3 Basic Principles to Gamify Employee Training

3 Basic Principles to Gamify Employee Training

PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM; Hawaii (April 27; 2015) Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii, Commanding Officer Capt. Dean Tufts presents the NAVFAC Pacific 2015 Employee of the Year Certificate from Rear Adm. Bret Muilenburg to SrA James Jefferson, USAF, April 27 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. NAVFAC Pacific executes an awards program with three categories (Supervisor of the Year, Employee of the Year and Team of the Year) honoring personnel in the Pacific Area of Responsiblity. Nominees are accepted from NAVFAC Pacific, Hawaii, Marianas, and Far East. (U.S. Navy photo by Denise Emsley; NAVFAC Hawaii Public Affairs/Released.)

Boost Employee Learning Curve With These 3 Steps

Training employees is an expensive – and time consuming – proposition. Even worse, it’s one that typically has diminished returns. Every year, companies spend big bucks to improve their employees’ skill sets, only to see that as little as 10% of those skills are retained at the end of the year.

Fortunately, there’s a better way – one that leaves this outdated, expensive model in the dust. More and more companies are exploring ways to gamify employee training – that is, to apply gaming techniques and strategies outside of a gaming environment.

What does this mean for you? It means that, if you can implement gamification strategies in your training, you could see improved retention, higher employee satisfaction, and a much larger return on your investment.

Here’s how to do it:

Add Incentives

Many companies offer badges or points in exchange for learning or implementing new skills. These points can then be exchanged for rewards, or added to the employee’s file for use at a future performance review.

By motivating them to want to learn new skills that they might otherwise not pursue, you can quickly develop a well-rounded, versatile team.

Make It Competitive

Simply using a leaderboard or some other metric to compare employee performance can foster a healthy competitive atmosphere. When employees are competing to see who can learn more job skills, you’re the big winner – and they walk away feeling satisfied as well.

In addition, a leaderboard can help each employee recognize where they stand – and what they need to do to improve and advance. It also serves as a way to promote interaction between employees whose paths might not otherwise cross.

Make Sure It’s Applicable

To get the most out of gamification, make sure the skills you’re teaching are skills they’ll actually use – and then reward them for using them.

For example, if you mainly do business in Mexico, encouraging your employees to learn Mandarin isn’t going to help anyone. Conversely, if you motivate them to learn Spanish – and reward them when they apply their new skills – they’ll be fired up to learn…and you’ll have a happy, skilled workforce.

Gamification in Action: T-Mobile

T-Mobile created a social network called the “T-Community,” in which employees could learn from and interact with one another. They rewarded employees for seeking out new information, “liking” valuable posts, or simply asked questions.

The results were undeniable:

  • Employee participation skyrocketed by 96%
  • Contributions went up a whopping 583%
  • Responses were up 783%
  • And, most importantly, customer satisfaction rose as well – by 31%

Gamification is one of the easiest ways to improve your business and motivate your workforce. Nevertheless, implementing a gamification training program is merely the first step in improving your workforce. So, be prepared to gather data, study the results and iterate where necessary to your organization’s initiative to the next level.