Game changing: gamification and onboarding

Let the games begin!

Client lifecycle management (CLM) operations involve transforming prospects into clients, but can also apply to existing clients looking to buy new services and solutions, writes Senthil Radhakrishnan. Essentially, when ‘on-boarding’ a new client there are a number of checks and processes that a financial institution will have to complete.

These activities include collecting all the details of the client organization, such as: name, registration, address, purpose, products interested and ownership structure, KYC (know your customer) checks for political affiliation, risk scoring, other regulatory checks like AML, MIFID, Dodd Frank and finally setting the client up in various IT systems. There can be variations of the activities for scenarios like client seeking additional services, changing their ownership structure, changing address, etc.

Client onboarding as simple as it sounds, certainly has its challenges and there are several initiatives available to address these challenges, including technology solutions with better business process management (BPM) capabilities and operation process optimisation, with the implementation of tools like lean-sigma and Kanban.

And there are the Gamification trends that are prevalent among the Millennial generation, who dominate the workplace.

Onboarding is a key step that determines a client’s opinion of an institution; first impressions matter. Having a progressive system, in a people-centric operation, can tremendously increase the amount of business conducted between the client and the organisation and reduces the chances of clients dropping out or being dropped out of the process.

This onboarding system involves working with many teams and processes, which is why gamification is so relevant. Gamification is the use of game-like thinking and mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems. Gamification has been proven to improve user engagement, data quality, timeliness and learning.  In an onboarding context, Gamification has several benefits, including: the real-time evaluation of individuals, the opportunity and venue to improve performance early on, and the inducement of employees to connect their work and non-work world of smartphone and Facebook games and applications.

A gamified system, which is objective and team-oriented, can streamline outcomes more effectively. Not only this, but it can also help to highlight top performers in an inventive, real-time manner. Using technology, the complex onboarding cases of the top clients can be assigned to the top performers, further improving the overall throughput, efficiency and quality of the system.

Similarly, it can also help to identify where mistakes are commonly being made and help to improve overall quality. Seemingly trivial traits of client onboarding operations do in fact carry serious implications should there be mistakes. Worse, if one doesn’t upgrade his or her skills, in a process that demands constant learning and compliance to different nuanced regulations, mistakes will repeat.

Gamification introduces a concept that will incentivise teams to work more effectively. It will aid realising business goals of better and faster client service, with fewer mistakes and lower costs. 

Ready, steady GO!

A key aspect in achieving required business goals is in the Gamification design. A well-designed point system with a simple user-interface can be highly productive. A flawed system, however, can worsen performance of employees and even create a cynical environment.

Some core aspects of a Gamified platform are point systems and rewards, as well as elements of competition in comparison to others. For those looking to implement a Gamification system within their organisation, here are a few key recommendations:

Point system – The tasks involved with CoB are fairly routine; for example, entering client details, reviewing a client, tracking with a client for documents and information and much more.  Skill samples include: client data entry, data entry review, compliance review, account setup, and account setup review, to list a few. With any routine work, sometimes complacency can lead to mistakes; yet by associating a point system to each task, employees can feel more engaged with the process. The points will also vary based on activity type. Also, as the onboarding process is considered a team activity, which involves co-operation among members, bonus points can be given to team-driven outcomes.

Rewards – Reliable and consistent performance requires something more than points; the points need to lead to more tangible rewards and recognition within the company. Badges can be given out for consistent high performance, error-free work, efficiency, etc. The rewards and badges would then be linked to a user’s profile, which would be visible to other team members. Team members could also have access to a stock of undedicated badges, which they can gift to deserving colleagues to commend special performance.

Competition/comparison – This is a tricky component that requires careful consideration. Comparing ones performance with others in a public way can at times demotivate people in less mature organisations or systems; employees may feel their hard work too often goes unnoticed. We could remedy this with a compromise: only display the top five performers or leaderboards. Comparison can also apply to non-point attributes, examples include learning new skills within a certain timeframe, or maximum ‘raves’ or ‘recommendations’ from colleagues, and so on.