Essentials of Onboarding and Gamification

Posted by Allan Steinmetz on 29 June 2017

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I recently did some secondary research to see how companies are creating new cultures by effectively using onboarding with help from gamification. What I found was quite fascinating.

Effectiveness of Onboarding

Onboarding should always be a top priority when bringing aboard new talent – no matter at what level. Considering the amount of time, resources and money spent on recruiting talent - why wouldn’t it be equally imperative that the same effort in time and money be invested in onboarding new talent? There is sufficient evidence and data that suggests investments in onboarding is important.

According to Society for Human Resources Management and TalentWise found:

  • Companies with an engaging onboarding program retained 91% of their first-year workers
  • New hires who went through a well-structured onboarding program were 69% more likely to remain at a company up to three years

According to the Aberdeen Group and iCMS there are real monetary benefits from onboarding process:

  • 60% year-over-year improvement in revenue
  • 63% year-over-year improvement in customer satisfaction
  • Onboarding improves company ROI by more than $79,000 per year

Mentorship and the Impact on Onboarding

Also, we found that the role of mentorship in Employee Onboarding is also important. Having a mentor gives the new hire the opportunity for informal interactions. A mentor can guide them into their job role and the organization’s culture. Having this guidance offers the chance for new hires to learn about how people act in the company and what behaviors they should expect. Basically, a mentor can help a new employee lessen the learning curve and get them rolling on the job.

The same research studies from Human Resource Management suggests

  • New employees with mentors became more knowledgeable about their new organization than someone who didn’t have a mentor
  • New employees were more likely to have embraced the key values of their organization’s culture if they spent time with a mentor
  • Mentorship offers new hires in-depth knowledge that they would not have gotten had they been on their own.

Gamification is a great way to implement onboarding

Gamification at Rockwell Collins

Our client, Rockwell Collins, was hiring over 2400 new recruits annually who were unfamiliar with the past, knew little about the present and very little about the future of the company. Management and HR wanted to upgrade their onboarding efforts in a desire to attract a millennials workforce and expand on Rockwell Collin’s reputation as innovative, creative and the most trusted source of aviation and high – integrity solutions in the world. They believed gamification would address this challenge and create an engaging onboarding experience that would explain their culture, history and positive outlook for the future.  

In collaboration with Rockwell Collins, Inward created a gamification platform called Onboarder3000. We created a robot character and a time traveler platform that which helped new recruits navigate Rockwell Collins past, present and future by viewing a series of factoids, videos and then playing a question and answer game that challenged participants’ knowledge. Participants could gauge their score against others around the world with a leaderboard. The style, tone, and personality was retro, Art Deco and fun and represented a significant departure from the traditional Rockwell Collins personality tone and manner. New recruits response as well as existing employees welcomed Onboarder 3000 with enthusiasm.


Gamification at L’Oréal

L’Oréal has developed the Fit Culture App, a mobile app that helps newcomers in decoding, understanding and mastering the company culture. This makes the French cosmetics company the first in the world to develop a mobile application to help employees better understand and live the company culture.

According to a media release, the human resources team at L’Oréal developed the app as a complementing element of the Group’s 6-month strategic onboarding program to support employees with embracing the company culture that has a history of over 100 years in the making. The app was designed by the L’Oréal culture team, in co-creation with 50 newcomers from over 30 countries around the world.

Features of the Fit Culture App include:

  • Bite-sized capsules of content on topics such as entrepreneurship, networking and cooperation
  • Each capsule contains a mixture of text, photos, videos, testimonials, quizzes and mini-games
  • Completing real-life “missions” to put their learning into practice
  • Winning “Insider Secrets” (key events, anecdotes, company myths and legends) to earn points and eventually become true #CultureGurus.

Newcomers are offered recommended duration of one month, broken down in 5 to 10 minute daily sessions, to complete their necessary missions. The Fit Culture App which is specifically created for the younger group of new hires, reaches up to 10,000 newly hired staff per year, and is available in 11 languages. L’Oréal employees can download it for free in the Apple Store and the Play Store.

Laurent Reich, director of international learning practice, said: “Our objective with the Fit Culture App is to take our onboarding practices to the next level and to give each and every employee, from the moment they arrive, the keys to succeed in full alignment with company values such as multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion.”

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To recap, research and data suggest that it is important to have an effective onboarding program that utilizes a variety of channels and especially mentoring. The benefits are clear. Higher return on investment, longer retention, greater clarity of roles and responsibilities, friendlier working environment and improved customer satisfaction.

One of the most highly effective tactics to deploy onboarding is gamification. It encourages healthy competition to improve performance, facilitates faster learning and retention, empowers employees to gauge their performance, as well as performance of others, and easy to keep it fresh and relevant to changing priorities and workplace dynamics.

If you’d like to learn more about gamification or other ways of improving onboarding techniques, please give us a call and would be happy to share our experiences with you.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Fourth of July!