Allstate finds a generational divide
One of the most interesting gamification programs comes from Allstate. The insurance company wanted to teach employees about information privacy, and created an online course that involved a superhero and a villain.
Lyn Scrine, ethics director for Allstate Enterprise Business Conduct, says the goal was to teach employees about the risks of stolen information. Instead of just handing out literature or links to a corporate website, it designed the course to be entertaining and instructive. She says about 80 percent of the company's 70,000 employees participated. After the course, another 4,500 employees completed an online survey to find out if the gamification program worked.
Scrine says the findings were enlightening. Younger employees, those who might play Xbox or PlayStation on the weekend, responded favorably to the course --but older employees did not. "Because of the unique format, the gamification element received mixed reviews by employees," she says. "We feel it may have been too out-of-the-box or creative for learners who were more familiar with our more typical training experience."
That said, the company tracked courses that did not include a gamification element and found that more employees participated when gamification was involved. "Feedback we received showed that some felt the format and storyline was not serious enough for such an important subject," says Scrine. "Others recognized that it was a new way to reinforce information they had been educated on numerous times before."
Hyatt Hotels use games to set goals
ot all gamification systems are intended to teach a company process or instruct salespeople through an entertaining trivia game. At Hyatt Hotels the goal is to reward employees and provide incentives. As Denise Pullens, the assistant director of operations at the Hyatt Reservation Center, explains, it's all about establishing on-the-job goals.
For example, once a new customer service rep makes a certain number of calls or new enrollments in a rewards program, he or she will receive virtual tokens to play in a game created by Snowfly, a game developer based in Laramie, Wyo. One game might involve unlocking a treasure chest or throwing darts. Rewards range from a simple gift card at a local restaurant to a vacation getaway. Pullens says the gamification occurs at all levels of the process, from completing work objectives to playing the games and then choosing a prize.
There's a reason why this works, says Brooks Mitchell, CEO and founder of Snowfly, who also is a professor of management at the University of Wyoming. One study he mentioned involved giving people a set reward of 10 points or letting them compete for up to 10,000 points. He says 99.6 percent of participants chose to compete.
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