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Corporations have found a relatively new way to engage their employees in learning and development initiatives. It’s called gamification, which takes game mechanics and applies them to nongame materials. Accenture did just this to improve recruitment efforts. The consulting firm developed Path to Success, a quiz-based Facebook app where users are given a variety of trivia questions. With each correct answer, participants move up the corporate ladder. At the same time, the company collects data on the aptitude of participants to help build a better pool of qualified talent. But there are a number of other ways to leverage this type of gamification.
Employee training can get tedious and stressful. Employers inundate new hires with a ton of information and expect them to retain the majority of it. But gamifying the onboarding process with some job-specific trivia could make it more engaging and more effective. A study by the University of Colorado in Denver found that gamification improves the learning retention rate by 9 percent. It also can improve an employee’s skill-based knowledge by 14 percent. Consider adding a trivia-based test about your company's policies and procedures at the end of each training section. You could use a trivia game as a skills assessment prior to training to get a better understanding of what areas of training to focus on.
Trivia questions based on your product line could help quicken product knowledge for a sales force or customer service team. Instead of asking staff to pore over catalogues, gamify the process and offer your employees a series of multiple choice questions based on each product's specifications. Even if an associate is unfamiliar with a certain product, you’re engaging her mind on a different level. She’s actively participating in the learning process. In fact, the University of Colorado study found that the level of factual knowledge was 11 percent higher when employees learn through gamification. You also can take it one step further by basing the trivia questions on the benefits of your products, which could help a sales force improve conversion rates.
For B2B businesses, getting a sale team familiar with a customer base can sometimes be challenging. Pair a new salesman with a seasoned pro to work together to answer trivia questions about customers in their assigned territory. As an added bonus, you're helping your team members get to know one another in a fun and interactive way. You also could use trivia to improve the knowledge of a sales team on prospects. Give them a series of trivia questions about a certain customer prior to a sales call to get them excited about the upcoming meeting.
Another potential way to use trivia and gamification is for team-building purposes. Set up a bar trivia-type game for your employees about customers, products, services or policies. Then, break them up into groups and have them work together to answer the trivia questions. On the flip side, you could ask your team to fill out some personal questions about themselves and create a trivia game based on their answers. It's an interactive way for people to get to know one another better.
Employers don’t always know the effectiveness of their training programs on an employee-by-employee basis. When digitizing workplace trivia games, you have firsthand knowledge of any learning gaps for staff. Axonify, a software developer, builds training modules for businesses that provide analytics on what employees know, and then ties it back to an outcome, such as sales and customer service. With this knowledge, you know where you need to focus your future training efforts to bridge these gaps.
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.
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