70 percent of global organizations will have incorporated gamification into at least one element of their training program by 2014 according to research firm Gartner. Gamification, put simply, is the use of game theory in platforms of interaction with employees, customers and the wider community. The advent of game technology allows training providers to integrate the positive reinforcements of gaming into the learning environment.
While some may roll their eyes and make some assertion that big business is kowtowing to the younger crowd or that gamification is a passing fad, others embracing it and creating loyalty among customers and higher engagement among training participants. A common discussion among training specialists is the cost-effectiveness of training as some studies show that participants retain a mere 10% of content. Indeed, the prospect of sitting all day listening to someone talk about a topic that you have little interest in would test anyone’s tenacity for undivided attention.
So while some readers would have already disengaged with this article (because they have little interest in the topic, maybe gamification would have been a better way to engage the nay-sayers to gamification) let us look further at why gamification works: Games give us real time feedback, if a participant gets something wrong they are corrected immediately. It does not wait for the participant to get back to the workplace, wait for the scenario to arise and fail with real-world clients or profits at stake. Games involve problem solving, which sparks our creativity.

Games provide us with fun and enjoyment, which increases the motivation to continue playing and maintain our attention. Games involve goals which provide us with the motivation to complete the tasks. Games are based on storylines, storylines create affiliation and emotional attachment. Gamification could effectively destroy the need for those dreaded performance appraisals be it yearly or quarterly. As the human resource professional in the organisation we are viewed as the uncool ogre come performance appraisal time. The line managers hate them, the employees fear them and we get sick of reminding everyone to do them.
Gamification take the performance appraising away from line managers through developing a standardised inventory of correct answers, the employees are given goals promoting competition between departments, which increases social interaction between employees. The gamification pulls employees in rather than us as HR practitioners and leaders having to push the process onto them. It is amazing what a gold star can actually do. Positions that have KPI’s can now be set up as a game to beat your highest score, beat your co-worker with relevant rewards tied to it.

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