The Game of Life – It’s Serious Business

Games are not just for kids anymore. Due to the abundance of “smart” devices and mobile apps, the concepts that drive gaming have been intruded into every aspect of consumer life. In the “distant” past before the Internet, games were merely enjoyed as a pastime. Now, they are used to drive consumer behavior in areas as diverse as loyalty programs and project management.

Gamification and HR

Business experts have recognized the benefits of gamification for almost a decade. HR professionals are relatively recent converts to the concept but have embraced the concept wholeheartedly. Gamification has proven valuable to HR departments in training, personal wellness, and continuing education programs as well as benefiting the company in a host of other areas.

A Problem for the Healthcare Experts

A case in point is CVS Caremark. As the largest pharmacy health care provider in the U.S., it takes seriously the health of its employees and the effect that healthy employees can have on the company’s bottom line. To this end, CVS has introduced a “gamified” employee wellness program.

CVS had a relatively generous healthcare benefits plan but, like all others, it has been beset by significantly increased, year-over-year plan costs. Plan costs are most affected by two things: the menu of benefits and the actual utilization of benefits by members.

“Gamification” to the Rescue

In addressing this situation, CVS implemented a two-pronged approach to moderate the cost increases. First, the company did decrease the amount of benefits available but they also introduced a wellness plan that was enhanced by a gamification process.

If CVS employees would engage in certain health conscious activities, they were awarded points. These points, in turn, could be used to decrease their annual premiums. The benefit to the company was decreased time and attendance problems as well as more favorable healthcare rates. Both factors lowered costs and made the company more competitive in the marketplace.

A Final Observation

Obviously, gamification cannot take the place of a decent benefits package. It can, however, through a properly designed and implemented HRIS, significantly drive employee behavior towards practices that are not only good for the company but for the employee as well.

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