Onboarding Gamification: Enjoy a Fun & Exciting Experience


Onboarding gamification is a strategy that leverages game-based elements such as competition, scores, and rewards to boost morale and motivate employees at the beginning of their new jobs.

This article discusses onboarding gamification, its roles in your successful acclimatisation to your new workplace. We will answer some key questions. What is onboarding gamification? And more importantly, how can onboarding gamification make your new employee experiences better? We are also going to review some examples of gamification in onboarding.

What is Onboarding Gamification?


Before answering the question of what is onboarding gamification, let’s first review what is gamification. Gamification refers to “the application of game-design principles in order to change behaviours in non-game situations” (Robson et al., 2015).

When talking about game-design principles, we refer to mechanics, dynamics and emotions. Moreover, game mechanics refer to the rules, the goals, the settings and the interactions of the game. Game designers strategically define all these elements in advance, so that all players receive the exact same experience while playing the game. Thus, the gamified experience must be constant for all participants. Some specific gamification elements are: collecting points, leveling up, receiving rewards (for example badges).

When it comes to the main goals of gamification, we have identified two key goals. Firstly, gamification aims to transform a process into a more interesting, fun and attractive experience for its participants. Secondly, gamification aims to better engage the participants in the process.

So, with these details settled, we can easily move on to the main subject of this article, onboarding gamification. Thus, onboarding gamification refers to applying game-design principles to the onboarding process in a quest to make onboarding more engaging, more fun and less impersonal and bureaucratic. For example, with onboarding automation, companies can easily implement gamification features.   

Your onboarding process is extremely important for you once starting a new job. (You can read more on our blog HR about what onboarding means for a job). Some typical activities specific for onboarding are: meeting your new team, learning about your new company and role, and receiving new employee training (both in person and e-learning).

It probably goes without saying, but onboarding gamification is dependent on your company using a digital employee onboarding solution. (Or at least, the instance of onboarding gamification that we discuss in this article.)

Onboarding Gamification Insights

Gamification aims to transform the onboarding process into a more interesting, fun and attractive experience for new hires.


How Does Gamification Work in Onboarding?


Without mincing words, starting work at a new workplace comes with great excitement for every employee. This is because you believe that starting a new job offers another opportunity to advance your career goals.

Onboarding is a complex process: some components are more exciting, others are more mundane.

Games are great vehicles for delivering rewards and recognition mechanisms that can make mundane tasks less boring and more engaging. Through games, organisations can motivate new hires towards specific business outcomes. For example: faster learning, lower time to full integration, better service provision and so on.

Let’s take a concrete example from the onboarding process. All the logistical and administrative components of onboarding are not that engaging. However, with gamification elements in your onboarding, even those mundane tasks can become more engaging.

A way of implementing gamification in onboarding is through cues to action. Your onboarding platform sends you notifications prompting you to complete tasks. The platform will let you know where you are in your onboarding journey and where you are headed. You can receive a graphical map detailing all the stops on your journey till your final destination: full integration into the role and company.


Onboarding Gamification Examples in HR


90% of employees say they are more productive when engaged in some form of gamification at their workplace. Therefore, onboarding gamification can be a vital tool for you to achieve job engagement and enhanced productivity.

Most employees often struggle to retain their job roles and team members in their minds during the onboarding because they are onboarded with a boring PowerPoint deck. With onboarding gamification, you are afforded game-based training that yields better outcomes, resulting in higher retention rates and a continuous feedback generation of performance.

Onboarding Gamification Spotlight

90% of employees are more productive when engaged in some form of gamification at their workplace.

Anadea, How Gamification in the Workplace Impacts Employee Productivity.

Let’s start with an example of HR gamification used for recruitment. Marriot, a hospitality company, developed a recruitment game (on Facebook) called My Marriot Hotel. In the game, the player manages a virtual hotel. Some of the activities include: decorating the hotel dining room, ordering inventory, and adhering to a budget. The game mechanics were designed in a way that the player earns points for making customers happy, and would lose points in cases of poor customer service. Additionally, the game could redirect the player to Marriot’s career page.

Marriot’s case is an example of gamification not meeting its objectives. In fact, the design of the game lacked some key elements. The game failed to offer enough motivation for the players in order to encourage them to participate. You earn points by playing the game, but what are the points useful for? Nothing really, just the sake of having them. An option would have been ensuring that the players with the highest scores were guaranteed an interview. In that case, there was something palpable at stake.

Now let’s take an onboarding example, one that was actually successful. Deloitte developed an onboarding game for new analysts called “The Chosen Analyst,” a zombie apocalypse style game. The player (new hire) is the main protagonist of the game. The mission of the player is to find a cure and save humanity. This is achievable by making informed choices when completing a series of challenges in a self-paced, digital experience.

The purpose of Deloitte’s gamified onboarding is to provide training around basic consulting skills, such as professionalism, Excel etc. The company were initially providing in-classroom modules for these skills. But the feedback from the new hires revealed that they preferred a solution that allows them to work at their own pace. Additionally, they expressed a preference for focusing on topic areas based on their own development needs.

As such, the gamified approach to onboarding training provided new consultants with the possibility of working at their own pace, rather than forcing them into a one-size-fits-all timeline. This was the key behind the positive reception from the employees. And apart from the self-paced learning, the game also produced a new outcome: social connections.

As some players decided to play the game as a team, they went on to engage in discussions and informal knowledge sharing. This is a form of social learning that further enhanced the impact of the programme.

Why Use Gamification in Onboarding? Advantages of a Gamified Onboarding


As a new hire, your desire is beyond a paycheck, but a system that allows you to be more involved and feel a sense of purpose in a workplace. A gamified onboarding embraces technology to create an interactive and exciting journey with a game-based approach to achieve your onboarding objectives and derive a mastery of your new job.


Increased Motivation


Getting to know there are rewards and incentives for successful onboarding can motivate you to put in your best during the onboarding exercise. No doubt, this results in better productivity and an enhanced capacity to fulfill the desired job expectations.

However, you should know the rewards and incentives might not be financial rewards. They could be in another form, such as points and badge awards for completing assessments and tasks during your onboarding programme. Badges are linked to a form of feedback called positive reinforcement. Through badges your employer rewards the efforts of new employers and infuse the task with meaning. This will motivate you to continue engaging and completing your onboarding activities.

The opportunity to get rewards and recognition for onboarding activities can lead to increased new hire motivation. You can, for example, receive a badge for completing all the paperwork. Additionally, you can obtain a new one for having completed all introductory meeting with your team members.

Another example would be implementing level up challenges throughout the entire onboarding journey. For example, your onboarding plan can follow a 30 60 90 structure. So, you level up after 30 days, each level bringing new challenges and more complex tasks.


Enhanced Learning


The task of settling down quickly in a workplace revolves around the training your employer offers you during your first days at work. Simply becoming familiar with the activities of a new company is not enough for productive work. You will still require training to understand the operational procedures of the company thoroughly.

In your onboarding process, how you are trained on the job roles and responsibilities says a lot. You will be motivated and delighted if the training procedure is fun, rewarding, and interactive. This is where gamified onboarding comes in. Learning through play, activities and rewards will engage you more and will also encourage more attention to details.

On the other hand, if the experience is overwhelming and boring, you will find the job uninteresting. As a consequence, getting acclimated to the new work environment becomes a daunting task.

You can read on our blog HR more about the benefits of gamification training.

Onboarding Gamification Spotlight

When adding gamified elements to training, motivation climbs up to 83%, and boredom drops to just 10%.

—TalentLMS, Gamification at Work Survey.

Enhanced Onboarding Experiences for Remote Employees


Virtual onboarding can feel lonely and isolating for many employees. Through onboarding gamification, the process can become less isolating. An idea to achieve this is to inspire a sense of competition and solidarity in all new hires. Many people are competitive, and it is safe to say that all new hires want to prove themselves worthy when starting a new job. By setting goals your employer can inspire a small (and harmless) competition to boost participation in onboarding activities.

A leader board game element will enhance this. The leader board will list out the top-performing players to keep every employee motivated. It promotes friendly competitiveness between you and other employees. It is also a way to celebrate each new milestone that you complete in your journey. This strategy will encourage you to improve your performance during onboarding activities to rank high on the leader board, thus translating into improved job performance.

Onboarding gamification can also make you feel more connected at work. This is revealed by TalentLMS’ Gamification at Work Survey. 87% of surveyed employees declare that game elements make them feel more socially connected and provide a sense of purpose and belonging in the workplace. This is great news for remote workers who, due to the physical distance, will not have the same opportunities for connecting.

Onboarding Gamification Spotlight

87% of employees declare that game elements make them feel more socially connected and provide a sense of purpose and belonging in the workplace.

TalentLMS, Gamification at Work Survey.

Achieve the Best Results with these Best Practices for Onboarding Gamification


As shown by the case of Marriot, gamification in HR is not guaranteed to produce the expected results. A well-designed gamified onboarding exercise is dependent on some key elements. Let’s review them in the following section.

Onboarding Gamification: Enjoy an Exciting Experience

1. Defining the Objectives


It takes time to implement onboarding gamification. So, organisations and HR have to be strategic with the use of resources. As such, having clear objectives for onboarding gamification is of utmost importance. The more clearly defined, the easier it will be to track the progress of these objectives.

Let’s consider some examples of objectives associated with onboarding gamification. One could be achieving a 20% reduction in the time necessary for completing all the training activities. Another one could be registering a 25% increase in new hire engagement rate.


2. Understanding the Players


Before looking at game mechanics and making any design choices, it is crucial for employers to understand the players, in our case the new hires. It is not that straightforward to change the onboarding gamification mechanics once set in motion. This is why it is essential to understand who the players are.

In order to understand the new hire player persona, the onboarding game designers have to find answers to some key questions. What is the goal of the gamification efforts? What is the goal of the players? Are there multiple player typologies? Which rewards will lead to the desired behavioural change?

3. Ensuring Meaning & a Rewarding User Experience


Perhaps the most important piece of advice is not to implement a gamified onboarding just for the sake of keeping up with industry trends. The focus should not move away from the new hire experience. What elements of gamified onboarding will truly enhance the employee onboarding experiences?

A gamified onboarding should involve a system that links the company’s goals with development, frequent feedback, progress tracking, achievements and rewards. Timing the delivery of information to prevent information overload is of utmost importance.

It is essential that you find meaning in participating in game-like activities.

Onboarding Gamification Insights

Implementing gamified onboarding just for the sake of keeping up with industry trends is a mistake. The focus should always be on the new hire experience and adding value through a gamified onboarding.


Employee Onboarding Gamification: Concluding Remarks


Undoubtedly, the dream every employee nurtures is working in an organisation that trains them to become better and rewards their productivity. Therefore, the role of onboarding gamification in creating the right employee engagement cannot be over-emphasised. it is what you need to build the proper connection that engages you proactively in the course of fulfilling your roles.

In reality, what makes the onboarding phase fun and fascinating is the onboarding gamification.

The nature of the onboarding tool used during the onboarding program is vital because it leverages technological techniques. A tool like introdus is all you need to achieve a wonderful onboarding experience.

introdus comes with different video content that will enhance your onboarding.  Again, you will experience a streamlined program that offers you the proper education to hit the ground running in your workplace. introdus offers an onboarding platform that makes the process of learning fun and interesting.

The main reason newly employed workers find it difficult working for a company for a long time is the lack of onboarding gamification that inspires and interests them. This forces about 33% of employees to quit their jobs within the first three months.

With onboarding gamification, you have a system that enables the onboarding journey to resonate with you and offer you have a sense of purpose in a new workplace. Start creating the best onboarding programme with introdus!

Create better first starts for every new hire with Onboarding Gamification.


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