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Posts with tag employers

IBM exec: Games are great for employees

Hot on the heels of last week's news that employers are staying away from hiring WoW players comes this article from the BBC, quoting an IBM executive who says that gamers are actually exactly the kind of people you want on a team: David Laux, global executive in charge of games and interactive entertainment (wait, maybe that's why he's so keen on game players) says that casual games can improve memorization and the abilty to discern details, first person shooters can help with rapid decision making, and games like World of Warcraft can boost leadership skills. He says WoW specifically helps players learn how to work well on a team, assess risks, and put the group first to achieve a common goal.

Which is true -- if you're actually the one in charge of groups. I'm of the opinion that it's very possible to play a game like WoW and get a nice boost to your leadership skills (leading a guild is often a job in itself), but I think it's also very possible that you could play WoW and not get a thing out of it -- I know quite a few people I've grouped with that I'd never want to have sitting next to me in a real office.

The bottom line, as always, is somewhere inbetween the two opinions. If you're already interested in taking charge and being a leader, WoW is a great simlulation to let you do those things. And if you're already a lazy worker and interested in helping yourself more than whatever team you're on, WoW probably won't cure you of that (there are certainly plenty of selfish people running around the game every day). In short, if your hiring policies are based on whether or not someone plays videogames, you might want to reconsider them completely.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances

Learning your leadership skills from World of Warcraft

We've covered the IBM/Seriosity study before -- that's the one that said players who are able to organize and lead guilds can use those same skills to succeed in the workplace. Just recently, Computerworld sat down to chat with Seriosity co-founder Byron Reeves, who's since used his research to actually develop ways for companies to use MMO-style gameplay in the workplace, including creating a currency system to develop and manage interactions between employees.

It's very interesting stuff. Reeves says that MMO games and the leaders in them are a prime example of the environment creating the leader, not necessarily the talents of the person themselves -- when a game gives you the tools and influences necessary to have you leading a guild, you'll do a good job at it. He also says that the speed of online games can be a huge benefit to workers -- when you need to organize groups fast ingame, those skills will directly translate to running groups in real life.

Not everything is the same -- Reeves admits that the risks are much smaller when running around a virtual world (no one loses their livelihood if you don't down a boss), and there's a lot more transparency in games -- you can know characters' levels and specs, but you can't really know exactly how much experience your employees have or what they're really good at just by looking them up in the Armory. The interview is definitely an interesting read for anyone who's ever lead a guild or a workplace -- it's becoming more and more apparently that there are many lessons to be learned across both.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Blizzard, News items

Playing virtual games in the workplace

We've heard before about how different activities in World of Warcraft can actually help you be better at your job, but now the BBC has posted an article examining how game mechanics from games like WoW can actually help your company help you work better. According to the ESRB, the average gamer isn't a teen after school any more-- he's 33 and has been gaming for 10 years. And because so many more professionals nowadays know the basics of gaming, employers are starting to apply those rules to the workplace to make everyone more productive.

One mechanic used is a form of "virtual currency" in terms of emails and meeting time-- send an email or hold a 15 minute meeting, and it costs you a token, while tokens can be earned in all kinds of ways. Not only does it keep employees on task, but it adds an extra layer of strategy and thought to the normal workday. Another game mechanic used by employers, says the BBC, is the idea of guilds and leveling rewards. "Guilds" in the workplace are tracked along a point system, and the best guilds get the best projects and rewards.

Very interesting stuff. While it sounds like good news for employers, I'm not sure how successful ideas like this would actually be among non-gamer employees-- at some point, how good you are at your job would be determined not by your industry ability, but by your game-playing ability, and that doesn't seem like a good outcome. But if employers find employees are willing to use these mechanics to make themselves more productive, everyone could benefit.

Thanks, Lienn!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, News items, Leveling, Making money

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