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How to train and integrate employees during the pandemic?

2020.11.27
Since September 2020, 1000 managers from 13 European countries have already completed 40 tasks as part of the Manager of Choice gamification – this is Raben Group's way to build and develop strong teams in the COVID-19 era and to tighten the bonds between the manager and the employee. What exactly has been happening in the Group over the past months? How do the participants see the project? Does the knowledge gained during the gamification translate into the managers’ behaviour in real situations in their professional lives?

Regular engagement surveys carried out of among Raben Group employees have confirmed the obvious thing, i.e. the fact that line managers have a significant impact on the employee experience. Therefore, in order to reinforce the positive employee experience, managers should be bolstered to consciously, professionally and heartily build relationships with employees and in the long run create an environment filled with positive experiences. Together with the Raben Group Management Board, the managers and the employees, we have developed the best management practices, i.e. a comprehensive educational material for managers which contains specific examples of positive behaviours. This material was firstly passed on to the managers during training sessions. After the training stage, because we have DRIVE to innovate, we decided to consolidate the material by organizing a gamification for the managers on an online platform.

The Manager of Choice gamification is divided into 5 stages: recruitment, onboarding, development, daily work, leaving the organization. During the program, the managers acquire knowledge according to the employee experience cycle. The tasks they deal with concern a wide variety of situations. In order to make the tasks on the platform as engaging and diverse as possible, most of them require answering open questions or actual actions and cooperation with the team. That is why, a team of more than 40 assessors has been formed to check the managers' answers on an ongoing basis during the program.

The gamification is about passing on a certain amount of knowledge in such a way that in its structure it resembles a plot of a game. Participants of the program acquire unique goods (e.g. seeds or fruits) in the virtual, fabricated world of gamification and fight against the adversities of fate (e.g. pest attack) in order to achieve the desired goal and rewards. The gamification is all about competition, cooperation and... fun. Assimilating new knowledge in this situation is connected with a surge of dopamine and many positive experiences.

The added value of the whole game is the support for the charges of the Children's Joy foundation. Managers who complete a stage/round of the game by giving at least 60% of correct answers will receive a token which will allow for financing one foreign language lesson/session with a psychologist or speech therapist.

After 3 months, we can safely say that the decision to reinforce this initiative with gamification was an excellent idea! The evidence of this is the unwavering engagement of the managers. As many as 75% of them finish each module by completing all the tasks available on the platform. An important move which arises great interest is that the tasks appear on the platform regularly, at specific times and the speed of reaction is evaluated. As many as 40% of the participants perform the tasks within two hours of their publication. Everyone is well aware that the sooner they deal with the available tasks, the higher position they get in the ranking.

The program is spread over time so that the managers can regularly consolidate the acquired knowledge in practice. In the long run, this allows them to develop new habits and ways of working. Most questions are about real-life situations or relate to the personal experiences of managers (e.g., talk about the feedback you received from your superior, which is particularly memorable to you and justify why you remembered it). Apart from consolidating basic theoretical issues, it is about inspiring managers to new solutions.

The game allows for rewarding managers for good results, completing tasks in an interesting way or reaction time. The best managers, apart from the prize, receive a symbolic red cloak with the title MANAGER OF CHOICE! The managers emphasize the possibility of consolidating knowledge in an unconventional way and strengthening relations with their team. The HR department is happy with frequent contacts with the managers, who are more and more willing to consult HR tasks and put acquired knowledge into practice. Competition between teams from different countries strengthens the cooperation within a given managerial team.

“I'm absolutely delighted with the way the game teaches us. In this way, the material is much easier to absorb. What's more, the game is quite exciting for the employees and it encourages closer cooperation within the team.” – said Inna Ocheretnaya, Managing Director of Raben Ukraine.

Maciej Jarosz, Group Treasury Manager, Raben Group adds: “The Manager of Choice is an interesting possibility during remote work, especially since the assimilation and consolidation of knowledge takes place in the form of a gamification. Tasks are non-standard, they require creativity, sometimes involve the whole team in their execution, and we get feedback quite quickly. An additional advantage is the possibility to compete with other managers from the Group.”

In turn, Florian Schneller, Branch Manager, Raben Germany, says: “Thanks to the Manager of Choice gamification, we've managed to create a very attractive platform. It is particularly important that the topics and tasks available on it are very close to the manager's everyday life, which translates into a direct benefit for each of us. We can use the knowledge we have gained every day and successfully implement new solutions.”

The pandemic didn’t stop us. On the contrary, the pace of acquiring knowledge and applying it in practice has increased. The program will last until the end of December 2020 and over one thousand managers from the whole Group still have 2 gamification stages with many team tasks and challenges to complete. Who will score the most points in the best time and become the MANAGER OF CHOICE? We’ll find out soon enough, but the game is still on.

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