Employee completing gamified training on a tablet

How Gamification of Training Boosts Employee Retention

16 June 2020

Training & learning | Employee engagement

The cost of replacing an employee is anywhere between 90% to 200% of their original salary.

Aside from the impact on revenue, high employee turnover rates mean expertise is being lost and company morale is being damaged. .

On average, organizations lose of 25% of new employees within their first year.

Turnover in industries with the highest rates, like retail and hospitality, is as troublingly high as  81%.

And with yearly voluntary turnover rates predicted to surge to 35% by 2023, it's never been more important for employers to address and resolve the root causes of low retention rates.

It’s time for a change, beginning with workplace training. 

What's the link between workplace training and employee retention? 

Because training is the first thing employees experience in the workplace.

It's the main building block that sets the stage for the quality of an employee's experience throughout their time at a company.

Successful workplace training should do the following things: 

  • 1) Engage employees in learning and applying knowledge 

  • 2) Empower employees with everything they need to perform their best on the job

  • 3) Demonstrate to employees that their employer values their experience enough to invest in it from the beginning 

Employees who feel engaged, empowered to do their best work, and valued by their employer are significantly less likely to quit. 

Of course, training isn't the only thing that impacts turnover - compensation, promotions, work-life balance and doing meaningful work are also prime reasons employees stay long-term.

But effective training is the first ingredient in a solid employee retention strategy, and arguably why it's so important.  

If you're still not convinced, consider these statistics: 

There's a catch though - workplace training has to be fun and engaging to have a positive impact on retention.

And unfortunately, most workplace training isn't fun or engaging. 

A gamification platform is the best way to make training fun and engaging.

What is gamification? 

Gamification is the application of game-playing elements like competitions, points, leaderboards, badges and battles to non-game situations, with the goal of increasing user engagement with the task at hand. 

According to Gartner, "Humans are hard-wired to enjoy games and have a natural tendency to interact more deeply in activities that are framed in a game construct.

Fun, engaging training is better training, and better training drives better employee retention. 

Here are 3 ways gamification of training makes workplace learning better, and ultimately drives employee retention. 


1) Gamification makes training brain-friendly

Remember those seemingly endless, dull, incomprehensible classes you’d have at school? The kind where a clearly indifferent teacher would just recite a chapter from an ancient textbook for an hour straight?

Well, it’s the same with workplace training. One in three employees cite uninspiring content as a barrier to learning.

There are two problems with the old-fashioned approach: the volume of information being disseminated at once, and the format it’s presented in.

Our brains are not designed to take in large amounts of information in one go. According to Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve, 50% of knowledge is forgotten the next day, and 90% after a week.

Splitting information up into smaller, applicable, more manageable chunks in the form of fun interactive games helps make all this information easier to digest, so it’s more likely to stick.

Applying knowledge in a game format also gives it context, and therefore makes it easier for learners to recall. 

Gamification also promotes teamwork through shared success and collaborative learning.

A little friendly competition in the form of “battles” goes a long way in forging connections between colleagues, and sharing knowledge encourages the adoption of best practices across your employee network.

Related: Social Learning: What It Is, And Why It’s Crucial For Frontline Employees

Being rewarded with points and badges gives users a rush of dopamine, the feel-good hormone integral to the reward system in our brains. Meaning the more employees use a gamified learning platform, the more they will want to continue!

Pro-tip - combine gamification with microlearning to format your training in the most brain-friendly way possible. Learn more about microlearning in this quick Guide to Microlearning


2) Gamification gives employees control over their learning experience

Nobody enjoys a boring training session, but even worse than that is a boring and irrelevant training session.

People don’t want training for training’s sake. They want it to be relevant to their role, and to be worth their time and effort.

The nature of the gamified training format also means that employees receive instant feedback in the form of a score, points or a new badge.

They know immediately what they’re already doing well, and what they need to work on.

What better way to empower employees than by putting their professional development in their hands?

Related: How to Choose a Learning Platform Your Teams Will Actually Want to Use


3) Gamification gives employees a sense of achievement and shows them they're valued

If an employee isn’t given the right training tools, they sense that their employer doesn’t see them as a priority, causing them to become disengaged from their work.

An unengaged employee is significantly more likely to quit. 

Just handing your employees a manual that hasn’t been updated since 1991 in lieu of real training does not send them a great message. 

Investing in a proper training platform, however - one that they will actually use and enjoy - shows them that they are an important asset to the company that deserves to be nurtured.

Every employee wants to know, "What's in it for me?"

What better way to see that than having your name and photo at the top of a leaderboard, or getting a shout out from your employer for winning the most battles? 

Never underestimate the power of small wins to ignite feelings of achievement in your employees.

Gamification lets employees see the progress they've made in applying what they've learned, and fires them up to do even more. 


Here’s what it comes down to: you get out what you put in.

If you want your employees to be engaged, you have to give them something to engage with.

And if you want your employees to stick around, you have to show them why they should stick around.

Empower your workforce with an all-in-one gamified training platform. It's easy - to get started, request your free personalized demo below!