Guest Post: Gamifying Human Resources

While games were once solely played for pleasure, game and simulation applications are now used widely within companies as a tool for organizational development. 

Who would have thought you could increase utilization of a software application or compliance with a business policy simply by turning the process into a game?

Whether your goal as a human resources professional is to improve company morale, facilitate internal communications, or deliver professional training, gamification is a great way to spark one’s competitive edge and foster learning and development within an organization. 

Here's how you can “gamify” employee relations for greater organizational success.

Know What to Gamify

Achievement Levels

Sculpt your company’s culture with achievements that reflect your core values and mission. Achievements could be awarded simply based on tenure (one year anniversary) or could recognize individual contributions towards specific company goals (meeting sales goals).


Many perks and benefits employers offer today are one size fits all. But what if employees could redeem points they’ve earned by working at your company for the extra perks/compensation/benefits they want? Imagine a world in which you could redeem your badge/achievement points at work for extra vacation, premium healthcare, or something important to you.


HR professionals can see an increase in participation/compliance rates in their projects if they can turn it into a competition, especially if there is a public leader board that shows how everyone is doing. It might not bother a particular individual that they are tardy in complying with a human resources request, but no one wants to be responsible for losing the game for their team.

Know How To Gamify

Workplace Badges

Social badges are typically rewarded for small, yet significant accomplishments or milestones. They work because people can’t seem to resist collecting badges if there’s one to be earned. HR professionals can create badges to promote almost any type of behavior within an organization.

Imagine creating badges to promote attendance (perfect attendance badge), on boarding (certified in company culture badge), or even compliance with benefits enrollment deadlines (early enroller badge).


After a company-wide presentation or webinar, quiz your employee base on their retention of key points. To spark competition between colleagues, you could even post scores, and offer prizes for the individuals or departments who received the highest marks.


Consider utilizing already existing platforms such as Foursquare to create gaming among employees. Perfect for the natural-born competitor, this platform is ideal for attendance incentives, as employees are able to check-in and compete to become mayors of their respective organizations.

Why Gamify?

Ultimately, gamification works well in part due to a behavioral economics principle that human resources and organizational behavior professionals can use to their advantage. People make decisions based on either economic norms or social norms. Decisions made based on economic norms are based on logic, supply, and demand. Decisions made based on social norms involve relationships, emotions, and subjective feeling. Gamification helps take decisions out of the economic realm (i.e., “I’m here because of the paycheck”) and place them into the social realm (i.e., “I’m here because I believe in what we do”).

How else could you gamify human resources? Is there an employee task with a low compliance rate? Or could you use games to drive the mission, vision and guiding principles of your company?


About the Author: Josh Braaten is an Online Marketing Manager at Rasmussen College, where he blogs about educational degree programs such as Human Resources and Organizational Leadership and Business Management with a Specialization in Human Resources. Josh is passionate about search engine optimization and web analytics and blogs about Internet marketing in his free time.