The gamification of career development

Retaining key talent is a constant concern for all businesses – large and small. With new tools and technology leading the way, ensuring existing talent is happy and that they are performing is becoming much easier.

These days however, employees are more self-sufficient and when it comes to their progression, many people want to be masters of their own destiny in the workplace. The reality is however, that despite 72% of candidates now expecting their employers to be innovative in the way they develop and engage staff*, employee development strategies in many organizations fail to keep up with the realities of a multi-generational workforce. As a result many employees are finding it hard to adhere to career and job progression plans managed centrally and dictated by someone else.

However, there is hope. One trend which has evolved more recently is the introduction of gamification into workplace practices. Described by Gartner as the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals, gamification is being introduced by businesses all over the world. From reward systems to career development applications, employers are taking a more experimental attitude to boosting morale in the workplace.

Much of this has been facilitated by the growth of personal mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. By adding career development platforms to products people love and use in everyday life, it encourages higher levels of engagement and motivates staff to achieve their goals.

When you take a step back, essentially, the workplace replicates a game already. Players are often in competition with each other and this is a massive driver for a business. Implementing innovative applications which take the fundamental processes of game-playing and use them to enable employees to design, execute and monitor their own career is the future.

We cannot say for certain if this trend of gamification within talent management will take hold on a wider scale. What we do know is that companies who are receptive to new, innovative approaches to talent management, including the technologies that can help execute them, are more likely to see levels of employee satisfaction and engagement increase.

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Comment by Nick Simcock on June 12, 2014 at 3:12

Hi Cherish – good point. Something we’re also looking at is the sustainability and longer term impact of gamification for career development. At the moment, we see badges and awards that staff achieve by completing tasks and courses through their learning management systems as valuable, as they tap into personal achievement drive for skill development - but will the novelty wear off? And do these ‘wins’ translate to proficient application on the job? We are focusing in on ways to use these milestone awards to recognise skills that the employees are taking on, but ultimately the ‘game’ needs to be a longer journey, bringing underlying competencies to the users field of view so they can be more versatile in their application. We use Forte for career development and on-the-job assignments, because we feel the cumulative workflow experience is a key aspect to the success of digital career development applications in the years to come. We have seen gamification work well in cases where the digital career experience is inextricably linked to the reality of the workplace in the form of career pathways, assignment allocation, and thoughtful interplay with the performance management process.  We have also seen it work well in cases where leadership and managers really buy-in, leading the way with their own career development. With the right positioning, career applications are not a ‘game’ at all, but an integral part of an organisations development culture.

Comment by Mitch Thompson on June 13, 2014 at 9:40

I love the concepts behind Gamifcation even to the point of doing a mini course though coursea. Taking away the name and focusing on that it triggers reward responses within the brain as well as encourages social connections it has massive uses through the entire employee lifecycle some basic examples,

Recruitment - Adding qualifying levels and a score board, matching games (jobs) to players (candidates) skills and playing styles

Onboarding - A map or road to follow be become up skilled

Training - Social learning, learning through play

Well Being - Look at Keas and other inline programs

Performance - Mandatory qualification levels and stages, achievement badges, points, career mapping, talent mapping

Rewards - This is what the basics of it but badges ect.

I think it's a great concept to apply for a workforce that has grown up playing games and have expectations of small frequent rewards. Keeping inmind the game player demographic of game players have changes even Frank Underwood from House of Cards plays Call of Duty.



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