Magazine article Talent Development

Learning While Playing: A Fast-Growing Company Turned to Mobile Gamification to Improve Knowledge Management among Its Employees

Magazine article Talent Development

Learning While Playing: A Fast-Growing Company Turned to Mobile Gamification to Improve Knowledge Management among Its Employees

Article excerpt

The Korea Ginseng Corporation is one of the leading companies in the world health food market. It specializes in red ginseng-an herbal supplement often used to strengthen the immune system and ward off stress and disease. During the past decade, the company has grown rapidly due to increasing global interest in health and also owes its success to the company's dedicated local employees. But with the rapid growth came challenges: Its employees did not have access to critical organizational data. To disseminate the core organizational knowledge, KGC implemented mobile gamification, combining online gaming and mobile learning.

After implementing the system, the number of visits to KGC's internal knowledge management system increased more than 20 times, suggesting the employees were significantly more engaged in learning about the company. During the same period, the number of training requests from business departments increased. Moreover, the mobile gamification program was highly acclaimed by both management and employees, who believed that the game initiative raised the overall knowledge level of the company and also facilitated social interaction between employees. This fresh approach and its notable outcomes earned KGC the Korea HRD Award in 2015 for most outstanding HRD initiative.

Challenges and opportunities

As KGC business has thrived, the amount of information that the employees need to know has grown. The dissemination rate, however, has not kept pace with the growth of the company. This lack of understanding about the company caused communication problems between business units and made each unit a silo.

When a Korean current affairs TV program raised a question about the high price of KGC's product compared with its competitors, many KGC employees found themselves subject to questions from their acquaintances about the issue and red ginseng more broadly. The company's leadership immediately realized it needed to address this lack of understanding on the part of employees.

KGC felt strongly about the necessity to train its people, so its human resource development (HRD) department created a taskforce to collect core organizational knowledge and business information and then disseminate it to employees.

To identify the issues and core knowledge that was necessary to impart, HRD managers thoroughly reviewed the company's yearly and long-term business plans, performance evaluation index of each department, and other internal documents. From reviewing these documents, the HRD managers listed keywords from seven business units covering product/brand information, the food sanitation act, the manufacturing process, and other business-related issues. They then sent the keywords to each business unit to ask consent to share their business issues and knowledge with every company employee. After getting each department head's approval, HRD finalized a core knowledge list of 101 keywords.

Next, the HRD managers selected internal subject matter experts on each issue and worked with them to write scripts around each keyword. The manuscripts were uploaded to the knowledge management system and then disseminated to employees.

Short video clips based on the manuscripts were developed by HRD in coordination with the SMEs, and then made available to employees. Printed manuscripts also were distributed to each team so that people could refer to the information in that format. But despite all these efforts, employees weren't taking advantage of the learning resources and materials.

Enter mobile gamification

To entice employees to update their knowledge through the available learning resources on the knowledge management system, and to stimulate employees' interest in doing so, the HRD department decided to introduce a game and contest. To allow for greater flexibility in time and place for the employees' learning, HRD made sure the game application could be used on mobile devices. …

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