Serious games: Employee Training Tool or Productivity Driver?
We all know business processes are challenging and complicated. Meeting sales targets, hiring new competent employees, creating business plans, monitoring KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), adjusting budgets, shaping business strategies are only few of the numerous business processes that put employees under physical and emotional pressure. Companies are therefore seeking ways to make business tasks more pleasant and engaging for employees, as a means of reducing stress and enhancing productivity. In this context, how about thinking of employees like kids-the most stress free and enthusiastic beings? Children enjoy engaging in playful activities and games, which helps them build confidence and push the limits of their imagination. At the same time, it also teaches them teamwork and facilitates mental development. Most important, games make kids happy. Since teamwork, confidence and happiness are essential for successful and productive employees you can consider employing games for supporting some of the corporate business processes and for making your workplace happy and inspiring.
Accordingly to Gartner, gamification is “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals”. In other words, gamification in the corporate environment refers to the engagement of employees in “serious games” i.e. games whose scope goes beyond entertainment, to the support of business processes. Nowadays enterprises are increasingly employing serious games and gamification processes in order to boost employee engagement and productivity in business processes, but also in order to influence employees’ behavior at work.
Serious games are currently employed for business processes associated with training, marketing, recruitment, sales and more. Here is an indicative (yet non exhaustive) list of examples:
The development of effective and successful serious games in the above categories is both art and science. Serious games should feature pleasant, motivating and user-friendly user interfaces. However, they should also be designed on the basis of scientifically sound theories, which explain the ways to boost learning and working performance. Adherence to such principles is a key to enabling employee learning and behavior shifts, based on mechanisms such as attainable challenges, rewards (badges, points) and public recognition. Here is an indicative list of principles that should drive game development:
The above list is by no means exhaustive. There are numerous other scientific factors that should be taken into account for the design of a successful serious game, beyond the ever important artistic, ergonomic and aesthetic aspects.
Gamification is a productivity tool, which can enable enterprises achieve productivity benefits far beyond conventional training of the work force. However, gamification projects have their own challenges, as the design of proper games is associated with a wide range of technical, economic, social and cultural factors. It is a process that should be tailored to the needs of the enterprise, as there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, even for enterprises in the same sector.
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