Too often, new employees show up at a firm that will not slow down for a moment to make sure that they are properly set up for success. As a matter of fact, some places wear this as a badge of honor: “If you can’t keep up with the mayhem, this might not be the place for you.”
This is not only bad for the long term productivity of the new team member, but also your firm. The new employee wastes a day or more performing tasks that are haphazardly thrown together and they get a bad first impression by the lack of organization.
One of the biggest challenges with hiring new team members is knowing how productive and engaged they will be as a member of your team. Unfortunately, it can take weeks, months, or even years to know if you have made a good hire.
One simple process has proven to make employees 48% more engaged, yet only 17% of companies have taken advantage of this very simple (and fun) new hire onboarding tool.
Adding gamification to a formalized employee onboarding process has not only proven to increase engagement by 48%, companies using gamification as part of their onboarding process also improve turnover by 36%.
People have a tendency to follow through on tasks if the work has an element of fun to it. In the above cited Aberdeen Group research paper the most surprising differentiator between Best-in-Class organizations and laggards is the use of gamification in the onboarding process.
How to Get Started
I know what you are thinking. Gamification? Really? Do you want us to add a Playstation to our break room and foosball tables to the patio? No, that’s not it at all. I suggest taking games that you are comfortable with and adapting them to your organization.
One game we have rolled out with our clients in the past is a Scavenger Hunt. We use onboarding technology to track the points and progress of a new hire as they complete sets of tasks. We make it fun by putting tasks in the game that drive people to places in the company that might take months otherwise.
For example: if you are hiring an auditor and they would not normally interact with the people from IT support, you can add a task that makes them “find out the middle names of three IT support team members” or “find three employees that own a cat.” People will have fun with it and it will make them more engaged, sooner.
Another best practice for improving employee engagement is to survey your new hires after they complete the “New Hire Games” to get their feedback on how to improve the process and what they thought of the game. This will help you to make adjustments as you go and make sure that your games are not lame. This will also further engage an employee when they see you use their suggestions in future iterations of the game.
Seeing the Big Picture
The great thing about this is that you can use the results of these games as data points to determine what similarities there were in the onboarding process of your top performers. How did they perform on the games that you provided to them and what feedback did they give you during the survey process.
By using a simple survey system like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms you can gain access to valuable data. The metrics over time will make this a valuable part of not only your onboarding process, but your recruiting process.
I get a lot of excuses when I talk to people about formalizing their onboarding process and making gamification a part of it. “We already have a checklist,” and “It’s really hard because our company is so unique,” are just some of the excuses. If I had a dollar for every company that told me their challenges were unique, I would have literally hundreds of dollars (and I could buy an Apple Watch).
Don’t fall victim to excuses. A few simple steps will not only make your new hires more productive and engaged, but it will also help to improve your firm’s culture. You can create the culture and workplace that people want to be a part of. Happy gaming!
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