HR Management & Compliance, Learning & Development

3 More Training Tips from World of Warcraft

Whether you’re a veteran gamer yourself, a Candy Crush dabbler, or you limit your gaming endeavors to the occasional round of Wii Golf, the following anecdotes may help talent management seem far more approachable. Don’t worry; no prior gaming experience is necessary.
4. Effective use of performance metrics, or “You need more experience points.”

One of the primary challenges of online gaming is that team members are rarely physically present and gathered together when working to achieve their goals. So, while a baseball coach may be able to observe and fine-tune a pitcher’s release or a batter’s swing, online gamers must rely on the cold objectivity of numbers, numbers, numbers.
Metrics are huge in gaming, particularly as the difficulty of encounters increases. In order to reach, let alone complete, elite level content, players must be able to meet minimum requirements of level, experience, and resources acquired, as well as raw ability and skill output. Performance metrics are collected real-time for every action and every objective and are consistently delivered for players’ (and leaders’) analysis.
However, metrics like these are only useful when they are objective (fact-based, unable to be cheated or manipulated, and free of favoritism); when they are understood by and meaningful to the recipient (defensive metrics are of little benefit to an offensive team); and when they are accompanied by the appropriate tools, resources, and training to enable the player to improve.
Similarly, workplace metrics for the sake of data mean little, but metrics that reveal areas for improvement combined with relevant training can empower employees, managers, and collaborative teams as a whole. And, as was discussed previously, such metrics can also reveal strategic opportunities for promotion, cross-training, reward, and recognition.

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5. Cross-training and skill agility, or “I hope you brought your healing shoes.”
Recall the example of the game encounter that specifically requires players with healing abilities on their résumés. One way to achieve this objective is to recruit individual players with the needed skills.
But what if you only have a handful of players available? Similarly, what if you simply can’t hire a diversity officer each time you engage in business with a new client with unique needs? This is where having an agile and adequately cross-trained—or trainable—workforce can help.
In gaming, some players choose “hybrid” roles and specifically develop “jack of all trades” flexibility. While these players may not be the top performer on one given skill, when circumstances shift and a different balance of skills is needed, these players truly shine.
Could your workplace and talent management strategy benefit from such “hybrids”—workers who are trained in a multidisciplinary set of business skills and who can rise to action to fill needs that arise in several departments? Cross-training and skill agility are not only crucial for day-to-day operations, but also for succession planning—after all, eventually some players do retire from the game.
Further, consider two of the most critical positions in each company and their own hybrid nature—those of CEO and HR director. CEOs and HR staff must master their own primary skills, but they may also need to understand finance, technology, applicable employment and industry laws, management practices, communication, and even facilities maintenance. Cross-training is beneficial at all levels of a team or organization.
6. Never stop learning, or “What do you mean you beat the game?”
One prevalent expectation among online gamers in particular is that of the continuing story or quest, whether delivered through game sequels, expansion packs, or downloadable content.
Through this “never-ending story” format, players become more invested in the game franchise, their individual characters, and the development of the skills needed to become an elite player. The drive to become better does not end simply because a player has “reached the top of his/her game,” because the game itself continues to evolve and challenge the player’s skills further.
Employees can be given the same opportunities for perpetual growth, thereby fostering a similar investment in and dedication to the business organization, as well as personal pride and motivation to continue improving and evolving on a personal and professional level.
Meanwhile, the employee’s commitment to growth and training also expands the organization’s pool of expertise for succession planning and talent management. Yet, again—think creatively and strategically. Growth opportunities don’t always have to be work-related in order to provide motivation and a sense of drive, purpose, and loyalty toward the organization.

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Bottom line, or “What about talent management for knitters, bowlers, and gardeners?”
Even if you aren’t a gamer, talent management lessons arise in any number of extracurricular activities. Whether you run marathons, coach youth soccer, or organize community functions, talent management training need not be restricted to a 2-day seminar. Many of the operative principles of talent management are inherent in our regular interpersonal interactions and methods of motivating ourselves and others.
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Holly K. Jones, JD, is a legal editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. She understands the existing and emerging needs and challenges of human resources professionals thanks to several years of experience managing, writing, and editing key legal and compliance publications for BLR®. Before joining BLR, Jones worked for the Tennessee Legislature’s Office of Legal Services.
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