With advances in technology, more and more home care agencies are choosing to implement gamification to improve caregiver engagement and productivity.
Gamification is a technique that introduces game-playing elements to non-gaming activities to motivate employees. It can be used for a wide variety of purposes in-home care, including setting and meeting targets, facilitating onboarding and training, and building strong connections/loyalty to your agency.
Gamification works as an effective long-term engagement tool because it triggers factors that sustain intrinsic human motivation, including:
- Autonomy: employees feel they have control over what they’re doing
- Competence/Progress: provides clear markers for employees’ to see their achievements to date and a map to guide them to future actions to progress
- Value/Purpose: employees feel they are making a meaningful contribution in areas that might otherwise be considered mundane and routine
- Productive feedback: real-time feedback encourages employees to continue to the next milestone or make adaptations to get back on track
- Rewards: these may be extrinsic, intrinsic, or social and provide incentives for employees to achieve their targets/perform specific actions or behaviors.
There are a wide variety of benefits for businesses using gamification in workplace environments. Here we offer eight top benefits to highlight how gamification in your home care agency could give you that all-important edge.
Eight benefits your home care agency can enjoy by using gamification:
1. Increases caregiver engagement
Employee engagement is a crucial contributor to any home care agency’s economic performance.
Many home care agency owners struggle to identify what truly engages their caregivers. They may spend money on things like team outings, special dinners, and additional perks, which don’t necessarily affect long-term caregiver engagement as positively as they hope.
However, using gamification in the right way, it is possible to impact each of caregiver engagement’s major determinants, including effective onboarding, self-efficiency, feedback, job satisfaction, recognition, opportunities for professional development, and positive work culture.
With gamification, every aspect of the job itself can become a fun, enjoyable, and rewarding experience for your caregivers. This motivates them in their day-to-day tasks and makes them feel appreciated, valued, and empowered to unleash their full potential.
Engaged caregivers will not only become more committed and loyal to your agency over time but will also increase productivity and help your agency to grow and be more successful in the future.
2. Supports new hire onboarding
New hires are often overwhelmed when joining a home care agency for the first time and starting a new role. Successful onboarding is vital to ensure that new caregivers quickly align with their work objectives and your business goals. It also plays a crucial role in caregiver retention.
Through gamification, game structures help to show and outline the work tasks and processes that are expected. They are like a beginner’s guide, helping new caregivers to gain a clearer understanding of their new work environment, workflow, processes, and expectations – making the transition less daunting and more manageable.
With gaming dynamics, you can also ensure your home care agency culture is conveyed and easily understood by new employees, quickly building and supporting caregiver connection to your agency.
3. Enhances training and development programs
One common form of gamification found in workplace contexts is in learning and development. 2019 research from Harvard Business School highlighted the power of gamification on a person’s ability to learn in a work environment. It found that applying gamification during the learning process – where employees earn points for completing modules or scoring well on tests/quizzes – has a substantial impact on their willingness to engage with learning and to consistently complete training programs.
Training and development can be easily facilitated by integrating gamification, with multiple benefits for your caregivers/staff and your agency, including:
- Increases engagement in learning and can aid accessibility
- Gives a sense of autonomy to progress and master new skills
- Automatically tracks and measures how employees are doing and progressing in the learning process
- Provides instant real-time performance feedback
- Can be used to focus on developing or improving specific skills in your team/upskilling
- Can be integrated with personalized, on-the-job training
- Makes learning engaging, interactive, and more enjoyable
- Can be more time and cost-efficient than other training methods
- Has clear, measurable results with rewards to reinforce desired outcomes
- Reinforces your agency’s policies and culture
- Enhanced training and development programs increase your employees’ skill sets, competency, and productivity.
The feeling of acquiring new skills is one of the most important aspects of fulfillment in the workplace, so while gamification can enhance your training and development programs, it also directly impacts caregiver job satisfaction and retainment.
Other studies have shown that millennials rank ‘training and development’ as the most important benefits a workplace can offer. Therefore, you can also take advantage of gamification during recruitment and hiring by offering employees personalized, professional development routes with your agency.
4. Offers great feedback mechanisms
One of the most prominent business-building practices is setting goals and then measuring whether they have been achieved. This process includes providing appropriate and timely feedback to employees on their individual performance.
However, most performance management methods involve assessments and appraisals that only look at the past, usually on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. With this approach, goals can quickly become outdated and rarely reflect the employees’ day-to-day reality.
In addition, this method traditionally focuses on measuring employee performance using scores that can be discouraging and create a disconnect between an employee’s past performance and their current efforts.
Gamification includes feedback mechanisms, which can provide individual and team-based feedback in real-time – reviewing performance KPIs, goals, and benchmarks previously set. As a result:
- caregivers receive instant and consistent performance feedback, which they can use to work towards improvements immediately rather than months later
- they can work more linearly towards real-time, measurable, and meaningful targets
- the high-level feedback and evaluations are typically objective and fair, relying on real-time KPIs rather than subjective forms of traditional evaluations
- consistent, objective feedback on performance, opens a space for collaboration and positivity rather than confrontation
- automatic feedback can help ‘correct’ caregivers’ approaches and improve their skills
- allows managers/leaders to clearly identify any drops in performance or knowledge gaps and close those gaps via upskilling.
While face-to-face performance reviews and appraisals are still essential to set the tone for positive, mutually respectful relationships with your employees, gamification can be used to elevate your performance tracking and feedback processes.
Feedback mechanisms are one of the most important elements of gamification, allowing your caregivers to constantly know how they are doing and what they can do to improve, saving your HR department endless time and resources.
5. Cultivates team building and collaboration
Gamification does not only benefit individuals in your home care agency as they work towards personal success but can also be used to incorporate social elements. One, often underutilized, element of gamification is that it can enable caregivers to collaborate in their day-to-day activities.
When employees team up and work with others to complete tasks through gamification, it cultivates team-strengthening practices, builds team spirit, and creates a sense of camaraderie.
A home care company where an exceptional team spirit is nurtured and rewarded can accomplish any targets it sets for itself and truly stand out from the competition.
6. Ensures employee contributions never go unnoticed
Appreciating and rewarding employees’ achievements and performance progress is vitally important for engagement, motivation, and job satisfaction. Research has found that status at work is as important to most employees as any monetary reward – it matters that your caregivers feel they are doing a good job and being recognized for doing so.
However, recognizing and rewarding employees can be an extremely time-consuming task. Managers cannot keep track of all employees 24/7, so the process often becomes sporadic.
Through gamification, employees’ goals and progress are seamlessly recorded, tracked, and rewarded in real-time – and everyone’s need to be validated for their efforts is instantly met.
In providing recognition and rewards for your caregivers’ contributions, your home care agency not only affirms that it values their efforts and dedication but also encourages an increase in the quality of their work.
7. Communicates and improves your agency’s culture
Your home care agency culture can be defined by how you and your employees think, feel, and behave, based on what you all see each other doing. It includes the habits your employees develop (both good and bad!), the attitudes they learn from each other, the behaviors they accept as standard, and the priorities they perceive as most important.
The many and varied possibilities offered by gamification include the opportunity to communicate your home care agency’s culture to your current employees and to attract potential candidates who may want to join your agency.
This is a valuable asset in your recruitment, hiring, and onboarding processes.
Correctly nurtured and communicated, a great agency culture will ensure your employees take good care of your clients and each other. It will also attract more talented employees to your agency as it helps you build a reputation for being a great place to work, and will positively impact caregiver retention.
8. Automatic collection of objective performance data
Gamification requires automatic data collection – objective performance data – that can be extremely valuable to your home care agency managers as it highlights the general health of your business along with its pain points.
Data about the productivity of, for example, your caregivers, in-office staff, training programs, and onboarding process can all be used to drive insights, review and improve operations’ efficiency, optimize performance and increase productivity.
This is a beneficial factor for your agency and ensures your employees know that the rules of ‘the game’ are fair, as the data used to track and measure their performance is accurate, objective, and transparent.
By tracking many KPIs, gamification can help your agency and employees find the right balance for optimum performance across the home care services you provide.
Used well, gamification can provide a practical and immediate solution to a wide range of business goals that home care agencies may be trying to solve – such as increasing caregiver job engagement and satisfaction, improving onboarding, enhancing training programs, and reducing caregiver turnover rates.
By improving individual performance and productivity, gamification ultimately affects the culture of your entire home care agency, benefiting your business in multiple positive ways.
It is important to remember that it’s not just about ‘the game’; it’s about creating positive change in your employee performance, productivity, and commitment to your agency.
For more information on how you can start to utilize gamification in your home care agency, please visit our earlier blog: An Introduction to Using Gamification in Home Care: Motivate, Engage and Retain Your Caregivers.
SMARTcare’s gamification tools
SMARTcare’s leading home care platform now includes gamification that creates motivation and engagement, changes behavior, and, ultimately, retains caregivers by making each caregiver a hero and showing appreciation for their efforts every day.
SMARTcare customers see some of the highest caregiver retention rates in home care, which leads to improved outcomes, strong connections to the agency, and improved bottom lines. SMARTcare users see up to three times greater caregiver retention rates over the industry average.
For more information about the latest developments in SMARTcare Software visit: www.smartcaresoftware.com