The “Roadmap” to Great Management Begins with Training
When new managers are brought into an organization, how can they become effective more quickly and more consistently? Often, when managers are promoted or onboarded, they may not be able to register or complete traditional training quickly enough to help with their transition.
Great managers need to be developed over time, and that’s what the New Manager Roadmap Challenge does. The game features a year-long development journey for managers that resulted in a quantitative increase in awareness of manager resources and increased peer-to-peer learning. The game won a Learning Officer in Practice award from Chief Learning Officer magazine for Excellence in Simulations and Games.
Jumping on the Fastrack
The leading biotech company had been offering an instructor-led course for new manager called “Intro to Fastrack.” The course provided groups of new managers with training recommendations, roles and responsibilities, and best practices as a new leader. Yet, the print-based course materials became outdated too quick, and it was often difficult for new managers to schedule for the class. In addition, it was difficult to scale the experience as new managers were being brought onboard.
The Silicon-Valley based company did a needs assessment and decided to move the “Intro to Fastrack” content to an online format in order to address these issues.
When Digitec met with the project team, the goals were to create an online course that would maintain the sense of community and social learning, yet be available on the manager’s schedule. Project team members also wanted higher level of engagement, since an online course would lack a dynamic facilitator in the room to deliver the content.
Rising to the Roadmap Challenge
Digitec Interactive proposed a game-based design for the New Manager Roadmap Challenge. The game would provide a consistent “road map” for new and existing managers, with time-spaced events to spread the learning out over a one-year period. The experiences would use dynamic content that could be quickly updated, as well a social gaming and leader boards to create learner engagement and connection.
The Digitec development team used an immersive 3-D “metro-rail” themed environment, consisting of 60 different onboarding events or activities players would complete during their first year on the job. To make the journey easy, Digitec integrated with the company’s Oracle database, so that when new hires were onboarded, the game started on day 1 and a running clock kept learners on track to meeting their milestones.
The game was divided into four time periods or levels (30 days, 90 days, 6 months, 1 year). As the dates counted down, new areas of the journey “unlocked” so that players could advance to the next phase of their journey.
The gameplay involved players earning points and status on the leaderboard by completing as many milestones as possible within each level. Randomly, events would generate bonus rounds — trivia-style micro-games that allowed players to earn even more points. The Leaderboard increases the sense of competition and connection with other players, as they vie for the top spot.
Two Great Organizations, One Vision, Excellent Results
The game-based approach transformed what was a passive, one-time instructor-led course into a scalable, more engaging and continuous learning experience. The reporting allows supervisors to easily see where new managers are in their journey. These insights can be used for performance reviews.
With roughly 40 new managers hired in or promoted each month, thousands have taken the New Manager Roadmap Challenge since its inception. The following represents some of the feedback from project stakeholders, business line managers, and project reviewers:
“LOVE the tracking game! Excellent, excellent, excellent all around.”
“I’m Gen X, so this [online] format appeals to me…I really like it.”
“I LOVE the idea of a game [New Manager Challenge] –it got my competitive/achievement juices going right away.”
“I’ll get points! I can check off milestones! I can see where I’m headed and how to get there on the roadmap to becoming a great manager!”
In addition, the game won a Learning Officer in Practice award from Chief Learning Officer magazine for Excellence in Simulations and Games.
We’re Always Learning
The New Manager Challenge involved many points of integration, including an Oracle HR database with triggers to enroll new employees assigned to that classification. In addition, the game scores were tracked back to an intranet site. Based on the complexities of this, the integration took more time than originally expected.
Also, the team agreed that when a learning project will involve corporate IT, it’s a good idea to include them earlier in the process and accommodate for that resource in your project schedule.
After the success of the New Manager Challenge, Digitec went on to develop numerous other projects for the client, involving game-based and mobile learning. It’s a journey!
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