As times change, recruiters are realizing that the broken process of vanilla interviews is hollow and pointless. Hiring of employees based on learned or memorized information through a series of boring questions is fast beginning to lose its sheen. Fierce talent competition and the collapse of many recruitment firms and job boards, has prompted recruiters to consider more innovative ways to win the war for talent.
The quick-paced world of digital media technology has opened new conduits for corporate recruiting. The tech-savvy, socially liberal, educated millennial generation dislikes conventional job boards and prefers the targeted and faster route of social and mobile recruiting. The prevailing e-recruiting trends have given rise to career networks like xing.com, linkedin.com and simplified niche-based recruiting in a big way. Newer and user-friendly social networking career apps and online, visual, infographic and video resumes are making job searches easier.
Use of Games in the Business Context
Businesses of all shapes and sizes globally have started realizing the importance of using game dynamics to influence and motivate consumer and employee behavior. By embedding various game mechanics, which include challenges, points, badges and gifts, around an application, service or a website, compelling user experiences can be created that fulfill fundamental human desires of achievement, competition, status, rewards and self-expression. The application of gaming mechanics in a non-gaming, read, business, context can be used to drive recruitment initiatives in an enjoyable, interactive, practical and quantifiable way.
The idea of applying gaming mechanics in a purely business situation or gamification has really picked up pace globally. Gartner in its April 2012 study noted that by 2015 over 50 percent of companies that manage innovative processes will gamify them.
Gamification, according to Gartner, can be used in four different ways to drive engagement:
Better feedback: The availability of clear goals in a game leads to faster feedback loops and higher engagement.
Well-defined goals: There is little confusion and a higher sense of empowerment due to well-defined goals and specific rules.
Compelling context: As players move through various levels, they feel motivated by competing with others and observing their progress simultaneously.
Achievable targets: Short-term challenges that are achievable coupled with a possibility of faster rewards create and maintain high engagement.
The Game Begins
Globally, recruiters are excited about the use of gaming dynamics in the hiring process. The new and next in the world of recruiting is all about assessing potential hires through the medium of online games. It is like watching your son test-drive a car before you actually invest in buying one for him. Interestingly, Marriott, the global luxury hotels major, leads the field with its Facebook game called My Marriott Hotel , which introduces prospective hires to its hospitality business. The stated aim of the game was to fill 50,000 open positions worldwide by attracting Millennials from emerging markets outside the US to a fascinating career in the hospitality sector.
My Marriott Hotel game, built along lines of Cityville and Farmville, allows candidates to set up and manage their own virtual hotel business in a fun way. The gaming environment brings into play all the key business skills needed to create infrastructure, hire and train employees and ensure profitable operations and happy customers. Marriott claims, that its gamification initiative was inspired by PepsiCo’s mobile app called ‘Possibilities’ launched in May 2011.
This mobile recruiting app gave candidates access to the company’s latest blogs, tweets, videos, alerts and job search tools on the go.
Tapping into the stupendous popularity of the Marriott’s recruiting game initiative, Siemens launched its innovative gaming platform called Plantville. This is a realistic online game that lets potential engineers enter the routine world of a plant manager. Plantville, dubbed as more engaging and sophisticated than Marriott’s game, was an instant success and boasts of more than 16,000 players globally. The players, who include job applicants, students, employees and even customers, are challenged to enhance the quality, productivity and sustainability of a virtual factory.
Besides their value as an innovative recruitment tool, such online simulation games also create effective employer branding while educating current and prospective employees about the extent of a company’s offerings.
India, Social Gaming and the Road Ahead
Indians are not far behind in social networking through online gaming. From a new phenomenon to a growing culture, social gaming has caught momentum in India due to easy access to internet and mobile devices. According to statistics prepared by India’s major social gaming companies, Zapak.com, no less than 10 million Facebook users play multiplayer social games. Users appear to be less bothered about sharing pictures or posting quotes on social networks and more inclined to playing a game and responding or commenting on somebody’s move. Inevitably, the social gaming space in India is providing newer and exciting reasons for interaction to individuals who also benefit from honing management and collaboration skills.
The inclusion of real-time rewards and local nuances into these online games by companies like Zynga, Miniclip, PlayUp, Ibibo, and Zapak has further heightened consumer interest. The social gaming market pegged at Rs. 240 crores in 2010, according to a recent FICCI and KPMG report, is slated to touch Rs. 1430 crores by 2014.
The potential of gamification in India is immense not just for marketing campaigns but also for HR functions like recruiting, performance management, training, organizational change and employee engagement. Games conventionally exemplify the real world. However, organizations must begin to evaluate opportunities and look for ways to simulate their real world as games. IT planners, CIOs, and Enterprise architects of Indian companies should seriously put their heads together to formulate a gamification strategy with a goal to design at least one gaming application this year as part of their enterprise level planning efforts.
Social games adapted to specific business situations offer one of the most engaging ways for organizations to connect with prospective talent and showcase their growth potential and organizational culture effectively. Applicants find it appealing to prove their skills through solving challenges and puzzles in a gaming environment and offer recruiters a quantifiable way to evaluate a better fit. It, however, remains to be seen which Indian company is going to leverage the first-mover advantage in the gamification of recruiting.
Sanjay Joshi is an Editor at SHRM. Republished with permission. Copyright ©2012 SHRM India All rights reserved