Learning&Development Summit 2015

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This year’s L&D Summit was about “Investing in our future”. With some experienced local and international guests and an impeccable logistic the conference raised the bar in terms of quality of an HR event (of both content and format). So, chapeau bas, ITOL!

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Future is about a lot of things but the hot topic and the one that ended up on everybody’s lips was: gamification. (Which my auto-correct still doesn’t recognise it as a valid word).

A few thoughts:

  • in order for gamification to work you must create a game that is really fun to play. Like…really! Otherwise people will not fall for “another HR gimmick”. They will not learn more just because you offer them a badge they don’t have what to do with. They will not come to work happier or stay longer in your organisation just because some other colleagues have more or less “points” than they have. It has to be fun.
  • the rule of any game is that it must be voluntarily. The same happens when you implement gamification – you cannot force people into playing. That takes all the fun out of it. So again, you must make sure it’s so fun and attractive that not only the most engaged and loyal employees will play it – employees who probably didn’t need gamification in the first place because you could already count on them to be involved. Others must not be able to abstain themselves from being curious and try it out.
  • when designing a game you must start from the objective. What KPI do you want to improve? Adding some game elements just because it seems cool might be a waste of time, energy and money.
  • You have to know your players profiles to create a game they’d play. Thanks An Coppens for Bartle’s player types (and for all the pretty owl badges):

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(picture from frankaron.com)

  • it doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money – sometimes all you need is a burst of creativity.
  • ..but using gamification (that works!) is not a game – it might sound fancy and cool and fun and something that anybody would be excited about, but it’s not. And it sure isn’t the solution for everything, for everyone, every time.

Perry Timms had some interesting ideas in his presentation. He stressed about how important is that HR people use technology and social media wisely to adapt to nowadays challenges and habits. How we should make sure to raise our heads from the stack of old papers on our desks and become HR futurologists (analysing trends and preparing to act on them if the case), HR technologists (to learn to use technology and make sure we own it, it doesn’t own us), HR disruptors (because HR people can be innovative, too. And they should.).

I think that his speech supports the idea of using the right tools at the right time for the right things. And to do that you must be aware of what’s going on with you, as an HR person, with your colleagues, your organisation, your industry, the world…you must be open enough to learn new things, to spot new means of reaching your objectives (even if that requires you to use technology, gamification, lots of HR metrics or even improvisation)…and always have the core objective in mind. Today’s business world is not only about problem-solving, it’s also about problem-finding. With all these fancy tools and methods around us we sometimes might forget why we went for them in the first place.

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The entire conference was a boost of inspiration for me – I wrote down a lot of ideas and made some interesting connections. But the challenge is to turn the topics of today’s conference in best practices for the next one. And as Cristi Lupsa (from DoR) pointed out in the ending speech: that is not as easy as it seems. You go back to a rigid organisation with a built-in way of doing things, to a board of directors that didn’t attend the same conference as you, surrounded by skeptic colleagues and very busy employees. We got some fuel, let’s get on that road and make it happen!

Maybe we should gamify our profession all together to help us stay positive no matter the battles we must face.

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