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! 🙂

 

Employee Happiness VS Employee Engagement

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“Employee happiness”.

It’s a term commonly thrown around now by supervisors and bosses and CEOs, but never by employees themselves. Ironic, isn’t it?

These days, to sell their companies, higher-ups claim that their employees are happy – no, no, it’s not like they’re lying or anything. They just genuinely believe their own employees are happy.

comic_1Why wouldn’t they be? They work in an air-conditioned office. They have a one hour lunch break. They must have great camaraderie with the people they work with everyday. And, come on, the pay isn’t all that bad! What’s there to complain about? Of course our employees are happy!

Yet, surveys conducted this year shows that a staggering 61% of employees surveyed said they’d thought of looking for employment elsewhere.

There you have it, folks – that’s your “employee happiness”.

Those companies technically aren’t wrong when they say their employees are happy. Their employees could be happy. They could be smiling and laughing and having the time of their life while working. But is it enough?

There’s discussion these days that, no, it isn’t. It isn’t enough to keep your employees happy. After all, they could be equally as happy going out with friends or staying at home to play video games. Happiness is so easily attainable these days that the workplace needs to offer more than just that.

“But the workplace does offer more! They pay you!” you say.

But is that what it’s come down to? Money? Is money enough, then?

Studies have shown that, no, it isn’t.

That old saying that everyone loves quoting: “money can’t buy happiness”? Apparently, it’s true. While everyone loves money and the things it can provide for us, it simply isn’t enough. Even pay raises have proven to be futile attempts in the quest to make employees want to keep working. Money is probably more effective than “employee happiness” but it still isn’t working as effectively as we want.

So, what is the problem here? They’re happy, they’re getting paid, but employees still think about leaving their jobs all the time.

Happiness and money is all fine and dandy, but the real selling point of a good company is engagement.

Employee happiness and employee engagement often get mixed up, and, even when the distinction is clear, it is unclear which should take priority.

So how about this radical notion of combining both, where employees live and breathe their work, and derive enjoyment from it? Here’s how we think we can achieve this.

We believe that employee happiness consists of:

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We’re woking with these people day-in and day-out. Much better to have somene to talk to when you’re tackling that pesky assignment, you know?


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No one wants to work while they’re sweaty or sleepy. A good working environment provides employees with just the right amount of comfort to keep them motivated.


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It’s the really small things that matter. Small things like having a monthly gathering with colleagues to play games, or someone getting coffee for everybody when there’s a super-early meeting. Little surprises go a long way in keeping employees happy.


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Enough sleep, regular meals. Do your employees have the energy to do their work? Are they struggling to meet deadlines with half-opened eyes? Are they starting to get cranky and irritated because all they want to do is to sleep, but they have work to do? Always encourage your employees to take ample rest. Give them time to have ample rest; how about starting work later?

That’s what employee happiness, to me, a working adult, is all about.


But what of employee engagement? Do you feel that pride and sense of achievement when you work? Do you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile? Here’re some of the things we think are necessary to achieve all that.

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Simply put, we’ve gotta love what we do. We’ve gotta want to do what we’re doing. No one wants to force themselves to do something they don’t truly believe in. Thankfully, passion can be cultivated. It requires some educating and some interaction and some time, but passion for work can be cultivated.


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Say “thank you”! Say “you’ll do better next time”! Say “you’re getting there”! We employees need and want to know how we’re getting along. We need to know what we can improve on, and what accomplishments we’re actually achieving, if we’re achieving any. This keeps us engaged and interested, both in our own progress and the company’s.


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Does my work help me as an individual? Or am I simply giving my time and life away to the company, but getting nothing besides monetary gains in return? We’ve already established that while money is a good pull, it’s not a good foundation for employees to base their happiness or engagement on. The workplace needs to be able to shape their employees, and help their employees learn and grow in their personal lives.

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At the end of a long day at work, everyone wants to feel like they’ve done something with their day. We don’t want to think, “Oh, I just went to work today”. We want to think, “Hey, I designed an app today!” or “I saved a couple from falling into bankruptcy!” or “I helped energize people by serving them coffee!”

Employee happiness and engagement boils down to this: Do I want to tell other people what I did at work today? Am I excited about what I did at work today?

Yes, it’s true that work is just one aspect in our lives, and, who knows, maybe we are putting too much thought into it. Maybe we’re meant to grumble and hate work, but then go back to a loving home where everything is alright. Maybe we’re not meant to love our work. Maybe that’s okay. After all, work isn’t everything, is it?

But why should we suffer, if we don’t have to? Why should we hate our work if we can love it?

Yes, there is much more to life than work. But work can also be so much more if we put some life into it.

Creating the right value for your business strategy

Process value analysis is the elimination of unnecessary cost and the addition of value through innovation. It is the stripping down and scrutinizing of supply chain processes in order to increase the value and desire of customers. Essentially, it is used to identify the least costly set of requirements needed without undermining the satisfaction of customers. Redundancies are chuck out for a more streamline process. The key is to be cost effective, building a high visibility and being concern about the needs of the target audience (customers).

A typical organisation would see various departments and external parties in coordination. It is a long process chain that’s prone to complications. Coupled with the desire to be opportunistic, the ability of the supply chain to effectively serve the target audience would be affected. Process value analysis seek to weed out the complications and serve the target audience with the optimal, least costly set of requirements.

The processes of supply chains are planned and conducted by people. To ensure the right implementation of strategy from the top, we have to start at the people and team level. Create the right mind set and transform a weak process into a valuable chain. See each process as a means to tinker, innovate and improve. This would then foster a culture of information sharing, which creates better visibility.

Process change is not a constant but an iterative process.  Analyse each situation in process and seek the best fit, one that would deliver the best value to everyone involved. Adjust till the right value is found in the desired strategy – a strategy that would serve the target audience best.

How do we create the mind set for process change in the organisation?

1) One Table Approach – Eliminate redundancy and opportunism

openworkingPower and expertise allows people to withheld information, for fear of giving away ‘trade secrets’. Adopt a ‘one table’ mentality; treat the process like a giant start up. In ‘one table’, everyone involved in the process share a single big table. There is no cubicle or secrecy and this open policy promotes sharing. The removal of walls encourages people to voice their opinion openly. Lack of privacy translates to a more cordial environment for exchange.

2) Giant Playground – Promote interaction

playground2Take the process like a giant playground. A standard playground involves successive obstacles to be overcome. We have to select the best possible route in order to reach the end fast. Obstacles along the process can be made interactive through leadership and teamwork. Each process is like an obstacle-filled playground. Appoint a lieutenant who would bring the troops to victory (in the case, serving the customers well). The only way through it is to group up and agree on a mutual direction forward. Remove the unnecessary clutter and noise.

Typically, cost arises due to lack of communication and the poor design of delivery. Value analysis is about doing more with an optimal set of resources. Narrow down to the specific point and re-engineer. The best solution usually resides in the people involved. Have a champion and assemble a highly motivated team to weed out the redundancy.

When you have create a mindset for change, it’s time to engage the people involved. How do we do it?

Tap on the game psychology and mechanics of Gamification. Provide a completion bar as a motivational tool to completion. Set leader boards for best price offered. Promote successful collaborations through acknowledgement; give a ‘pat on the back’.

Bottom Line

Analyse the process and seek the best value for the target audience. First, we have to tune the right mind set and create the dream team within. The team have to be open to changes in the work processes or supply chain. Engage the team through methods such as Gamification. This would result in a thorough analysis of the process, which will achieve an optimal and valuable operation run.

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This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

Building employee engagment!

Research Company Gallup releases this figure in a recent study – only 13% of employees are engaged at work! The bulk of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged, that is, they are either feeling negative or are creating negativity at the workplace. It is certainly not an office where productivity is at its best. We picture zombies!

zombies-at-workTraditionally, organisations dwell on extrinsic motivation for attendance and participation. For instance, an organisation may conduct an optional competition for learning, offering tangible rewards in exchange. It would appeal to the 13% but not for the unenthusiastic employees. They are the zombies, who work to live, and are probably the ones who do the bare minimal at work. Initiatives and innovations are bleak in such a scenario.

Another instance of poor engagement is the presentation of corporate manuals and PowerPoints. Badly designed PowerPoints gave rise to the term, “Death by PowerPoint”, and it is certainly not a myth. As a result, employees become disengaged and may lack the necessary knowledge to excel at their job. The lack of attention translates to terrible performance at work.

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Organisations have to understand their employees and build a shiny culture of excellence. A happy workforce thrives on playing, sharing, learning and exploring. It should be fiercely protective of one another and embraces the strength of everyone in the team. A unified culture creates purpose but it must have room for autonomy. Autonomy allows for problem solving and this breeds creativity and innovation. One of the ways to engage is through Gamification, which encourages problem solving with game mechanics. It only let you proceed when you succeed, creating a bias for exceptional results. The element of gaming may not tolerate wrong answers but it is forgiving in mistakes. There is an allowance to repeat, encouraging doing and learning. This develops a work culture that is lean, agile and iterative, removing the need for redundant legacy. Allowing exploration and risk develop employees who are energetic and driven to succeed.

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Employee engagement is changing more than ever, especially with the advent of the Generation X and Y. Work structures are becoming increasingly flexible. Unless a job requires stringent control like a factory, employees of today will thrive on group work and collaboration.  Element of fun will loosen up the inhibition of employees and make sharing viable. We should create the chance for quick learning and adjustments. Bring the zombies back to life, just like R in Warm Bodies. Aim for engagements that inspire and motivate employees!

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This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

Now’s the time to motivate employees through Gamification

Motivation is an employee’s intrinsic desire to do work, and this often results in a more productive person. It is the initiative taken by an individual to complete a task. This motivation has to be nurtured and cannot be left alone to grow. There has to be “a pat on the back” for it to grow stronger.

Think about the times when you were praised for your work. How did you feel? It felt good doesn’t it? You have been acknowledged and your labours are starting to bear fruits! This simple act of acknowledgement can do wonders for the employee’s well-being.

teamwork This acknowledgement can take place through the adoption of game elements. Often, employees in various departments indulge in friendly comparison and envy. They embark on a journey of exploration for answers, igniting the motivation and initiative needed to innovate and create exceptional results. Employees are engaged in business processes, just like game players are engaged in game processes. It adopts the mechanics and psychology of games to promote action. Some of the most frequently used game elements include PBL, which fosters at once cooperation and competition inside companies. To advance, departments, like games, require good skills and teamwork, and these elements increase employees’ knowledge and cooperation.

HR-Gamification-trainerHuman Resource Departments have taken note of this trend and has begun using Gamification to engage employees. Gamification can be said to be an evolution of traditional management methodology. The availability of new technological resources has introduced gamification psychology/elements into processes of many organizations. The Generation X and Y are technologically savvy and are slowly replacing the retiring Baby Boomers generation. They are familiar with technology and would feel most at ease with games at work. In an age of information, they are an impulsive and impatient bunch and thrive on instant gratification. Hard work is expected to be recognised. Game elements of points and rewards are instant and it affirms their motivation to excel. Also, points and rewards act as little incentives that serve as a form of acknowledgement. Human Resource Departments needs to re-energize and motivate employees for daily work tasks, to enable better efficiency and productivity.

diy_gamificationGamification is certainly coming of age, with the help of ubiquitous and unrelenting technological advances, and through the understanding of proper motivation, we are set to enter an evolution. Employees’ engagement is set to be more dynamic and interactive, with partnership and participation being the rule of thumb. This will enable a profitable service profit chain – a correlation between employee satisfaction and customer loyalty.

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This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

Productivity and Play: a paradox?

MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson wrote about the productivity paradox in a 1993 paper, which can be summarized as the contradiction between technology investments and its benefits (lack of) to organizations. The main takeaway is that technology should not be measured in terms of economics benefits. It should, instead, be seen as an enabler and part of a wider process change in the organization.

playworkDue to vague understanding and wrong measurements, potential solutions do not have the chance to be implemented. Play and productivity are caught in a similar paradox. Play has a bad reputation with productivity. When play comes to mind, we naturally assume that it is disruption to work. But, have you ever thought that play might be the antidote to higher levels of productivity?  Play, coupled with the dynamics of our social network, brings about a cool synergy that makes everyone focus and happy. We grumble in the face of dull work but throw in play, happiness blossom and productivity stays positive.

kittlyplayPlay boosts morale and enthusiasm; it makes you want to do. It does not rely on extrinsic cues to rein in participation.  No one likes working in a stiff environment or under a stern boss. Adding an element of fun relaxes the atmosphere and contrary to popular beliefs, it does not prolong work completion. When we engage in play, stress gets reduce, which improves creative thinking and social relations. Social relations are vital for ideas generation, sharing and learning. A harmonious social network is a product of being relax and comfortable, and being open to one to another. Transparency brings about lower incidents of miscommunication, improving productivity.

childplayProductivity is the ability to do work well. Therefore, play does not clash with productivity, they are partners in crime. Play should not be limited to a child’s priority. Play results in uninhibited children, leading them to be fearless risk takers with low censorship. This gives room for learning and sharing, without the excess baggage. Adults should be actively involved in play, especially in the work context. It is probably the serious act that leads to adults being frustrated and stress at work. Negative emotions produce bad work, hampering productivity instead. Play promotes exploration and sharing, which improves productivity. There should never be a paradox between play and productivity. The productivity paradox is about wrong measurements and wanting more for less. In terms of human capital, we are productive only when we are happy and well. We need to consider play as a measurement tool.

The challenge is to build a bridge of play and productivity. Gamification would be the gel to involve play in work context. Through applying game context and mechanics into non-game situations, play is introduced. Gamification holds the fundamentals of play, share, learn and explore. These fundamentals are all about encouraging the creation of a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Hence, we should leverage on technology to embrace the possibility of bringing fun to whatever endeavour we pursue.

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This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.