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Companies spend billions of dollars every year to measure their employees, but the results are very poor: we don't get good data. With Gamification - the use of game design elements in non-game context - we track activities, achievements, and the progress of players in systems. This data is not only big, accurate, and a timely snapshot of a players skills and performance, but will also be a goldmine for HR, recruiters and the employees themselves.
In several blogs about the gamification score we talked already in length about how unrelated to facts today’s evaluation processes for employees are. But the problem starts way early, during recruiting. Typical interview questions are ignoring highly relevant information. Huffcutt identified the following 10 questions as the most common in job interviews:
In the first part of this treatise we focused on how people and organizations are rated today through a variety of scores. This part focuses on the purpose and composition of a Gamification Score and why this is a more accurate measure to rate individuals and entities.
It should come as no surprise from what we have learned so far, that gamification data contains extremely valuable data. For organizations, for recruiters, and of course for the players, the value will be tremendous. By recording the players activities, achievements, and progression through the systems, finding the right player (read: employee or team member) for certain challenges (read: positions) becomes not only easier, but also more reliable. No need to trust references that cannot be verified anyways. No need to rely on résumés that can be total inventions. Even if some of the information in résumés can be checked from educational institutions (like graduation, grades, certifications), obtaining them may require effort – and as we’ve learned from a recent high-profile case – even CEO-candidates for internet-search behemoth Yahoo! were not properly vetted.
While I don’t want to downplay the importance of personality and chemistry between the people hiring and the potential new hire as a crucial criteria for how well they will probably go along, employers still want to base their decisions on better facts than are available today. And we know that we humans are innately biased when it comes to selecting. We are more likely to hire people that are more similar to us. That’s where a gamification score can serve as a better basis for making rational decisions.
When a number of social media platforms were competing in the early 2000 for users, Google, MySpace and other organizations launched the Open Social standard initiative. The intent was to create a standard for social media platforms that would allow app-developers to build apps for multiple platforms, but also for users to download their own data. While the initiative may have not achieved all of the original goals, a number of open web technologies that spun off, like Oauth or Activity Streams have found widespread use.
Gamification faces a similar challenge: a specification of a gamification data structure. While social media data is mainly composed of a user’s contact information and a stream of interactions with the contacts, and this with a high degree of tracking control by the users, gamification data is mainly composed of a stream of interactions with the system and other players, with a low degree of activity-tracking control.
Let me explain that with an example. A user like myself will post on social media only those things that I deem worthy, or representative of myself. I love to post witty comments, links to articles that I find interesting, or pictures that I have taken at travel or fun occasion. This way I build my online-image of a witty, smart, good-looking, and adventurous guy that everyone likes. I will tweet about the great time that I had with my friends at the Rammstein-concert, but not about the lone Saturday evening in front of a sad movie with cold pizza, because my date dumped me. That’s why I call this data “vanity data.”
Gamification data, as we understand now, is very different. A gamified system tracks my activities, my failures and achievements, and my progressions through the system. What did I do, how often, how much time did it take me, how well did I do it, what rewards did I earn, what is my current status? Looking at this data, it discloses what my skills are and how I achieved them. I am naked in front of the system. The statistics speak the “truth”(or at least a certain version of it).
Have you ever seen a venture capitalist in action, engaging with the entrepreneurs pitching their startup idea? Then you will know how detailed their questions are, how they questions things, how they look at a holistic picture of an idea. The disruptive character of the idea, the potential for profits, the business model, the competitors, the unfair advantage, the people in the team, the exit strategy and much more. After all, they have to make sure that the startup that they are investing in will return them an n-fold amount of the invested capital after 3-5 years.
Imagine you apply the same model to hiring and managing talents in your organization. You are the hiring manager for a new position and look at all the applicants. Are the qualified? Do they look as if they can grow and have potential to make career in the company? Will hey be able to take news positions and fill them without reaching the Peter-Principle too fast? Will the bring enough and sustained value to the company? When they fulfill these and many more criteria, will you hire and develop them?