Gamification Expert Series: Justina Huang
by Natalie Ann Monteiro / September 16 2021
Welcome to our sixth Gamification Expert Series!
Justina has been honing her craft as a Learning & Talent professional over the past 13 years in various MNCs and LLCs. More aptly, she can be described as a learning catalyst, a people developer, and a talent advocate. To Justina, it has always been about the people. “Throughout my career, I’ve always liked working with people. There’s just this unexplainable sense of achievement when I know I’ve made a positive impact on someone, whether it’s supporting people to grow and develop in their careers or helping them to find love – a passion project I am a part of (today)”.
Not one to shy away from accolades, one of her greatest achievements was to successfully set up the Learning & Talent function in a Singapore listed company from ground zero. In a recent role, she also managed to transform a dysfunctional learning function into one that secured the SkillsFuture Employer Award 2020 for the company.
Justina’s first experience with Gametize came on the back of a workplace challenge to revamp the group-wide Orientation programme to one that is virtual and highly engaging. Scouring through the learning marketplace, it was evident that the usual e-learning solutions just wouldn’t cut it. Upon sharing this conundrum with a consultant friend, what resulted was— you guessed it— the beginning of a weird and wonderful relationship with Gametize. According to Justina, she found the right partner in Gametize, simply because the “platform is so flexible, and really, the only one that could keep up with the pace of my ideation and creativity”.
Following her passion - how Justina got to where she is today
Here is where I found my passion, where I don’t have to try too hard to convince myself of the good that I can do. I’d like to think of my role in learning and talent as one that inspires people to grow and realize their full potential. When we help our people to be the best versions of themselves, our people will in turn enable the business to realize its strategy.
Justina: I am joining a new role at a European bank in a week. I am basically taking this short break to rejuvenate and dedicate some time to personal projects I am passionate about.
By the way, I have close to a hundred pet fish at home, thanks to my pair of super-productive chalice convict fish. It’s been really encouraging to see them grow up day by day. (Yes, it seems Justina’s passion for growth and development goes beyond people)
Overcoming the challenge of virtual learning
Anyone can claim to gamify something, but the trick is: how do we make it interesting and engaging by injecting game elements into a relevant activity? Gamification, to me, is about instilling the fun-factor, social engagement and some healthy competition to get our learners excited about learning. And to retain the interest in the process.
Borrowing the wise words from Maya Angelou, she once said “At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel”. Transposing this to the learning and talent space, as curators, we need to understand that gamification is not just mindless fun. When executed successfully, it is an effective approach to creating lasting experiences which will aid in learning retention and skills uptake.
Despite our best efforts adapting to the new learning landscape— given that it has been nearly two years since the start of Covid-19— people are facing (virtual) meeting and webinar fatigue. How can we get our learners to be excited about learning when it is the 10th Zoom session they are attending in that week?
When people say they’re bored with being on these virtual/digital platforms, do they actually mean it? Don’t they relax after work by going on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, etc… Are these same people bored on these social media platforms? The answer is likely no. How then, can we bring that level of engagement that FaceBook or TikTok delivers into our learning platforms?
And if I’m going to be honest, I think the answer is Gametize.
Some of your partners and collaborators may not have had the same experience because they may have a staff or intern do the actual work building the solution. I, on the other hand, would explore the functionality of every challenge type and try every conceivable way to embed interactivity and that “social touch” on Gametize, just so I create that sense of intrinsic motivation and content “stickiness” I hope my users will experience.
Especially working on the social app project, I totally could see how I can leverage Gametize to bring people together.
Revolutionizing the Orientation experience with gamification
This whole thing about trying to replicate the Candy Crush level of fun – I must admit, I had to challenge my assumptions but it provided me with an eureka moment! It dawned on me that if conventional training– the way it’s being done– isn’t exciting the learners, then why are we still doing the same old thing? My CHRO’s enthusiasm rubbed off on me and I started to explore possibilities to inject the fun element and that, we delivered.
Apart from all the insightful content and awesome rewards new joiners now enjoy, we managed to embed live games into the virtual Orientation and one of the live games was actually a Candy Crush equivalent!
Orientation was no longer boring because of the interactive bite-sized content, leaderboards, virtual treasure hunts, rewards and achievement badges. We also intentionally included the “social touch” by getting new joiners to post pictures with their buddies and leaders, and share insights they gained through these interactions.
When Covid-19 came along in the early 2020s, we didn’t need to scramble because our e-Orientation was effectively Covid-proof. So, when we transitioned to work-from-home, our new joiners weren’t left out in the cold and we could still effectively assimilate them into the company as if nothing had changed.
Bringing gamification to fruition - how the right partner makes a difference
It is definitely important to know what engages our target audience and to understand the objectives that our sponsor wants to achieve, before we add value further by researching other leading companies that have solved similar challenges.
Having good ideas is not enough. Having the right partner who understands your vision and is able to brainstorm for creative solutions to your requirements is critical. There is no use having great ideas if your solution partner is not effective in implementing them.
Looking into the future
I would like the industry to replicate the stickiness from social media platforms (TikTok, Instagram, FaceBook, etc) and explore how that can be mimicked in a corporate setting hopefully for learning & talent development!
You can’t run away from the social element because that’s what the community is craving now. That’s the future. Since we are already interacting virtually these days, why must the corporate setting be a drag versus the social (TikTok) setting. On the top of my mind: the social element, the news feed part, is something Gametize already has. Being able to drop people into teams, possibly into various teams and groups based on personality profiles or interests– you know, like-minded individuals is where we can move the needle further. This is where we can see social engagement at a deeper level.
And in content sharing, being able to filter content in more specific ways may provide greater value and usage of the insights shared. For example, if we are getting employees to share their skill sets as one of the challenges, being able to leverage a filtering feature to identify people with the necessary skill sets we can tap on will be of great value to any learning function.