As a child I would blast alien creatures that resembled Lego blocks on my Atari game console. After playing, I would shut off the system and move on with my day. Today, people play games to learn, develop, exercise, relax, buy homes, and discover their next job.
Studies indicate that nearly 50% of the world’s population plays games. The Internet is fast becoming a global arcade filled with gamers searching for more play in their lives. “From education and business, to art and entertainment … video games are the future,” states Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of Entertainment Software Association in his 2016 industry report.
Using games to recruit is not a new concept. The U.S. Army was one of the first organizations to effectively use video games to attract candidates. Its graphic simulation game America’s Army significantly improved and revitalized its recruiting efforts. L’Oreal followed suit with Brandstorm to introduce students to its brand innovations, joined by companies like Marriott with My Marriott Kitchen, a food service challenge, and most recently, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Multipoly Next – a game that allows students to virtually experience what its like to work for the firm.
According to Noemi Biro, a PwC recruitment and attraction leader, 78% of students surveyed over the past four years said they wanted to work for PwC after completing their game, and 92% indicated they had a more positive view of the firm, leading to a significant increase in job applicants.
Organizations like Knack are using games to help candidates and employers connect. Their application enables job seekers to play mobile games to understand what they do best, create career paths and link with suitable job opportunities. Video games built on the principles of behavioral neuroscience and predictive algorithms provide organizations real-time and powerful candidate insights to ensure they are hiring the right talent for the right roles.
Gamification is now a popular buzzword across just about every industry. It involves the concept of applying gaming science and psychology to motivate and reward people – employees, customers, or job seekers – to behave a certain way. Gamification is proving to be one of the top ways to engage an online community and draw people to you or your organization.
Tamer Rafla, founder and CEO of the gamification company Klujo, says that “traditional ‘push’ recruitment strategies aren’t as effective with the younger generations. Millennials are hanging out on social channels playing games and building their digital footprint — not looking for jobs.”
Rafla is using “pull” strategies to empower employer brands to engage their followers and convert them into applicants. Through gamified content, organizations can showcase their employer brands in creative, fun and engaging ways.
Humans are competitive by nature. This tendency encourages players to share games within their networks. Building upon this amplifies an employer’s reach and helps it stand out in a sea of social media. Such applications drive users to interact, enjoy the process, plus gain valuable insights about the brand, opportunity, and corporate culture. All of this is accomplished without anyone feeling targeted.
Klujo’s online recruitment research, connected to its Emojiman game, shows engagement rates of 54.03% compared to Facebook’s average engagement rate of 6.27%. These rates refer to the actions of liking, sharing, clicking or commenting by a content viewer. When Klujo gamified content via a puzzle game, viewer actions rose from 4,000 to 9,970 – a 149% increase in engagement.
The power of social gaming is experiencing intense momentum. In 2014, Josh Brittain and Blake Burns, both 24 years old at the time, started BlankMediaGames with a social online game called, Town of Salem. The game challenges players to convincingly deceive others by making alliances in order to win. Two years later, the co-founders reported over 800,000 active monthly users and over 3 million total registered users. Brittain, the company’s CEO, explained, “BlankMediaGames has been successful because we focus on creating unique social experiences through gaming. Our product offers users a social experience they can’t find with any other game and that’s why they keep coming back for more.”
Nestiny is a unique home buying website. Its purpose is to make the process of buying a home both easier and fun. The company recently launched an online game called Home Pinwheel. Like a Tinder for home styles, it helps members more easily narrow down their house-hunting preferences. According to founder and CEO Jody Clower, Nestiny is enjoying 50% month-over-month growth in site traffic and member signups. “We’ve helped thousands begin their home buying journey,” said Clower who is effectively deploying games to engage and grow her community.
Thirty-five being the average age of video gamers, gaming is crossing all age and gender boundaries. Its popularity is not surprising. Children today are practically born with an iPhone or iPad in their hands. In many cases, these devices are filled with online games to develop hand-eye coordination, teach reading or a foreign language, drawing, painting, music, or encourage kids to think logically and creatively. Some even teach business management skills in games like Burger Shop.
My email is filled with app store receipts for online games my wife bought my three- and seven-year-old. It is hard to balk at the growing expense when my littlest breaks into French or my older daughter speeds through math calculations after playing Splash Math.
The more children play games to learn and navigate life, the more they will expect them as they enter the adult world. Employers who get ahead of this curve will have an advantage in the war for talent. The best of the best will be snared through games. As Rafla suggests, the younger generations may not be looking for a job, but they may see your opportunity while playing games.
According to recent Entertainment Software Association reports on U.S. practices:
• 155 million Americans regularly play video games
• 63% of American households are home to at least one person who plays video games three or more hours a week
• 48% of the most frequent gamers play social games
Not only does the gaming trend cross ages and genders, it is global in nature. The cross-platform measurement company comScore reports that daily online gaming outside of America is even greater, with Asia Pacific leading the pack, followed by Europe. As much as 70% of the online population in Turkey play games.
Technology is evolving to support a gamers’ paradise, too. ASUS just launched its ZenFone 3 Ultra, an HDTV smartphone using new technology by Pixelworks. This technology enables gamers to play high definition video games on their mobile devices. This, and evolving technologies like virtual reality and Microsoft’s holoportation, will serve as gaming accelerators for an industry already traveling at lightning speeds.
From toddlers to adults, gaming has become an important part of our culture and lives. Gallagher even speculates that gamers could shape the 2016 presidential election.
Your organization’s online gaming strategy may be the key to its ability to hire and engage top talent. If you wonder how gaming will fit into your organization’s future, there is a simple solution. Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve, then build a game around it. Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer taught us this lesson in 1876. If you want to get something done, turn it into a game.
Start thinking about how you can use gaming technology to fuel not only your recruiting efforts, but also the overall engagement of people connected to your business.
Bunchball, Captain Up, and Games for Business provide gaming platforms to accelerate employee and customer engagement at organizations like Uber, Dell, HP, SAP, T-Mobile, Ford, ABC, NBC, CBS, Toyota, Virgin, Universal, Adobe, Salesforce.com, Cisco, ESPN, Mattel, MTV and HBO.
Improving your organization in this manner will be the game changer of the future!
Published on Forbes, 12 June 2016