Human resource professionals face a dilemma these days — how can they ensure employees focus and retain all important information during training? An hour-long learning session may earn a few groans if people only want to get in and out of the office as fast as possible. However, some forward-thinkers believe they’ve found the solution in gamification.

What Is Gamification in HR?

Gamification in HR means using the motivating format of games to teach staff material. By making the learning process interactive, people automatically become more engaged. They also get direct experience and feedback on the concept as they play, increasing the chances of absorption.

Although taking notes does improve retention, some workers might find it challenging to write every bit of crucial information down while listening intently, causing them to miss finer details. Others just might not enjoy the task. Gamifying the experience builds memory into the process by making the training objective integral to completing the game.

How to Gamify HR

How can an HR team use gamification in the workplace? Here are a few use cases displaying creative ways of implementing it.

1.    Gamifying Recruitment

Having applicants play a simulation of the work environment could help HR professionals determine if they’ll be a good fit for the role. For example, Life Sciences out of South Carolina has been using a free-to-play mobile game to get young people interested in the industry. The app takes users through research and development, clinical trials, manufacturing, production, distribution and logistics. Recruits gain skills, learn about the local job market and view employment opportunities.

In another example, San Bernardino was trying to determine how it would host its annual STEM event during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials decided not to cancel it because it’s vital to Southern California’s cybersecurity and IT sector, instead relying on an app that simulated digital attacks. It was a rousing success, with more than 10,000 sessions at the time of the conference.

2.    Using Gamification in Onboarding

While face-to-face time with HR and mentors is vital for new team members, gamifying parts of their training can help them learn independently. Doing so sets the foundations for self-reliance and creative problem-solving.

Role-playing may be an excellent way to teach new hires how to manage an uncomfortable customer situation and the basics of sales. Virtual reality could train hospital workers and those working with heavy machinery in low-risk scenarios.

3.    Making Training More Interesting With Games

Though short meetings are best to ensure everyone stays focused, some topics inevitably take more time, such as teaching workers how to use AI correctly. However, 95% of attendees get distracted during meetings and miss parts of the information. About 43% start to tune out after 20-30 minutes. They won’t miss a thing if they’re playing a game that trains them on a concept simultaneously.

For example, sales teams could play a game that takes them through closing a sale, offering several answers with notes on the correct choice. IT teams could learn how to thwart a hack better in a low-stress environment where they can take their time, ask questions and see a congratulatory screen when they’re done. Additionally, leaderboards, points systems and digital badges can make ongoing learning competitive and fun.

The Benefits of Gamifying HR

With all these examples in mind, why should HR professionals implement gamification? Explore just a handful of the potential positives a business could experience by combining work and play.

1.    Bolsters Recall

Gamification helps people remember material better because they’re having fun and interacting with it personally. Workers absorb just 30% of visual-accompanied oral presentations and 50% of demonstrations, but they’ll recall 90% of what they learn if they do the task themselves. That number stays the same for simulated jobs.

Using games to teach new hires and refresh everyone routinely helps HR teams ensure employees learn what they must. That’s a plus, whether it’s a cybersecurity best practice or an operational efficiency habit.

2.    Increases Motivation

Some people might welcome the opportunity to take notes during a meeting as a time to destress, but many would rather continue with their work. A training session won’t engage them as much as doing their job. Gamification changes that by incorporating learning into a fun activity that doesn’t feel as much like learning.

In one study, researchers found a single-lottery system raised productivity and motivation, which worked incredibly effectively for lower-performing workers. It’s hard to pass up this prospect when it increases employees’ motivation to learn new skills and operations-critical knowledge.

3.    Saves Money

Costly data breaches are less likely with training, and 69% of workers say they’re likely to stay at a company for over three years if it uses gamification. This helps brands improve their bottom lines. Being more motivated and absorbing new concepts better helps staff improve customer satisfaction by 9%, potentially increasing profits. Additionally, because people can make mistakes in a risk-free environment, no money is lost on expensive repairs or non-optimal decisions.

Consider Using Gamification Strategies in HR Today

Focus is waning in the workplace, so HR professionals need new ideas to verify workers are learning what they need to. Doing so is vital for everything from strengthening cybersecurity to improving the consumer experience. Gamification helps HR teach important concepts, ensures staff knows how to apply the knowledge and provides incentives to keep learning. Organisations then boost their income and increase their reputations for excellent products or services.

This blog post was written for HRTech247 by Zac Amos.