Like many corporations, Allstate Insurance Co. offers its employees training on various topics, such protecting clients’ personal information. But instead of the standard video training that many of its employees have become familiar with, the insurance company has turned its standard training exercise into a game. The goal was to improve employee engagement by breathing new life into an old and stale exercise, according to Lyn Scrine, Allstate’s director of ethics. Now when Allstate employees sit down for a session on ethics, each worker assumes a superhero identity while fighting a data-stealing villain named Data Gator.
Allstate developed the gamification approach to employee training with ethics and compliance education products company LRN Corp. But the project was more complex than simply coming up with a concept for a game. Heavy regulation of Allstate’s insurance business required that everything in the game be legally approved to make sure that nothing infringed on copyright, Chief Learning Officer reported. All told, it took about nine months to develop a game that met Allstate’s specific needs.
“People enjoyed how it was different, new, interactive,” Allstate ethics consultant Kendall Rovell told Chief Learning Officer. “Some of these people had taken the same kind of course over and over again, and this was refreshing.”
An estimated 80 percent of Allstate employees have taken the gamification-based training. But it’s important to note that the game was not universally welcomed by all. Scrine says that younger employees who have a lot of experience with video games responded favorably to PII Protectors. But older employees, who presumably don’t play video games on a regular basis, did not care for the game.
“We feel it may have been too out-of-the-box or creative for learners who were more familiar with our more typical training experience,” Scrine told CIO.
But that’s O.K. Scrine says that the game has not replaced the company’s other teaching techniques. What’s important is that the company has added new teaching and training tools that can boost employee engagement in different ways.