How banks tap gamification to upskill employees
Publication date: 07.06.22
Reading time: 5 minutes
Banks have been increasingly investing in upgrading their staff’s technical skills and in equipping them with advanced products and client service techniques through training. To keep their people focused, some take a step further and upgrade the training methodology itself, moving beyond classic webinars and video calls.

Gamification helps address some of the snags banks’ sales departments have to face as they attempt the rapid achieving of KPIs, planned sales/servicing efficiency, and more favorable employee turnover.

Innotechnics approached some experts in game-enhanced training and has come up with a list of trends that will likely guide the development of this segment down the road.

Trend 1: Mobile gadget assisted microlearning
Twenty-four minutes a week is what the average employee can typically earmark for personal training. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a major shift from lengthy training sessions and seminars that required physical presence to mobile-based microlearning enabling carefully measured access to training materials any time from any place. Mobile solutions offering 15–20-minute long training blocks enhanced with shrewd gamification elements are gaining traction. For example, revamping conventional training methods with PBL (points, badges, leaderboards) levels and feedback helps make the whole process more attractive and efficient.

What it leads to:
  • Training is enabled both at work and off it with as flexible scheduling as possible;
  • Diversity of training materials (video, infographics, screencasts, etc.);
  • ‘A la carte menu’: using as much or as little information as one needs on a particular day to save time;
  • Visual enhancement and high efficacy: an employee is fully focused on training for several minutes.

Case studies

1. Payoneer, a U.S. company that offers financial and online money transfer services, teamed up with Centrical to introduce a training platform that boosts customer service staff’s compliance and engagement.

The solution provided a series of microlearning sessions, each followed by a combination of quizzes and simulations to test and cement the knowledge obtained. A system of scoring and badge awards or of moving an employee to the next level was introduced to mark one’s achievements. A personal dashboard helped people follow their progress. Ranking tables were displayed on TV screens in shared areas. Points gained could be swapped for physical awards.

As a result, the time to produce new learning content was cut by more than half, while learning satisfaction grew by 16%. Following a day of training, the average achievement score was 90%.

2. A sizable Indonesian bank called Mandiri launched a test version of a gamification tool for its IT department aimed at improving employees’ hard and soft skills as they get trained.

The tool consists of a set of modules that assist a trainee in upgrading his skills, depending on qualification. Pokémon-styled animation was added to ease communication, and a leaderboard built in to highlight employees’ success. Various awards were introduced, including a day off, extra benefit or other bonuses.

At the end of the day, gamification helped the staff report higher KPIs, compared to classic training results.

Trend 2: Storytelling
More complex gamification tools are increasingly coming to retire the age-old elements. New ones use storytelling with gaming mechanics enhanced with a captivating storyline; information is presented as a series of plots such as rescuing a character, conquering a universe, building a town, and many others, to achieve the training goal.

The pivotal element of such gaming mechanics is a virtual character that goes on a quest for something and gets awarded as he or she scrambles further up the levels. It is essential to note that storytelling pays off most where brief training formats are favored.
Recent research showed that only 10% of populations have a knack for cracking logical problems; however, if a data-driven story is embedded in a problem, the success rate skyrockets to 70–90%.

What it leads to:
  • Employees immerse themselves much deeper in content and learn new information better;
  • Employees associate themselves with characters, which helps drill purposeful action;
  • Options open up for possible routes to be taken by an employee in order to boost interest in training;
  • Obstacles and impediments pop up to keep engagement and curiosity high enough;
  • Employees entertain emotional links with the content, which makes engagement last;
  • In teamwork mechanics, the approach helps employees feel committed to a much broader cause.

Case studies

1. BBVA, a Spanish bank, launched its proprietary Campus BBVA digital platform to reskill and upskill its staff.

Fourteen strategic skills had been identified and a specific training itinerary was then proposed for each of these. Three levels of specialization were assigned to each itinerary, all linked with a narrative of a mountain: the valley (basic), the mountain (intermediate), and the summit (expert); to move to the next level, one had to successfully complete tests. At the ‘mountain’ and ‘summit’ levels, training grew very much employee-focused and significant learning experiences were incorporated in order to reinforce the knowledge acquired. The effort resulted in a hefty 96% increase in turnout at their training portal.

Trend 3: Simulations
If the objective is to drill practical skills into certain employees, simulation training curricula appear more rewarding than conventional theory-packed training tools. In excess of 60% of employers around the world tend to believe that workers fresh out of college do not have the knowledge and the skills required for genuine professional environments.

To address the deficiency, gamification-enhanced digital solutions keep emerging to simulate real-world business processes in a company. The products are purposed to upskill an employee while avoiding any risk to the actual business, and to evaluate his/her knowledge using built-in metrics.

Formats vary from entry-level client dialog simulators to ones based on storytelling where the unfolding of a plot and a trainee’s next steps all hinge upon the multiple decisions the trainee has to make.

What it leads to:
  • Employees get practical experience, no harm done to the company;
  • Employees get help in assessing the value of their own actions;
  • Modeling of safe and controllable situations;
  • Unlimited number of repetitive skill training sessions;
  • Reduced stress as an employee starts his/her professional activity on his/her own.

Case studies

1. PlainsCapital Bank, a U.S.-based arm of Hilltop Holdings, partnered with LemonadeLXP in their virtual bank simulator project that employs gaming mechanics to step up the staff’s engagement in training and to rein in attrition rates.

A virtual bank aims to help the owner achieve absolute excellence in customer service. The game the partners introduced coaches employees in client interaction techniques by asking them questions which cause the staff to attract or lose customers, depending on their answers. Simulator-based drills eventually helped the employees improve performance by 44%.

2. M&T Bank in the U.S. teamed up with the Horizn platform to give a major face-lift to its training system, using 30,000 new simulators that would aid employees in offering mobile banking services.

Employees who learn to use the new simulators and, in their turn, help clients master the skills earn points and badges to be converted into quarterly bonuses. M&T reported a 75% employee engagement level as a result of online simulation.

Trend 4: Personalization
Indiscriminate training tools that bring standard content to all employees will soon be history. A reported 74% of the surveyed users are far from pleased when training content they face has nothing to do with what they are interested in.

Developers are shifting focus onto highly personalized training experiences enhanced with data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and like technologies.

Personalized gamified solutions make it possible to take into consideration users’ activities and behavior, including time they spend in a system, connection between what they do and what they outlined in their personal profiles, etc. Any change in user behavior as a result of their prior interactions with the system is also analyzed.

What it leads to:
  • Opportunity to learn at one’s own pace;
  • Options for training routes and techniques that would make the most of one’s individual aptitudes;
  • Trainees get personalized feedback based on their performance;
  • Trainees learn how to set personal goals and objectives.

Case studies

Spain’s CaixaBank incorporated artificial intelligence in its training platform to advise courses that are deemed fit for its employees.
The Virtuala platform taps AI to train all employees across a broad spectrum of areas. To ensure that, the system identifies each employee’s scope of interest and recommends courses that are believed to form synergy with the person’s individual aptitudes. Each user is offered a chatbot capable of interacting in a natural kind of language to help the person find training content that appears most edifying.

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