The Evolution Of Workforce Science

By Jim Wexler, President, Experiences Unlimited

The Evolution Of Workforce ScienceMany CIOs are acknowledging the benefit of gamification to help engage employees and customers and change their behavior and are preparing their organizations to support it. In larger context, this adoption calls for examination of the role of Big Data in busi­ness and in our overall culture.

The excitement surrounding Big Data is that web-brows­ing, location tracking, and social networks can help deliver au­tomated, meaningful measurement of people and predict their behaviors. Our e-mails, social network interactions and mouse clicks are able to be mined for ‘programmatic’ insights. Life Insurers can now learn more from our Internet histories than from a blood test. Personality based assessment tests accurately measure worker behavior and predict fit and performance.

This ability to measure on a grand scale promises to trans­form organizational management. Can Big Data make for a smarter working world, with more efficiently run companies guided by data and analysis? Are there dependable processes for predicting behaviors, skills, and preferences? Welcome to the relatively new field of workforce science, which adds pre­dictive analytics to a hiring and talent development playing field that’s long been dominated by gut intuition.

The rise of workforce science adds significance to effectively engaging users: the new benefit of inducing them to give up more data. This puts new emphasis on digital communications approaches like Gamifica­tion, which has been gaining attention as a mechanism for improving user experience. Gathering and lever­aging user data feeds a virtuous circle, because when data-driven experiences become more insightful and relevant, they deliver as much value to users as the com­panies that deploy them.

Games are the goto medium for a generation of consumers for whom the “language of games” game dynamics, interfaces and interactions have been with them since childhood. According to Venture Beat, the average gamer in the United States is 31 years old. And it’s not just a “guy thing.” Women make up 48 percent­age of gamers. Half of workers play a game on their phone every day. Video games are not just kid stuff.

Gaming is no longer a solitary pursuit as the most popular games rely on team collaboration, often com­prised of individuals who are strangers in real life. What does this mean for business? Leveraging a media plat­form that users celebrate in their everyday lives builds relevant relationships that yield more data.

Game driven experiences offer competitive train­ing and onboarding experiences and measure user re­sponse. For example, The Road Ahead is an app that uses gamification to attract users and gathers their data. The interactive experience takes users on a jour­ney about their interests in different career paths. Us­ers participate both because it’s fun and because of its perceived value: The Road Ahead tells them who they are and provides a list of jobs that fit their personality. Sponsoring employers mine the competency based assessment output to build a talent pipeline.

Similarly, UPtick is an enterprise software app that puts sales trainees into a virtual customer roleplay and scores them on the choices they make. The en­gaging  gamified experience keeps them coming back and leader board offers the chance to compete for re­allife incentives or bragging rights. Uptick’s built in assessment system provides realtime insight into the user’s selling competencies, serving both the user and the organization.

Perhaps the best role for these tools may be in pars­ing and prioritizing what we know about the workforce. For now, humans still trump computers at identifying the differentiators in organizational performance. This balance is shifting, as game based experiences deliver more fun and more value.

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