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The Role of Gamification in Employee Learning and Development

5 min read
The Role of Gamification in Employee Learning and Development

Technology and digital transformation’s impact in the workplace has been significant in virtually every department of an organisation. As a result, HR teams around the world have been able to introduce innovative techniques to enhance their goals and outcomes. One of these is a buzzword you’re probably very familiar with: gamification.

This strategy has become somewhat universal in the HR space, with over 70% of Global 2000 firms having adopted gamification strategies. It’s been an incredibly valuable asset for HR teams for many years now, especially within employee learning and development initiatives.

What is Gamification?

Gamification means using elements of games in non-game contexts, like the workplace, to make tasks or goals more fun, interesting, and engaging. It can motivate learners, at their own pace, to go above and beyond their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, ultimately leading to improved performance, sustained engagement, and participation.

According to research, 95% of people prefer a work environment with gamified elements, and 90% say gamification makes them more productive at work. On average, people experience a 48% engagement increase under a gamified system, and organisations experience seven times more profitability. These numbers highlight the powerful impact that gamification can have on a company’s bottom line.

But what does gamification look like in practice? Such learning environments can take many forms, including point systems and badges, leaderboards, reward systems, or even virtual reality experiences.

Organisations like Deloitte have gone as far as offer virtual reality office tours as part of their onboarding process. So the learning opportunities are endless, and the key is to find the right gamification strategy that aligns with your organisation’s goals and values.

The Role of Gamification in Employee Learning and Development

How Gamification Benefits Organisations

A gamified environment can revolutionise the workplace, increasing employee motivation, engagement, and productivity. In fact, a Right Management global survey showed that the employee engagement brought on by gamification in the workplace contributed to a 44% higher retention rate.

When you introduce game elements to work, you create a sense of competition, accomplishment, and fun that can motivate people. By setting goals, tracking progress, and rewarding achievements, you can turn routine tasks into engaging challenges that team members are excited to tackle, making it a crucial part of any talent management strategy.

The Role of Gamification in Organisations

You can apply gamification in various areas of an organisation. Here are some examples of how organisations can adopt gamification strategies in these settings:

  • Training: Incorporating gamification elements into training programmes can make the experience more interactive, engaging, and effective. Some gamification examples could include quizzes, online games, or VR simulations.
  • Recruitment: You can use gamification to attract potential candidates by offering an interactive and engaging recruitment experience. For instance, creating an online game or challenge that showcases the company’s values and culture.
  • Learning and Development: Gamification can incentivise people to participate in learning and development programmes by offering rewards and recognition for completing training modules.
  • Performance Management: You can use gamification to incentivise people to achieve certain performance goals, for instance, by using leaderboards to track progress and reward high performers.

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How Organisations Can Implement Gamification

When executing a gamification strategy, it’s important to consider what works best for your organisation and team members. Here are some tips on what to do and what not to do when implementing gamification in a company:

  1. Set clear goals and objectives for the learning objectives of your gamification plan.
  2. Confirm that the game elements within your plan align with the company’s overall business objectives.
  3. Make sure the gaming elements are meaningful and relevant to the team, enhancing their learning process and promoting critical thinking.
  4. Use a variety of gamification techniques to keep the experience fresh and company learners engaged.
  5. Monitor and measure the impact of the game mechanics you’ve included in your plan on factors such as engagement, learning, performance, and cost.

Learning Gamification Techniques for Your Organisation

Gamification strategies can be an effective way to engage people in learning and development, and there are multiple gamification techniques that you can adopt in your organisation. Still, depending on your organisation’s specific training programme and learning goals, some may be more effective than others.

Leaderboards or points system, for example, may be effective for incentivising online learning module completion and creating competition, while simulations and game-based learning techniques may be better suited for teaching practical skills. The best approach is to consider the learning goals and audience and use a combination of strategies to engage learners and achieve desired outcomes.

1. Promote Learning with Game Elements

Gamified learning is a form of gamification that involves incorporating game elements into your organisation’s learning environment. This could mean incorporating educational games, quizzes, or trivia into traditional training programmes.

Game-based learning is effective because it makes the learning experience more engaging and interactive, which can increase knowledge retention and transfer. It can also provide immediate feedback to your team, allowing them to identify areas where they need to improve and track their progress over time.

2. Interactive Leaderboards

If you’re looking for a way to foster healthy competition between your team members, leaderboards are a great option. They show a ranking of people based on their performance, and your team might see this as intrinsic motivation to perform better. Team members can see how they stack up against their peers, which can create a sense of accountability and recognition.

3. Goal-Tracking Progress Bars

Progress bars are a great way to track employee progress and provide a sense of accomplishment. They can visually represent an employee’s progress toward a goal or task. This can motivate “players” to continue working toward their goals and give them a sense of accomplishment when they see the progress bar fill up.

4. Badges and Achievements

Sometimes, a little recognition can go a long way in boosting morale. Badges and achievements are visual symbols awarded to team members throughout their learning journey for completing tasks or achieving specific goals. You can give points based on set parameters and also include a difficulty level system for your team members to progress to more challenging badges. Doing so provides a tangible and visible representation of people’s accomplishments, which can boost their self-esteem and sense of progress.

5. Social Events

Kicking it back a notch and having fun as a company occasionally can drastically improve morale. Host and encourage friendly competition, such as costume competitions or cook-offs, and give employees a chance to compete against each other and earn rewards. Creating social networks or communities where people can connect, share ideas, and collaborate on projects can also increase engagement and motivation.

The Role of Gamification in Employee Learning and Development

6. Simulations and Games

Whether it’s a VR simulation, a video game, or specific team-building games, these can be useful in training team members or teaching new skills. They work because they are immersive and interactive, which can increase retention and transfer of knowledge. Plus, they provide a break from traditional training methods, making the learning experience more enjoyable for people.

Measuring Gamification

Gamification is a fun and effective way to enhance employee learning and development programmes, but how do you measure its success? Well, it’s all about the metrics! Here are some key metrics to help you measure the impact of gamification.

Learning Outcomes

Keep track of your team’s progress with gamification to see whether your gamified learning environment did facilitate learning. Check metrics like completion rates, assessment scores, and certifications achieved.

Engagement and Participation

Gamification should be engaging and fun. Measure how much time people spend on gamified activities, the number of completed challenges, and social interactions to see how much they enjoy it.

Employee Satisfaction and Retention

Happy people are productive people. Check how your team members feel about gamification and whether they enjoy it. Employee feedback, retention rates, and performance reviews can be good metrics.

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Business Performance

Gamification can directly impact business performance, so keep an eye on metrics like revenue, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Look for metrics that show how gamification affects the bottom line.

Best Practices for Analysing Gamification Data

To get the most out of your team’s learning and development programmes, following some best practices for analysing performance data of your game mechanics is important. By doing this, you can make sure that your gamification efforts are driving real results and helping your team learn and grow.

But remember, not every gamification technique has to be centred around productivity. Sometimes just kicking back and having fun as a company can drastically improve people’s morale. Here are the best practices for analysing gamification metrics:

  1. Set clear goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) before implementing gamification programmes and gaming elements in your organisation. Use our free KPI template to get started.
  2. Regularly review and analyse gamification data and progress indicators to measure success.
  3. Compare the effectiveness of gamification to traditional training methods.
  4. Use employee feedback to improve gamification programmes.
  5. Adjust gamification programmes based on the metrics and data collected to optimise effectiveness.

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Sergio is a seasoned copy and content writer who has worked directly with company founders, CMOs, brand executives, and marketing directors from multiple industries. He's an HR geek and humble terpsichorean.

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