Ford, Google, Disney, Microsoft Use Gamification for Company Culture and Talent Management


We need to find better ways to attract talent, motivate our employees and retain staff.

How often do you as HR professionals hear a variation of any or all of those demands? Fundamentally, though, it’s all about the same issue: improving engagement.

Undoubtedly, employee engagement is one of the holy grails of HR, which is why HR leaders have been exploring the ways gamificationOpens a new window – the use of game mechanics and game-level thinking in a business context – can transform talent management and company culture.

Companies that originally integrated gamification into their operations used it as a digital marketing strategy to drive engagement with a product or service. Then, as relevant technologies and techniques evolved, many organizations took it one step further, using gamification to boost sales and transform CRMOpens a new window .

In recent years, though, HR departments have also started to capitalize on its power to engage people by applying the typical aspects of gaming – point scoring, competition with others and rules of play among them – to their employee management strategies.

Ford, Google, Disneyland, Microsoft, Cisco and Deloitte are among the many organizations that have introduced gamificationOpens a new window to enhance business performance.

Crucially, recent developments in relevant HR tech – coupled with the increasing number of tech-savvy millennials at every level – have started to shape a workforce that expects better employee experiences, especially through automation in the field of learning and development.

Culturally, the convergence of our increased use of social media, the growing popularity of mobile apps and the evolution in complexity of mobile technology have come together to prepare us for gamification in the workplace. In fact, well over half of American workers agree that they would want to work for a company that uses gamification.

Many HR teams see gamification as a tool well suited to drive employee engagement due to its role helping employees reach their goals and objectives. It provides a digital environment that can transform the traditional recruitment process, as well as make training modules more engaging.

Talent acquisition

Incorporating gamification into your hiring operations can not only contribute to streamlining the entire system for HR, but can also create a better and more rewarding process for potential recruits.

As a device, it improves the hiring process by rewarding applicants with both recognition and tangible rewards as they complete each step, while offering insight into the company’s culture, vision and values.

Offering these incentives helps recruiters to attract the most qualified and best-suited candidates, reducing the turnover of new recruits. It also ensures onboarding efficiency as the potential new recruits will be motivated to earn rewards by completing the various steps in the hiring process.

Meanwhile, HR can gamify internal systems to reward top recruiters or create incentives for general staff to refer candidates. Motivating employees to engage actively in the organization’s talent acquisition builds loyalty across the business and supports HR’s efforts, relieving pressure and allowing the department to focus more time and resources elsewhere.

Company culture

By implementing projects and programs that have a gamified approach, HR can encourage staff to get involved in shaping the company culture, giving employees a sense of ownership and loyalty over the organization’s brand. This, in turn, contributes to a positive company culture that – through gamification strategies – rewards its employees for cross-functional collaboration, innovation and going “above and beyond.”

Ultimately, by integrating gamification techniques HR departments can create a workplace that encourages and promotes behavior in line with company strategies and goals. They can get there through traditional social and online games, shaping a more engaging experience while supporting business objectives.

These programs can cover a wide range of applications. Some examples include:

  • Aligning staff with company values and mission: Create a system of rewards based on “culture points” or “value points” for exemplifying company values. There can be an incentive system that gives employees the chance to recognize when colleagues have excelled in this respect.
  • Training and development: Transform the trainings on offer by gamifying them, for example by working through levels, staff can gain badges, rewards or points. This is a great opportunity to identify leaders within the organization and they can even be rewarded with more responsibility.
  • Administrative streamlining: Paperwork (e.g. onboarding documents and expense reports) is often the last thing your workers want to complete. Encourage operational efficiency by offering rewards for timely completion.
  • Team building: Build cohesion among staff by encouraging them to get to know each other. Make collaboration and team competition a part of company events and processes.

Ultimately, gamification improves employees’ experience, enhancing a sense of recognition and reward, and ensures they are better prepared to further their careers. For the company, it not only offers a platform to engage staff, but can also provide valuable data contributing to continuous internal improvement.