HR Management & Compliance

The 411 on Gamification and Employee Assessments

In the last 4 years, gamification has grown more prevalent in the assessment industry. Part of this trend’s growth stems from the science, and another portion stems from cultural appeal.

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Rooms where a group of individuals are placed and given a time frame to “escape” by solving a variety of puzzles have become more popular—you might’ve even participated in one. There were 22 game rooms in the United States in 2014, and now, there are over 1,800.[1] Additionally, the board game industry has seen a veritable explosion of growth, growing into a $9.5 billion industry with over a 29% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in various markets.[2] Consumers, aka our employees, love games, and HR professionals are taking note.

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It’s important to know how fast and expansive the technology behind gamified assessments is growing. The industry has moved beyond simple gaming techniques like progress bars, the gamification technique to encourage you to finish a survey or an assessment by letting you know how close to the goal you are. Now fast forward—the assessment industry is realizing the multitude of data it can absorb by moving to a gamified platform, such as speed of decision-making, mouse movement, and pace of engagement.[3]

The research shows using gamification in assessments can have the following benefits:

  • Increase use ability by target age groups.[4]
  • Increase employee adoption rate![5]
  • Increase the speed of a task.[6]
  • Increase inclusivity, as gamification can be much more effective in testing and engaging individuals who have attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and its related versions.[7]

Should You Go Out and Jump on the Gamification Bandwagon?

There are some key questions to consider when looking at gamified assessments:

  1. Make the process smooth. Consider how the gamification fits into the overall employee or candidate experience. Does the process seem incongruent?
  2. Don’t skip the science! A gamified assessment still needs to go through the same validity and reliability testing a regular cognitive assessment would need to go through in your environment.
  3. Make sure the results are useful. There are some gamified assessments that are valid instruments but that may only provide you with very basic information (e.g., this person is optimistic). Will you be getting a return on the investment?
  4. Enjoyment is key. Research shows most gamified applications in the consumer space fail, and that is because making a good game is difficult. As a result, have your employees try out the gamified assessment, and make sure they enjoy it.

It is exciting to see gamification come to the assessment space, and a number of providers have made huge strides in moving this particular space forward. I look forward to seeing what the future holds, but regardless, I know it will be fun.

As the Vice President, Solution Provider Programs at Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Franz Gilbert is responsible for developing the programs for Bersin and Deloitte to interact with the HR Solution Provider community. He oversees analyst coverage approaches, marketing asset products, events, developing new programs to advise HR Solution Provider members on topics such as sales enablement, product engineering approaches on AI, Blockchain, offshore development centers, and strategic advisory on topics such as capitalization strategies. Gilbert is a graduate of Wichita State University, Bluefield College and Penn State University and resides in Jacksonville, Florida.

[3] Landers, Richard N., et al. “Gamification science, its history and future: Definitions and a research agenda.” Simulation & Gaming (2018): 1046878118774385.
[4] Korn, Oliver, et al. “Defining Recrutainment: A Model and a Survey on the Gamification of Recruiting and Human Resources.” International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics. Springer, Cham, 2017.
[5] Narayanan, Darshana, et al. “Gamification of the hiring process.” Workforce Solutions Review 7.5 (2016): 32-34.
[6] Attali, Yigal, and Meirav Arieli-Attali. “Gamification in assessment: Do points affect test performance?” Computers & Education 83 (2015): 57-63.
[7] Attali, Yigal, and Meirav Arieli-Attali. “Gamification in assessment: Do points affect test performance?” Computers & Education 83 (2015): 57-63.

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