Using Gamification for Workplace & HR Communication

There has been SO much talk lately about “gamification.” I’ve seen the term used very broadly, but in general, its referring to adding in a fun or gaming impact to tools, technology, or other non-gaming appplications. In the HR space, I’ve seen it used widely in places that I think are great ideas (applicant tracking systems, employee referral programs, wellness programs) and some that I am less thrilled about (exit interviews, performance reviews, feedback). One area that I don’t hear a ton about is using gamification strategies for HR communications.

HR Communications is a huge arena and we really need to break it out into a few larger segments so that you are communicating the right types of information. What you don’t want to do, is to encourage: 1) the wrong behavior with negative naysayers, 2) people creating their own “truths” or interpretations of HR information or 3) more noise on top of noise. What you DO want to create is engaging, factual, consistent content and messaging that people can easily digest and CARRY to others.

Face it, no one reads bulletin boards anymore — man, some days I even struggle to read all my emails. However, no matter how busy I am, there are generally a couple of places (or people) I connect with to get my news-worthy news. Think of it this way, we all have “that friend” who is always in the know. They know where the coolest new places to eat are, the best parties, the latest trends, the new make-up girl at the MAC counter. They are the “IT” (not to be confused with I.T. … who are also really hip too by the way :)) people and they deal in information …and are great about sharing it. What if you could get your important HR information into the hands of this kind of person? Gamification could help.

3 Ways Gamification Will Help Human Resources

Create the Hub

The source for the information. For some that might be internal social media, for others, it really may be a bulletin board, or newsletter, or a huddle meeting. It will depend on your workforce and the tools that you have available to you. The idea however, is THAT is THE “go to place.”  Its fast, its up to date, its short, its catchy, its current, it tells them where to go for more information. Its crucial that you get to one (maybe two) places so as not to confuse people as to where to go. The source needs to be clear. The source should be the place where people go to give AND get information.  Your source should be appropriate for the types of information that you are targeting to communicate. Start with a clear focus and strategy and then let it grow from there — give people guidelines, but don’t make it too rigid on how everything works.

Develop Incentives for Employees

Second, gamification can be used to help to give incentives to people. I’d recommend incenting your regulars, the people who are always showing up, always contributing, and always spreading the message. Depending on what your source is, you’ll want to create an easy way of tracking and getting metrics. Make it fun, easy, and valuable. Your culture will tell you the best way to “game.” Is it free popcorn? Stickers? Casual Friday? A cool badge or flag? A special t-shirt? Find the right incentives and put some of the gamification tactics into play.  Let people know the rules of the “game” and the different levels, points, prices, incentives, etc. After all some of the best games are easy to pick up, but still provide a good challenge (Candy Crush or Pet Rescue Sage much?). You also want to make sure that you have a diverse group of regulars — if they are all HR people, you may have missed the mark (high five for an engaged HR team, but you want to get the information to the business).


Find ways of acknowledging your regulars and giving them props. Yelp! for example has a “Elite Squad” that are recognized with a special badge on their profile.  How are you going to recognize your regulars so that others know that they are some of the “IT” people to know?  Make your people feel special and if you have sites across different buildings and locations, your strategy should include a way to keep everything tied together. The other key to this, is to be consistent. Once you establish the source, make sure that you are always feeding into it consistently.  If your source dries up, your regulars will flock to a new one — and once they are gone, it might be hard to get them back (even with gamification techniques).

What do you think — could you use gamification to help promote HR communications in your company?

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Andrea Devers

Andrea is an HR technologist and change management expert. She’s has built her career in global HR Compliance, HR process improvement, and shared services across all functions of HR. Connect with Andrea.


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