Introduction to Retention:  What is Gamification and How Will It ‘Play’ a Role in Future Retention Strategies

One of the top trends being seen in recruitment and retention in 2023 is Gamification.  Surprisingly, even though it has been listed as a trend this year, gamification has been around for roughly twenty years, with Google testing it out back in 2004.  While not continuously on everyone’s list of buzzwords, the practice has risen and fallen in popularity since its inception.  This year, it is back on the trend list, and, with today’s technological advantages, it has the potential to really take off and become standard practice in many HR, Recruitment, and Retention departments and teams.  But what is gamification?  Why is this important?

The Games People Play 

In its most basic sense, gamification is “applying game elements to business processes.”  What does that mean, though?  Most everyone loves a good game.  Whether it is a word game, puzzle, sport, a video game, or a board game, games are great for letting people relax and have fun.  Applying this to a business setting, gamification can improve people’s experiences for activities that are normally seen as stressful or tedious, like a job interview.  This will be covered in further detail below.  For many companies, adding gamification most commonly includes something similar to a rewards program.  Human Resources departments have found that implementing this into employee performance has had an overall positive effect on the office.  For example, in order to boost health and wellness in an office, some managers have instituted programs to reward workers for taking the stairs or going for a walk on their lunch break.  These types of games are fun to participate in, and they have the added bonus of improving the physical and mental health of workers, engaging them, cultivating a positive office culture, and saving money on insurance premiums for everyone, all things that are part of a great employer brand. 

When it comes to recruitment, gamification is a little different.  Integrating gamification into hiring a new employee can most easily be done in the interview process.  Job interviews are not easy for most people, and this includes not just the potential candidate, but the employer conducting the interview.  Everyone tries to put their best foot forward, but that may not be the best way to judge whether or not a candidate has what it takes to do the job.  Pre-planned answers from nervous interviewees can’t give a manager the full picture of what a person can do, and that’s where gamification comes in.  By making job interviews more conversational and entertaining, a huge part of the stress is alleviated, making everyone the most authentic versions of themselves.    

There are several benefits to injecting different kinds of gamification into the recruitment process, and some can actually help determine how good of a worker a candidate is.  Simulation games can show a manager how a potential employee would react in certain situations.  There can be scenarios with customers or problems with computer systems or a variety of other ways to see candidates’ reactions; these types of games are excellent for seeing someone’s creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills.  There are also games that can be used to determine behaviors, sentiments, ambitions, etc.  For businesses that use gamification in recruitment, they also found that there is a reduction in the time it takes to screen the candidates.  Google’s use of gamification back in 2004 included a coding puzzle that they released on the internet for people to solve.  Those that did were offered a job as a prize by Google because the company had used it as part of a screening process, and the method was popular enough that Facebook has been discovered using it as well.

Don’t Hate the Players or the Games

Many recruitment strategists, financial experts, and job market specialists will tell you that millennials make up the largest portion of the U.S. workforce.  Some researchers have that number at 35%.  In order to hire, engage, and retain millennials, recruiters and HR managers are having to figure out new methods that reach this generation.  Through gamification, supervisors are starting to engage millennials in new and interesting ways.

  • Dashboards and rewards are being used to engage workers.  They usually come with predetermined goals that employees can use to log in and track their progress, perhaps ending with a prize.  From making employee referrals to keeping record of outdoor activities, this kind of gamification makes worker engagement a breeze.
  • Virtual worlds with job fairs and other opportunities to create avatars and interact online with potential candidates and current employees are quickly becoming popular. 
  • Puzzles are a “highly effective and a low-cost approach towards understanding candidate competencies.”  Games like this show a worker’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing management to place the employee where they will thrive the most.


An employee that is engaged is easier to retain, and gamification is trending as a strategy that can be used to engage workers more fully.  For an already stressful recruiting process, anything that can make it more interactive and authentic, while also decreasing the amount of stress and complexity involved, is a terrific boon.  In the long run, gamification helps build a positive environment around the office, helping to not only attract a higher quality of candidate for open positions, but also create a healthy and exciting employer brand to help retain workers. 

For many companies, some of these games will be easy to implement in recruitment and retention plans.  However, for those less comfortable with the idea, there are companies that will have ready-to-use tools that can be purchased and deployed.  However, if you need help building your employer branding, recruitment marketing, and employee retention strategies, reach out to Lionzone today!  Our LZRecruit Network and experienced team of strategists can help you with your hiring and retaining needs today!


Meaghan Goldberg covers recruitment and digital marketing for Lionzone.  A Patterson, GA native, after graduating from both Valdosta State University and Middle Tennessee State University, Meaghan joined Lionzone in 2018 as a digital recruitment strategist before becoming the social media manager.



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