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January 30, 2018

Organizations expect their HR function to track, analyze and predict new hire churn, while significantly enhancing the efficiency of their onboarding program. Onboarding activities have the potential to make or break new employee’s experience, and inducting the millennials and Gen Zs on the workforce requires high levels of interaction and engagement. Organizations are fast learning that depending on traditional classroom interactions to onboard these new employees can be challenging. It not only turns orientation into a monotonous process but also affects retention rates.

Organizations must not miss the wood for the trees

Gamification so far has been considered as a proven technique for its ability to impart effective learning. However, it is the ability of gamification to create an engaging experience that matters more in this context.

One can reasonably argue that 80% of on-boarding success depends on the experience while 20% is about completion of on-boarding activities as planned. During on-boarding, new employees are required to assimilate organizational processes and build additional skills required to be effective on the job. Introducing gamification elements such as avatars, brownie points, and smileys in the process instills a spirit of achievement in the new employees.  For example, a gamified process could reward inductees with a tally of the miles covered and points accumulated. The miles covered could help the new employee discover strengths and areas to improve upon, while accumulated points can be redeemed for a welcome gift. Organizations are also enabling gamification-enabled internal social media platforms that help new hires connect with peers and potential mentors, and create a sense of belonging from day one.

Turning onboarding challenges into engagement opportunities

Gamification can help avoid information overload during induction and allow new employees to digest information smoothly. Organizations can also leverage team-play using gamification.

For example, sessions on compliance can be gamified with the help of scenario based learnings. One of the new employees role-plays as a compliance officer and cases based on compliance issues are submitted by other members. The compliance officer can identify the issues and look at possible resolution options. This process helps the whole team to learn in a fun way.

Even passive onboarding activities such as submission of relevant documents and joining forms can be gamified. For instance, FAQs and help information can be made interactive through chatbots, who can help with the queries a new employee may have while submission of the documents.

Balanced gamification can be rewarding

Gamification, however is not a wonder drug and, if misapplied, can lead to distraction and fall in productivity. An effective and serious game based program should be designed from the bottom up, identifying the learning objectives and implementing systems to measure success. It is also important to study the process areas most prone to disengagement, as well as the reasons for disengagement, to arrive at the workable gamification solution. Gamification need not always be based on rewards. It is possible to create a sense of winning or finishing, without associating tangible rewards. For example, a thoughtfully designed gaming quiz at the end of module helps to develop the ‘confidence of knowing’ in the employee.

Reducing turnover and improving employee onboarding with gamification

Gamification, thus, is becoming a popular method to address concerns around employee engagement like individualized learning, freedom of effort, as well as the freedom to fail and experiment in many ways. The application of gamification will continue to evolve with new interactive design elements like augmented reality and language interfaces, which will enable more natural experiences.

Modern day talent management suites provide gamification features that can help companies revamp their existing onboarding process in an accelerated manner while ensuring dynamic, appealing and rich engagement for the new employees. The net result is enhanced employee onboarding, a positive perception of the company, and reduced turnover.

Are you one of the early adopters of automated teaching?

Madhura Gokhale is a Pre-Sales Consultant in the CHROMA - Platform Solutions Unit at TCS. In her professional experience spanning over a decade in TCS, Madhura has worked for various portfolios in core HR spanning from corporate policies and processes, business units, regional deployment and audits. Madhura holds a masters degree in Human Resource and has done her MS in Counselling and Psychotherapy.


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