Gamification – Don’t believe the hype

Anyone who knows me, knows I love my tech, and when I didn’t have a family, loved spending time with my console, controller and online community. There have been many a time I’ve got ready for a night on the tiles only to find myself lured to a Lan centre playing capture the flag with randoms.


So when folks talk about gamification I get excited. The idea of immersing people into your brand coupled with assessment, values alignment etc is like being asked out on a date by Charlize Theron.Aon

Recently, I’ve been questioning the whole concept in relation to recruitment and HR.

PSMFirstly there’s the cost. If your brand is important you’re going to need a half decent game. It won’t be slapped together by an in house team, it will likely be outsourced to a game developer. I’m guessing for something half decent you’ll be coughing up a quarter to half million. You might get away with a hundred k from a low cost country. I often hear Recruitment Managers complain about the lack of funding, so how on earth are you going to convince the executive to write a cheque for a couple hundred thousand?

Let’s not even talk about the consultation costs for integration with your HRIS, ATS or OHS systems. Unfortunately here in Australia if you are capturing information on someone, you have to store it!

Secondly, the time. Design, development and testing takes weeks and months, not days. One of my lifelong friends used to be “In the game” as a tester for EA Sports North America. Talk about rigorous testing, and there are still bugs in games. Again, can you risk a bugged out game damaging your brand? By the time it’s ready, perhaps your company strategy has changed, or the market has bottomed?

Thirdly, how do you measure success? In a short period of time the game will become dated, an update required. I can see the conversation with the CFO now, “you know that $250K we invested, well its been 3 years and we need to update our interactive talent attraction strategy, sign over $275K, oh whats that, show you ROI *laugh*, just give me the cheque”. Could you even measure quality of hire? Hard enough to measure the success of existing advertising channels.


Other considerations could be industry sectors, position specific, values or technical focus, business strategy, market impacts and the list goes on and on.

I can certainly see a place in retail, hospitality, banking, and perhaps IT, but I struggle with others. These industries have products or services which are relatively consistent and core business. I can see why Starbucks, Nike, Aldi, a large Australian Bank or Atlassian would take this path, but would a construction company, manufacturing, or mining services based company see the value, what about cash strapped SME’s? They might see the value and they may even be tech junkies like me, but due to market and client variables, the risk is to great, the investment to big, and the return to little. WA is a perfect example of this market at the moment.

I certainly see value in aspects of on-boarding such as situational safety awareness, and inductions but from a pure attraction perspective gamification will be viable for a privileged few.

More importantly, if we can’t get our fundamentals right, we shouldn’t even be considering this very expensive can of worms.

So what’s with all the hype? Yeeeaaaaaaaaa booooiiiiiiiiPE

Keen to hear other people’s thoughts, experiences on this topic.

‘Ground control, to Major Tom’

Sitting here in WA, a shift is happening…well not really a shift but more of a state of flux…

The end of 2013 isn’t coming quick enough for many. Whilst the media spruiks the rising markets of NSW and VIC, WA’s economy looks like a busy hospital triage, on a massive come down from even greater highs.


I myself am in the trenches on a daily basis. Here’s a snap shot of what I am seeing and hearing;

Recruitment Agency – For the most part are saying its worse than the GFC


Redundancies – Not a week goes by where some well known company announces hundreds more redundancies. Last week it was WesTrac announcing 600+. I saw my entire recruitment team at a former employer, including myself enjoy redundancy. My employer previous to this has also reduced its internal recruitment capability to 3 here in WA (it was 8 during my time). It’s not just mining services, construction, but EPC and Owner Operators as well. Looking for good, experienced internal recruiters & managers? Perth has an oversupply of them at the moment.

Job Applicants – Wow has the market changed! I recently advertised for a Project Engineer and in the typical WA market this would attract a handful of applications, most of which were from offshore. So far, we’ve received in excess of 180 job applications. 95% are local and the quality is actually pretty strong. For any PE’s reading this, the role has been suspended until further notice. The feedback from job applicants on application response is woeful. This goes back to a previous blog of mine about the importance of brand management and application response rates.

The Market – There is a real lack of ‘new’ infrastructure investment, much of the construction in the North West is moving to operations, there are still concerns over potential additional delays to Roy Hill, and any pick up in the market will not happen until April/May 2014.

What does all this mean from a Recruitment & HR perspective?

2013 – 2014 will see your budgets slashed, that means reduced resources, and little to no investment in efficiency through technology. Be prepared to multi-skill across Recruitment, Mobilisation & HR Generalist and maybe even L&D from an administration perspective.

The massive project recruitment drives are quite simply drying up here in WA. The big recruitment teams will be rationalised to support a more Operational and Maintenance focus.

Prepare to Outsource various aspects of work, or look at suppliers who are providing additional value in relation to support services. Recently I came across an agency which offers $ credits towards training of your personnel should you engage them for your contracting needs. If you can save a few thousand bucks in training, that’s a good thing.

Talent Pooling/Sourcing – If your role combines with mobilisation and/or generalist HR you just wont have time to create valuable talent pools or conduct in-depth sourcing strategies. Maybe another outsourcing opportunity.

Recruitment Advertising – You’re going to have little to no budget for fancy and costly print ads. You’re going to get pummeled with job applications unlike never before, so you’ll need to get targeted in your creative ad writing skills. You’ll need to look at new opportunities to advertise at more cost effective, targeted platforms..actually you should be doing this already, but now is the time to really put your thinking caps on. Don’t forget, to measure your success, and if you work out how to best do this across various advertising mediums, please let me know and I am sure many others will be your bestie and be indebted to you forever.

Take a peak at the lack of recruitment related roles being advertised on SEEK, that in itself is a sign of the times. Its been like that for a good part of 6 months.

Referrals – Time to get your network working for you. Never has a time come where networking and referrals is going to help you through these cash strapped times. Remember ‘Stingray‘ the TV Series in the late 80’s…time to call in some favours.








So don’t look for too much recruitment innovation coming out of WA at the moment especially from the corporate side, maybe the odd Recruiter and Recruitment Manager, who will be resourceful, multi-skilled and a little battered and bruised from some really challenging times now, and ahead.


The Rebate

So it appears the recently appointed Liberal government is about to undertake a review of the child care rebate. The media reports that it could become means tested.

This is all quite relative to me. Recently we received approx $3.5k return (50%). Son 1 with attending family care two days a week. Certainly not chump change to families and certainly costing the government several fortunes over.

I wonder if there is going to be a review and whether the government will consider relaxing taxes in one of the following ;

* Allow employee’s to salary package a portion of their child care costs, if not all,
* Employers who are able to provide child care to their employees are excluded from Fbt for this benefit,
* Provide a return to work bonus to help with the cost of extended care
* 25% government subsidy + corporate subsidy + salary sacrifice…

I could go on with options upon options.
So what will be the result of this?

* More women returning to and remaining in the workplace.

* Increased productivity

* Increased retention

* Increased diversity

Productivity and diversity are big ticket items in today’s corporate world here in Australia, surely it’s time to seriously look at our options to encourage women to return to the workplace. The easy way out is means testing, and I doubt it will have the impact the government is seeking.

If more women return to work, this means more payroll tax to the government, more consumer spending and so on and so forth. Sure the government may not see the immediate impact on the bottom line, but the longer term result would outweigh the short term pain.

Here’s looking to a positive outcome.

I’d be interested to hear what other readers think could be put into place. Obviously this works in hand with Flexible work practices.

Until next time.