08 Dec 2015 16:28 IST

Gamify your processes

Apply game development thinking to activities that are not necessarily ‘games’

The much dreaded management review meeting is on. Your boss, the HR Head, is in the line of fire over delays in recruitment and the quality of recent recruits.

You are sitting next to him. After his presentation citing the global HR environment, the boss sits down, wiping his forehead. The CEO then asks, “Why can’t you use gamification in your recruitment processes?”

“Gamification?” the murmur goes around in the conference room. “Google it,” the CEO quips and moves on to the next department. Later, as you walk back, your boss asks you to go with him to his cubicle. “What the hell is that? Don’t we have enough games played around here?” he asks.

He looks at you, but you can’t figure out whether this just a rhetorical question or you’re expected to reply. The word is thrown around quite a bit and sounds easy, but you aren’t sure. You keep mum. Later, you Google ‘gamification’, and this is what you find:

‘Gamification is for getting the lazy, unmotivated, and dim-witted people to be involved and to do something which they will never do otherwise.’

‘Gamification is used to get people bored of playing games so that find their usual work interesting’ (I made this up!)

‘Without a gamification strategy, your business will vaporise’.

‘Companies use game thinking process for employee motivation in human resources, team building, productivity enhancement, training, health and wellness, sustainability, and innovation. Marketers gamify their programmes to engage customers.’

So what are you going to do, if the question from your boss isn’t rhetorical?

Jazz it up

You can suggest to your boss that your company should jazz up the usually boring job application process and bio-data uploading process.

How? The application form can be made more visual: one example would be giving various options that the applicant must select from a carousel at every step.

The bio-data format too can be made fun. For example, the statement of objective area can populated with some valid and some outlandish options, with accompanying cartoons. Applicants can be asked to choose one or add a new option. Every step of job application should have some virtual rewards that add up to an overall score. There can be prizes (real) for the winners.

You can say all this will need some investment, but the benefits are many. The applicant will enjoy the process and later, will talk about it. Throw it open in social media. The buzz will lead to a stronger employee branding.

Make it tougher

Alternatively, you can suggest a more difficult gamification strategy. Your company’s products and the way customers use them can be written as stories. Create sample stories and ask the applicants (say after a screening stage) to add their stories related to your products by using ready templates, characters, and some text. Every story generated by an applicant should add to his/her score.

All applicants who generate at least one story each should get rewards. Those with top scores can even be publicly rewarded, even if they aren’t offered jobs.

Tell your boss that these user generated stories can be studied for interest, effort, and originality — the attributes your company is looking for in people wishing to be considered. This is a harder option because it will need collaboration with product departments like engineering and customer service. Moreover, such gamification will have to be tailored as per needs of different departments.

Add a dash of social aspects

You have now understood that you can convert a boring process (a series of steps) into a ‘game’ by making tasks interesting and rewarding. Alternatively, you can change how people interact with your products or services into stories. You can ask people to come with more stories (for innovation) or play a role in existing stories to use or improve them (training and involvement).

In both alternatives, you can introduce social aspects like sharing, competition, leader boards and prizes. And to to develop story boards, you will need the help of other departments, get visual communication and UI\UX partner onboard, a technical vendor and budget, at least for prototyping.

Gamification is applying the game development thinking to activities that are not necessarily categorised as ‘games’. You now know what you will be up to, if your company gets serious about gamification.

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