Unlocking employees' new skills with competitive training

Financial firm Deloitte recently leveraged a gamification platform, called Badgeville, to augment its Deloitte Leadership Academy, a digital executive training program that's deployed across 50,000 executives at more than 150 companies. The gamification elements included ranks and rewards to be showcased in participant profiles, missions and leaderboards.

The results were tangible. Utilizing the game mechanics associated with Badgeville, the Deloitte Leadership Academy improved user retention by 45% after three months. Specifically 46.6% of users returned daily and 36.3% of users returned weekly. An average of three achievements were unlocked per active user with top users earning as many as 30 achievements all told.

To help spawn interactions between participants, each executive's home screen featured an updated news feed chronicling engagements of the users they follow. And similar to Facebook, executives could post on another's site.

As executives completed each online learning program, they received a badge to mark their achievement. There also were "secret" badges that were "unlocked only by achieving certain goals," the Harvard Business Review reported. "For example, if all members of one department watch the same video during the same week."

"Feedback from some clients is that the DLA experience has become 'addictive,' and competing with peers is now part of how clients are achieving their learning plans. The leaderboard has been an important element, as it creates a status-oriented competition," said Tom Richardson, Deloitte Leadership Academy partner.

Automotive aftermarket retailer Pep Boys recently employed a gaming platform called Axonify to address safety incidences and inventory shrinkage among its more than 19,000 employees. The use of informational posters and monthly manager-led meetings wasn't really working.

"Associates answered quick, targeted questions related to risk, loss prevention, safety and operational policies and procedures — standard questions in these areas. If they answered correctly, they played a slot-machine game titled 'Quiz to Win' for a chance to win cash prizes. If they answered incorrectly the system immediately presented a short training piece designed to specifically address the topic covered in the initial question," noted Karl Kapp, instructional technology professor at Bloomsburg University and author of "The Gamification of Learning and Instruction," in an article published this summer in Learning Solutions Magazine. The entire process took less than two minutes each day.

Upon completion of the program, Pep Boys realized a reduction in safety incidents and claim counts of more than 45% and shrinkage was down 55%. "In the case of internal loss, each time a burst of content related to employee theft is pushed out, they see at least a 60%. increase in their 'Integrity Pays' hotline calls, resulting in a direct reduction in inventory loss," Kapp reported.

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