(Story by Heather R. Huhman originally appeared in Entrepreneur)
Companies are letting their employees play “games” to explore new roles and get the latest on personal healthcare trends.
During their first week at work, new tech employees at Asurion, a technology-support company in Nashville, are locked in a room and told to “escape.” It’s all part of their training. And it’s a game.
As part of the exercise, small teams at the company are tasked with figuring out how to “escape” the room, by working together to solve challenges designed to reflect their new roles.
These tasks can range from something as simple as resetting a router to more complex issues involving multiple operating systems.
“The Escape Game concept allows Asurion to tap into its employees’ innate affinity for gaming, while reinforcing skills and traits important for their job,” Vincent Phamvan, senior director of innovation, explained via email.
The escape game, he said, “gives new employees — primarily millennials — hands-on experience with the latest technology devices, while honing the critical skills and traits they’ll need to provide top-notch customer experience.”
Not to mention, it’s fun. Yet while Asurion’s Escape Game may be innovative, it’s not necessarily appropriate for every company, because not every entrepreneur has time to design his or her own game.
The good news, however, is that HR tech tools are offering companies gamification activities to improve their employees’ work experience. Here are four:
Description: a modernized corporate-learning solution
Company headquarters: Waterloo, Ontario
At Home Décor, a home-accessories retailer based in Plano, Texas, has implemented Axonify in 100 stores, covering more than 2,000 associates. Kiosks with the learning platform are located in break rooms, and each day, employees log in and complete short training modules with an option to play a game to test their knowledge. They can also earn badges and other rewards.
“When we made our training program engaging and relevant, with some fun built-in, we noticed a significant increase in participation,” Valerie Davisson, chief people officer, said via email. “We now see a 99 percent participation among our store associates; have reduced onboarding time by 90 percent; and have increased sales among stores with the highest knowledge levels.”
Description: a corporate-wellness platform
Company headquarters: Bellevue, Wash.
Kindred Healthcare, a nationwide company with a variety of healthcare centers, wanted to create a wellness program that would meet the needs of its diverse workforce. With Limeade, the company was able to choose and develop a variety of ways for its employees to improve their own health.
“My favorite challenge is ‘Move Across America,'” said Andrea Romisher, the company’s VP of benefits, based in Louisville, Ken. “We formed teams, and our folks posted pictures on Instagram and Facebook, showing how they were taking steps across America. And we have some real heroes out there.”
She went on to say that because of these types of competitive programs from Limeade, more employees are completing well-being assessments, making them better educated about how to take care of their health.
Description: an all-inclusive performance-management system
Company headquarters: Chattanooga, Tenn.
Ambition allows organizations to create and track competitions designed to motivate employees. In fact, when an employee hits a goal, individuals can choose a YouTube clip to play on the office TV in celebration.
“One of our reps has She’s a Bad Mama Jama as his anthem,” Adam Harless said via email. Harless is sales operations leader of Prezi, a presentation software company in San Francisco. “Every time that thing plays, the whole office knows he’s achieved something of note.”
Harless went on to say that the biggest benefit from Ambition is the increased visibility it allows. By playing the game, all members of the team stay aware — and have fun with — the latest performance data.
Description: career-planning software
Company headquarters: Nashville, Tenn.
YouScience has drawn on 40 years of research to develop assessments that guide people on their career path. But instead of putting users through tests and skills quizzes, the game has them play brain games.
Then, each individual receives a report detailing his or her skills and potential good job fits.
While this technology was primarily designed to help job seekers, there’s great potential for employers to use it, as well. For example, interns and entry-level employees could complete the program to show the talents they have to offer the organization.
Supporting internal mobility is another feature the platform provides. If a valuable employee wants more opportunities or a career change, a stint playing YouScience’s brain games may well reveal new roles he or she could fill within the company.