Changing the HR Game: How Gamification is disrupting Human Resources


Following my previous posts “Why Digital is radically disrupting HR?” and “Digital Will Give Power to the People” about how digital is changing the human relations today I would like to write about how gamification will change labor relations as we know until now.gamification_HR StrategySince the first Nintendo sets arrived in homes in the mid-1980s, the workforce has become increasingly populated with employees who have grown up with computer games. For many people entering the workforce now, such games are more than just an occasional pastime. Games form the very backdrop of their lives. These individuals do much of their socializing through computer games and use the vocabulary of gaming even in conversations that have nothing to do with games.

What is Gamification?

HR StrategyWith gaming concepts and terminology gaining prominence among young employees, it’s probably not surprising that companies eager to attract, engage, incentivize and retain members of this generation have been taking games seriously. Gaming concepts have begun working their way into key HR processes in two distinct forms, often called serious games and gamification. Whereas serious games are actual games used in the workplace whose purpose is beyond merely providing entertainment, gamification is the weaving of game mechanics such as virtual currency, leaderboards (boards that display leaders in a competition), badges, or leveling up (progression to the next level in a game) into existing work activities or processes without the development of a full-fledged actual game.

You can find more information in the report Trends Reshaping the Future of HR: Digital Radically Disrupts HR by Accenture Digital.

Why now?

The idea that gaming elements can be useful in the workplace is not new. For example, sales groups have long used leaderboards and other gamification-like mechanisms to foster friendly competition. And organizations as serious as the military have used war games and their civilian equivalents to train soldiers and leaders. What is new is that more and more workers are familiar with and enjoy gaming.

In addition, the commercial platforms that have industrialized the development of games and gamification are more widely available to organizations. These factors have made it much more affordable for enterprises to create serious games and to incorporate gamification into business processes. For example, some serious games leverage general which provide graphics, game editors and artificial intelligence functions to achieve high levels of sophistication and create simulated characters.

Likewise, vendors such as Bunchball and Badgeville have created cloud-based gamification engines, which deliver key gamification functions as web services. This greatly reduces the cost and complexity of incorporating gamification into enterprise web applications. These developments have given rise to a varied set of applications that have transformed various HR processes.

badgeville-dashboard-100051744-origWhat is next? The road ahead

Gamification of HR is still in its early days. Still, games and gamification have begun to alter the way HR professionals and employees experience various HR processes. Some of the changes are incremental. Others could prove disruptive, such as use of gamification to replace occasional, private top-down feedback with real-time, public 360-degree feedback.We’re just beginning to understand which game-related transformations are most beneficial to organizations and how to estimate the degree to which workers may embrace these changes. As games and gamification—along with insights into how they can help organizations generate valuable business outcomes—continue to improve, this trend will likely become more important.gamification

We may never get to the point where the experience of going to work is as exciting and engaging as a great game. But high-performance enterprises will likely push the boundaries to see just how close they can get.

Borja Burguillos

Author: Borja Burguillos

Global People Strategy

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