“Learning and game do not necessarily need to take different paths”. With this statement, Paloma Cabrera, Communications and Marketing Director at Accenture Spain (pictured right), justifies the bet on using gamification for Internal Communications initiatives of the global management consulting company.
According to Cabrera, when using gamification internally, Accenture wants to offer employees a new experience, aiming at the youngest ones above all, and at the same time to communicate in a different way and facilitate new means to interact with the company. The gamification initiatives have been implemented into different 2.0 internal communications tools that Accenture set in place four years ago. “Internal communications approach was totally changed, taking advantage of new technologies, as well as communication and participation channels that put employees at the centre stage”, explains Cabrera.
Therefore, the games integrated into the local and global online tools look at engaging employees with different internal communication initiatives aimed at spreading Accenture’s value proposition, its healthcare and environmental programs or reflecting on the company’s corporate values.
In order to remind employees about Accenture’s value proposition, the online game ‘Accenture Land’ asked questions about training programs, social benefits, career development opportunities and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. By giving the right answers, employees participating passed several levels, being able to build a virtual city and to get different rewards, as well as gathering points for the attractive final prize: a safari tour in Africa. Employees at second and third scoring position were awarded with other trips and the winner in each game level won an Ipad. “After running this initiative, engagement among Spanish employees increased by 5%”, Cabrera states. “56% of Spanish employees participated in this online game and offices at other countries such as Brazil, US or some of the Asia offices adapted and launched the game to their employees”, adds Cabrera.
Together with this online game, Accenture Spain launched the interactive online platform called ‘TÚ eres el centro’ (YOU are the centre), gathering all the information and links of interest about Accenture’s value proposition for employees. The information was organized in eight thematic areas: Professional development, Career, Flexibility, Reward, Prestige, Solidarity and Working Environment. Each area was represented by a planet, creating a universe with employees at its centre. Until now, more than 8,000 workers have visited the online platform that is used as the main consulting source. “Since its launch, this tool have been updated in order to be the main information source about our Value Proposition within the company”, highlights Cabrera.
As a part of ‘Tu>Bienestar’ (You>Well-being), a healthcare program launched by Accenture’s Spain Medical service, an online test was created to spread the voice about it. Employees had to score their well-being level by answering questions regarding different thematic areas such as nutrition, ergonomics, physical exercise, smoking or cardiovascular health. Once the program was finished, six months later, employees were invited to take the test again in order to check their improvement. “This healthcare program had 12 blocks and there was a raffle of different prizes among their participants, related to every thematic, such as a voucher for a massage in a spa or a dinner in a healthy restaurant”, explains Cabrera. According to her, 33% of employees took the test and participated in the program that is still growing with the addition of different thematic areas.
Gamification is also a way for Accenture to make aware employees about ecological aspects. In this way, ‘Eco challenge’ is an annually global program, launched coinciding with the World Environment Day, that invites employees to calculate their Carbon Footprint and the environmental impact of their daily habits at the workplace through an online test. “The aim of this game is to encourage employees to change their habits so they can reduce their environmental impact”, Cabrera points out. Employees participating in the test are able to score points and exchange them for prizes on the company internal recognition system.
Finally, ‘ReValorízate’ (Increase your value) was an internal communications program launched in Spain this year, that invited to reflect about Accenture’s corporate values. ‘ReValorízate’ combined off line and online tools such as a video that got more than 3,000 views, an online platform, a blog, a recognition online program and a team-based competition. “The recognition online program allowed to thank a colleague or to recognise a job well done through a message as well as giving points (Celebrating points) that employees could exchange for prizes on an internal website”, explains Cabrera. “This program also encouraged managers to share points among their teams”, Cabrera adds.
Gamification initiatives have shown that employees are more engaged when they use them. “Level of participation is higher when the initiative entails gamification, beating participation in other internal communications initiatives between a 30% and 50%”, highlights Cabrera. Regarding changes in employees behaviour or company perception, Cabrera explains that after launching ‘Accenture Land’, the level of participation and results of the employees satisfaction survey clearly improved.
According to Cabrera, the 2.0 internal communications tools used within Accenture, included the gamification programs, look at a two-way communication facilitating employees a space to give their opinions and ideas, interact with their colleagues and share their knowledge and experience.
“Accenture counts with several 2.0 communications tools such as global and local intranets, newsletters, webcast with the executive committee twice a year whom employees can send questions, webcast with Accenture’s president, a global Yammer channel, an enterprise social network (Facebook alike) called ‘Accenture People’ and global and local internal blogs”, explains Cabrera. The use of these two-way communications tools have led to a more fluent communication amongst employees and a higher participation in the different internal communications campaigns set in place. Online communications tools are combined with off line ones such as employee forums, meetings and posters. Most of the local 2.0 internal communications tools are managed by the IC team, though every department also manages the content of their online platforms, such as the intranets, video conferences or online publications.
An important factor contributing to the right use of the 2.0 communications tools is the creation of a social media policy that guides employees about what to do and what not to do when using them. Senior management support has been fundamental for the 2.0 communications tools success. “All the internal communications initiatives are supported by Accenture’s President, Executive Committee, and Human Resources Director”, highlights Cabrera, “and the Internal Communications team works together with HR, in order to launch most of the initiatives”.