How to gamify work, boost engagement, favor workforce learning, boost employee engagement and reinforce its HR marketing with a single system ? It’s a matter of productivity, engagement and employer brand all businesses face today and which they’re trying to tackle, oftenÂ in a muddled way. Finally, few have achieved an undified and integrated approached to deal with these challenges.
At the end of my interview with Manuel Diaz on the importance of experience in digital models, I asked him about something I’ve been wondering about for a long time. I was used to see tweets or Facebook updates from his staff about badges and rewards and wanted to know what it was about. Then Manuel started to explain how he was dealing with engagement and HR marketing issues at Emakina.
Bertrand Duperrin : I often see on Twitter messages from your employees saying they’ve won a badge on a platform called Hero…with a link to the Emakina recruitment platform. What is it ?
Manuel Diaz : At Emakina, we consider that knowledge and learning are a continuous task. In a world when knowledge is immediately accessible in large quantities, what we know has a relative value regarding to who we are and how and why we mobilize knowledge.
So we wondered how to stimulate self-learning and knowledge assessment in a fun fashion, how to make it fun to challenge one’s knowledge. In the end we mixed the concepts of intranet, knowledge management and gamification. For the general public, gamification is often embodied in twitter, its badges, the fact one becomes the mayor of a place, but it can usefully apply in the workplace.
When we mix all these concepts we get something stimulating for employees which can challenge themselves or challenge one another
B.D. : How does it work in employee’s day to day lives at work ?
M.D.: Hero is the name of our platform. It’s been invented, created and developed internally. Brice [editor’s note : Le Blevenec, Co-CEO of Emakina Group] is the one who inspired it. Our french entity was the pilot one for this platform. And Hero is at the heart of our intranet.
When you work at Emakina, the portal that gathers everything important for employee’s work and experience (expenses, welcome packs for new hired, corporate directory, business and collaboration application) is integrated with Hero. So, in the middle of these things employees need everyday, you have a “knowledge and gamification management platform”.
When you’re hired, the platform says to you “you’re new, you’re a cheerleader”…and you’ll be able to challenge your skills to get promotions. You have personalized quizzes based on your job (an integrator, a developer and consultant don’t have the same needs). You can spontaneously take a quiz and see how your rank. Of course, when you answer right, you get badges.
But your manager can also assign you a quiz ! In the end we can see who took them, what are the results etc.
As you unlock new badges you can share them on social networks like Twitter, Facebook etc.
B.D. : So it becomes a recruitment and employer brand tool…
M.D.: Exactly ! Employees share their badges with their friends, their community and when you click on the link that comes with the badge you land on our recruitment platform which says “We’re looking for our future heroes ! If you’re a digital hero, join us !”.
B.D. : I’ve always been skeptical about gamification because it can distract people from their work, their goals. What’s the relevance of the results ?
M.D.: There’s no surprise. There’s a strong correlation between quizzes, badges and the actual expertise of a staff member.
B.D. : Do you only assess knowledge or can badge relate to production, deliverables and achievements ?
M.D.: There are contextual badges too. Your manager can give you a badge based on your achievements. It’s not the consequence of a quiz : your manager thinks that what you’ve done deserves recognition. It canÂ be based on your results, because you’ve helped a colleague, because you made a special effort. That’s a great surprise : you get a badge even without taking a quiz.
What’s even more interesting is that during biannual performance reviews, your manager will be able to objectify your scoring and what he puts in your scorecard, based on the badges. It’s a good way to prevent “person-based biases” and managers can’t ignore things they may have not seen but have been recognized by others.
It improves the consensus on the scoring. You can’t say a staff memebrer is not engaged if he took all the quizzes, earned engagement badges, if his colleagues gave him badge because he’s been helpful to them.
B.D. : So it’s a tool against the manager’s cognitive biaises…. And what’s the impact on recruitment ?
M.D.: We’ve always been obsessed by cooptation when it comes to hiring. The best recruitment is when a blooming employee, someone who shares our values, recommends someone from his network.
Today 20% of the applications we get have a viral source, often through badge sharing. But, what is even more important, is that these 20% are much more qualified than the others ! They often fit more in our job offers than more “traditional” applicants.
B.D. : In our former discussion we talked about customer experience. Here, it’s a kind of employee experience ?
M.D.: Exactly !
B.D. : Hero is an internal platform, developed by Emakina for Emakina. Have your ever thought of turning it into a standalone product and bring it to the market ? Did any of your clients say “I want this stuff…!” ?
M.D.:We designed Hero as a product because it was the best way to deliver it fast and well. Our employees did a really great job working on Hero. The first version was delivered in less than 10 weeks ! It’s coded in a standardized framework, not “DYI coding” for a proof of concept. So it anyone is interested it would be possible to sell it as a product.
Â By the way, we issue regular updates with new functionalities. We’ve just integrated with Passbook so employees will have their cards and rewards on their phone and can see their progression.Â Tomorrow, the QR codes on cards may be used to get free coffees in the office. Who knows…
[Editor’s note : the gamification of people’s developement processes is seen by specialists as the next step of gamifying HR Technology]