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How to Improve Employee Learning with Gamification in Training

How to Improve Employee Learning with Gamification in Training

Rajat Paharia


By Rajat Paharia, Founder and Chief Product Officer

If you're involved with corporate learning at your company, you need to start thinking differently. Why? Because researchers have found1 that since there's typically little practical follow-up or meaningful assessments, some 90 percent of new skills "learned" are lost within a year.

Gamification in TrainingIn other words, even though spending on corporate training now tops $70 billion per year in the US and more than $130 billion per year worldwide, only 10 percent of skills are actually retained. That's an absolutely terrible ROI and proof to me that traditional corporate training programs need a complete overhaul.

How can you do it better? You can integrate data-driven motivation into your training platforms. At Bunchball we've seen how gamification in training can motivate participation, accelerate learning, improve performance and lay the foundation for continuous learning.

Just remember this: Gamification is not a one-size-fits-all solution. To successfully gamify your training platform, you'll need to:

  • Stay true to your company's unique business objectives.
    Simply put, gamification is a business tool that uses data to drive motivation, generate insights and improve outcomes. As with any business tool, if you want to maximize ROI, you need to make sure it's linked to your business strategies, hypotheses and KPIs. To start, think about motivating the behaviors that drive specific business insights. For example, if you want to inspire a group of salespeople to consume new training content, you need to determine if that action leads to improved sales performance. If it doesn't, don't ask, "Why didn't gamification work?" Instead, ask, "Why doesn't our training working?" That kind of insight is what ultimately leads to better sales.
  • Focus on what motivates your employees.
    Too many people think of gamification as a way to inspire competition. That's a mistake. Gamification is about motivation, not competition. Gamification uses data to motivate people, and it works because it satisfies basic intrinsic motivators and inspires active involvement – that's much more powerful than having employees, customers and/or partners who are passive consumers of content, who have to be cajoled into participating in contests or who complete training tasks simply because someone told them to.
  • Consider scale and sustainability.
    Training materials grow and change over time. A well-constructed gamification solution will do the same. Done right, your gamified training platform will grow with you, monitor results, measure business impacts and support perpetual interactions and improvements designed to fuel continuous engagement. By integrating gamification into your training platform, you create a learning program that continues to inform and motivate long after new employees are onboarded. With gamification, your employees can be inspired to continue learning throughout their tenure.
  • Look for a partner.
    At Bunchball, we believe that gamification of a training platform is best handled with hands-on support from a seasoned partner. You need to partner with a provider that not only understands the fundamentals of human motivation, the distinct motivators of your employees, but also possesses a scalable means for delivering enduring engagement, business insights and an ROI.

Here are a few real-world examples to illustrate how gamification in training can improve business performance:

  • T-Mobile uses gamification to improve employee learning and the customer experience.
    To promote quick adoption of its "T-Community" social business environment and enable employees to continuously learn, T-Mobile integrated gamification and began rewarding customer service and in-store reps when they searched for information, posted new inquiries, answered peer questions and "liked" valuable content. After implementing the gamification module into T-Community, T-Mobile saw:
    • 30,000 T-Mobile call center and store employees regularly using the T-Community
    • More than 15,000 frontline employees complete a set of self-guided tutorials
    • Month-over-month improvement of call resolution rates and customer satisfaction scores
    • Widespread employee collaboration resulting in:
      • 96 percent increase in participation
      • 583 percent increase in contributions
      • 783 percent increase in responses
      • 31 percent improvement in customer satisfaction scores
  • InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) used gamification to increase learning and engagement among its distributed sales team.
    IHG needed to connect 900 hotel reps from 90 countries. With gamification, the company was able to improve knowledge of industry sectors targeted for meeting sales, increase meetings revenue and encourage cross-property and cross-geography collaboration and knowledge sharing.
    "None of these sales professionals are required to complete this training – they're doing it to improve their knowledge of how to sell to specific types of customers. And yet, we're finding that users are staying very engaged and are very motivated to attain Expert status," explained Ingrid Quimby-High, IHG's director of meeting sales strategy. "We credit the gamification experience for a large part of that."

As more and more companies emerge from the recession and set their sights on growth, many are realizing they're hamstrung by significant skills shortages. Learning platforms can close those gaps – but only if the training is effective, engaging and continuous. Use Bunchball to gamify your learning platforms, and we'll help you motivate your employees to continually learn and contribute, significantly improving the ROI of your training materials.

1So Much Training, So Little to Show for It

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