How to harness the power of workplace play

It's all fun and games until the productivity drops

How to harness the power of workplace play

Plato once said: “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

And it seems as if HR leaders are taking this advice to heart, considering the sudden peaked interest in gamification. Used as a means to enhance employee learning and increased productivity through play, gamification is a tool that’s only set to garner more and more fans.

“Pretty much every company is doing it, or talking about doing it, or working through a trial of some kind,” explained Gabe Zichermann, CEO & co-founder of Onward – and speaker at our exclusive upcoming webinar – ‘Gamification in the workplace’ – believes it all to do with the underlying psychology.

“When you combine gamification to incentivize employee behavior with the need to help employees reduce the distraction, then I think the demand for something only increases.”

Zichermann explained to us how employers should watch out for a few key emerging trends in gamification tools. The first of these is using gamification to make learning more fun – specifically in the fields of L&D, Zichermann told us.

“In the next phase,” he continued, “we’ll be using gamification to deliver more in-depth kinds of experiences. For instance, combining VR with gamification to create training programs. This would allow employees to train in a virtual recreation of their actual environment.”

This is something that has been going on for a long time in fields such as aviation, according to Zichermann, where these complex simulators exist because pilots have to essentially learn their role without actually crashing any planes.

“However, the delegation and the democratization of various gaming technologies will soon bring that to every disciple,” he continued. “For example, why wouldn’t an administrative assistant also benefit from simulation training? Historically the simulators were too expensive, but now they’ll be affordable. Organizations scan have employees go through role playing experiences, such as interacting with customers, to help prepare them for the real thing.”

Finally, Zichermann thinks companies are now becoming aware of the part they play in aiding the distraction economy; as well as trying to help their employees do a better job of staying focused and stay productive.

“From a HR perspective, one of the ways companies often try to change behaviour is by edict. Rules and policies. That tends to be relatively ineffective if the behaviour change is more complicated or something that requires the employee to make sacrifices.

“People don’t love being told what to do. So, it needs to be focused on encouraging people to arrive to at their own conclusions and then drive themselves to do their best work from there.”

The way the HR tech is moving right now, you either keep up or fall quickly and hopelessly behind. Gabe Zichermann will be speaking at an exclusive HRD Canada webinar, revealing how you can harness the power of gamification to propel your organization into 21 Century.


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