This article aims not just to discuss the fear of using gamification in corporate training, but also to tackle it in the most optimal ways. Through my previous posts, you must have known that while it is not a very new idea, gamification has been expanding in recent years since organizations determine how best to apply it. After some experimentation, many businesses are starting to recognize how effective and easy it can actually be. Mostly it is used as a means to enhance the customer experience by inculcating more interaction and an environment of gaming and competition, all to benefit the bottom-line of the business. More lately, though, gamification has also been applied in other aspects, more specifically, being put internally to the employees themselves.

Gartner’s one of the reports predicts that 40 percent of top 100 global businesses would use gamification to revolutionize the way they operate their business and conduct corporate training. As can be learned from some organizations’ experiences, gamification can also be applied for tackling some critical issues like helping employees beat their fear of failure. Though gamification is bringing new ways of operations in almost every division of the organization, fear of using it in corporate training is still the chapter that needs to be closed.

I will start the topic from the educational context. It has been acknowledged by the experts that the next wave of innovation in education won’t come from dumping technology on the problem. Rather, it would arise from deeply engaging with learners and empowering them learning all their own, through technology that is in co-relation with malleability of human brain. If it’s just a classroom where empowered learning and learners’ engagement are so important for learner’s growth; then think about a business, a vast group of learners (employees) and how important it is to achieve business outcomes. Surely, a business is a much higher level classroom where technology, specifically gamification, should be incorporated to achieve business goals and making employees even more engaged towards them.

The factors leading to fears

The fear of using gamification in corporate training is usually often the result of the following fears managers and entrepreneurs hold.

  • Too much generalization

A number of businesses using enterprise gamification in the most generic ways initiate the fear of gamification failure in corporate training. They incorporate badges, leader boards and point systems onto any work mechanism they can think of instead of developing thoughtful experiences which can balance collaboration and competition. Here gamaification is unable to yield return since they overlook the significance of creating fun and meaning in learners’ (employees) lives. Due to such observed experiences, Gartner predicts that 8o percent of non gamified workplaces would be reluctant to adopt gamification.

  • Gamification might be the source of Cheating and stabbing

For as long as people have played games, they have also cheated at them. When training, and learning at workplace, raises, and promotions are based on the game, the inclination to take benefit of loopholes or cheat in the system can be difficult to resist. In fact, many of the reluctant business owners think that efforts to boost internal competition might provoke workers to negatively sabotage one another or make unethical choices instead of working together for the good of the organization as they try to their specific objective. SAP’s community network has revealed the latest search revealing a lot of allegations by users of other cheating to enhance their site rankings.

This is the point where competition and collaboration needs to be balanced, and there are surely many ways to achieve this. It’s all about design with which a business is incorporating gamification in corporate training. The design can either be developing or damaging. Try to learn from the mistake and negative experiences of organizations when they applied gamification. At least I can say that the loopholes were responsible for the failure, not gamification.

  • Uncertainty of Acceptance or willingness towards gamification

This all is related to change management, which is not that much difficult now like in the past. It is true that distribution without employees’ buy-in just means imposing unfamiliar structures on them. It has already been demonstrated in many organizations that this approach doesn’t work. The tendency of the learners in corporate training to adopt a unique learning structure and effective gamification design made by the trainer in view of the learners’ demographics, job, previous skills and personality is surely going to add value to corporate training sessions.

For gamified training module to be successful, they must consider the tasks learners are supposed to do. Meaningful learning however, takes various forms including learning with an objective, learning new material that is personally relevant and co-relating new learning to previous and existing knowledge. This wide range of learning considerations while integrating gamification in corporate learning would create the most relevant connection between employees’ learning and enhanced performance.

Copyright Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.

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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance.


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