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To my HR purist friends I apologize if you think I believe that HR does not have a vital role within our organizations.I am in no way equating HR to playing the child game of house. What I am suggesting is that there is a new visitor in  the neighborhood.

For some time I have had some elementary interest in a new tool to increase employee engagement called gamification. It came to the forefront when I received a LinkedIn Invite from Noreen Poli of Ready, Set, Go Social who asked me how to introduce her platform to the HR community.

The purpose of the gamification effort is to take the concepts alive in the online gaming process and apply them to the business arena. In each instance the employee is rewarded if you will with feedback, rewards and badges to show how well they were involved in the process.

According to an article by Rob Garcia in the upMover there are three areas of low hanging fruit where this can apply now - Employee referral programs, talent management and collaboration and health and wellness. In a separate article from Forbes magazine entitled Gamification: Three ways to use gaming for recruiting, training and wellness the author talks about Marriott using gaming theory in recruiting kitchen managers. The link takes you to an app on Facebook.where you are given the assignment to act as the kitchen manager. It is fun. It is engaging and it shows what we are talking about. Your assignment is to prepare food for customers and then have it sent out to the restaurant floor. Your feedback is the format when the plate is returned to the kitchen and you are able to see how much of the food was consumed. I tried it four times and the first plate came back half empty the rest came back mostly or not at all consumed. Marriott uses it as a recruiting tool to show candidates the responsibilities of the kitchen manager. Obviously since the platform allows you to save your results the candidate is able to show Marriott whether they can handle the job.

If your are interested in learning more there are several good outlets for more information:

1. The online educational site Coursera is offering a free 12 week course on the concepts behind gamification in business conducted by Professor Ken Werbach from the Wharton School of Business.

2. Professor Ken Werbach has written a book about this area called For the Win and it can be found as a Kindle E-Book for under $10.00

We need to keep searching for ways to engage our human capital assets for the betterment of our organizations. With the increasing role of the younger generations in our organizations, gamification allows us to engage them in the world they are comfortable in. Regardless of our generational level, I am sure that many of you out  there play the Faceboook and Zynga games. Gamification allows us to bring that feeling to the business marketplace.

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Tags: HR, Human Resources, Leadership, Management

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