How Gamification Can Improve Your Bottom Line

September 22, 2016

How Gamification Can Improve Your Bottom Line

Executive-level HR and other C-suite leaders looking for an advantage to outperform competitors and produce greater returns for shareholders are turning to gamification—a technique that develops the talent and skills of the workforce by helping them better understand the challenges their own business faces, using practical analogies—to give them that competitive edge. Gamification can engage your organization’s talent to drive business results and outcomes by helping to change thinking and behavior.

Leaders can use games to create scenario-based assessments or simulations to develop internal talent, provide workers with opportunities to stretch before applying those new competencies in the​workplace and build community. Hilton Worldwide uses a game called Ultimate Team Play to teach customer service skills, while IBM developed INNOV8, a simulation game in which players design or modify business models to satisfy customers or optimize supply chains, among other goals.

A study by the Federation of American Scientists showed that participants remembered 10 percent of what they read, 20 percent of what they heard, 30 percent of what they were taught if visuals were also included, and 50 percent of what they were taught if they also saw someone performing the tasks.  However, they remembered 90 percent of what they learned if they did the task themselves—even in simulated conditions.

Gamification helps leaders see how individuals will perform under pressure, analyze financial statements to make tactical and strategic decisions, and budget and forecast in a simulated environment that has competition and tough market conditions or not. Gamification is a fresh approach in an enterprise where HR managers, directors and VPs all must exercise their financial acumen muscles and collaborate. There are times when departments are at odds—at every company—and gamification allows for learning in a simulated environment where collaboration and resiliency reign.

As senior executives continue to require more challenging and immersive team experiences to push innovative thinking and increase accountability, collaboration, and strategic decision-making, gamification can be used in critical decision-making times around promotions, stretch assignments, and succession planning.

HR leaders and senior executives reap the benefits of employees who will utilize new or refreshed skills, approach work with improved strategies and more focused mindsets to be both technically competent and behaviorally confident in decisions that garner commercial success, carry the corporate culture, and ready employees for today's and tomorrow’s challenges.

At the same time, C-suite leaders can use gamification to help develop their ability to see a more wholistic, and therefore more strategic picture.

The Authors: 

Melissa Vuernick is executive director of Kaplan U.S. Leadership and Professional Development. To read more about gamification in action, go to: