Why Gamification Works SO WELL For Onboarding

Businesses are on a never-ending quest to attract and retain top talent. Unfortunately, a company’s growth and success aren’t always the driving factors behind the hiring saga. Businesses lose nearly a quarter of all new employees within a year. This turnover is costly in terms of slowed performance and rehiring expenses. With the average cost to fill one position hovering around $11k, retention has become a top priority for management.

So what can companies do to avoid spending $11,000 on a new hire just to have them leave less than a year later? Improve onboarding.

Onboarding is more than an hour, day, or weeklong orientation. Yes, it’s important to pass along the company history, rules, and benefits to new hires. But onboarding goes beyond that and helps develop behaviors that lay the foundation of an employee’s long-term success. Formal onboarding increases the chance of keeping a new employee for at least three years by 69 percent. Though onboarding and retention are directly linked, recent research shows:

• 20 percent of businesses don’t have an onboarding program
• 81 percent of companies don’t have a specific budget for onboarding
• 42 percent of companies fail to provide clear job titles and expectations for employees
• Only 39 percent of companies establish milestones and goals for new hires
• One-third of employees fail to meet company expectations, while 58 percent do not measure new hire productivity at all.

To ensure a skilled, productive, and dedicated workforce, organizations are rethinking how they shape the new hire experience. In order to make a better first impression, companies are focusing on strategic onboarding initiatives that engage employees from the start.

Gamification Enables Successful Onboarding

One engagement strategy HR is adopting is gamification. It works particularly well for the honeymoon stage of new hires. Gamified employee training software works well for onboarding because it:

• seamlessly aligns onboarding and overall business goals
• drives higher productivity and performance, as well as engagement and retention
• provides consistent, scalable results

Compared with other industries, HR has been slow to adopt gamification. Only 17 percent of organizations apply game elements to the onboarding process, but the benefits are significant: organizations with gamification in place improve engagement by 48 percent on average, and turnover rate by 36 percent.

Gamification can help mitigate some of the biggest onboarding challenges and mistakes. Let’s look closer at why the two complement one another so well.

1. Challenge: Engaging new hires
Companies need to ensure employees are engaged from day one. Rather than viewing onboarding as a checklist, it needs to be an integrated experience. Say your company requires all new employees to watch a safety video. This dated activity can be replaced with an interactive task instead.

For example, new hires could interview teammates about their safety experiences and then report back to the manager with the information they learned. This type of social learning quickly connects new employees to the company and their coworkers. Fostering opportunities for new hires to immediately tackle an engaging task and build relationships will help solidify excitement about their new role.

2. Challenge: Deliver feedback early and often
Interactive tasks are also more engaging because they set the new hire up for a quick win. It’s important for new employees to override the fear of failure early on. Gamification is well suited for this because it can break training into smaller modules that motivate participation.

Employee engagement and employee training tracking software offers continuous feedback in order to promote learning and participation. Gamified solutions offer quizzes, trivia contests, and progress bars which help employees gauge how well they are doing and much training they have left. Providing clear feedback along the way ensures new hires know exactly where they stand, and are developing the right habits.

3. Challenge: Link onboarding to overall business goals
Organizations with gamification in place are better positioned to align onboarding with learning and development initiatives. By aligning incentives and rewards around information retention, desired skill mastery, and job responsibilities, gamification helps companies connect their vision and values to an employee’s professional goals and interests.

Gamification platforms that incorporate skill development and assessment help employees transition into their new roles. For example, tracking employee progress on a leaderboard motivates new employees to improve and also defines expectations by giving them an idea of other employee’s productivity.

Onboarding creates a roadmap that ensures new hires have positive first experiences that foster success. Gamification can set a precedent for constant learning and engagement that helps companies improve retention and productivity. The cost of turnover, low engagement, and poor productivity is too high to overlook the strategic advantages that the right program can impart. you can find additional information at the gamification examples page.

Author Bio:
Jenna Puckett is a junior technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice. She covers topics related to gamification, employee performance, and other emerging tech trends.

Jenna Puckett