Tag Archives: employee engagement

‘Karma points’ keep employees motivated

Gamification encourages healthy competition, and the immediate incentives range from gift vouchers to virtual one-on-ones with the CEO for racking up a certain number of ‘karma points’

Mumbai: About four months ago, helping a colleague out or going above and beyond the call of duty only earned Sukrit Sarkar, 24, a pat on the back. Now, the associate product manager at HR platform Springworks earns points every time he does something to help a team member. Sarkar had the most points, 300, until another colleague overtook him on the leaderboard last week.

Appreciation is fuel in any organization, but while working from home, it’s often easy to miss thanking that one team member who goes the extra mile. Companies such as Proctor and Gamble and Goodera as well as startups like Springworks have turned to gamification to induct new employees, motivate existing ones, and run training modules remotely during the covid-19 pandemic. Gamification encourages healthy competition, and the immediate incentives range from gift vouchers to virtual one-on-ones with the CEO for racking up a certain number of ‘karma points’.

“When you work from home, other people on the team don’t know what you’re doing. And it’s nice when your teammates recognize your contribution,” says Sarkar. “In the physical office, we’d chat or congratulate one another. That was missing.”

Bengaluru-based Springworks built a gamified peer-to-peer recognition platform called Springengage in late April after its staff moved to working remotely. ‘Kudos’ (appreciation and gratitude for help) from a fellow employee earns the person 10 points, while a ‘shoutout’ (when someone goes beyond his or her role or does something that helps the company) brings in 100 points. The scores are displayed on a leaderboard, which creates a healthy competition.

“It has helped me keep motivated during these times. It has made us more curious about each other’s work. If someone gets a kudos or a shoutout, I want to know how the person solved the problem,” says Sarkar. Recently, he redeemed half his points for a ₹500 Amazon voucher to buy a book that was long on his wishlist.

Game-based activities are also helping companies induct new hires and interns, all of whom are rejoining work remotely now. For the first time in its history, Procter & Gamble India inducted 90 interns into a two-month stint virtually this year. To ensure learning and collaboration was engaging and interactive, a gamified module was created on its app. As the interns completed mandatory and optional training courses on the app, answered quizzes and challenges, they accumulated points. This was tallied on a leaderboard on the app with the top scorers getting gift hampers.

“We wanted to innovate and truly translate our on-ground ‘GetIn’ onboarding programme to a fully virtual experience. Gamifying the experience with deliberately planned touch-points increased the overall participation and engagement on the app. This also created a sense of community, drove engagement and motivated interns,” says PM Srinivas, head, HR, India sub-continent, Procter & Gamble.

At Goodera, gamification has worked to get its young staff to interact again, and ease work stress. Over the last few months, the tech company working in the space of CSR has rolled out a virtual volunteering facility. While employees met all their deadlines, moral seemed to be flagging during the lockdown. So, founder Abhishek Humbad introduced virtual volunteering for his team. But it really took off when employees could earn ‘karma points’ for individual and team effort, social impact of the voluntary work and more. The points, which reflect on a leaderboard on Goodera’s internal platform, earn employees gifts, ecommerce vouchers or a virtual one-on-one meeting with the CEO. “People notice what others are doing, and it also nudges them to do more,” says Humbad.

Webinars and informal Zoom meet-ups are losing novelty. “Gamified content gives a sense of micro achievement, which makes people feel good,” says Arijit Lahiri, co-founder, QuoDeck Technologies. The Mumbai-based game learning app creator has seen its turnover double since the start of the pandemic, he says, adding that clients are requesting casual games to fit into a storytelling format.

Rajib Chowdhury, founder, TGC Technologies, which helps companies create gamified activities, however, says companies should not get swept away by gamification and ignore other aspects of deeper employee engagement. “Companies have to be clear about what they want to achieve from the whole exercise. Besides uplifting morale, companies need to focus on creating purpose,” he says.

By Reshmi Menon, journalist at livemint.

This article was first published on livemint

Scenario- based learning

Learning and instructing can be done by various strategies. The goal is to make learner understand the topic and have a positive approach towards learning. The learner must attempt to learn what is taught and how to apply it in everyday life.

In passive learning methods, a learner typically reads content and tries to absorb as much as possible. Scenario-based learning is an effective strategy where learners are given realistic tasks and scenes. Unlike passive learning methods, scenario-based learning is characterized by a lot of interactivity.

Scenario- based learning is especially effective in corporate training. It provides the learners with situations which require analysis and problem-solving skills. Dealing with a challenge helps a learner to accelerate their thinking processes and hone their decision-making skills.

Other key benefits of scenario-based learning are:

Higher Retention: Passive learning may or may not sustain the attention of an employee, and they can miss out on certain elements which may be essential for growth. In scenario-based learning, a learner devotes their full attention throughout as they solve issues and challenges.

Involvement: Since the learner is role-playing, he gets involved in the training and experiences it in-depth, staying engaged and taking part actively throughout the training program.

Enhancement of Skills: Scenarios need a learner to put on their problem-solving hat and apply their skills. This leads to enhancement of decision-making process and other skills like time management, analytical skills, resource management, etc.

Knowledge Application: More the practicality of learning, more its application in genuine life. Since a learner gets engaged as a part of the scenario, along with better retention, it also enables the application of the learnt content in a much better way to real-world situations.

Try Again Option: Being a problem solver in a simulated environment gives you the opportunity to fail and try again without real-life consequences. A learner can take the program multiple times safely with short feedback loops. They can try unique approaches to the same situation, gaining various perspectives and enhancing their skills.

Scenario–based learning should be built only after having a detailed knowledge of the subject and understanding the audience for the training program. The scenario can be a narrative with a single character or a situation with multiple characters. The success of the training program will depend on the learners’ perspective and understanding of the thought process of the character and the situation being simulated.

The idea, ultimately, is to motivate a learner to go further into detail and trigger interest and thought. If done well, the combined use of practice and problem-solving in scenario-based learning can go and long way in building and strengthening the learner’s knowledge, skills and confidence.

How to motivate employees

The Outbreak of Covid19 has created social devastation and economic disruptions in the country. Pretty much all the workers across various sectors are in lockdown, and some are self-quarantined. The concept of Work from Home has therefore become an essential part of most organizations.

You need some proactive strategies and tools to create social bonds, connections and motivate employees that are working from home.  So here are some pointers on how to do this effectively:

  1. Set Clear Expectations: Flexibility in schedule is an advantage for working from home employees. But if you want your employees to be present and more responsive at a certain time, you need to communicate this to them in advance. Encourage employees to maintain a calendar to know their online and offline availability.
  2. Communicate and Stay Connected: Try and connect with your employees over phone or video/audio conference. Your voice and tone will typically communicate your thoughts much better than emails.
  3. Recognize: Recognize the efforts made by the employees and reward them with praise, whenever appropriate.
  4. Create a visual scoreboard: You can create a visual scoreboard for the week and ask employees to tick each and every pointer on the scoreboard. This will help the employee understand their goals, progress and potential on an ongoing basis.
  5. Convert Phone calls/Conference to Video conferences: Use technology to the utmost. Organize Video Conferences instead of phone calls to have a stronger connect with your employees. Agenda of what will be discussed in the meeting should be sent well in advance to allow the employees to prepare themselves. The call should always start with small talk by the Manager to make the employees feel connected.
  6. Use Gifs: While chatting or on a group chat, in order to praise and congratulate, you can use gifs to make employee feel more connected. After all, comfort of the employee is most important. Often having an informal conversation with employees can be constructive.
  7. Group Breaks while you work from home: Whenever you take a break, consider connecting over video conferencing with other employees to have an informal chat. Be as creative as much as you can with your team.
  8. Have a Development Plan: Make sure you have a development plan for each employee for one week. Have video conferences every day. Here are some points you can discuss as per the day:
  9. Monday: Cover the following stock-taking and planning points:
    1. Did we finish and meet the deadlines of the last week?
    1. What are the new tasks for each employee this week and how are they planned to be done?
    1. How can we help each other in the tasks?
    1. Who should improve and in what areas?
  10. Tuesday- Thursday: Have a conversation with each employee (if possible) or have a conference with small groups to help the team tackle the tasks and any problems they face. This would help in increasing coordination among the employees.
  11. Friday: Friday should always focus on Reflection. Here the manager should ask about how the team felt while doing tasks, what problems they faced, etc.

While there are many advantages to working from home, managing employees over the wire presents unique challenges. While the work environment has completely changed, the goals are no different from the traditional workspace because you require the same results as what you needed at the office workspace. Remember, a little planning, help and praise for hard work can go a long way in keeping your team motivated while working from home.

Remote Working Tips & Tricks

Everyone hates being confined, restricted and staying put. But during this pandemic, across the world, we’ve all been bound to our homes, working for and from them. All the buzz on the social networks and news channels has been about the pandemic and how, as humanity, we are coping with these strange and uncertain times. It does seem like life will be divided into clear pre and post pandemic eras.

For the working world, there was a time when “WFH” was reserved for when we had unavoidable personal errands to run for part of the day – a doctor’s appointment, PTAs, vets appointments – or when we were working on something we needed to pay more attention to, for example a crucial project, an important presentation. So, WFH in pre-pandemic times was either a luxury or an aid for better concentration.

Now that we are forced to WFH, the concept no longer charms. We miss our buddies from work, the food we had to reheat before eating, and we definitely miss our office desks. And while everyone is wondering when this will be over, and when we go back to work, here are a few simple tips and tricks to make WFH more bearable.  

“What gets measured gets managed”

Define your daily tasks and ensure you stay true to this list. Yes, a simple to-do list goes a long way. If you measure what you will complete in a day, you will be able to manage your day better. If you already do this, take it to the next level, by dividing your day into zones/slots and granularly divide your tasks into them. Check out tools like To-do list or Google Keep to help you manage your tasks easily.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four-hour days.”

Although WFH gives you the benefit of flexible hours, it may help to stick to a defined work timing to help your body clock cope with this change. Stay disciplined throughout the day by consciously thinking of yourself being at work. Start the day early so you can wind down in the evening and relax with your family or do household chores. Don’t delay the start of your day thinking that you can make up for it later in the evening or at night.  Remember that your body is not used to so much inactivity, and so adequate sleep and relaxation will be needed to keep your immune system healthy.

“Distracted from distraction by distraction”

Let’s check Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and even Linked every 15 minutes! Unless you work in marketing or handle your organization’s social media account, put a pause on the entertainment folder of your phone during the workday. One episode on Netflix does not hurt, but it does not help either.

Don’t get bent out of shape”

Now that you are WFH, respect your office space. At work, you have a desk and a chair that keeps you comfortable. The office space is usually designed to keep you in ‘Good Form’, ‘Good Function’, and ‘Good Health’. Try to create office-like ergonomics at home, till the lockdown lasts. This will help in reducing all those aches and pains that result from sitting in bad postures through the day. Avoid sitting on your bed with your legs outstretched or on your living room furniture with your laptop on your lap. Elevate your laptop to just below eye level to help your eyes and your shoulders.

Invest in Quality Technology

Yes, setting up your home office or workspace may require a small investment. Much like starting a new business, you may have to purchase the right hardware or software, such as a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone system to do your job every day.

A high-performance router will save you many a frustrated moment. Since working from home often requires more than chat messages, you need a router that will keep up. A router from several years ago might be prone to common network issues.

Communicate with your co-workers, buddies, and Boss!”

Well, you’re all in the same boat, so no one knows what you’re going through more than them. Over communicate with your teams if you are a manager and speak to your Boss at least 2-3 times in a day. Sound them off on work status, discuss issues that you are facing, and inquire what they’re up to at home. Be approachable to all.

Besides the ones we’ve mentioned above, there are many tips and tricks that can help your WFH be more effective. Read as many articles as you want, but you will need to find your own equilibrium of what works for you.

5 Effective Ways of On-boarding Gen X

The key to a successful employee induction is a great on-boarding experience. Simple yet efficient, this process helps make a warm impact on your employers and retain excellent performers in the long run.

Gen X (or Generation X are the people born between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s) have mostly already started their careers and are in their mid-life career wise as compared to the new young adults who have just taken a foot in the industry. Gen Xers are those who had working parents in their childhoods, because of wars, recession and many more reasons. It was because of this that they learnt to be free, independent, and have a set of goals or rules in their work ethic.

According to research they occupy 60% of the current workforce, engaging them is crucial for any organization’s fate. Gen Xers are ridiculed to be lax and lazy, as they do not have the same mindset as that of the generation before or after them. But in this stage where the employees who followed a hierarchical management are retiring and innocent, doe-eyed adults who know nothing of the company are entering, Gen X is the perfect employee to hire. But to recruit Gen X, you need to follow certain ways to have a strongly retained employee: Gen Xers prefer on-boarding programs that incorporate self-guided processes. So, designing the Induction Program which is comprehensive and yet interesting to Gen X is exceedingly essential.

Here are 5 things to do before building a particular on-boarding program that will ensure your employees have high-performance productivity and engagement:

The Common Characteristics of Generation X Professionals
  1. Creating a Positive Atmosphere 

Seeing that Gen X is approaching their 40s–50s, they would shift more into roles that allow them to lead. Born in the era where children had to be independent from a young age, they learnt to be pragmatic and cynical of adults. It makes sense for Gen X to lean more towards development and mobility. But they won’t hesitate to leave a job where they don’t feel valued or feel any room to grow skill wise.

Gen Xers are those who create and take nothing in return just work flexibility and freedom with their work, examples of such are the creators of Google, YouTube and Amazon. There is a simple approach in keeping a Gen X in the company and that is making sure they get as many projects to develop as possible to keep them satiated.

2. Designing Content Gen X Wants

According to Deborah Masten, HR Director for Plano, Gen X can’t be led by examples but interactions. They want to know what’s expected of them, and they want accurate and timely feedback. A systematic on-boarding process can plan out A to Z of a project to help both the employees and the employers. It can be done by systematic planning using any good on-boarding processes. ICE-Cube Induction Framework is one such framework that can help you in scoping out how, when and what to deliver to the new hires.

3. Make Learning Fun and Interactive

Make sure you don’t go bland in the on-boarding of Gen X; it is essential to not make them lose interest in you. Incorporate a modern portal that includes videos and gamified learning to make the process more interactive. Avoid monotonous presentations from obstructing fun on-boarding experience. Gen Cers maybe in their 40s, but they sure are tech savvy.

4. Go Mobile

Gen Xers love to work, develop and are happy to see their projects execute perfectly. This is the main difference of them from the previous generation, their ability to work with the Internet. Gen X can work from anywhere, anytime: and being shackled is their biggest pet peeve.

Gen Xers are self-reliant and thus if given the opportunity they can develop their own skill sets by applying their creativity and resources given to them by managers.

5. Appreciations & Rewards

Gen Xers have established a settled state in their life by working and have families as a priority. Flexibility makes sense from their perspective to spend time outside work. To recruit, retain and motivate Gen X, appealing to their needed work-life balance is a must. By giving them remote creative control over projects, giving immediate rewards and a good relationship with the team and managers are few ways of successful on-boarding of Gen X.

Given that 72% of companies have a bring your own device (BYOD) policy and allow employees to bring their own devices to work, Gen X has a higher chance of control over their schedules, decisions, responsibilities and creative freedom. The onboarding is a win-win for both the hir

By Isha Repal, Content Writer at QuoDeck