Serious? Stay in the Game..
By: Maarten Molenaar, Computable
Those who want to prepare the organization for energy transition or digital transformation are deploying serious gaming. The added value of games to take employees through complex transformations is increasingly recognized. And this is no longer just a matter for corporations with hefty budgets. Serious games are available in several variants.
What awaits serious gaming this year? These four trends define it.
Hybrid work requires hybrid play
If anything has changed in the past two years it is how and where we work. The pandemic has appealed to our flexibility; hybrid working is - and in all likelihood will remain - the new norm. We are going to see this trend reflected in serious gaming as well. Before the corona outbreak, requests consisted of developing either completely physical games or completely digital games. The need for flexibility has changed this. Physical games are now built with a "virtual backup scenario" in mind and digital games can easily reach a large (international) target group. At the same time, those games can be used in a live setting to build a physical connection. This helps clients quickly switch to virtual or hybrid when needed, without the game sitting on the shelf.
Serious gaming as catalyst for achieving climate goals
The Netherlands signed the final agreement at the Glasgow climate summit in November 2021, and that has consequences. Almost every organization will be faced with new climate goals in the coming period, but especially large organizations working in the energy sector or being large consumers of energy will have to get to work. The sustainability transition is a complex, two-pronged issue: a content issue on the one hand (what does this mean concretely for our organization?) and an activation issue on the other (how do we get our employees to participate in this change?). With serious gaming you can give shape to both aspects, for example by playfully setting up different scenarios and discovering their consequences. Especially in a transition in which the change is urgent, but the dot on the horizon is not yet (fully) known, playing is an excellent way to stimulate the creativity and entrepreneurship of your employees.
Onboarding programs are no longer complete without playful elements
With the ongoing "war on talent," a powerful "employee value proposition" and rock-solid onboarding is crucial to bringing people in and keeping them. What would you rather face on your first day at work; ten pages of text about company values and procedures or a cool game that introduces you to your new employer in a few hours? More and more companies are incorporating serious gaming or playful elements into their onboarding programs. This goes beyond a virtual tour of the office. For example, consider a timeline game about the origins and important milestones of the company or an escape room that incorporates core values, mission, vision, products, and culture. In this way, you create a challenging pressure cooker that ensures you get to know your colleagues faster. This form of learning is not only a lot more fun but the knowledge gained is also bound to stick around longer and is a great way to convey both content and culture in one intervention.
Serious gaming is no longer a corporate party
For a long time, the prevailing perception was that serious games for large organizations - with a thousand or more employees - have to be customized and therefore require a larger budget. And that's a shame because many topics that you address with serious games are just as relevant for organizations with smaller budgets. Not every game needs to be custom-made and so-called "off-the-shelf games" are therefore in demand. And the great thing is that a social trend is helping this a bit. The platformization of products is making organizations get used to receiving services via standard Web platforms or apps. For example, we ourselves have some ready-made games on issues that almost every organization faces, such as data-driven working or diversity & inclusion. These games require no customization and can be accessed online, making them a lot more affordable, but certainly no less effective. A more budget-friendly price tag also allows SMEs/SMEs and the public sector to better reap the benefits of serious gaming.