Gamification of New Employee Onboarding and Why It Works

3 ways you can incorporate gamification elements into your new hire onboarding, and how they can benefit your business.

Today, most organizations follow a similar routine when onboarding new employees—new hires are instructed to watch a series of training videos or read a manual, with a few instructor-based training sessions. This is followed by a few weeks of on-the-job training before they’re allowed to work on their own, under basic supervision.

Although it’s a widespread practice and may seem beneficial, it’s often boring. As a result, new employees don’t pick up much of what is taught during the new hire orientation, and this can hurt both parties.

Gamification of New Employee Onboarding

Typically, new employees have to spend a lot of time pouring through the training material, which has only grown in size and possibly become outdated over the years. Also, instead of putting them to work, you have to wait while they complete their training.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could help your employees through the training process while enabling them to absorb more information? How can you do it? Try gamification.

Here are three ways you can incorporate gamification elements into your new hire onboarding, and how they can benefit your business:

1. Recognize progress and achievement. The key is to recognize and reward every small achievement accomplished by your employees, right from the beginning. It may sound silly at first, but according to an Aberdeen Group study, 86 percent of new employees choose to stick with or leave the company within the first six months. In fact, if they find the new employee onboarding to be a positive experience, they’re 69 percent more likely to stay for three years or more.

So make your new employees feel like they’re a valuable part of your business and not just another cog in the wheels of your organization. For example, create a digital checklist. During the new hire orientation, have your new employees check off tasks as they accomplish them. This can be as simple as uploading their photo or entering employee information into your company portal or filling out online forms for benefits and tax work. Every time they complete a task, send them a congratulatory message to keep them involved and motivate them to keep going. In fact, you can begin some of these activities before your onboarding process begins, so your new employees feel right at home when they join your organization.

2. Encourage leveling up. Leveling up is a term usually used in video games, whereby a player needs to complete a certain number of tasks or gather a minimum number of points before they get to the next level. You can use a similar approach to motivate new hires to not only learn their stuff quickly but also excel at it. For example, you can set up a list of doable goals your new employees must complete before they can assume more responsibilities.

For example, you can have your new employees make at least 10 cold calls to leads before they can sit in on sales meetings. Such goals will motivate them to keep learning and keep pushing forward.

3. Set up quests. Quests are a great way to increase employee engagement during onboarding and instill a sense of responsibility among new hires. It enables employees to discover how your organization works, instead of sitting through a two-hour training video. The best part about quests is that you can apply them to any topic.

For example, if you’re training about safety at workplace, have your employees interview others about their experience, tips, and suggestions for improvement. Ask your employees to report their findings, discuss them, and agree upon the various suggestions. This way, they’ll seek out the required information and enjoy the learning experience, instead of just watching a training video or reading manuals.

Wrapping Up

By introducing these little elements of gamification, you can not only make your new employee onboarding programs more enjoyable but also ensure your new hires learn a lot more, quickly. It also will have the additional benefit of building a team of engaged and productive employees who are familiar with their day-to-day tasks and capable of doing things more confidently. Remember to take feedback from your new hires about these gamification tactics, so you can determine what’s working and improve your onboarding process quickly.

For more than eight years, Sreeram Sreenivasan has worked with various Fortune 500 companies in the areas of BI, Sales & Marketing Strategy. He’s the Founder of Ubiq BI, a cloud-based BI Platform for SMBs & Enterprises. He also runs the Fedingo blog, which covers a wide range of business growth.

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