Engaging Millennials At Work: How Gamification Can Be A Game-Changer
Peter walks into his cubicle at 8am. He logs on and quickly completes a 30-minute training module on risk assessment. At 8.30am, he catches up on his social media feeds and reads the news online. Soon, Peter's day at work begins.
Peter quintessentially represents the millennial generation, which, according to a study, will constitute nearly half (46%) of the U.S. workforce by 2020. He enjoys collaborating through social platforms. A continuous learner, he prefers the self-directed approach and short bursts of learning. He's also socially conscious (according to a 2015 research report, millennials are more engaged in corporate social responsibility efforts and are likely to work for a socially-conscious brand).
So how many Peters do you have in your team? One, two? More? Well, according to Time magazine, globally three out of four employees will be millennials by 2025. It's evident that traditional models of employee engagement will not cut it anymore. To retain millennials on their payrolls, companies should be thinking about new strategies. One of them is gamification.
Nearly everyone at the workplace today owns a mobile device - millennials among them are termed 'screenagers'. They are always connected to the Internet and use multiple devices to access resources. And many of them are gamers. In the U.S. alone, there are 183 million active gamers. 69 percent of all heads of households and 97 percent of the youth play computer and video games; 40 percent of gamers are women. 61 percent of senior executives take daily game breaks at work "to feel more productive", according to Jane McGonigal's Reality is Broken.
Organizations must take advantage of this incredible phenomenon to enhance workforce engagement. Some are already on their way. PwC Hungary's Multipoly tests candidates by asking them to solve business problem in teams. Qualcomm encourages its employees to ask and answer technical questions on their internal portal, giving points (and badges) to those that answer the most (and the toughest) questions.
Gamification can also be an incredibly powerful tool for learning at the workplace. 75 percent of learners are happy to engage in online learning of their own volition. A big chunk of this group uses mobile devices to unlock knowledge resources. Providing continuous but short bursts of learning is one way to eliminate information overload. Making learning context-sensitive is also imperative. Walmart's worker safety training is interspersed with three-minute games, resulting in better information retention. Millennials are also seekers of instant, real-time feedback. Gamification provides just that, along with recognition and visibility - almost like a mini-appraisal.
Although the odds are never really in their favor, gamers love the gaming experience. It also brings together three elements that define 'good engagement': motivation, capability, and closure. For millennials, who are always looking for new experiences, gamification techniques will not only keep them interested, but also help them continuously learn.
McGonigal, Jane, Reality is Broken