. The ability to correctly report employee travel, entertainment and related business expenses can also be gamified through a system to encourage employees to submit reports on time and accurately. Employees can even attend some levels like Amateur, Professional, Expert based on their usage results and could help other employees as mentor once reach certain levels.
  • Performance Management: By using gamification, HR teams can create an ongoing rewards program and even a mission-based career path that shows what steps an employee must take to level up in the organization. The program can focus on rewards, with other employees able to assign points and recognition to their fellow team members who helped them across the organization. By gamifying performance management and making steps to promotions, bonuses and organizational status more transparent, employees will more efficiently complete these steps, resulting in a more collaborative and productive workforce.  SAP SuccessFactors highly value gamification as a key technique to improve employee performance and satisfaction.


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  • Administrative Processes: On-boarding documents and expense forms can be tedious. Reward points for timely completion to encourage efficiency. No one likes to complete paperwork, especially when other tasks are more interesting and exciting. But, paperwork is unavoidable in many administrative areas and needed by HR and Financial departments for tracking and reports.  Similar to training applications, rewarding employees with either peer or management recognition or even tangible incentives for completing required forms with some friendly competition could be an easier solution to avoid delays. 
  • Career Success: It’s no secret that peer mentorship is a powerful motivator that drives employees to want to succeed. One see colleagues earning praise, achieving goals and climbing the ladder, and they want to know how they can achieve the same results. Using gamification, HR departments can create transparent, mission-based career paths that show the steps employees have taken to level up in the organization. One can even design such programs to allow team members to recognize one another for contributions made toward a common goal. And again, all of this data is traceable, creating a valuable historic record to capture employee and organizational knowledge.


  • Wellness: Establish a system for employee wellness points and turn it into a challenge could help both employees and company. For example Welbe is an enterprise solution that combines employee wellness data from wearables into a company dashboard, where one can see leaderboards and set challenges. According to a survey conducted by WorldatWork and Buck Consultants, employers list gamification as their most common strategy for engaging employees in wellness programs.The most common gamification strategy for wellness programs involved contests like other .
  • Value Alignment: Reward employees with “culture points” or “value badges” for living by your company values. Give everyone the opportunity to recognize other employees when they go above and beyond in culture areas. Gamification platform can easily help one company to engaged their employees into company’s core values as well. Badges and Rewards towards the participation and engagement  also motivates employees further in this alignment.

There could be many more but definitely it varies according to Company’s policies, regulation and decision. Laws and protocols from the Government, Security standards are also need to taken into consideration as always in case of similar engagements.


The market for gamification is expected to grow significantly in the next coming years. The good news is that using such extensive technologies in a way that people appreciate, organisations can continually engage employees and at the same time create real and measurable behavioral change that results in to generates significant business value.


If you are further interested there is an event on Gamification in HR in next few days.

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GAMIFICATION IN HR SUMMIT 2015

We would like to see more effective way of Gamification in HR area. If possible please share your thought and experience in the comment section to encourage over this trend and this new way of thinking.

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