Millennials and Gamification: How to keep them engaged

The Millennial generation is a group of young adults who were born between 1980 and 2000. They are known to be idealistic and impulsive, but with a strong grasp on today’s technology. I myself, am a Millennial. At this point, it’s starting to feel like a self-fulfilling prophecy, where I’m magically destined to abide by the unspoken (but unofficial) rules of being a Millennial:

  1. The constant need to seek out new and exciting career opportunities at every turn! Job loyalty? What is that? Never heard of it.
  2. The hunger for self-validation and self-fulfilment. Rewards and benefits are a must-have, and the work we do… has to mean something.
  3. Mentally wired to give up when the going gets tough. Unlike our forefathers and the Baby Boomers, Millennials are allegedly unfamiliar with the term “working hard”.
  4. The short attention span of an average Millennial means shorter instructions, more action, and instant gratification.
  5. Millennials, being brought up in the “digital” era, love to have fun and enjoy life, in general.

As this generation is set to form an estimated 50% of the workforce by 2020, we need to start focusing on how to attract – and retain – them in our organisations, and also to engage them to learn on the job. Marketing for Millennials would also take into account the way they think and react to advertisements and promotions.

#1: HR for Millennials

Over the past few years, we have worked with clients in gamifying their recruitment practices, onboarding processes and training programmes. It seems to be a popular trend, and a growing concern, that the staff is disengaged and unmotivated to partake in activities within the office (e.g. staff e-learning, employee performance games). Millennial staff especially, are on a lookout for a more challenging pursuit of knowledge, coupled with technology, because… technology.

While there are many solutions to this issue of disengagement, the one that we are keen to talk about (for obvious reasons) would be the gamification solution. Gamification within HR can come in many forms and for most of our clients, engaging the younger generation of employees was their target audience.

Firstly, some large organisations have come to appreciate how gamification elements can be incorporated into the recruitment process. It helps them sieve out the qualified and interested applicants from those who are simply just trying their luck. It also allows them to engage their target audience (a.k.a the interested applicants and potential new hires) in ways that would be more interactive and detailed than a simple application form. With a fun theme, and creative copywriting in play, recruiting can be a game in itself, where applicants are expected to play the game in order to apply for the job, and in the process, learn more about the organisation and in turn, help them prepare for the interview that awaits them, should their job application be approved.

One example of such a unique practice would be DBS’ Joyful Journey recruitment programme. It invites applicants to embark on a journey around the world, understanding a bit of the culture from each country before completing a quiz that will determine which type of position are they most suited for.

Then, once the millennials are in, the onboarding programme is likely to be one of their first few exposures to the job, and HR/talent managers are keen to make a good first impression. To incorporate gamification into onboarding programmes, millennials can be encouraged to not only go through the programme in full (and meet the learning objectives of the HR manager) but also have fun while doing it! Creativity can play an important role in the way the content is introduced to the employees, and why not throw in some valuable rewards like “Coffee with the Director” as well?

#2: Learning/Training for Millennials 

After having spent a decade in the modern school system of today, with all the technology that can be offered, the millennials have adapted to a different learning style as compared to their parents’ generation. They are more responsive towards micro-learning, where information is given to them in bite-sized chunks instead of lengthy articles to be consumed over many hours of learning. They learn quickly and they can apply quickly too.

Millennials, unlike the previous generations, are more willing to learn via the latest technologies, in particular mobile technologies, thus allowing for their learning to be… well, mobile. However, instead of simply converting streams of data into a mobile app, we need to consider applying current mobile habits and user experience to maximise the efficacy of mobile learning programmes.

One way to do so would be to incorporate gamification elements into the way the learning/training programmes are conducted. Having visible milestones (e.g. progress bars, badges) for learners to achieve can appeal to learners with a shorter attention span and those who require instant gratification for completing small tasks. By splitting the content up into bite-sized pieces and rewarding them for every step they have taken will ultimately motivate them to complete the whole programme without feeling fatigued by the information. Also, games provide instant feedback, which will be useful for millennials to learn from their mistakes immediately.

Rewards of varying values can also be used as bait to motivate them to completed even more challenges and therefore, learn more as a result, especially those who are already highly engaged by the programme. From Starbucks vouchers or invitations to closed-door networking sessions, the rewards must be those of value to the target audience, so do have a chat with your potential players before creating them.

 

#3: Marketing for Millennials

Forget about hard selling to the average millennial. They don’t respond well to sales people who will only boast about their products. A Forbes article mentions the use of social influencers as the new way of gaining trust among millennials today, where validity is based not on how well a sales person sells the product but by how many people are using it. Influence and authenticity is key. In fact, 84 percent of Millennials say user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy, and many say it’s important to read others’ opinions before purchasing.

Thus, marketing strategies that are in line with gamification can include challenges related mostly to social-related tasks, so as to allow user-generated content to go viral on social media – and have the players be rewarded for it! According to AdAge, millennials spend an average of 25 hours per week online, thus it would seem appropriate to focus our marketing efforts towards online social media platforms where they consume content. Through gamification, marketing efforts will be made more “personal” and will not have the “mass-produced” feel which, in a way, will make the receiver feel more special.

Thoughts, anyone? Let us know what YOU think of millennials (and if you have any useful strategies to appeal to them using gamification) by commenting below! 🙂

 

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