5 Tips to Identify your HRIS Gamification Needs

gamificationGamification refers to the structuring of systems to promote user engagement. Gaming elements appeal addictively to characteristic motivators. While the concept, need, and execution evolve, where gaming psychology meet HRIS capabilities, it’s worth considering these five tips on identifying your HRIS gamification needs.

1. Start with caution

Despite contrary opinion, respected Australian technology voice Robb Scott offers a less than enthusiastic perspective on gamification:  “Gamification is really talking to the natural human needs and desires to achieve, compete, be recognised, have some control over the outcome and be entertained.” Scott offers cautions about shopping for a system that games.

He refers to Andrew Buttow who feels that successful gaming assumes:

  • Users frequently interact.
  • Players interact from various locations and platforms at will.
  • Users value recognition.
  • Metrics are identified and communicated easily.
  • User adoption is a high priority.
  • Everyone values and integrates frequent feedback.

These concerns are valuable but not much different from those you might apply to any purchase because they have more to do with performance than the principle of engagement.

2. A definition of engagement

According to London’s Engage for Success, “Employee engagement is a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being.” They recognize the following four enablers:

  • Empowering leadership communicates a strong strategic narrative about where the business comes from and where it’s going.
  • Engaging managers focus on people, treat them well, and coach and stretch them as individuals.
  • Employee voice resonates throughout the company, reinforcing and challenging views, inside and outside the organization where employees are seen as central to solutions.
  • Organizational integrity puts values on the wall as day-to-day behaviors.

Now, none of these have any obvious connection with the structure or system of gaming until you understand that the HRIS utility is a means for these enablers to work.

3. A definition of player motivation

gamer instinctsPeople play games for different reasons. In 2003, Richard Bartle identified four different player types which can be summarized into a simple taxonomy of motives. This harkens back to Carl Jung’s understanding of human personality types, and it grew much more complicated and sophisticated through the work of Yo-Kai Chou and Nicole Lazzaro.

You might be most interested by the contemporary gaming instincts of Andrzej Marczewski:

If you turn these drivers over to an information technologist, you wind up with very difficult illustrations. Nonetheless, the relevance is that people play games for – and are satisfied by – different things.

Notice, for example, that satisfaction - and the engagement that follows – are floating and flexible targets.


gamer engagement
 4. A definition of doable

Analogies between gaming and working are limited comparisons. And, while the most accomplished HRIS systems have increased their gaming presence, you and your HRIS provider want to synch your needs and their abilities.

Gaming the HRIS takes more than color, bells, and whistles. Interactivity – not appearance – is the key to employee engagement. For example, not everyone wants to play, some dislike play, and others do not understand play.

In an adaptation of Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi’s work, The Journal of Behavioral Addictions, published research shows that effective engagement or flow lies between ability and demands. That is, too many demands on interactivity push you toward anxiety and too much required of your interactive ability bores you.


5. A definition of valuegame play

David Streitfeld writes recently in The New York Times that more employers are tracking employees to increase efficiency. But, your strategy should begin with these purposeful and well-envisioned outcomes:

  • Voice: Employees can offer feedback at will, and employers can show respect with immediate response and reward.
  • Leaderboard: Public notice of employee contributions shares the respect, expertise, and voice.
  • Reward: Points acknowledge performance and achievement.
  • Train: Games are delivery systems, and the content can build experience and improve performance.
  • Recruiting: Gamification shares Human Resources tasks like talent discovery, recruiting, and management.
  • Wellness: Play invites and retains employee engagement, and involved workers show less stress and report fewer absences.
  • Productivity: Metrics for effective performance differ across corporate silos, job categories, and white and blue collar work.

As your organizational needs differ from others, so do your needs to customize the gaming elements of your HRIS.  Ultimately, the more you understand these five tips on identifying your HRIS gamification needs, the better you are positioned to negotiate with your provider.

You may also enjoy:
What is Gamification?
The Game of Life – It’s Serious Business