Employee training programs are a necessity for specialized industries. Finance companies, manufacturing plants, and education are just a few of the areas where formal, on-the-job training and continued education are required. However, employees are often less than enthusiastic about these sessions. Continued education or leadership training suffers from even lower engagement rates than onboarding. Because engaged employees retain more information and progress through training faster, it’s important for companies to find a solution to this problem.
The gamification of employee training systems are becoming a popular way to speed up training, better engage employees, and increase interest in continued skill development. Solutions range from lightweight programs that add a gamified-layer of points or levels onto existing training systems, to fully-developed 3D training simulations for in-depth education.
Choosing the right solution for your company can help you cut costs, better train your employees, and streamline your onboarding process. To help you choose the best software, we’ll discuss the common features and benefits of such programs, and show a real-world example.
Employee training programs are generally static affairs, where participants read training material, watch instructional videos, or listen to speakers. They often then take a pass-fail test at the conclusion. This structure encourages employees to only pay attention to elements of training which they believe they’ll later be tested on.
Gamified solutions improve on this model by offering continuous feedback, which promotes active learning and participation. Such solutions can be used to quiz employees at the end of each session, for instance, or complete fun trivia contests about the information they just read. Participants can then be ranked using a public leaderboard, based on the amount of information they could recall. This adds a competitive element to the learning process and increases employee engagement.
By incorporating a digital progress bar into training programs (through an app or web interface, typically) you can help employees visualize their progress and take ownership over their training. This is especially effective for employees who are participating in a program in which they need to pass a series of tests in order to advance. A progress bar shows them exactly how far they’ve come and gives them an idea of the importance and weight of future training modules.
Progress bars also allow employees to gauge how much additional training they have left, or how many modules they’ll need to complete to advance to the next level. Continued development programs can break training into smaller portions - each representing a level - in order to make each segment more manageable.
The benefits of a gamified employee training programs include faster onboarding times, greater retention of information by employees, and overall lower training costs.
By aligning incentives around information retention, and offering rewards for attaining higher scores, employees will be motivated to do more than simply pass their final tests. As employees become more engage in the program (possibly by competing against each other on public leaderboards) companies can shorten their programs to include less redundant information. This decreases onboarding time and saves money.
Similarly, employees often need extra incentive to pursue continued development courses (or update their skillset) once they’re inside the company. These type of courses often feel like additional, unpaid work, so it’s important to make them as engaging as possible. Setting up a month-long competition among executives, for instance, with weekly updates on each person's progress, can spur rivalry and help the company.
Deloitte recently wanted to improve the efficiency of their executive training program, the Deloitte Leadership Academy. In particular, they wanted to provide incentive for consultants to use the service on weekends, or after work, to learn new skills and further their company and client knowledge. In order to do this, Deloitte needed to make the Leadership Academy a fun experience. They turned towards gamification, and contracted Badgeville to accomplish this mission.
Badgeville added instant-feedback mechanisms to the existing Leadership Academy program using points, badges, and an online “reputation” metric that allowed the consultants to easily compare their progress against their coworkers and friends. They also created specific “pathways” which served as virtual progress bars.
Using these fairly simply tools, Deloitte realized a 47 percent higher daily return rate for users, and saw a jump of 36 percent in weekly information retention rates. Not only were their employees using the program more often, but they were better engaged and absorbing more information. Perhaps the best result was a 50 percent reduction in course completion time. This efficiency truly shows the power of the right incentives to drive employees to continued professional growth.