Man and Woman Running on Game Board

You fall asleep at night thinking about all of those HR terms that keep you busy: immigration reform and i-9 compliance software, onboarding program, building the candidate pipeline, performance management, and compensation analysis. Let me add one more…gamification. Another box to check on your long list of HR responsibilities? Well, if implemented correctly, gamification can change the way you do HR.

Gamification is the art of adding “gaming” to your new hire onboarding, which encodes an engaging narrative into your hiring process. This doesn’t mean you should buy the latest Xbox or PlayStation 3. Gamification is about rewards and recognition, team play, and collaboration throughout the entire program. Gamifying your new hire orientation experience aligns each new employee with the organization, embedding them into the culture, and increasing their network, all with the flip of a card or spin of a wheel.

Employee Engagement

Gamification is about enhancing your onboarding process to drive employee engagement and retention. According to the Aberdeen Group, only 17% of companies are currently using gamification.

If you start now, you can get ahead of the “game” and position yourself as an employer of choice by differentiating your onboarding experience from that of your competitors. By providing an interactive, collaborative and team play environment, you more quickly connect new hires to the company, the culture, and the brand. You want your new hires to have the best onboarding experience ever.

Employees tend to decide during the first six months if they plan to stay long term. Don’t roll the dice with the one-size-fits-all onboarding program. Use gamification to strategically place your employer brand at the top. Improving the new hire onboarding experience can reduce that first-year turnover rate and increase retention.

Get Gamified

If you’re like most companies, you’ve got the same paper-based onboarding program that you’ve had for years. Spin the wheel and grab a vowel. Shake up your program and add a “Do Not Pass Go Until You Collect 5 New Twitter Handles” from other new hires at orientation. Change up the due dates with opportunities to “unlock” the next level of training and compliance by moving game pieces from one point to the next.

For example, at Deloitte LLP, the onboarding program is very much gamified. New hires sit in groups or “teams” comprised of various backgrounds and experience levels. They learn about compliance, privacy and ethics using a game board, modeled after the popular game “LIFE”. Each team member takes a turn to ask the group a pre-set question and the group responds with the answer. Many times, answers are not unanimous, so the group discusses the options and agrees on the best and final answer.

This example demonstrates team work and collaboration, which leads to a more engaged new hire and greater sense of belonging, from the very first day.

Gamification will take time and strategic implementation. The new hire orientation experience is the key to retention; it is a business driver. So, pick up your game piece, pass “GO” and collect your reward.


How has your organization used gamification in your orientation process? 
Let us know in the comments!

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Rachelle Falls

Based in the Washington, DC area and with 14 years of industry experience, Rachelle Falls provides client service solutions in the areas of HR, Social Media, Marketing, and Brand Management. Rachelle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from West Virginia University and a Master’s of HR degree in Strategic Human Capital Management from Georgetown University. She’s an HR pro, blogger, and conference speaker.