Can gamification improve your recruitment strategy?

on 12 August 2015

Before we dive into the detail it’s probably wise to make sure you know exactly what we’re discussing here. Gamification is a term which is often misunderstood and people tend to automatically think it has something to do with online gaming, which to be fair, it sounds like it should be. In recent research from an organisation called Penna it was revealed that over 89% of respondents didn't know what Gamification actually was so don’t worry, you’re not alone. The definition of gamification is; the concept of applying the design techniques and mechanics of games in order to engage and therefore motivate individuals to reach their goals. So now you know!

In terms of HR the concept is still in the early stages but receiving some really positive results, with some businesses using the technique successfully since 2009. Certainly some big names across a variety of sectors are ultilising Gamification to their advantage.

However, in the general business sector, the Penna report titled “Big Game Hunter” indicated that people were unsure but interested in the approach, 54% of the HR directors who took part had a personal interest in employing gamification to improve their people's performances whereas 44% commented that their company simply aren't interested in even considering its potential.

Gamification and recruitment

Now you may be asking yourself now how we can use it in recruitment, search and selection and if it is too costly for your organisation, and more specifically how it can be employed to attract talent. Some reading this will probably be familiar with how, when applied as a learning tool or when used in internal communications gamification can be extremely useful but as far as recruitment goes its potential has still to be realised by the masses.

The reality is very different however and when a company uses gamification for both attraction and subsequent recruitment it actually offers them a very solid return on their investment. The good news is that despite those who are dragging their feet somewhat a large number of HR departments are actually very keen to build a case for their companies to invest in gamification so here we’ll try to dispel some of the myths and also explain the reasons why it is so effective when it comes to both attracting and recruiting new talent.

We understand that a lot of companies feel that gamification is just too new. In the Penna survey 70% of HR directors said that gamification had never been used before in their organisation so they were cautious about spending budget on a technique that they knew little about. We feel these misconceptions need challenging as gamification is capable of being cost effective if well delivered. Through the harnessing of both the power and the innovation of modern technology gamification is capable of more of an impact that most people realise.

It is already pretty well established when it comes to graduate and early years recruitment, as this is the age group most companies are best suited to this kind of recruitment strategy. Many large organisations are using online games as part of their graduate recruitment, but in fact you can term this as somewhat ageist. There is absolutely no reason why it should be restricted to only graduate recruits and those of a similar age.

Research has shown that women in their 40's actually spend more time gaming than those of between 20-24 so why isn't this method being employed for this age group. In fact, by employing gamification right across the board you engage an applicant’s full interest from the off, and their applications are likely to be all the more impressive due to this mental stimulation.

Real world examples

A few companies have really been ahead of the game (no pun intended!) on this and have been using a gamification approach as part of their strategy for some time now. Siemens Industry for example launched Plantville as part of their search and selection strategy, the game is designed to look at the role of a plant manager and the gamer completes the process and tasks needed to perform in the job, it also helps in unveiling actual behaviour and capabilities of the candidate, this can be covered off at the interview stage.

Image courtesy: www.candarine.com

Maersk took to using gamification as part of their approach when they wanted to almost double the size of its workforce across one of its specialisms. The game “quest for Oil” which has been downloaded over 350,000 times uses a scoreboard for engagement and repeat visits; the game itself looks to show insight into the oil industry. Give it a go here

As you can see gamification gives the impression that a company is forward thinking and dynamic. In short, the kind of company everyone wants to work for so you will attract the best talent. 


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