Even if you work for the most exciting company on the planet, chances are the processes you went through when you came onboard were pretty standard.
You were probably given a welcome pack and, if you came onboard with a few other people, you most likely sat in a room where you were told about company values and processes. To be sure, there are exceptions (such as Airbnb), but by and large the onboarding process hasn’t adapted all that well to the changing tech landscape.
Thanks to the rise of augmented reality (AR) however that could soon change.
In fact, we already have an idea of what an AR onboarding process might look like thanks to a joint project from The Training Room Online, which creates customised digital learning solutions, and South African augmented reality and game developer studio, Fuzzy Logic.
The two companies came together to build a solution for a major financial institution which was looking to bring elements of gamification into its onboarding process.
“They wanted to introduce a strong digital component and create a dynamic, blended learning experience,” says The Training Room’s Kirsty Chadwick. “The primary goal was to include a digitised element that would engage and excite the users, ultimately inspiring them to embrace and internalise the existing content. These elements seek to augment the current programme taking the onboarding experience to the next level.”
In order to execute on that, the two companies came up with a concept that took the existing training format – classroom with an adjudicator – and weaved in a game component to the process.
Essentially, each group of learners was assigned an augmented reality image marker, which, when viewed through an iPad, brought to life a seed. Through answering questions and taking part in ‘events’ during the training course, individuals or groups could win points which helped the seed grow into a tree. The rate of growth was determined by the performance of the individual or group, and the tree would move through the seasons illustrating the progression of the participants through the course.
Taking it forward
In this instance, the initiative worked because it made good use of gamification.
“Gamification looks at the way people engage with content, systems or even people, and it tries to enhance those interactions and ultimately improve the outcome,” explains Jason Ried, MD, Fuzzy Logic. “Training is a very natural place for gamification, as there is already what we call ‘a core loop’ within it – which neatly mimics that same element within games. Users or trainees learn, perform, and are finally rewarded.”
According to Ried, there are specific things an onboarding process combining gamification and AR needs to get right:
The ‘game’ or training process cannot be too straightforward or predictable, he says, and it also needs to reward and acknowledge each participant – each of whom has varying strengths, weaknesses and skill sets — in ways that appeal to them, sometimes as individuals and sometimes as a group.
Indeed, when we ‘win’ or accomplish a goal, the feel-good endorphins are released, and we naturally seek more. According to Ried, the best games are strategically layered in such a way as to ensure the best ratio of playing to winning as this ensures that users are perpetually chasing the endorphin-fuelled high (hence the addictive nature of our favourite games).
“You can’t reward people [within the game] for every action as the endorphin element will become less effective,” he adds. “By breaking that constant positive input, you create an imbalance or a challenge to the user’s brain. If something is hard or difficult and you then overcome the challenge, the resulting endorphin output will make you feel even better than before.”
Where to next?
As AR technology becomes both more sophisticated and accessible, it is likely that it’ll play an increasingly large role in the onboarding process and the workplace at large.
“For companies of all sizes and across sectors, these types of tech-driven interventions can be a radical game-changer, for staff, leadership and ultimately their customers,” says Ried.
As with any new technology however, it’s important to remember that AR is not the solution in and of itself. Rather, it is an enabler of solutions.
That said, if you use AR in the right way, it’s clear your onboarding process stands to be significantly more meaningful than a welcome pack and a few hours in a training room.