Can HR leverage brainhacking techniques used by programmers to make apps like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram more engaging and even addictive to help employees?

Brainhacking. That’s a scary sounding word. It’s the combination of neuroscience and gamification techniques that are used to keep us returning to our smart phones and apps to get more shares, likes, comments, and so on. At its worst it creates stress and addiction for the benefit of advertisers, at its best it can motivate people to good for themselves or others.

There’s an ongoing debate in Silicon Valley and the media about these techniques, their impact, and how they can be implemented for good or bad use. In April of 2017 the TV show 60 Minutes ran a piece where Anderson Cooper, with the help of industry insiders, exposed some of the tactics used and explored their implications. It’s a quick and fascinating watch. I highly recommend it.

So, can HR leverage these techniques for the good of the employee? Before you roll your eyes and dismiss the notion, I’d like you to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does your company do Fitbit challenges?
  • Does your company have apps that offer feedback and employee recognition?
  • Does your company provide rewards and incentives via an app?
  • I could go on, but I think you’re getting my point.

HR has been fumbling through gamification and simple rewards based systems to engage users, and attempt to foster employee engagement. There is a real opportunity to leverage these techniques for the betterment of employees and even for better business results.

In this report I explore a few of those opportunities and examples and dig into a case study of a large hospitality company that leverage gamification to help with employee learning and ended up with an increase in revenue.

Thanks to our friends at Bunchball for sponsoring the report. I hope you all enjoy it.

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