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Gamification is the Perfect Complement to Classroom Training

Put away the chairs. Turn off the projector. Close up the classroom door. There’s a better way to train and develop your employees—gamification. Companies that are replacing formal training with targeted gamification are reducing time-to-productivity for new hires by up to 50%.

Your organization is undoubtedly awash in data, not just about your customers, but also about your employees. You know how they are performing versus their targets and their teammates. You know which behaviors are exemplary and which need attention. What if you could motivate them to work on weak spots on their own?

Gamification sits at the intersection of data and employee engagement. You can transparently show every employee how they are performing and then guide them to tailored challenges that encourage them to add related skills and knowledge. Why would they take on a challenge that’s not ‘mandatory’? Because you’ll reward them with a badge, points, status, access or even dollars.

Here are three examples of how organizations are using gamification to replace classroom training and to drive development:

Leaderboards: You no doubt have a whiteboard in the break room or outside the command center displaying your top performers of the month. The trouble is that it’s the same performers that sit atop the leaderboard month after month—and there’s only space for about ten names.

So move that leaderboard to a more visible and flexible platform. Gamification allows you to present the top 10 performers of (i) all-time, (ii) the month, and (iii) today all side-by-side-by-side. So, a new hire might not be able to develop into an all-time performer, but can certainly be recognized for a great day.

Furthermore, when using ALL the data available to you, you can show each employee their relative position to the leaders, so they know exactly what they need to learn and focus on to climb the leaderboard.

Levels: Does everyone in your organization recognize the deep subject matter experts? What about the performers with specialized product knowledge or a rare combination of skills? That’s exactly why you need levels.

Let’s tease out the example of a financial services company. An associate that only understands mortgages has less value than an employee that understands mortgages AND retirement plans. It’s a perfect opportunity for levels.

When an employee demonstrates a foundational knowledge of mortgages their intranet profile displays a ‘bronze’ badge. When they are fluent in retirement plans, they step up to a ’silver’ badge. If they then add on knowledge of brokerage services they move to the highest ‘gold’ level recognition.

It’s like karate belts or Girl Guide badges. Collecting more skills and knowledge becomes addictive, and as levels motivate employees to step up they amplify their value to the company and to customers.

Career pathing: One of our customers surveyed their employees every year, asking what they could do to engage them more. Every year the same request rose to the top—clear career paths. People wanted to know how they could develop professionally; but in a large organization that was hard to define, and a response slipped year after year.

And then they implemented gamification. They used gamification to plot a number of passport pages. Each page represented a different path an employee could take. To demonstrate their intent to move to the next rung or into a different role, the employee should collect the stamps on the page—different stamps for consistently meeting objectives, for adding skills, for demonstrating leadership.

It is proving an effective way for managers to gain awareness to employee ambitions, and for the company to identify and promote talent. And as career paths have become clearer, employee satisfaction has increased.

These are just three ways that organizations are using gamification to supplement or complement their training and development programs. If your efforts to onboard and skill-up your employees are stagnating, then gamifcation offers you creative new solutions. So, maybe keep one chair out… to sit down at your computer and learn more about gamification.

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