According to a study paper published by Gallup, 31% of employees quit a company within the first six months. Of these, a significantly large chunk of employees cited the lack of fun at training as the reason they moved out. Here are the four things they said they want most in the first week of their job:
- On-the-job training
- Review of company policies
- A tour of the company and to have their equipment set up and ready to go, and
- Being assigned a buddy or a mentor.
Every employee wants his first day at the office should be such that it sets the tone for the rest of their journey in the organization. So onboarding programs should be crafted in such a way that it leaves them wanting to learn more about the organization by seriously anticipating about it. However, on most cases employee orientation programs turn out to be quite boring filled with a dull routine. This makes the new hires feel bored and this emerges as one of the reasons why employees quit so fast.
Over the last couple of decades, companies have tried to spice up employee orientation programs in a number of ways. HR and management consultancies have long sought ways of making this kind of training more palatable and make sure that it’s actually taken in, and that it comes in handy if employees ever need to use it.
This is where ‘Gamification’ comes in. Although this term – which only gained widespread popularity in 2010 – is now seen by many as a corporate buzzword, it contains some important concepts. As we all know, a game is often competitive; it’s played according to a set of rules; and the outcome might be determined by skill, knowledge, strength or luck. Gamification refers to the application of these features to non-game contexts. In an HR environment, this may be recruitment, engagement, or training. Gamification as an onboarding strategy exists to serve two main objectives: to make training fun, and to accelerate the pace of learning.
Using Gamification in Employee Orientation Programs
Gamification is essentially the use of concepts prevalent in traditional video games to motivate and incentivize users to perform certain tasks. One of the best examples of gamification in everyday life is the use of ‘loyalty points’ at retail stores. By rewarding consumers with virtual points each time they purchase, businesses influence their decision to come back for future purchases. In employee training, such reward points and badges motivate the employees to learn and complete the course.
Rewards and badges are not the only gamification elements that can be deployed. A well designed game has other elements like goals and clearly-marked paths to drive the player in a direction that the game wants them to take. Such elements can also be used while designing courses or learning materials since it is possible for the learner to be otherwise distracted during the process.
Finally, it is also known that video game developers deploy music and multimedia elements that help the player focus instead of getting distracted during the game. Onboarding programs that use multimedia as part of the training process too and make sure that these elements contribute towards better focus and do not take the learner’s mind away from the actual process.
Results of deploying gamification in employee orientation programs depend on how well it is executed. A report from Gartner Inc. research, says that companies with strategic implementation of gamification have reported great results, such as enhanced engagement, increased efficiency, and accelerated learning and development.
Below we have listed 4 ways in which you can deploy gamification in employee onboarding and zest it up.
1. Play Ice-Breaker Games
To dissipate the nervousness of the new hire on their first day it is recommended to play ice-breaker games as the first resort. It gives you a chance to know more about the individual on a personal level. There are several icebreaker games that you can play with the new hires, but, to keep things short and concise we have mentioned three of the best:
- Fill in the blank – Ask the new hire to complete the sentence with a phrase on a sticky note. For example; the strangest food that I have ever eaten. Collect all the phrases and keep them up in the bowl and let everyone pull out the fill in the blank. This will make you learn interesting things about the new hires with probably enough laughter to make their day!
- 10 Things in Common – Make small groups consisting of new hires and experienced employees and then set a timer for 3 minutes and challenge the teams to come up with a minimum of 10 things that all have in common. When the time is up, ask each group to share their input.
- Two Truths and a Lie – Ask the new hires to tell three short stories with one of them being fictitious. The rest of the team then needs to figure out which of the stories were false! – Ask the new hires to tell three short stories with one of them being fictitious. The rest of the team then needs to figure out which of the stories were false!
2. A Basic Beginner’s Task List
While assigning the first tasks to the new hires on their very first day you can motivate them to get to the next level by giving them an incentive. This will allow also let you know where they get stuck and need your attention. The training for the tasks can include online training videos or modules that assist the new hires to complete the task. Giving the employees an added incentive to complete the task and unlock the next level of tasks will reduce information overload that is a typical roadblock in new hire training.
By achieving the task list, the employees will get a sense of achievement right from the very beginning, creating a very good impression in their minds about your organization. It will also help to identify any gaps, if any, which will reduce their time to performance making it a perfect opportunity to stimulate the real work life situations before they are ready for their actual duties.
For example; you can ask the new employees to make a minimum of 15 cold calls to leads before they can get access to attend the sales meeting. Such goals can work as a motivation for them to push forward and keep learning.
3. Organize Team-Based Competitions
It is obvious for the new hires to feel nervous or even stressed out on their very first day of training. By organizing team-based competitions you can ease off their stress and nervousness which will assist them to achieve results together encouraging team activity. Even if an individual is not able to grasp the topic, he/she will be able to learn from others. The group will discuss amongst themselves and will arrive at a common answer. Introduce a point system as a reward or have a leadership dashboard for teams that complete the challenges correctly, which can be redeemed later
4. Organize a Game Show
Every individual has one time or the other seen game shows on television. You can use this to your advantage by introducing a game show, which can easily be integrated into the first-day orientation. After making the new hires understand the employee handbook with the help of an interactive presentation, quiz them with the questions pertaining to the employee handbook and learn about their grasping power. This is especially relevant when you have hired an individual for customer care services in a call center.
Gamification makes Employee Orientation Programs Fun
Onboarding is an opportunity to create a great first experience for new hires and lay down a roadmap that ensures long-term success. It’s quite effective, especially during the honeymoon stage of new hires because of it:
- Seamlessly aligns business goals with onboarding
- Increases engagement and retention
- Improves productivity and performance
- Delivers consistent, scalable results
By using the different elements of gamification mentioned in this blog, you can not only make the employee orientation program more enjoyable but also ensure that there is enough learning for the new hires in a very swift manner. Gamification can enable constant learning and engagement by making your onboarding program more interesting, giving you better opportunities to interact with your new employees and allowing you to assess their performance and give regular feedback. The right training program will not only improve retention and productivity but also bring down your turnover costs significantly.