Competence and expertise in technical trade has become much more important in business in the last few years. A deep knowledge of digital and IT systems has failed to keep pace with the exploding need for these skills during the pandemic. At the same time training in the sector is on the decline, partly due to high staff turnover and an increase in home working. So effective training can be worth its weight in gold. Norwegian company Attensi specialises in the development of gamified training based on simulation environments. It is an effective and increasingly popular tool for increasing expertise in countless areas of work. We spoke to Madeleine Porter, Retail Sector Lead for Attensi UK and Ellen Vrålstad, Retail Sector Lead for Attensi Norway about what their solution is and how it works.
Madeleine Porter, Retail Sector Lead for Attensi UK
„It’s science, psychology and even art all working together to make a believable world where staff love to explore and learn. ”
What is the gamified form, how is the system you are developing structured?
M.P.: The concept is simple, but hard to execute really well! We blend a deep knowledge of human behaviour with the latest in 3D simulation modelling technology to create playablesimulations that recreate real-life work scenarios. It’s science, psychology and even art all working together to make a believable world where staff love to explore and learn. It’s also based on a competitive element, with scores and leaderboards, which can make it kind of addictive. The beauty of it is that it uses techniques and tech that people already know, love and understand from their own lives, and they can plunge into the experience and begin learning, and testing themselves against their colleagues, right away.
How can we envision the simulation environment? How unique is it from client to client?
M.P.: It’s totally unique, 100%. Reality is everything in virtual training, and our key principle is that learning must be as realistic to the employee’s job and workplace as possible. We make it entirely relevant and recognisable.
What makes the solution effective? Why does it make it easier for colleagues to learn, i.e. what is the psychological background of the model?
M.P.: The key is mobility. People can play the games and complete the learning on a mobile, a tablet, or on any other connected device. And it’s bite-sized. Employees can come back to it whenever and wherever they want. And they do! We hear all the time how the learning has encouraged friendly rivalry and team spirit, as colleagues compare their scores and check how their friends are doing. Not everyone is competitive – but lots of people are, and it’s a healthy thing in a business. It brings people together and promotes community, which is very precious, and great for staff morale and staff retention.
What are the real-world applications?
M.P.: Anything which can be learned can be learned effectively with gamified simulation. There’s no area of business where it can’t make a major contribution in building skills and knowledge. Some of the most common applications are in product knowledge and sales methodology. We’ve seen it used for campaign training, on-boarding, leadership training and systems training including point of sale or new IT systems, health and safety and customer service skills. Sales practice is really effective, and it has driven real results in increased sales, employee engagement and customer satisfaction. We see this over and over again.
How should it be applied in practice? Once, occasionally, regularly?
Ellen Vrålstad, Retail Sector Lead for Attensi Norway
„It’s so important to us that our customers get the most out of their investment and we work with them to create roll-out plans, and make sure their training remains relevant and engaging ”
E.V.: It’s so important to us that our customers get the most out of their investment and we work with them to create roll-out plans, and make sure their training remains relevant and engaging. It’s very rare our customers only have one experience of gamified training. We normally create a suite of solutions which build improvements and results over time.
Can the solution also help to reduce staff turnover? For example, can it increase loyalty to the company?
M.P.: Absolutely. We know that the number one reason new employees leave early is the lack of a feeling of mastery of their tasks. That can feel very demotivating. With good onboarding solutions we can keep those people happy and engaged and help them feel up to speed much more quickly. They feel part of the business much more quickly. In fact we have a good case study from a UK restaurant chain that reduced their 4-week leavers by nearly 50% after launching an onboarding game from us. That’s real impact, and makes a big difference to their business.
Is it more a technological solution or a kind of know how?
M.P.: It is software as a service. And then we offer consultancy when creating a customized game for our clients. The aim is that our clients, after training, can build their own games on our platform.
Can it be linked to existing training and education systems within the company?
E.V.: Yes. We integrate with most learning managements systems, meaning employees can access the training from their own business’s LMS.
How long will it take to integrate the solution and adapt it to specific businesses? If someone decides to start using it today, what is the approximate timeframe? And how long would it take to deliver results?
E.V.: From the time we start developing until a product launches is about eight weeks. Results are nearly instant. It is not rare for clients to see 90% of staff using the learning within four weeks. A furniture chain doubled bed sales after four weeks of product range training. So the impact on staff and customers is really significant and quick.
What size of business should consider Attensi?
E.V.: Any business with more than about 300 employees would benefit, in our experience.
Do you have partners in the TCG sector?
E.V.: We work with BSH and Signify. We also work indirectly with TCG retailers like Elkjøp (part of Dixons), Power and Mediamarkt.
Which markets are you working in? Can you offer solutions to Hungarian companies? For example, can language localisation be arranged?
M.P.: We have offices in Norway, UK, US and Germany. We have delivered solutions in 140 countries and in 30 languages. And yes, we can definitely offer solutions in Hungarian!