Gamification Implementation in Corporates – A case-based approach

Things were getting a bit heated in the meeting at the corporate office of the bank. Jai, Head-Audit and Smita, Head-Operations were at loggerheads over the Annual Internal Audit Report that Jai had prepared. Also attending was Arun, Head-HR and a veteran at the Bank. The crux of the discussion were the various non-compliances and observations that Jai’s team had presented for many of the branches. The bank is a mid-sized bank with around 100 branches, pre-dominantly in western India.

‘But we meticulously issue Circulars based on the Central Bank’s notifications and ensure that the Branch Managers are attuned to them. I personally have weekly calls with BMs and Ops Managers to ensure there is no gap in their understanding.’ voiced a visibly agitated Smita.

‘But that doesn’t seem to be evident in the many non-compliances and observations we are coming across at branches. Some of these are serious and may put us on the wrong side of the statutory audits. The circulars are not being followed by front-line employees. And these are our customer touchpoints!’, said Jai.

The Audit Report showed lacunae in the regulatory compliance at branches. With the bank planning to expand its branch network, the MD was worried that new branches would also showcase similar process gaps. Major recruitment and expansion were to be rolled out shortly. The MD had requested Arun to participate in the meeting. ‘Arun, we cannot grow our bank with poor compliance in existing branches. The seniors in existing branches will be due to be transferred to proposed new branches. This would be a risk to our reputation if compliance gaps spread. Please do whatever is required to mitigate this risk.’

Back in the meeting, Arun asked both colleagues to take it easy and turned towards Jai. ‘Jai, what is your sense of why so many gaps exist in the compliance? What is your audit team reporting to you?’. Jai referred to his notes and said, ‘Sir, it is not just my team.  I too have participated in the audits of some of the larger branches. We do agree that there is an active communication between HO and the Branch seniors. But BMs and Ops Managers are too tied up to train juniors and mentor them. Not only that, with recruitment already picking up, newer recruits are not trained in the compliance concepts.’.

Arun went through the Audit Report and got worried about some of the NCs[1] listed. He was pensive. This was surely not calling for a quick fix. It was critical to make following of processes, documentation and instructions as part of the bank DNA. Employees need to appreciate the importance of regulations, guidelines and compliances. Compliance has to be ingrained in every interaction and task for each employee. He recalled the discussion he had with his MD about building a Compliance Culture in the Bank.

His thoughts veered towards an interesting conversation he had with Vikram, a friend and a professional in the HR Best Practices. ‘Train! Train! Train! An organisation in any highly regulated industry has to focus on training their employees. And there new methods to do this cost-effectively, just that they need to be administered well for effectiveness. Online learning is one such cost-saver. Arun, the whole approach to online learning seems to have been taken up with the intent of cost-reduction and convenience. That’s a wrong advantage to gun for. Technology-based learning offers an excellent means of building a knowledge base, an asset distributed across employees.’ Arun was amused. ‘Vikram, all I have heard about e-learning is the frustration of my HR executives that they have to follow up, threaten, cajole, request, beg employees to complete their courses. How will this be any different?’.

’That’s where basic human behaviour comes in. The trick is to include extrinsic and intrinsic motivators that can make the learning process more engaging. We forget the basics – that we grew up learning through the games we played. What if I gave you a program which covers ALL your employees, gets them to go through training courses, gets them to share valuable experiences and above all, get the employees all excited about it?! Going through the training courses will increase skill, sharing of experience will build your knowledge base and you will be able to achieve a strategic objective for your Bank. Gamification binds all these elements and delivers fantastically!

Arun resolved to reach out to Vikram and check if he could assist his bank in reaching this goal of Compliance Culture!

Gamification has been interpreted differently by various learning professionals and offered in different forms by gamification companies. Some implement it by creating e-learning courses with elements of popular graphic games like snakes and ladders, crossword, obstacle race, etc., with points awarded as the learner advances in the game. Other build courses with objective tests, with points won depicted through leaderboards, badges and other functionality to enthuse quick scorers or high scorers amongst learners. However, the outcome of such exercises are more operational than strategic. This is just scratching the surface of a phenomenon with powerful transformational capabilities – Gamification.

GAMIFICATION

Gamification is the use of game elements of learner engagement and inter-learner competition to ensure that a goal or objective is achieved. Gamification in corporate training is about using motivators to make learning more participative and result-oriented. 

  • Intrinsic motivators are those that exist in all of us – the desire to improve, to achieve, to direct our own lives, and to connect with others.
  • Extrinsic motivators include intangible (like praise, fame, recognition) and tangible (like Points, Badges, Leaderboards and progress badges and rewards) elements.

A Gamification Program used in training should deliver on a strategic intent or objective that is expected from the learning & development program. 

In the article below, we understand the different components of a gamification framework and how it could deliver Arun’s objective –an organization that incorporates Compliance Culture in its day-to-day working. The framework may similarly apply to improve sales, boost customer loyalty, increase compliance culture or encourage cross-selling – learning goals to seamlessly transition into performance goals. This framework is usually developed by a gamification company and is offered either as a product or a SAAS based implementation.

GAMIFICATION FRAMEWORK

Gamification Famework

gamification framework integrates with a Learning Management System (LMS) and other interfaces and guides the program through a series of activities and events along a pre-defined workflow to deliver the objective of the program. As it is a framework, it can be customised to different strategic objective. Participants complete various activities – in-person sessions, virtual conference modes, self-paced courses,  a gamification app. An LMS usually orchestrates these activities and feeds progress, grades and outcomes to the gamification framework. Depending on the game parameters, some of these parameters may be received from external systems e.g. MIS systems, external exercises; these will be fed through interfaces.

In our case, Arun wishes to ensure that Bank employees adopt a Compliance Culture by following the processes, guidelines and documentation requirements shared through internal circulars. A goal of this nature cannot be achieved through a one-off learning intervention, but a targeted set of activities that gradually guides employees to follow compliances. Let us visit the various essential components of a Gamification Framework and how they apply to Arun’s Bank’s requirement.

GAMING COMPONENTS AND RULES DEFINITIONS

The components of the gamification framework are selected such that they contribute to the achievement of the defined goal. These components are –

  • Activities targeted to increase cognitive capability.
  • Provide tools to facilitate sharing experiences.
  • Challenges to test them, encourage analysis and revisit learning activities if needed
  • Gaming Rules that manage the inter-action between activities, challenges and tools to  compute intrinsic and extrinsic motivators
  • Determine Learner Incentives
Ensure a Gamification Company which provides a Mobile-App based implementation

ACTIVITIES and Tools

The bank will need to design Activities which train participants in areas that will lead to following guidelines and regulations. Activities may be designed at individual level or at group level (or in a bank, at branch level). Activities designed innovatively bring the best out of participants e.g. completion of defined courses will ensure that the participants are trained, but providing Tools like essays, forums and Wikis for sharing customer experiences can be a valuable source for building organisational knowledgebase. Similarly, group-based activities can create cohesiveness in the branch.

CHALLENGES

The challenges will test the effectiveness of the activities through problem-solving. They provide the necessary metrics to monitor skill upgrade. Challenges can be course exercises, self-learning, self- assessment, graded tests, contributions to forums and other forms of sharing knowledge.

GAMING RULES

The rules specify under what conditions (based on activities and challenges) specific game mechanics will be applied. For example, a rule can specify that when after completing 2 courses and 3 challenges, a certain badge will be given, or some content will be unlocked for the participant. Gaming rules form the logic of the gamification framework through parameters like grading, weightages, conditionalities and dependencies.

LEARNING INCENTIVES

Through mechanisms like points, badges, progress bars, and leaderboards, gamification systems and gamification apps keep participants encouraged. Companies can go beyond such system indicators and offer innovative incentives like recognition through Best Performing Employee award, monetary incentives like e-comm portal vouchers, group incentives like Best Branch award, felicitation during Company/Regional functions and so on. Such incentives will make the program an aspirational goal amongst employees.

PROGRAM INTERFACES

A gamification program has multiple stakeholders, and the framework should provide interfaces for all of them. The interfaces may be in the form of smartly designed UI/UX screens, API libraries or File Upload/download capabilities. Some of the key entities for which interfaces are required include –

  • The Participant/Learner Dashboard – User Interfaces for participants are important to keep the excitement level high. Placing awards won in the public domain encourage participants to give their best. The Dashboard displays these indicators so that the Learner knows his/her current status. Mobile-based gamification app dashboards and ability to participate is a must, as these are devices of easy participation!
  • Supervision & MIS– Progress towards goal achievement is tracked and monitored by the ‘Sponsors’ of the gamification program – the Functional heads, Channel Heads, HR managers or L&D managers. Appropriate reports-on-demand are crucial for mid-stream changes, if required or for management reporting.
  • The Game Designer – Game Designers are the personnel who set-up the game logic at the outset. They require interfaces for setting up the activities, challenges, dependencies, grade structures, etc. As the game progresses, designers track and monitor game progress and make midstream alterations as per the instructions from HR Managers.
  • Mentors/Assessors/Reviewers – Challenges and activities may require multiple review points for experts and mentors to ensure that games follow the rules. E.g. if a challenge has subjective assessment, then a reviewer will need to review the submissions and grade it. If one of the challenges requires case study submission or adding a post to a forum, reviewers will be required to curate the content for language, confidentiality and fact-checks.
  • Integration with External Systems – The program may give weightage to activities external to the Gamification program and LMS e.g. Sales MIS, Support MIS, Audit Report and so on. Input may be required either on an ongoing basis (through APIs or direct data reads) or periodically through data uploads.

ORGANISATIONAL RESOURCES

A critical success factor is the planning phase of the gamified program. Strategy-focused gamification programs run for a duration of over 3 months to a year. Further, the program participation can be across the company or a complete function and hence, participant numbers can be in hundreds, if not thousands. Resource effort required for the curating, supervising, grading and supporting has to be calculated and planned for accordingly.

For each of the interfaces presented above in the ‘Program Interfaces’ section, internal or external resources are essential to ensure that activities progress as per plan and participants’ enthusiasm doesn’t diminish. Some of activities which will require support are –

  • Assessment of subjective challenges
  • Curating, verifying and validating submissions and posts
  • Supervision of L&D or HR or functional leadership
  • Game Program Support and Maintenance

CONCLUSION

Implementation of a gamified program requires the L&D professional don the hat of a project manager. The successful implemetation requires the The same factors that go into planning any initiative go into planning a gamified progam -definition of the goal, activities, resources, communication, costs, timelines and so on. The L&D team plays a central role in the success of the program, as they have to work closely with all other functions for its success. And for a successful gamified program, a robust and feature-rich gamification framework from the right gamification company, supported by rich and versatile activities can ensure the success of the program.

ABOUT TRAININGCENTRAL SOLUTION’S GAMIFICATION FRAMEWORK

TrainingCentral Solutions is a full-service Gamification company. We design gamification solutions, provide activities and support to its implementation and work closely with the L&D team to ensure its success. 

TrainingCentral's Content Powered Gamification Framework

TC has over 40 of its own and associates’ self-paced and movie-based courses which can form as activities to a gamified program. Our LMS has a user-friendly gamification app, increasing accesibility and convenience. Our a 500+ strong trainer network have experience and expertise to facilitate the curation of content. TC is powerfully placed to support one of the key requirements for a Gamification program to succeed – the skilling area.  TC’s gamification framework is like its learning portal offering (Content Ready Learning Portal – CRLP) – it is powered-packed!. Our unique proposition is a total outsource of your gamification program – from design to complete outsourced implementation. 

TrainingCentral Solutions Private Limited was established in Dec, 2009. TC is an ISO 27001:2013 certified organisation. 

Reach out to us for a presentation of our Gamification Solution.

[1] Non-compliance items – fairly serious lapses in the processes.

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