Gamification: The Secret to an Effective Employee Onboarding Strategy

Gamification: The Secret to an Effective Employee Onboarding Strategy


According to a BambooHR report, about one-third of new hires will leave a company within just six months of being hired. Depending on the industry, the cost of hiring a new employee can often be thousands of dollars each. When added up, the recurrent, high cost of employee turnover alone should be enough to reconsider your current onboarding strategy.

Why do most new hires leave a company early on?

According to the same BambooHR report, one of the top reasons employees will leave a company is inadequate training and the fact that the job wasn't "fun."

Making a job fun isn't always possible, but designing fun experiences around a job is possible and can create the perception of a fun job.

Inadequate training is a common issue. Current onboarding programs are generic, overly formal and utilize outdated styles. Employees are given a few days to a week of full-time orientation and are then assimilated into a company and forgotten about. This is when things start to fall apart.

The answer: Engage new employees early on

If employee turnover is costing your company thousands of dollars each year, engaging new hires from Day 1 should be at the forefront of your onboarding strategy. From an engagement standpoint, gamification is a proven employee onboarding strategy.

Gamification in eLearning is the principle of adding typical game mechanics and design elements to motivate participation and engagement in learning material. Some examples of gamification in onboarding include goal-based point systems, employee reward programs and leaderboards.

Another great example isinteractive video whose properties essentially mimic the dynamics of an interactive video game. With xAPI, learners' results and behaviors can be tracked, providing you with everything you need to set up a rewards system based on learning.

How can gamification enhance employee onboarding?

Increase engagement levels

When onboarding is fun, challenging and rewarding, engagement levels naturally rise. A gamified onboarding program allows new employees to interact—whether it be socially, physically, or virtually—instead of simply sitting back and taking notes on a lecture. Gamification motivates participation and has an astounding effect on information retention. It has been found toincrease engagement rates by as much as 50%.

Create a positive company perception

Onboarding is essentially an employee's first impression of a company. If your onboarding program is old-fashioned and mundane, employees will carry on that perception of your company as a whole and their job as well. Even worse, first impressions are nearly impossible to reverse. This means a positive onboarding experience will more-or-less set the tone for the rest of their time at your company.

Decrease employee turnover rates

As stated earlier, most employees who quit within six months will quit due to inadequate training. Since an employee's onboarding experience will affect how they perceive your company and their job down the road, a good experience will surely have a positive impact on employee turnover rates. This means you can actually control your employees' perception of your company and their job by simply creating a memorable and enjoyable learning experience from Day 1.

How can you gamify your onboarding strategy?

Create a rewards structure

This doesn't mean giving a higher cut in the annual bonus. Rewards can be anything from a free lunch coupon to a mention on the company leaderboard. Leaderboards are a great way to reward employees without investing in monetary rewards. Rewards help drive engagement levels by increasing motivation and feelings of recognition.

Make it fun and interactive

Create an onboarding experience, not a check-list.Onboarding shouldn't be a one-way conversation. Nor should it ever feel like a never-ending university lecture. Incorporate a mix of real-life demonstrations, interactive videos, hands-on tasks, team-oriented games and continuous feedback into your onboarding strategy and engagement levels will skyrocket.

Make it incrementally challenging

Just like a typical video game, start off with easy icebreakers and finish off with more challenging activities or tasks. This part can also be gamified through the creation of levels and points. Points provide intrinsic rewards while attaining higher levels creates a sense of accomplishment.

Absorb Create branching

Choose from a number of gamification templates.

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Create milestones and goals

Establishing clear milestones and goals not only helps keep new hires on the right path, but they can help track progress and induce feelings of accomplishment early on. To gamify this, create a "leveling up" system where new privileges and responsibilities are unlocked after a milestone or goal is attained.

How can Absorb Create help?

Our eLearning authoring tool lets you gamify your onboarding videos by adding interactions. Our web app comes packed with a library of interactions to ensure that your new employees will never get bored or lose focus during an onboarding session. Instead of clicking a never-ending series of "NEXT" buttons, employees can answer popup questions, click on hotspots to get more information and participate more interactively with learning content.

Check out also our interactive video blog post that can help in creating highly interactive, scenario-based learning.

If your company hasn't yet hopped on the gamification bandwagon, sign up for a free trial of Absorb Create to get started.

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