Role of Gamification in Human Resources Management

By Published June 7, 2017
Training and development

In the online world, gamification has gained lots of attention as a way to engage customers (and prospective talent) and develop loyalty. Although many “doubting Thomas” still struggle to comprehend – “how playing games” in employee training & development modules can help the organizations gain competitive advantage. However, most companies implemented gamification inside the workplace and found new and faster ways to recognize and engage high performing employees.

Training and development

What is gamification?

Gamification is the usage of game mechanics and game-thinking in business environment scenario. It is correctly applied to training and development, recruitment and motivation. It takes the attributes of games such as fun, design, transparency, play, addiction and competition and applies to real world problems.

According to Karl M. Kapp, professor of instructional technology at Bloomsburg University

gamification uses a combination of the science of motivation, distributed learning, and other neuroscience foundations,” and it, “takes advantage of game elements to engage learners.

How does gamification work?

In a non-game environment, gamification applies behavior-motivating approaches from social and traditional games. In other words, gamification is an advanced version of a standard loyalty program, which is expanded beyond leaderboards, points and badges.

Gamification works on the “psychology of motivation.” It leads people to feel “they are in-charge” and boost competence that in turn help them to stick their goals for a longer period. Therefore, it is essential that only best games must be introduced within employee training and development programs leading to intrinsic motivation while providing rewards.

Gamification in HR Examples

Marriott International Inc.

Marriott International is one of the earliest implementers of gamification in their recruitment and selection initiatives. To acclimatize prospective employees with the hotel industry and Marriot company culture, they developed a hotel-themes online game (similar to The Sims or Farmville).

Tata Consultancy Services

TCS developed the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) leading to the creation of real-life environments with built-in networking features. It is implemented in real-world industrial training and simulation that initiates better team play and greater collaboration.


Accenture also embraced the gamification and leveraged it for employee engagement and workplace behavior. The organization used a multi-pronged approach to address the behavior and mindset change and named it A3 Program. The program targeted the intrinsic motivation of the employees to develop engaged work culture.

In the coming years, the market of gamification within training and development domain is expected to grow significantly.

How Gamification fits in Human Resources?

Here are four most common ways HR teams can leverage gamification to succeed business goals.

1. Retention of Valued Employees & Cultivate Corporate Culture

Retention is vital in maintaining consistency, institutional knowledge, prevent costly turnover and valuable personnel assets. Here, gamification can be used to promote the exciting work culture by rewarding employees for contributing to company-wide volunteer programs, cross-departmental collaboration and providing process improvement suggestions.

The platform of gamification can be used to track these opportunities and activities and showcase the positive results to the workforce to boost intrinsic motivation.

2. Improve Talent Acquisition and Management

When you start rewarding prospects and candidates with definite perks and acknowledgment for competing at each step of hiring process – you are apparently making a transition towards gamification. Delivering rewards and incentives not just attract the candidates but also accelerate the onboarding process.

Simultaneously, gamification can be applied internally to reward top recruiters.

3. Map the career success path

Many L&D leaders believe that mission-based career paths with greater transparency are readily achievable through gamification. It will show the steps employees have taken to level up along their complete career growth chart within the organization.

4. Encourage Administrative Requirements

No one likes to complete the paperwork and HR department is no exception, especially when other tasks are more exciting and pressing. Nevertheless, there are certain areas like benefits enrollment forms that just cannot leave the paperwork out of focus. Why not find a fun way to do it?

Similar to training and development applications, rewarding employees with either tangible incentives, management recognition or – even peer recognition for completing the required forms create a friendly competition. Employees can compete for “Best expense reporter” title. Hence, giving the monotonous paperwork a more innovative and entertaining perspective.

Why should you implement gamification?

Gamification has emerged as a useful tool to overcome the employee engagement crisis. It enables HR teams to create a rewarding, interactive and attentive workforce. Also, let you leverage the intrinsic motivators to drive the workforce behavior as well as improve the ROI and efficiency while reducing churn cost.

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  • Chris Rudram

    The four common ways to use gamification section, only lists 3….

    Though gamification is over-used and has issues as a motivational technique, in recruitment and overall training plans, it’s got a lot going for it.

    For getting in good candidates via your best resource (your staff) incentivizing, and engaging with them via gamification is a method worth implementing. It won’t capture everyone, but those it does are more likely to keep engaged, and keep sending candidates to the HR department.

    Same with courses and objectives. Simple gamification with feedback and rewards will get engaged staff more likely to complete courses, faster and without prompting. It’s not one size fits all… but using the techniques as an overall framework can work well.

    Gamification of everyday roles and tasks is not recommended: it can lead to a lot of issues like unhealthy competition and disengagement.

    Game-like structures for interactive learning is another thing all together 🙂

    • Supriya Nigam

      Thank you for stopping by and reading our piece on Gamification. We value your opinion.

    • Supriya Nigam

      Thank you for stopping by and reading our piece on Gamification. We value your opinion.