Engaging employees and reducing turnover starts with the sales onboarding process. Gamification can help make that more effective.

Arguably the most essential part of an employee’s experience is their onboarding process. Just like a new employee wants to make a good impression on their employer, so also should the employer want to make an equally good impression. Implementing a sales onboarding process that includes gamification is a great way to cut down on turnover and get your employees engaged right from the moment they walk into the office.

Gamification is very much what it sounds like. It’s taking regular tasks, like filling out paperwork or cold calling, and turning them into a competition. This generally works exceptionally well with a sales onboarding process because many salespeople are naturally competitive and enjoy being challenged in such a way. And the best news is that it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money to do it.

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How to make your sales onboarding process successful

What is onboarding? Before we get into the gamification piece, let’s talk about what constitutes a sales onboarding process. Many people think that onboarding only takes place during the first few days or the first week of a new hire. On the contrary, onboarding should last for as long as three months, until the employee is fully assimilated into your company culture. That’s how much training is involved with a new hire, even if they’re a fast learner or a superstar salesperson.

Onboarding is more than just paperwork. It’s the process of getting new employees accustomed to their surroundings, their new colleagues, and the new processes and procedures they’ll have to become familiar with. It’s the very beginning of their learning and development within your organization.

Part of the problem with many onboarding practices is that they can be, well, boring. Filling out paperwork, watching training videos, and sitting through presentation decks can become tiresome, especially if that’s all a new hire is doing during the first few days of work. The videos and decks especially become problematic because they’re passive activities; a new employee isn’t engaged in doing anything except listening, which can be hard to sustain.

But what if there were a different approach? What if you made the onboarding training something interactive and fun?

Imagine, for example, a new hire onboarding where there was a reward for completing paperwork by a particular time. Not necessarily a monetary reward or even anything tangible, but perhaps the new hire earns points based on when they turn in the paperwork. You can then keep track with a leaderboard to see which new hires are advancing the most quickly.

You can also replace training videos with, say, a scavenger hunt that still teaches the same essential points. Again, the points go up on the leaderboard, and the employees compete against one another. You can apply this same type of thing to cold-calling, prospecting, and many other areas of the sales process.

The more activities you can add some gaming component to, the more engaged your employees will be. This should continue well past the initial sales onboarding process as well. Set goals for new hires and incentivize them to complete those goals by making a competition out of it. The more learning and development tools you can turn into games, the more engaged your employees will be.


Don’t miss out on the benefits of making your sales onboarding process fun

According to a survey by Allied, 23% of new hires leave a company within the first year. That translates to a lot of dollars and cents when you think about the money you invest in finding and training the right candidate, only to have them walk out the door almost as soon as they’ve stepped in. In essence, you’ve just wasted that time when you could have had an employee who was actively contributing to your sales revenue.

The same survey says that when employees are appropriately onboarded, they not only are more likely to stay, but they demonstrate higher levels of productivity and often go on to become leaders in the organizations they belong to. Those outcomes are much more desirable than the high turnover resulting from unproductive or absent onboarding.

One of the simplest, yet most powerful benefits of sales onboarding process gamification is that it makes the activities fun! If you get creative enough with your onboarding, an employee may not even remember that what they’re doing is a part of their job.

This concept isn’t unique; elementary schools use it every day. Why we take the fun out of learning when we become adults is a mystery because it obviously works with the kids!

Gamification also gets your new hires thinking critically from the beginning. They won’t be able to coast along or fake their way through the onboarding. Thus you will know exactly where each employee stands in terms of which concepts they’ve grasped and which ones they still need to work on.

Finally, gamification inspires people to do better. After all, who doesn’t want to win? If an employee is given a situation in which there’s a win/lose scenario, you can bet that they’re going to want to go for the win (especially in sales). If they don’t get it right the first time, give them another chance, perhaps with minor alterations. This will challenge the employee, who will then hopefully challenge him- or herself to do better so they can achieve that coveted victory.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your gamification. The more creative, the better! Think about entertaining your new employees as much as you think about training them and come up with activities that will inspire fun and creativity in the things they are then tasked to do. If you have the budget for this, all the better, but even if you don’t, making the sales onboarding process interesting, entertaining, and inspiring will surely leave you with engaged, satisfied employees who won’t even consider other job offers, let alone jump ship before you’ve even set sail.

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