Using gamification in recruitment

Using gamification in recruitment
Using gamification in recruitment

There’s a new buzzword being uttered across all types of industry – ‘gamification’. Well, I say new. It was actually coined by Nick Pelling, a British computer programmer and writer nearly two decades ago. But it’s recently started being held up as a useful business tool, even though not everyone is clear what it means!

A few years ago, research company, Gartner, defined it as “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals”. 

There are some key elements of this definition that might need further explanation.

‘Game mechanics’ is the process of using devices such as points, badges and leaderboards to track and reward progress.

‘Experience design’ is all about the user journey – the plot, the gameplay, and so on. 

‘Motivation’ is the main objective of gamification – using gaming techniques to change behaviours, drive ideas or hone new skills.

The way gamification does this is by helping players to ‘achieve their goals’. By aligning players’ goals with corporate ones, organisational success naturally follows the success of the individuals.

Interestingly, some experts question the ‘digital’ element of the definition.  Parents of young children have probably been using gamification for years without realising it, in the form of reward or star charts!

So, is gamification something that can help the recruitment industry?

It’s actually really well suited to our industry because it is so people-centred.  After all, nearly everyone finds games involving and good fun! And it’s far less stressful to play games than undertake other types of testing. Here are some areas that gamification can be applied to in the recruitment process.

Skills assessment

As a recruiter, you’ll be familiar with aptitude tests, used to measure skills, personality, and how people respond in different situations. Often, different types of tests are used to measure different aspects. 

In a different approach, Marriott International developed a game to recruit new staff. Candidates can run a virtual hotel, with the game covering purchasing, staff training, restaurant design, serving guests – practically every element of running a hotel. 

With a game such as this, it can be made very close to the real job in the actual workplace. This means the candidate can be assessed more precisely, and more comprehensively, to see if they fit the job that is vacant.

Attract candidates drawn to innovation

Gamification is a way to make employer and candidate exchanges more fun and meaningful. So it not only allows the recruiter to assess the candidate better but will attract that talent that will enjoy being part of an innovative company.

For example, Phoenix Software doesn’t ask for CVs. Instead, they lock candidates in an escape room for an hour, along with some existing employees. This process allows the organisation to see how the candidates work with others and what attributes they exhibit, such as their problem-solving skills. 

A more exciting on-boarding process

Games can help your new starter learn about the company culture, values,  and expectations in an engaging way. Deloitte is an example of a company that has gamified this process.

New employees are put into teams to learn about privacy, compliance, ethics and procedures online. A series of pre-set questions can be introduced into their team that everyone has to answer. Potential answers are discussed within the team with the objective of arriving at one solution. This approach not only provides practical learning about essential aspects of the company but helps foster collaboration and creates a strong sense of teamwork right from day one.

Reduce employee churn

Used well, gamification techniques can be used to encourage positive competition and can be integrated into the rewards and recognition infrastructure. Games can be used to prompt desired employee behaviours, by designing them in line with the company objectives. In this way, gamification can help learning and development, employee engagement, and employee retention.

Deloitte developed a way to smooth the way for employees needing to travel to other offices within the group. Virtual office tours are set up like a video game. You start at the airport and choose your destination office. Employees then “fly” to that city and arrive at the local Deloitte virtual office, where they can talk to employees, getting a sense of their culture. It makes the actual physical visit far more familiar and effective.

Although growing in popularity, many organisations may feel gamification is not for them. Usually, they are put off by the thought of the time and effort to design games from scratch. But there are already a number of automated game-design software packages readily available, and we can only see this growing in the future. 

Have you ever come across this tool and if so, what did you think of it? Let us know by commenting below.

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