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Employee Engagement: how to attract and retain Millennials.

Posted on December 7, 2017

Employee engagement will be crucial. Why? By 2025, millennials will make up three-quarters of the global workforce.

Yes, 75%! Defined as anyone born between 1980-2000, and therefore coming of age in the millennium, how many ‘millennials’ do you have working for you? And how confident are you in their loyalty to your company and brand?

As the first generation of true digital natives, technology plays a key role in training, motivating and engaging millennials at work. In the second instalment of our gamification series, we explore how gamified technology can boost your employees’ motivation (click here to read the article on gamification) so that you can captivate and retain the future lifeblood of your brand.

Attracting and Building Talent with Reward-Based Motivation

Why do your employees work for you in the first place? In this competitive marketplace, company culture, salary packages, benefits and team incentives play a big part. Especially with fresh-faced millennials who are still carving out their career paths.

As explored in our last article, how to future-proof your brand, is what is known as extrinsic motivation and is a key part of any gamification strategy.

Extrinsic motivation is perfect for driving short-term change and inspiring new recruits. As such, it is an integral part of most business tools and technology, such as Slack’s communication tool, Hubspot’s sales hub and MobieTrain’s mobile learning and development platform.

This is normally integrated through fun, engaging and competitive elements such as badges and leaderboards, defined by leading theorist Scott Nicholson as ‘BLAP’ gamification:

‘Most of the current applications of gamification are based on providing external rewards for some activity; for example […] levels and leaderboards to encourage progress and competition, badges […] and achievements for reaching goals. Gamification systems that focus on Badges, Levels and Leaderboards, Achievements, and Points will be referred as BLAP gamification.’

So integrating an element of competitiveness into your company culture and tools is great practice for initial motivation, engagement and short-term business goals. However, it has been proven that rewards alone are not enough for longer-term goals, and that is where intrinsic and meaningful motivation techniques come into play.

Encouraging Long Term Results with Meaningful Gamification

Any successful business strategy needs to plan towards longer-term business goals. This is also the case for gamification in the workplace, especially in regard to your training and L&D programmes. As Nicholson states:

‘Learning is the process of making meaning out of life’.

Therefore, learning in the workplace is the process of finding meaning within your career. Rewards alone do not achieve this intrinsic motivation. You want your employees to be happy and fulfilled in the longer term outside of straightforward monetary rewards and benefits. That is the key to retaining your millennial workforce as they progress through their careers.

So how do we achieve this?

Employee Engagement: Your Employees First with Human-Focused Design

Gamification expert Yu-kai Chou defines the process of meaningful gamification as ‘human-focused design:’

‘He explains how “function-focused” systems are designed to finish projects quickly which leads to employees working because they are required to, not because they enjoy the tasks or want to perform them. By focusing on human elements and not only on getting the job done, space is created for human feelings, ambitions and preferences.’

Put simply, you need to put your employees at the heart of any technology or process that you introduce. In technology terms, they are your end-users- not your board of directors or managers.

Personal learning paths, meaningful narrative and user profiling is key to this. Your employees need to be intrinsically motivated to see how they are progressing towards their own career goals, and not just in contrast to their peers with leaderboards and badges.

When combining personalisation with reward-based techniques, you are guaranteed to retain a happy and motivated workforce in the build up to 2025 and beyond.