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Gamification Challenges in Managing HR Processes

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  • Dr. Tanusree Chakraborty

Gamification Challenges in Managing HR Processes


Gamification uses the basic elements of games like fun, play, transparency, design, competition, and addiction and applies these to a range of real-world HR processes of an organization, from recruiting to learning and development that enhances employees’ active involvement during a task. The gamification process of managing HR processes also helps increase employees' interest level by motivating them and re-engaging in an idea over time (Meister, 2015).  

Even with the huge upsurge in the use of gamification in industry, certain challenges are faced while using gamification strategies. Let us look at some of the challenges of gamification:

  1. The belief that a general standardized gamified process can fit in universally- Engagement needs and the corresponding factors affecting the levels of engagement are not uniform for all employees, especially where a wide variety of workforce is working with different motivational factors that motivate them. The dimensions of employee satisfaction are significantly different for employees on the basis of age, gender, marital status and education. Thus, standard gamified processes may not be able to cater to the needs of all employees, stimulate their minds and hold on to their attention.


  1. Generational diversity: Moreover varied generations are working side-by-side in most of the companies today. The differences because of generational diversity continue to be one of the biggest challenges to today’s employers. While the older generation looks for security of service and is not so tech-savvy and considers it to be a threat, the new generation likes risks and challenges and are born in the technological era where everything happens at 4G speed. They don’t want to stagnate at one position, rather they want to learn fast, apply it, and get rewarded for it quickly, or else they move on. So, the gamified processes will have to have the potential to grab and hold on the attention of and be user-friendly to those of the older generations, for whom technology has dramatically transformed the way they lived and worked- to which they had to adapt to, and also of the younger generations, for whom such technological advances are nothing but norms. Thus, the challenge of developing employee-friendly and simple gamified processes that can cater to all generations of employees remains a great concern, a big challenge.


  1. Tailor-Made Designs: Organisations also need to understand that they need to design a strategy that addresses individual business challenges that are unique for every organization and for every industry. There is a need for developing gamification techniques customized to the respective specific needs and unique requirements, resulting in the development of unique gamified processes with technical programming and gaming concepts aligned with company goals. They need to comprehensively understand the rules of the game, effectively relate them to the organizational goals, keep a view of the motivational aspects of the player, and fit in these, to achieve real results. Sponge UK-based Game Developer Jason Butler, who creates tailor-made e-learning platforms, suggested in an interview with Jo Cook for the Training Journal, that if the games are based on strategy and not on fast and prompt thinking, the problem of engaging the older generation in it also gets addressed. (Butler and Ahmed, 2016).



  1. Belief that developing gamified processes is expensive - Organizations do not have to design and develop a full-fledged and dedicated software, exclusively for gamification. (Biro, 2016). If designed properly, game elements can be incorporated and aligned to the existing employee portal system. However, the belief that gamification is expensive and would call for lots of additional expenses for maintenance is one of the major challenges in the implementation of gamification in managing HR processes.
  1. Inability to understand the advantages of gamification: Most business organizations are yet to understand the reason why gamification is considered to be a good and innovative idea for engaging employees (Biro, 2016).  The mechanisms of how gamification works and the plethora of benefits that can be reaped by imbibing game-like incentives into organizational activities are still unclear to some companies. However, large companies like Accenture, Microsoft, GE, Deloitte, and Google have started using gamification principles and techniques to alter the whole setup of working and engaging people by stimulating their minds into playing and getting rewarded in the gamified modules. This has resulted in a better spread of the benefits of gamification by way of word–of–mouth. So, the sooner organizations can realize the benefits of gamification in managing HR processes, the better it is.
  1. Dynamic nature of HR processes- Gamification generally works in a stable environment where tasks or processes are mostly repetitive in nature. Processes that are dynamic and keep changing according to situations and requirements are hard to be gamified. The roles that are repetitive and programmed in nature and the outcomes of that can be clearly measured in relation to well-defined parameters are the most suitable ones for developing gamification modules (Shergill, 2014). Given that HR is a people process, where every individual is dynamic and unique in itself, with different perspectives and bent of mind, the prediction of the impact and effectiveness of a gamified process, sometimes becomes ambiguous and uncertain.


  1. Resulting in addictive behaviour- Another challenge for gamification is that it is believed to encourage addiction towards the particular gamified process that may hamper the work-life balance and other doable of employees. The ultimate motive of gamification is to keep an employee engaged positively, now, if gamification results in some addiction and affects employees negatively on their health and personal lives, it would bear negative results for the organization as well.


  1. Sustained Motivation- Gamified modules do not have the ability to tap the intrinsic motivation levels of the player; gamification generally brings in an initial wave of excitement amongst employees that gradually diminishes with time. (Cook, 2013). Rewards, badges, leaderboards, etc cater to the player's extrinsic motivation, which might fail to motivate them intrinsically to continue to play the game. So the game elements should be designed to keep the interest and attention of players at higher levels and keep them motivated and engaged with it in a sustained way. It also needs to be updated time to time so that it does not become monotonous and obsolete (Cook, 2013).

Despite the limitations mentioned above with respect to gamification in managing HR processes, the usefulness of gaming symbolizes improved performance (Silic et al., 2020) and that cannot be ignored. As organizations are trying to identify the covert formula to engage their employees more continuously and also augment their satisfaction level, it is really important to engage in gamification robustly, overcoming the challenges and fostering productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency.


  • Biro, M. (2016, May 19), HR: It’s Time To “Level Up” With Gamification, Talent Culture-World of Work.
  • Butler, S., & Ahmed, D. T. (2016, December). Gamification to engage and motivate students to achieve computer science learning goals. In 2016 International Conference on Computational Science and Computational Intelligence (CSCI) (pp. 237-240). IEEE.
  • Cook,W. (2013), Five major pitfalls to avoid in Gamification, Strategic Human Resource Management, Retrieved from





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