How Gamification can Help (and Hurt) Your Employee Engagement

Posted by Mark Jackson on Wed, Feb, 25, 2015 @ 08:02 AM

Success stories touting gamification’s success abound. Recently, the spotlight’s been on companies like Dailybreak, who’ve used gamification to engage customers and reaped the incredible profits. As Dailybreak has shown, the market for gamification is huge, sparked by a series of successes in things like education and hurricane relief, as well as books touting the benefits of gamification. 

Gamification is being used in the world of work, so it’s important to HR professionals to understand what gamification can and can’t do for them. What is gamification? How can it help people work? What are its limitations and problems? How can we solve these problems or work around them? These are questions HR professionals should be asking themselves, as they’re important to knowing whether they should implement gamification in their own organizations. 



Gamification and its benefits

In a nutshell, this is gamification: taking processes and tasks that may not be fun or engaging on their own and turning them into “games” by providing an extrinsic reward and motivation for completing these tasks. By providing a bonus that then ties into a larger reward system, employees are motivated to do better at these tasks or complete them more quickly.

Let’s take filing invoices or time sheets, for example. They’re tedious to do, very few people like doing them, and they have to get done. So rather than have workers lounge in the tedium of filling these sheets out, gamification would motivate workers to get them done more quickly by offering them a reward, like a gold star or the experience points you’d typically receive in a role-playing video game.

There’s evidence that gamification can work, too. Studies done at call centers have shown a 15% decrease in call time (which means getting through customers more quickly), an 8% increase in sales, and a 9% increase in customer satisfaction. This increase in quality work has caused 70% of employers in the Global 2000 to have gamified at least one process at their organization. It’s clear that not only gamification is popular, but it can also get results. 


Tweet This: 70% of employers in the Global 2000 have gamified at least one process at their organization.


Problems With Gamification

Unfortunately, while gamification can help accomplish a number of things from increasing call center productivity to lowering traffic speeds in Sweden, it may not be the best fit for the business world. While there are benefits to sign gamification properly, as many as 80% of the current gamification apps today are predicted to fail, mostly due to poor design. In studies where the use of gamification was monitored in an organization, participation rates in gamified tasks was 50% lower than those using peer recognition incentives for said tasks.

Gamification doesn’t seem to be a long-term solution, and in fact it could be problem. Take gamification’s application in education by organizations like Khan Academy. Some have pointed out that in the case of education, gamification is going further down the test-oriented path schools have been going down in recent years by focusing on results. It leads to kids focusing on answering test questions without really understanding the material. This may not be as problematic in the results-oriented world of work, but it could lead to employees not understanding material they’re being trained on and losing out on productivity long-term because they have to relearn processes. 


Tweet This: Companies that utilize recognition programs have 23% lower turnover than those that don't.


Finding a Solution

If gamification isn’t always the answer, what should employers do? Well, when you think about it, the gamification problem is really an engagement problem, and there are other ways to help there. For one, 76% of employees find peer recognition rewarding and more likely to motivate them. 90% say they’re more likely to work harder if their work environment were more fun, gamification or no.

Gamification, ultimately, is a means to an end: retention and engagement, which 78% of business leaders rank as important. So while it’s tempting to hop aboard the latest trends in making your employees work better, we should use them in moderation, and not as a panacea for a problem we could tackle in more specific ways (such as implementing more robust peer recognition programs). The #1 reason employees leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated, and companies that utilize recognition programs have 23% lower turnover than those that don’t.

How effective is your training program? It’s time for you to take a second look.

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Tags: cyber train, training, employee engagement, Employee Training, Gamification

Perk it Up to Attract and Retain Great Talent

Posted by Sean Pomeroy on Wed, Feb, 18, 2015 @ 08:02 AM

Everyone wants to work somewhere where they’ll feel taken care of. Google, one the most sought-after workplaces, takes excellent care of its employees; it gives them free food, a gym, allows dogs in the office, and provides one the best life insurance policies in the world. Not every business can be Google, but the company’s commitment to making their employees feel appreciated is a lesson for every business out there, regardless of budget. People want to work where their work will be valued, and if they think they’ll be valued at your workplace, they will come flocking. 




If you want to keep your employees around (and you do, since replacing them can cost you up to 20% of their salary), show them you value them. In fact, 53% of employees would stay longer if they felt more appreciation from their boss. This might seem like common sense, but employers often struggle on how to do this practically and consistently. While employees rank appreciation as the #1 thing they want from their employers, company leaders believe they’re most interested in good wages. How can you show appreciation to your employees? 


Flex-time: A Perk For All Budgets

Some of the best employee perks, like unlimited vacation time, cost a pretty dime, and subsequently not every organization can afford PTO. Just because you don’t have the money for extravagance doesn’t mean there’s nothing to offer your employees. There are plenty of low-cost perks, and some of them could even help your employees work better. Benefits such as flex-schedules can lead to a growth in revenue according to 63% of managers. 


Tweet This: 63% of managers say flex-schedules can lead to a growth in revenue.


Flex-time is one of the cheapest ways to give your employees a little freedom, and 83% of new employees cite the ability to choose their hours as an important factor in saying “yes” to the job offer. Along with the ability to work remotely, flex time is one of the best ways to make your employees happy. Startups and small companies have led the way in introducing more flex-time into the workplace culture, as well as the proliferation of technology and software that allows employees to work from home. What it really boils down to is, freedom.


Be A Little Crazy, Be A Little Creative 

Creativity can stretch budget in order to retain employees with less expenses. Take Motley Fool, for example: they have a surprise two-week vacation for one random employee every month. Your HR staff may not think you could afford an extra two weeks’ leave for twelve employees a month, but think about it this way: employees only use 51% of their paid vacation. Whether they’re afraid of returning to an overwhelming workload or don’t think anyone else could pick up their slack, most workers leave four days on the table, on average.

This ends up hurting their productivity in the long run. You could take Motley Fool’s vacation sweepstakes idea and bend it around your own needs: if you can’t give them bonus PTO, why not use the name-out-of-a-hat theme to give employees their full PTO? Perhaps you could offer one or two bonus days if an employee was chosen and took their vacation right then and there (obviously, you don’t want to force an employee to take a saved-up week off when they planned to use it at another time). It would up your revenue due to the increased productivity, and having this sort of “activity” would make employees a little happier at work, knowing they could receive a bonus day off at any time.


Snacks, Weights and Walks

It costs very little to stock a fridge with yogurt and mixed nuts or fresh fruit, but when it’s done, employees feel the love. Surprise employees with a game afternoon or start having “no work walks” to freshen their mind and their perspective. Talk to a nearby gym about reduced rates for employees or bulk memberships. Can you afford to dry clean your sales team’s suits when they come in from the road? None of these will break the bank but all of them can make employees feel excited, valued and most of all, cared for.

If these ideas don’t work for your workplace, maybe something similarly inspired could? The point is to think about what you can do with your limited budget to make employees feel like they work in a fun work environment. It might take a little bit of thinking (and a little bit of cash), but if you can make your workers feel appreciated, you won’t have to pay to replace them, and you may even get some new hires along the way. 

Want to create the best work environment around? It starts with the people you hire and how you train them. Visibility Software’s suite of solutions can help you hire the best, most creative employees, keep track of how they’re doing, and provide the most efficient training imaginable. Sign up for a free demo today!



Tags: candidate experience, applicant experience

Wake Up and Find Out How To Truly Motivate in the Workplace

Posted by Kimber Crumlish on Wed, Feb, 11, 2015 @ 08:02 AM

What makes a happy employee? Perhaps free lunches, a new puppy… maybe even ongoing employee education will do the trick. Maintaining a motivated office is far more important than many believe. So much so, the cost of unhappy, unengaged employees in the workforce is up to $300 billion in the U.S. annually. This is not a bill many would be able to pay. Preventing poor performance starts with inspiring employee engagement with work projects and maintaining motivation throughout the year. Put your checkbooks away and listen for solutions to raising employee engagement rates.


Why learning management is crucial to the employee

A miniscule 30% of full-time employees throughout the U.S. feel engaged during the work day. A common solution to this rising problem in the United States is Learning Management Systems (LMS). These systems have been a growing trend over the past few years. A study conducted by Software Advice shows that the LMS market has grown 21% just within the year of 2014.

Tweet This: The LMS market grew 21% just within the year of 2014.

There are many ways to implement an LMS into a company’s system to increase employee engagement and performance. Properly training new employees using learning management systems gives the employee a sense of direction right as they are welcomed to the team instead of leaving them lost and unsure of what is expected of them. Employees shouldn’t be overcome with a sense of insecurity on what exactly they’re supposed to complete at the time of the onboarding process. Part of a recruiter’s job is to make your employees feel welcome by taking the new hires under their wing; this starts with the learning process. 


What learning management systems provides for the employer

LMS have a plethora of functionalities that differ depending on organizational preference. HR professionals and recruiters can benefit from these systems to fully train new hires. Not to mention a robust LMS helps managers form performance goals, and more. With this extended help, HR professionals can assess an individual’s skill strength rather assuming their level of prior training. Failing to fully train new hires often results in unhappy, unengaged employees. 

Company success starts with rightful employee placement. Harvard Business Review discovered 80% of poor turnover rates come from poor hiring decisions. That poor hiring decision for a candidate making $100,000 a year could cost at least $250,000 to replace. In a recent study performed by Robert Half, out of 1,400 hiring executives surveyed, 36% believe poor hiring is a result of substandard skills match between a candidate and what an organization requires.


Proper training

A trend in many companies during the training process is to complete training in long, “all at once” sessions. This reflects poorly on the employer brand and leaves new hires thinking “Is this what working here is like?” Managers should pace the new hire training to maintain high employee engagement.

As a result, micro-learning has become increasingly popular. For example, a training manager would take an hour-long session and break it up into 12 mini sessions. 38% of hiring managers using LMS are likely to train with micro-learning for better results. Mark Clare, founder of New Value Streams Consulting says:

“Part of the popularity of blogs, tweets, and YouTube is that they provide the micro-content that is more properly sized to the limitations of learning processes. They fit how our minds naturally work.”


Move aside, success coming through!

Another way managers can use LMS to aid their teams and company to raise productivity rates is by using the gamification method. What does this mean? Gamification, simply put, is having a point system, leadership boards and badges, much like a game would provide. This creates a healthy, competitive feel for employees, motivating them to achieve skill and praise. Those managers using gamification methods have noticed a 25% increase in productivity rates.

Share on LinkedIn: Managers using gamification methods have noticed a 25% increase in productivity rates.

Properly assessing new hire skills, performing dispersed training, and applyviing gamification methods to the office is the perfect storm for higher employee performance rates.


Watch LMS turn your company from a drag to completely fab! Download the Building Blocks of Effective Training Guide to learn best practices from industry leaders.

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Tags: LMS

Streamline Your Training Process to Fill the Skills Gap

Posted by Kimber Crumlish on Tue, Feb, 03, 2015 @ 09:02 AM

The job market is beginning to resemble a field of round holes littered with square pegs. While 11 million Americans are looking for jobs, 4 million jobs are looking for workers. The reason those two numbers don’t meet each other at a cool 7 million has a lot to do with the skills gap, characterized as a lack of qualified candidates for skills-based jobs, the biggest example of which is in manufacturing. It’s a big talking point for employers across several industries, but what is this whole thing about?


What The Skills Gap is Costing Us

There’s currently a debate as to whether the skills gap actually exists, but its symptoms are damaging the workforce whether their source is perceived to be real or not. 92% of executives believe there’s a serious gap between the skills they need for jobs and the workers who have them, and half of them are struggling to fill those jobs. Employers are looking at the jobs they need to fill and the resumes they have... and coming up short. Candidates simply don’t have the right skills.

This comes at a time when the candidates looking to break into the workforce (mostly college-aged) can’t seem to get over the college hump. According to a study the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, only 36% of full-time students are enrolled at the four-year research universities that provide the skills they need to enter these markets. 4% of students at two-year graduate institutions graduate on time. Candidates aren’t getting trained in the skills they need to join the workforce, and the result is that 54% of candidates under 25 with a bachelor’s degree are underemployed or unemployed.

These unqualified candidates are costing employers big-time. The USCCF study reports that employers spent over $486 billion on training programs, 43% of them failed to achieve key financial targets, 40% reported a reduced ability to innovate, and 37% percent were unable to start a big project or initiative because they lacked the talent to do so. They’re also losing about $23,000 annually per job they don’t have filled. A job posting may not always be the most urgent task for many, but clearly a lack of talent is hurting our ability to thrive.

Where Employers and Candidates Should Meet

If we’re going to get candidates and employers to meet each other halfway, we’re going to need to clear up a few things. For one, there’s a big misconception of how prepared college grads are to enter the workforce. 96% of chief academic officers at colleges believe their students are ready to start working in skills-based jobs, but only 11% of business leaders agree. Colleges may not be preparing students as much as they think, and it’s a big problem for the university system.

Candidates and the colleges who train them could use some recalibrating of expectations, but so could employers. There’s a good chance that while candidates aren’t shaping up, they’re also better equipped for on-the-job training than ever.

"The problem may not be the skills workers ostensibly lack. It may be that employers’ expectations are out of whack... For much of the twentieth century, it was up to industry to pluck smart, capable college graduates and turn them into quality workers. In recent decades, on-the-job training has declined. Companies want new hires to be able to “hit the ground running.” — Matthew Philips (@matthewphilips)

An increase in on-the-job training would do some good to alleviate the issue, but there’s more to it than that. The USCCF has a few other recommendations for employers to follow as well. For one, they emphasize restructuring how employers see their talent sourcing. They need to “link their talent strategy to their business strategy,” making sure that multiple people in an organization are responsible for finding what tasks (not roles) need doing. This strategy also demands that employers be more flexible and responsive with their talent pipelines to make sure that an eager learner who may not have all the necessary skills doesn’t slip through the cracks.

Some employers are already taking those suggestions to heart. 49% of employers will train workers who don’t have the skills needed to do their work on site. It may sound expensive (and risky) to do this, but if that skills gap is going to get filled, it’s going to take employers valuing quick learners (something colleges are known for providing) over candidates who meet the exact criteria. This isn’t lowering your expectations — it’s being pragmatic.

If you’re one of the 49% of employers who train their workers on-the-job, now’s the time to try Cyber Train, Visibility Software’s comprehensive and easy-to-use LMS that streamlines the learning process by letting you know when certifications expire, making the approval process automatic, and ensuring workers comply with all the requirements of the job. Take a demo today and see how easy training your employees can be.


Cyber Train Demo

Quantity vs. Quality: The Group and the Panel Interview

Posted by Kimber Crumlish on Wed, Jan, 28, 2015 @ 09:01 AM

Looking ahead for what the "Next Big Thing" in hiring will be, we should consider what this year’s recruiters have at their disposal. More specifically, 63% of recruiters will have a higher hiring volume in 2015 (up from 43% in 2013), and 46% of them will have a larger hiring budget. Recruiters will have more people to hire, a higher volume of candidates to hire from, and more resources to work with.


How do you deal with the increase in volume? How do you adapt the growing number of candidates? How do you make the most of your newly-found recruiting funds?

One area for you to improve is the interview. In the last few years, it took employers 71% longer to secure a new hire and to conduct more interviews for each successful hire. Candidates are finding it harder in the process as well, with 52% of them saying the job interview process is more difficult now than it was five years ago.

Tweet This: 52% of candidates say the job interview process is more difficult now than it was five years ago.

So how should you deal with your hiring difficulties while making the process easier on the candidates? Well, it depends on your situation.

When You’re Overwhelmed: The Group Interview

If you need to fill multiple positions and have too many applicants to fill them, a group interview could be your best bet. Managers, as well as recruiting staff, are more willing to conduct a single one-hour interview than conducting several one-on-ones with candidates that may not even want the job or may not be qualified. If you only need to conduct one (or, depending on the volume of candidates you may have, two or three) interview, chances are you’ll be more focused on the task, asking the right questions, and have the energy to not zone out while a candidate is speaking.

The group interview also has a way of separating the wheat from the chaff. In a group setting, a good candidate stands out by being relatable, being personable and overall being attentive throughout the process. If they’re lively during the interview process, it shows they want the job. Those who don’t exhibit much enthusiasm in this group setting may not be as interested in the job.

Introverts might be wary of this group interview, since louder candidates can dominate the process. But if you’re in a skills-based industry, try adding a training exercise that candidates can complete alone or with a group. This will show you who can work with a team and produce results, and the introverts in the group will feel more confident when presented with the opportunity to prove themselves.

When You Need to Nail It: The Panel Interview

Maybe you don’t have a plethora of new hires, and have the time and resources to dedicate if it meant getting the right hire, such as in a high-level or executive position. In these cases, you’re going to get the best possible interview experience from a panel interview. A white paper from the revenue consulting firm Gendreau Group found panel interview to go far beyond any interview process when it came to nabbing the best hires:

"Based on our 25+ years of hiring, managing, and consulting experience, we have found that organizations that use a team approach to interviewing and candidate selection tend to make much smarter hiring decisions than when decisions are made by individual managers based on one-on-one interviews.”

A panel interview, according to Adler Group CEO Lou Adler, eliminates the biases of the individual interview, since one superficial feature of a candidate that could favorably sway one interviewer could sway another against the candidate. This leads to a larger emphasis on performance, leading to a 20-30% increase in interview accuracy. If you’re looking for the absolutely best person for the job, having a more accurate interview is invaluable.

2015 is already looking like a busy year for recruiters, and with more funds and candidates at their disposal, the tried-and-true group and panel interviews could prove some of the most valuable assets in a recruiter's toolbox.


Tags: candidate experience, applicant management