As companies increasingly look to introduce gamification in the workplace to drive higher employee engagement and boost productivity, so HR can use the same process to seek out, engage and recruit tomorrow’s top talent.
Let’s just correct a common misconception – gamification isn’t about playing games. It’s about giving people an intrinsic motivation to carry out actions – whether that’s through a workplace reward scheme or by encouraging them to give us useful data.
With the so-called ‘Facebook generation’ leaving university and joining the workforce, recruiters need to find the best way to engage with the best candidates available in a crowded talent market if they are to find the cream of the crop.
With a third of internet users seeing their smartphone as the fastest, easiest way of going online, it is increasingly important that conversations can be held in the mobile space.
This is something that traditionally hasn’t happened in HR, where processes tend to be driven by the needs of the business rather than those of the user.
In a traditional HR process, we tend to collect empirical data to enable us to make decisions or to store information in a specific way. We either make that data light and therefore not very useful, or we make it heavy, in which case there are barriers to collecting it.
The best way to engage and recruit employees would be to put out a great advert with a low barrier to entry, such as ‘send a CV to this email address’. If everyone who emailed got an interview or call-back, then that would be an engaging process. But because of the volume of applications, that isn’t possible for all but the smallest organisations.
Instead a process is built up requiring applicants to jump through lots of hoops. They may need to create a password, verify their account, fill out lots of seemingly arbitrary information, and give their address, age group, and diversity information. With global companies, there might be cross-border issues, i.e. the need for a state and zip code when you are actually a UK applicant.
The process is based around a data collection element so HR can crunch the data in a particular way and report in accepted company formats. The user experience is often considered later, if at all – the system is often designed around what the organisation needs.
There needs to be a change in thinking. If we continue to ask applicants to complete old desktop forms on smartphones, we risk losing them. Should organisations be reviewing their application processes and considering a reallocation of their attraction budgets to streamline the process?
Using gamification to help identify these and assess these individuals could help uncover hidden talent and quickly provide a ROI.
Dedicated mobile apps are often much easier to engage with - invariably because they have been developed with the user in mind, meaning they are simply more likely to be used. My research found that over three-quarters of students preferred to complete psychometric assessments on their smart phones.
With the potential to reduce the outdated over-reliance on academic performance, employers will be able to select from a broader, richer talent pool, knowing all applicants are pre-screened, filtering out unsuitable candidates.
For HR to further harness the power of gamification or mobile apps there is going to be a need to persuade people elsewhere in the company that money, resource or change is needed. It’s seen as new and scary.
Mobile apps can reduce the risk by taking a smaller product to test on a small level. If it doesn’t work, it can be tweaked until it does and then rolled out on a larger scale with minimal risk. It is agile and affordable. HR are not always used to working in an agile way, but this will need to change if they wish to stay ahead of their competition and start engaging with talent in a more cohesive way.
By engaging individuals from all backgrounds and pre-screening them to match the exact criteria required, gamification apps could be a great way to cure organisations’ biggest attraction, engagement and screening headaches.