The Multi-Player Enterprise

The introduction of game dynamics enhances a critical dimension of enterprise talent management― the aspect of ownership. Needless to say, talent management of the future will be played out in the “multi-player enterprise mode.”

There is an intrinsic association between humans and gaming. Through war for territorial domination, intellectual establishments, or competitive sport, man’s quest for progress and excellence has continually been driven by the urge to compete. From medieval times, mankind has been in an incessant hunt to bring inventive mechanisms to satiate the urge to game.  To game refers to the intrinsic desire of employing one’s mental, emotional, physical, and predatory faculties to achieve an objective or move ahead of competition.

Market estimates peg the size of the global digital video gaming industry alone at a massive $78 billion dollars in size. This excludes all other forms of gaming, such as competitive sport, physical board gaming, and gambling. Added to the fact that is satiates man’s intrinsic competitive desire, gaming transcends into a space where nothing is irrevocable and one has the opportunity for course correction.

It is under this premise that gaming has made an entry into a very unlikely world― the world of HR.I recently spoke to a number of global HR experts on the trends shaping the future of the HR industry. Almost unanimously, all experts agreed that the next wave of transformation and evolution of the HR industry will be driven singularly by technology. While technology is trickling into all aspects of the employee lifecycle, the terrain of “HR gamification” is expected to bring forth the most exciting evolutionary leaps.

While gaming is still in its primitive stages of evolution in the HR world, most believe that there are huge untapped opportunities for enterprises in this space. Owing the nascent state of this segment, very few companies have yet explored the segment of talent management through gaming. Presently, gaming in HR is predominantly employed in three terrains of talent management― employee referrals, collaboration, and health and fitness.

While an element of gaming already exists in an enterprise through employee referrals, there are significant opportunities for improving the effectiveness of an employee referral program through simulation and leaderboard gaming. Exemplar companies have noticed significant ROI from their employee referral programs where an employee takes ownership of the hiring process and is driven by the urge to see a personal initiative through its completion. This is accomplished through gaming platforms where an employee has complete visibility of the stages starting from candidate review to job offer. Leaderboard gaming is a way by which employees compete with one another to emerge as the most effective referrer.

Social collaboration through gaming provides incentives for employees to share knowledge and continually strive for excellence. Very recently Capgemini gamified their entire 120,000 global workforce by creating an “online leaderboard” by employing the UK based technology service company, Leaderboarded. The platform allows the company’s employees to share knowledge, create motivation among colleagues, and also enables managers to guide behaviors.

The third element where gaming has shown demonstrable ROI is in the terrain of employee health and fitness. Global research indicates that the present Indian workforce is expected to face several health and wellness related issues in the coming years. These translate into significant implications for the enterprise’s topline and bottomline. Conversations with various organizations reveal that organizations have witnessed noticeable ROI by employing gaming initiatives for health and wellness. Stepathlon, for example, is one of the most popular gaming platforms that enterprises use to drive the sense of ownership for health and wellness among employees.

While more and more technology service companies are looking to enter this space, a performance management gaming platform called eMee by Persistent Systems provides a pioneering peek into the possibilities of gaming for talent management. eMee is a platform by which an employee can own his entire annual performance management, including productivity and personal development. While leaderboard-type platforms will drive the penetration of gaming into the enterprise HR agenda, it will be holistic systems such as eMee that will pioneer the next generation of performance management practices in enterprises. Needless to say, the coming months will see a number of new-age gaming platforms catering to different aspects of the employment lifecycle. I reckon the enterprise of 2015 to be in multi-player mode!!!

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