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Gamification Goes to Work

By Paul Fitzgerald for America's Backbone Weekly

Gamification is helping train staff and executives alike.

So, what is gamification and how has it become a central part of almost every enterprise business package? Gamification harnesses the spirit of games — competition and play— relating them to a variety of company processes from recruiting and training to professional development.

And these concepts are being applied to vital HR processes in several ways: as a serious recruiting tool, an entertaining and engaging way to train employees in safety, compliance or new systems and finally, to encourage and foster employee collaboration.

Gamification At Work

Price Waterhouse Coopers, for example, noticed that job hunters were barely spending 15 minutes on its recruiting portal, so they developed Multipoly, which virtually tested potential hires' readiness and suitability for working at the firm. Multipoly is similar to Monopoly but for the more savvy, and pits prospective hires against each other in teams to solve real world business problems; not only does it test business judgement, but it rates a person's online skills, increasing one's digital skills and their teamwork ability.

For those already on the payroll, the primary goal of workplace gamification is to motivate employees to improve their performance and make it fun. A gamified customer service system called LiveHelpNow monitors how customer service representatives handle queries and deal with customer complaints. Each time an employee fields a question or handles a customer service issue, points are awarded based on expedience and customer satisfaction. With sales teams in retail, transportation and educational services, to name a few examples, gamification can help them enhance pitches and even foster innovation for next year's new and improved product line.

Gamification for Management

For middle management with a desire to move up the corporate ladder, gamification can offer the chance to learn more about new management subject areas, and about possible positions to aspire to within the company. Managers can collaborate online, receive real-time feedback from peers, earn recognition for their savvy in the game, and at the same time garner attention from executives for their potential leadership qualities. NTT Data's Ignite Leadership game targets crucial leadership skills, including problem solving, time management, negotiation and communication.

Gamification Promotes Sustainability

And finally, gamification can be applied to reduce overhead costs: many firms are setting up employee engagement games in which all employees can participate with the goal of reducing energy and water use and mitigating waste – points given and incentives awarded, for example, to employees who excel at fostering a sustainable work environment and cutting energy, waste management and water costs.

If you own a business, then you might want to seriously look at adopting gamification. Research shows that gamification can boost employee productivity by 40 percent, according to SMBCEO, a popular online news and information website for business owners. The gamification market is expected to reach $5.5 billion in a few years, and this means employees across the U.S. will be over 200 percent more productive than employees who do not engage in gamification.

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