Gamification: more than just a 'game'

Right now, gamification is hot.
It is the newest innovation organisations are exploring to attract and engage graduates in particular. As gamification is so new, there is still much debate over its role in the selection process, for example, is it just a tool for attraction? And the validity of its assessment properties, for instance, how does this apply to the assessment of graduates? Last week we ran a webinar on gamification to try to demystify what it’s all about and how to use gamification or game elements in graduate attraction and selection. And judging from the overwhelming response to the webinar, this is obviously high on the agenda of many organisations.
So, what is gamification? According to Gartner (2011), gamification is the use of game elements and game design techniques in non game contexts.  Game elements break down into things like:
–          Engaging people – games leverage people’s natural desire for competition, achievement, status and recognition. Gamification makes technology more engaging and encourages people to interact with an employer or consumer brand.
–          Reward and recognition – interactive games play on peoples’ competitive instincts by using rewards such as points, discounts, status indictors, and leader boards to drive action. These badges are evidence of accomplishments.
–          Feedback– games with immediate feedback or a response to a person’s actions encourage users to continue to adjust their activities and congratulate them on reaching a milestone, through onscreen notifications, text messages and emails.
–          Community – games provide a context for achievement, and leader boards, online forums and social media encourage the sharing or people’s achievements thereby creating energy in the community by making people aware of what others are doing.
In short, these game elements make people feel good and they encourage a positive experience with the game, and the brand this game represents.
This sounds very exciting and innovative and using these game elements to engage and attract graduates is likely to increase the positive exposure of your employer brand. Gamification in graduate recruitment is very new and to-date there has been a strong focus on the ‘game’ itself as an attraction and engagement tool. But at present there are still questions around the validity of these games in graduate selection, for example, how do we know they are measuring the behaviours they are designed to measure?  What if we take out the game and use proven and valid assessment techniques that embrace key game elements? It’s gamification, without the game.
Realistic job previews (RJPs) are bespoke pre application tools that present common scenarios and tasks highly specific to an organisation and provide potential candidates with information on both positive and negative aspects of the role. For example, we used an RJP with easyJet who receive in excess of 4000 applications a month for their flight crew and ground staff. Here is an example:
Blog example 1
RJPs are engaging, they are branded and specific to the organisation. They give immediate feedback on a candidate’s responses and their potential fit for a role within the organisation. Candidates who have a better understanding of the role and continue with their application are more likely to be a good fit with the organisation.  Such as below:
Blog example 2
Or, how about situational judgement questionnaires (SJQs)? SJQs present common scenarios highly specific to an organisation to assess a candidate’s preferred course of action or judgement in an organisational specific situation. They are built against a validated model of ideal performance, or how top performers within the organisation respond to different situations.
Blog example 3.png
For example, we introduced a bespoke SJQ into the graduate recruitment process for Bank of Ireland (shown above) and this proved to be an engaging, valid and reliable assessment tool that increased the quality of candidates from Bank of Ireland selected their successful graduates. That is where we found those candidates who did well on the SJQ also did well at the assessment centre and at the interview, indicating we were identifying the right candidates throughout the process, thereby saving time and money in the selection of the best fit graduates for Bank of Ireland.
So what does this all mean? Realistic job previews and situational judgement questionnaires are bespoke and valid assessments (built against a model of ideal behaviour within your organisation) that embrace game elements such as engaging people, and providing feedback and a reward. They have the interactive on-line elements that grads will engage with, they are innovative, organisation branded, and they are valid tools for selection.
They are gamification, without the game.
*To learn more about how gamification is being used in talent management and recruitment, don’t miss the Crowdsource Think Tank session on Gamification at The 8th Annual Australasian Talent Conference this May (21-22) in Sydney. View the agenda for more information.

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