I’ll never forget my very first game console, a Sega Genesis. My sister and I spent hours playing Sonic the Hedgehog and the Lion King as kids, and my love of video games only grew from there. Since then, I’ve owned several consoles and played games of every variety. While I don’t consider myself a “gamer” per se, I admit it can be a great source of entertainment.
"Many developers have come to this realization and have made games that now fit into our modern workplaces"
My father, on the other hand, didn’t understand the appeal of playing a game on a screen when there were so many game options “in real life.” He would rather his kids play soccer, baseball, or ride our bikes. I can remember him asking, “Do you think you’ll be able to play video games when you’re an adult and have a job?”
Oh, The Irony!
Today, I use games in almost every training I do. I’ve seen games help our staff retain information, learn and internalize new concepts, and build deeper connections with each other. Through all my research and experience, I’ve become convinced that, while everyone may not enjoy the same game, there is a game out there for everyone. Even my dad has now clocked countless hours playing online chess with people all over the world.
Many developers have come to this realization and have made games that now fit into our modern workplaces.
Here are three ways I’ve used games in my organization:
Online Training and New Policy Implementation
We use an online training system to introduce new policies and make sure our staff are compliant with our industry regulations. As you might expect, this material can be dry, so including games in the training really livens it up. Follow-up emails present multiple-choice questions to keep the concepts fresh in employees’ minds.
Classroom Instruction and Review
Games are also a great way to break up classroom training and help instill new material. At a recent finance training for non-financial managers, we incorporated two simulation games,–one that had staff running a pretend lemonade stand, and another one that had them running our organization with pretend (but realistic) scenarios. This was much more fun and effective than presenting spreadsheets all day!
Team-Building and Culture Activities
Team-based games are a great way to build bonds among staff, but they don’t have to be used only in a classroom setting. We recently incorporated a team-based trivia game into the social portion of our all-staff retreat. Before dinner was served, each table competed in a trivia contest where all the questions were about our organization. This helped staff get to know each other and our organization at the same time.
Like me, many individuals in today’s workforce grew up playing video games. In my career, I have seen great strides in increasing employee engagement, and therefore production, through games. We have also increased employee retention through building a culture where people want to come to work.
While gamification won’t solve every organizational challenge, underestimating the benefits of games in today’s culture could cost organizations a lot of money. If you want your organization to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced, digital world, invest in a diverse gaming program that meets your organization’s needs.