The Power of Gamification in HR

Gamification in HR

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.

According to a Gallup research released in April 2012, less than one in 10 employees are ‘engaged’ in their jobs. The remaining are ‘not engaged’ (60 %) or are ‘actively disengaged’ (32 %) - the most harmful form of disengagement. The objective is to take techniques from game design and implement them in non-game contexts, so that the overall experience for the employee or 'user' is more engaging.

The author of Gamification of Learning & Instruction, Karl Kapp, says the key to gamification is how addictive it can become across all generations of people. Kapp believes the advantages that are part of gamification encourage users to stay engaged and interact with each other, building stronger relationships. A number of organizations like Marriott, Cognizant, Deloitte, Aetna, and a few others are using gaming to improve workforce alignment, enhance employee skills, solve complicated issues and tap into new talent pools. Typical game design techniques consist of goal setting, competition, real-time feedback and rewards. There are also platforms such as eMee and MindTickle that facilitate Gamification in organizations.

TCabs, a local radio cab service provider from Pune, India, has transformed its ordinary Call a Cab business into a gamified customer-engaging offering, using the eMee gamification engine. TCabs has introduced one of the first customer loyalty program for cabs in India, called TMiles. They have also added game mechanics to encourage customer activities like providing feedback on the cab journey, encouraging users to actively participate in improving their service and sharing their TCabs experience with their friends.

How Does Gamification Work?

The power of Gamification works like this: it utilizes the competitive streak we all have within us and as we play a game, we become more absorbed and 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.

3 Success Stories of Gamification in HR

So, how can you use Gamification to better recruit, train and motivate employees? Take a look at the following

  1. HR Gamification in Recruitment & Selection Initiatives
    Marriott International Inc. was an early implementer to test how gamification can be utilized in recruiting the right people. It developed a hotel-themed online game similar to Farmville or The Sims, to acclimatize prospective employees with the Marriott as an organization, the company culture and the hotel industry. Anil Garg, VP-HR, Whirlpool, stated during the recent boardroom conference that they have been significantly using social media and gamification (cryptic puzzles) to engage prospective employees to keep the brand connect alive. It’s clear that gamification within the recruitment sphere has proved to be successful for these companies and is getting tremendous results.
  2. HR Gamification in Training & Development
    The renowned Deloitte Leadership Academy, which has trained 10000+ executives from all over the world, delivers learning gamification through Badgeville to increase knowledge sharing and brand development. TCS has also stepped in the world of gamification by implementing game engines that allow the creation of real-life environments with built-in networking features, enabling the development of such Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG). The application of MMORPG for real-world industrial training and simulation can lead to greater collaboration and team play and reduce the dreariness involved in solo-training, says the team.
  3. HR Gamification in Engagement & Retention Strategies
    Accenture is using the gamification tools for employee engagement and workplace behavior modification. The World Bank’s Evoke is a social collaboration game for solving social problems. A very promising area of engagement and retention where gamification can be implemented is employee wellness. For example, Mindbloom’s Life Game being utilized by Aetna, is a freemium online social game aimed at improving employee health and wellness by encouraging interactions with a metaphorical “self”. In essence, users can keep a check on their healthy by choosing, and developing plans to foster wellness.

The market for gamification is expected to grow significantly in the next coming years. The Gartner research indicates that by 2015, 50% of organizations that deal with innovation processes will gamify those processes, and that by 2014 more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application. So are YOU in for it?

Last but not least, would you be interested in the Most Effective Uses of Gamification in Learning? In the Free eBook: How Gamification Reshapes Learning you will find useful Gamification Tips provided by 23 Gamification professionals.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Gamification In Learning Through An Avatar-based Serious Game Concept

Gamification In Learning

While Gamification has been applied in several domains, our focus has been on its application in learning. The games that we design are therefore geared to meet definite learning outcomes and our Gamification strategies broadly map to:

  1. Tasks or concepts that are overlaid on the learning content but are not related to the content
  2. Contextual tasks or concepts that are overlaid on the learning content
  3. Partial Gamification (notably in inline checks and end of course assessments)

We had to re-design a quick online training for Project Managers who were being groomed to handle Account Management practices.

The course on Account Management Fundamentals outlined the basics of account management and more specifically, what they must do to move their organization up the value chain. The learners needed to understand two aspects:

  1. Their organization’s view that was to scale the newly acquired/existing customer to an Account and then to a Key Account
  2. The need to work on changing the customer’s view and scale their organization from a service vendor to a strategic partner (This journey was mapped to four levels/quadrants and it represented the challenges that the learners must face to accomplish the required mandate.)

Gamification In Learning Through An Avatar-based Serious Game Concept 02

The new brief
The need for re-design arose on account of two aspects:

  1. The first was on account of varied backgrounds of learners. The target learners included Project Leads, Associate Project Managers, Project Managers, and Program Managers. The typical Project Management experience ranged from three years to 10 years.
  2. The second was to have learners face challenges that mapped to their experience. In the initial concept, all learners went through an identical learning path featuring identical questions. However, in real life, the more experienced professionals would face trickier situations as they will handle bigger and more challenging accounts.

The revised concept
After reviewing the new brief, my team came up with an Avatar-based Gamification approach. The highlights of this approach were:

  1. Creation of different learner paths
  2. Alignment of the learning and Gamification path to the proficiency of learners
  3. Presentation of a mix of questions in each path (mapping to real life challenges commensurate with the proficiency level of the learners)
  4. Non-availability of learning aids of theory (lifeline) for higher proficiency learners to make the challenge tougher. (The complexity and the nature of the challenges posed to the learners tested their cognitive proficiency to tackle the situation at hand, thereby resulting in immersive learning.)

What we retained
From the original Gamification concept, we retained the overall look and feel and the Introduction.

Gamification In Learning Through An Avatar-based Serious Game Concept 03
We updated the rules of the game to sync up with the new approach.

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Then we added the Avatar selection frame.

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For the learners choosing more than eight years of experience, we provided a different path. After the Avatar selection, a Jeopardy game was presented to test their fundamentals on Account Management. Specifically,

  1. A good score enabled them to move directly to Level 2.
  2. However, if they scored less than 60%, they were provided with a friendly message nudging them to take up Level 1: <Your scores are low. Do you still want to continue to level 2?>

Gamification In Learning Through An Avatar-based Serious Game Concept 06
This is the landing page of Level 1. The Avatar chosen at the time of selection was in the middle. The challenges were presented on clicking or selecting the objects with the (+) symbol.

Gamification In Learning Through An Avatar-based Serious Game Concept 07
This was a sample question/challenge. On answering correctly, the learners were awarded a star as highlighted. We provided different question banks for each path that matched the challenges with the experience of the learners.

Gamification In Learning Through An Avatar-based Serious Game Concept 08
We also added surveys to seek inputs on the learners’ current understanding of Project Management.

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The gains
We were able to match the learner proficiency to a specific learning path that gave them the right insight on how to handle customers. The Avatar-based approach helped us carry out this mapping.

I hope this case study is useful. I look forward to your feedback and suggestions.

Last but not least, you are more than welcome to check my previous published article: Gamification In Learning: Featuring Gains Through A Serious Game Concept.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Gamification Of Compliance Training Through A Serious Game Concept

Gamification Of Compliance Training: A Case Study

The project was for a compliance training course to increase awareness on risk management and was intended for a global roll-out. Furthermore, the compliance training course was to be designed for multi-device delivery.

There were inherent challenges in the content as it was rather dry. While we had a go-ahead for the Gamification-based approach, we needed to come up with a strategy that would retain the sanctity of the Compliance mandate (that is, no frivolous game-based approach).

To arrive at the right concept, my team identified the following success factors:

  1. The Gamification concept must be challenging and at the same time rewarding.
  2. The game scenario/story must be contextual to the content.
  3. It must map closely to the learners’ work situation so that they would be easily able to relate to it and apply.
  4. The learning should be incremental at every stage of the course.

Highlights of the Concept
We created a simulation-based task-oriented Gamification course, which was interactive and engrossing.

  1. The game scenario was mapped to the context of risk management and the incremental learning was provided at each stage of the game as the learners took the challenges and overcame them.
  2. To achieve this, we incorporated a real work environment (visually), an element of challenge (bonuses and bombs), rewards for success (caps, badges) and learning through activities including elements of surprise and delight.
  3. We provided the learners the choice to seek support while performing the assigned task like in a real life scenario mapping to actual human behavior in such situations. This ensured a true simulated environment to encourage application of knowledge through performance.

Visual menu
The learners could access any section of the game to perform the tasks and challenges. Each section was mapped to a learning outcome.


Game console
The learners could look at the tasks and challenges which they had completed and were yet to unlock. They could also see the reward points in the form of dollar coins, bombs (signifying the places where the risk was still active) and bonuses earned. It gave them a sense of control on the proceedings.


Task/challenge briefing
Before the learners took up a task, they had the choice to seek help to learn something related to the task they were about to undertake. This served as a performance support solution for them and a just-in-time aid.


Task screen
The learners had to identify the risk in the situation presented to them in that location within a time period, which presented them with the element of challenge and competitiveness. They were given bonuses if they did it before the specified time period. If unsuccessful, they got bombs which they could neutralize by the dollars they earned during the game progression.


Feedback popup
The learners were given feedback on their performance based on which they could move on by unlocking the next challenge or by asking for support.


I hope you enjoyed this case study on Gamification experience. I am very keen to know from people who are part of the Compliance mandate on how they feel about this strategy and if it would indeed serve their mandate better.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

How a Gamification Developer Games Its Employees

Cocoa Trivia: A Gamification and Games-Based Learning Developer Employs Gamification to Engage Its Own Employees

Gamification has been one of the dominant terms in the training industry for several years, and at this point it’s certainly more than just a buzzword. Corporate training courses, even the most routine ones, are enriched by the presence of an engagement component. Advanced and more complex trainings are often packaged as games, in which learning blends with entertainment.

As experts in gamification for corporate training and games-based adult learning, we feel lucky and privileged that our job is to develop creative and engaging programs for our clients and their learners. Through instructional design, game design, multimedia, and engineering, we create memorable learning experiences that employees look forward to, have a lot of fun with, and talk about with their colleagues. We see the impact on engagement, retention, and culture within our clients’ organizations.

So, as gamification transforms the training industry, and SweetRush continues to “gamify” the corporate world, how do we successfully bring gamification mojo to SweetRush?

There’s no lack of fun within the SweetRush culture, so we couldn’t resist when we saw an opportunity to bring a gaming element into our daily work. We knew we’d be able to impart knowledge and build the SweetRush culture, and at the same time make it fun.

Cocoa Trivia: Gamification for the Gamifiers

Cocoa is our unique proprietary release and portfolio management system. Developed internally, the system allows our team to easily manage dozens of courses simultaneously in development, as well as maintain our extensive archive of past projects.

We decided to add gaming features, which we call Cocoa Trivia, to this popular tool. The idea behind the game is simple: it’s essentially true-or-false trivia, but it has several interesting twists that amp up the gaming factor and its value:

  • Engaging and entertaining
  • Educational
  • Culture enhancing
  • Deviously competitive
  • Collaborative
  • Non-intrusive

An ambitious list, really, but the ROI clearly validates this effort. Cocoa is a tool touched by almost everyone in production, and by gamifying Cocoa, we turn an everyday administrative tool into an engaging learning experience.

SweetRush Gamification Cocoa Trivia - Sample Question

A sample question in SweetRush's Cocoa Trivia. Users can answer five consecutive questions, plus a final Double or Nothing challenge, each day.

Engaging and Entertaining

As you come to Cocoa’s main page, you’ll see a trivia question right there, woven into the interface. This is just a brief true-or-false question, so you can’t help but to answer, and, of course, you want to get it right. Another question comes right on the heels of the first one, and then one more.

Each question is scored (or weighted) differently, depending on its complexity. You stand to gain or lose the point weight of the question, which means you can end up with a negative score. If your score is positive, after three questions you can risk it all by answering the “Double or Nothing” challenge.

Note that you do this all within the interface of the tool, and once you are done you can continue with your initial tasks. Or, you are free to ignore the trivia and turn it off. No worries—your questions will be waiting for you when you return and are in the mood to play.

Deviously Competitive

As mentioned earlier, you score (or lose) a different number of points for each question; each question has a different weight, which is randomly chosen between 1 and 100. Naturally, there is a scoreboard that keeps track of the rankings and promotes healthy competition among the SweetRush team.

The devious part presents itself as a unique feature of the scoreboard. Once a day, any player with a positive point value can attempt to steal points from another player.

Here’s how this works:

1) Choose one of the names on the scoreboard as your “victim,” and initiate the steal.

2) Choose whether you want to steal openly or anonymously.

  • In an open steal, you stand to gain more of your victim’s points if you succeed, but greater reward also means greater risk. A taunting e-mail (automatically generated) will be sent to your target, revealing not only what was done, but by whom, thus making you a target for a potential counter-steal.
  • In an anonymous steal, your payday is smaller, but the victim will not know your identity.

3) Answer a true-or-false question from the pool to perform the steal. If you get it right, a sizeable percentage of your victim’s score goes to you. If you get it wrong, prepare to make a donation in the opposite direction.


The trivia creators wrote a large pool of questions, consisting of two categories. The first category includes questions about SweetRush processes, policies, and facts that we want our folks to know. The second category quizzes you on SweetRush history and details of the past and active projects, and then reveals interesting facts about your co-workers. This is especially valuable in our virtual culture, where many of us have been working together for years without sharing the same office. Knowing more about our co-workers helps us understand one another even better, while brushing up on the vast SweetRush body of knowledge will carry an obvious professional benefit.


During the game development, and continuing over time, all SweetRushians have the opportunity to contribute to the ever-growing question pool. When we first built the database, the team did not know why we were collecting these trivia facts. Everyone on the team was asked to submit facts about themselves or their co-workers, or about SweetRush. Each fact was then twisted or a counter or misleading answer was written to create a matching false “fact,” thus doubling the number of questions in the pool.

Now that the game is live, each player is able to supply additional facts in exchange for extra points as part of the gameplay. We are, of course, hoping for active participation, so the game will continuously self-populate with additional content. A never-ending shelf life!


Once we solved the challenge of engaging the players, we faced another challenge—how to prevent the loss of productive working time. In other words, what is to stop an addicted player from spending long periods of time on this trivia, while forgetting about work?

To solve this, we decided to make sure that the experience is not only pleasurable, but also limited. There is a set number of questions that can be played per day. Users are given only five consecutive questions, plus a final Double or Nothing challenge. After that, the next question for this user will appear only after the daily session is refreshed at midnight. In addition, only one scoreboard steal is allowed per day.

This means users can finish their daily set of questions in a minute or two, ensuring no loss of working time, but they’ll want to come back the next day, hungry for more.

SweetRush Gamification Cocoa Trivia - Submit Trivia

Each player is able to supply additional trivia facts in exchange for extra points - so the game will continuously self-populate with additional content!

Simply put, Cocoa Trivia has taken an everyday task and raised the bar: enhancing our culture, educating in a painless way, and keeping everyone aware of the value of gamification.

If I’ve piqued your interest about SweetRush’s expertise in gamification, I highly encourage you to take a look at these popular blog posts from our thought leaders:

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.