Gamify Your Onboarding and See Retention and Engagement Improve

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Jan 4, 2018

Editor’s Note: It’s an annual tradition for TLNT to count down the most popular posts of the previous 12 months. We’re reposting each of the top 30 articles through January 2nd. This is No. 27 of the 800 articles posted in 2018. You can find the complete list here.


Businesses are always looking to hire and retain great talent. However, a business’ growth and success are not always enough to retain its employees. On average, businesses lose 23% of all new employees within one year of joining. Some, more recent surveys, found the percentage to be even higher.

In fact, according to an Aberdeen Group study, 86% of new employees choose to stick with or leave the company within the first 6 months. This kind of turnover not only slows down performance but also inflates rehiring expenses. With the average cost to fill a position running into the thousands, retention has become an important problem for employers.

So what can companies do to avoid losing a new hire just months after they start? The answer is to improve onboarding.

Onboarding is much more than a day or even week-long orientation consisting of presentations and lectures. Although, it’s important to educate them about your company’s history, culture, mission, processes and benefits, your onboarding process needs to go much beyond all that and develop behaviors that enable long-terms success for your employees.

In fact, new employees are 69% more likely to stick around for more than 3 years, if you provide them a well-formed onboarding.

To develop a skilled and productive workforce that’s more dedicated, organizations are rethinking how they can improve the new employee experience. In order to create a great first impression, companies are looking at strategic onboarding initiatives that engage employees right from the start.

Gamifying Makes Onboarding Fun

One engagement strategy that HR is adopting is gamifiying parts of their onboarding.It’s quite effective, especially during the honeymoon stage of new hires because it:

  1. Seamlessly aligns business goals with onboarding
  2. Increases engagement and retention
  3. Improves productivity and performance
  4. Delivers consistent, scalable results

Although only 17% of organizations apply game elements to their onboarding process, the results are impressive. Organizations with gamified onboarding have experienced a 48% boost in engagement and 36% improvement in turnover rate. Gamification can also mitigate some of the biggest onboarding challenges and mistakes.

Here’s why gamification and onboarding work so well together.

New Hire Engagement

To get the best out of new hires, it’s essential to engage them right from day 1. So, instead of viewing onboarding as a checklist, it’s important to deliver a more holistic experience. For example, typically, new employees are made to watch a video about the safety procedures. You can replace this boring activity with an interactive task instead.

New hires can interview their team members about their safety experiences and then report back to the manager with what they learnt. This will not only enable new employees to quickly learn about safety procedures but also bond easily with their co-workers and other employees. Providing hands-on opportunities for new hires to undertake engaging tasks will increase their excitement about their new role.

Delivering feedback early and often

Interactive tasks are a great way to teach because they not only take away the pressure to perform but also set up an opportunity for a quick win. If you want your employees to take on tough problems and bigger responsibilities, you need to remove their fear of failure early on.

Gamification is particularly suitable for this as it breaks down the training into smaller modules that encourage participation.

Using employee training tracking software, you can not only monitor their performance but also provide continuous feedback to help them improve faster. For example, gamified solutions offer quizzes, trivia contests and progress bars that help employees understand how they’re doing and what can be improved. Providing regular and clear feedback will ensure that new hires understand where they stand and if they’re going in the right direction.

Linking business goals with onboarding

Organizations that adopt gamification are better positioned to align onboarding with development goals. By aligning rewards and incentives around skill development, job responsibilities and information retention, gamification allows companies to connect their vision to their employees’ interests and goals.

In fact, gamification platforms that include skill development and assessment can also help employees to easily transition to new roles. For example, you can create a new employee leaderboard to track their progress. This will not only motivate new employees to do better but also give them an idea of how others are doing.

So Gamify Your Onboarding

Onboarding is an opportunity to create a great first experience for new hires and lay down a roadmap that ensures long-term success. Gamification can enable constant learning and engagement by making your training program more interesting, giving you better opportunities to interact with your new employees, allowing you to assess their performance and give regular feedback. The right training program will not only improve retention and productivity but also bring down your turnover costs significantly.

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