Gamification onboarding examples to boost employee engagement

April 8, 2024
13 minute read
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You love playing games, right? Of course you do! They keep our minds focused and give us something to do when bored. But have you considered gamification in your employee and new user onboarding processes?

Many SaaS companies gamify when hiring new employees and launching products to make onboarding easier. If you aren’t, other businesses could be engaging employees and customers, swiping them before you even get a chance to win their business. Have we convinced you that gamification is the best way to entice employees to complete the onboarding process?

More importantly, can you see how a gamified onboarding experience can incentivize user engagement?

If so, you may wonder how to gamify onboarding for your team members and customers. You may also be thinking about how it could benefit your business. We all agree that onboarding is necessary, but this post aims to show you how gamifying your onboarding can create an unforgettable experience for new clients and team members.

So, let’s outline what gamification is, how you can use it with real-world examples, and the effects it will have on your business throughout the onboarding process.

Key takeaways

  • What is a gamified experience?
  • Types of gamification
  • How gamification is a strategy for Saas onboarding
  • Research about how gamification can boost engagement
  • How gamification can be used in your business

What is user onboarding gamification?

If you haven’t heard of onboarding gamification, let us enlighten you. Gamification means using games to engage. When you onboard team members using this approach, you use a system of rewards and challenges.  These challenges are designed to prevent workers from feeling overwhelmed. It can make the new information they digest more manageable while increasing their focus on the subject matter. It's used by different SaaS companies to keep people from feeling overwhelmed with the app they have created.

Gamified onboard gaming falls within this broader subject of how gamification is used in product onboarding. The overarching term is the general use of reward systems and games. However, gamified user onboarding refers to game design elements to improve the overall user experience. It will increase your new hire's engagement with your brand and its offerings. They will leave the onboarding feeling fully prepared to complete the job you have given them.

Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty. What exactly is gamification in a wider, broader sense? It refers to using game elements in contexts outside of video games. For instance, we could include a game below this text where you’d need to test what you already know about the topic while playing a Tetris-style block game.

Do you understand how powerful that is? You would instantly stop reading this post and try to get the highest score of all readers.

You can do this in two ways. The first is employee onboarding gamification, which we mentioned above. But you can also harness the power of this onboarding approach for users who buy your products and services.

We will give you some examples of this later in the blog post. But, we would like first to explain the problems your business can solve by taking this approach for new team members or user training.

How to use gamification to kill low user engagement during the onboarding process

Have you ever been hired by a new company you thought you would love only to get there and find out you have a week of training? Remember that feeling of “ugh, not this again?”

That’s the issue that onboarding gamification can solve. Businesses' biggest issue is getting employees to engage with the materials presented during the learning phase. So, team members often leave their onboarding sessions only to ask questions you’d assume they know had they focused on the materials during their training.

The problem is major. New talent is expensive, so you must ensure every dollar spent is well used. However, failing to engage new hires with their training materials will lead to low adoption of critical business processes. When employees do not adopt your business processes, it leads to a high churn rate. Your business will receive low ratings from previous employees, and you will spend more money on acquiring new talent.

But imagine a solution where nobody falls asleep during training. No, the solution isn’t a far-fetched dream. You can achieve this by using onboarding gamification.

Research shows that when you include features such as:

  • Leaderboards
  • Badges
  • Points

You can increase engagement by up to 48%.

A research study by Zippia, an online job board that helps employees find businesses like yours, clearly outlined the benefits of gamification across multiple domains with their "gamification at work" study in February 2022. Their findings are remarkable and show how it improves the quality and number of actions during the onboarding process drastically increased for all users.

Does Gamification work? Research Regarding Gamification in onboarding for new hires

Keep reading if you are not convinced you should gamify your employee onboarding. More businesses are including gamification elements in their onboarding. They do it because it improves productivity and engagement on the job.

Here’s what the data shows:

  • 9 out of 10 employees say gamification improves their productivity
  • You can benefit from an average of 48% higher engagement by including gamification
  • Businesses using gamification are, on average, seven times more profitable than those that don’t.
  • The U.S. gamification industry is currently valued at 3.8 billion dollars
  • 72% of employees feel gamification motivates them to get more done
  • Game-based products and services are expected to grow at a compounded yearly rate of 12.9% between now and 2025

On top of these statistics, the gamified approach for business and education is currently one of the most popular business tools in the USA.

It’s easy to see that people love games. So why not use that to your advantage in your business?

When should you implement gamified onboarding?

Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer for when your business should deploy gamification processes in customer and new employee onboarding. However, based on the evidence from the above section, it’s clear that avoiding it will likely hurt your business.

The decision of when is yours to take, but you should consider the following before diving head first into the gamified world:

  • Your industry
  • The size of your business
  • You business vertical
  • Your business needs

Gamification is a highly effective tool. So, if you’re on the fence about when you should employ it, think sooner than later and take baby steps to make changes as needed.

How exactly would gamification look in your business? Let’s describe a general process for you to consider.

The best onboarding gamification examples

When you gamify, you give new employees or customers a set of tasks or challenges to complete. As they learn, they get points, badges, or potential tangible rewards from your business. You can use gamification for any type of product, but it works best for digitally delivered goods.

Here are the common features included in a gamified onboarding process. You’ll likely use these without knowing the services you currently pay for.

Loyalty Tokens

Tokens are the most commonly employed digital currency in gamified onboarding processes. When you give an employee or customer digital tokens, you incentivize their engagement with the materials you present.

You can issue tokens when people write reviews, take a survey, or complete a mission. Once they have them, you can allow them to use the tokens for rewards like discounts in your business or access to exclusive content.

Tokens kill two birds with one stone. First, it will improve engagement as people try to get the tokens. Next, it will increase loyalty to your business because people will use the tokens within your organization.

Twitter Hunter is an all-on-one growth tool that uses tokens to their full advantage. You immediately receive TH tokens when you sign up for a free service trial. The number of tokens you get depends on the user’s plan.

Virtual Money

Have you ever played an EA game such as League of Legends or Star Wars? If so, you are probably aware of the effectiveness of virtual currency. You can reward your users and employees with virtual currency to compel them to complete onboarding tasks they may otherwise ignore.

It works on the same principle as getting Cartel Coins as you fight the Empire and defeat their minions.

Timed Quizzes

Using quizzes is a great way to keep people engaged. Often, we see these used by online businesses who want to attract readership to a blog. How many times have you taken a quiz to know which billionaire entrepreneur you were in a past life?

Now, reimagine that quickly with the psychological thrill of beating the clock. You’ll create a sense of urgency to complete all required tasks within a set time limit.

Quests with badges

Have you noticed that new apps often guide you in completing certain quests and reward you with badges? Duolingo is a great example of an app that rewards you for using it. You will receive awards for meeting your goals with each level you pass.

However, not all badges serve the same purpose as Duoling. If you look at apps such as Canary, An AI-based email app, it gives you badges and rewards for exploring the software. Then, people can share them across social media to show others their progress.

Badges can help you create social signals for your employees and customers. They can lead to enhanced user adoption and increase the use of your products. Considering the average time a user will utilize an app, you may be surprised to know the average is only 24 months.

However, giving badges could potentially increase this duration and keep customers longer.

Leveling up

Allowing users to level up as they complete processes and fill in details about your business or product is an excellent approach to keeping them engaged. LinkedIn allows users to improve their levels as they complete their profiles.

LinkedIn users are now worth three times the number of users on other data platforms. Their gamification process also means most users on the platform have full profiles. It benefits the business by having more data and the user because business owners can easily find them for employees.

Spin the wheel to win a prize.

An interesting feature to incorporate into your products is prize wheels. When people see these, they want to see what they could win. Adding a prize wheel can help you interact with your users. You can offer spins in exchange for surveys or questionnaires, allowing you to easily collect data.

Users will be drawn to the prize aspect, and you can give them discounts when they spin. Using spin wheels is the perfect way to increase customer engagement while building brand loyalty.

However, you can also apply the spin wheel to other crucial business aspects, such as lead generation.


Everyone loves competition, and your employees and customers are no different. You can use leaderboards or scoreboard-based gamification to increase engagement. Allow users and employees to compete against each other. You can further boost productivity and engagement by competing for top performers.

Your business will benefit from a boost in efficiency, and your employees will feel more inclined to work harder.

Personal Avatars

Integrating avatar customization into the onboarding experience adds a layer of personalization and significantly enhances user engagement. Users can express their individuality by allowing them to create and modify their own avatars or characters, leading to a more immersive and enjoyable onboarding experience.

This feature can be particularly appealing in environments where personal expression and creativity are valued. It encourages users to invest more emotionally in the process, making the onboarding journey informative, entertaining, and reflective of their personal style.

Rewards & Referrals

Using referral systems and financial incentives is powerful in user engagement and retention strategies. Platforms like PayPal have successfully harnessed this approach by offering user referral rewards, incentivizing existing users to bring in new customers and create a sense of loyalty and community.

These rewards can take various forms, such as cash bonuses, discounts, or exclusive access to new features, making the referral process mutually beneficial. This approach enhances user engagement and contributes to the platform's growth and popularity by leveraging the power of word-of-mouth marketing.


Checklists serve as an essential tool in the SaaS industry, guiding users through the onboarding process in a structured and efficient manner. By clearly marking completed actions, they provide users with a sense of progress and accomplishment.

Furthermore, these checklists can be customized to cater to different user segments, ensuring that each user's onboarding experience is relevant to their needs and interests. This personalization makes the onboarding process more engaging and less overwhelming, as users can easily track their progress and understand the remaining steps they need to complete to fully utilize the product or service.

Progress Bars

Progress bars play a crucial role in enhancing the user onboarding experience. Visually displaying the user's journey through the onboarding process clearly indicates progress and what's left to accomplish. Progress is a motivational tool that encourages users to continue their journey, giving them a tangible sense of achievement as they see the bar fill. The use of progress bars also helps reduce the complexity of the process, breaking it down into manageable steps and providing users with a clear roadmap of their onboarding journey.

Rewards & Pushes

Incorporating rewards and incentives into the user experience is a strategy that has shown significant effectiveness in increasing user engagement and encouraging continual improvement. Platforms like LinkedIn utilize skill upgrade prompts to motivate users to enhance their profiles and skills.

These rewards can range from unlocking new features to earning badges or receiving recognition within the platform. This approach keeps users engaged and aligns their goals with the platform's objectives, creating a win-win scenario. By regularly pushing users with these incentives, platforms can maintain a dynamic and evolving user experience that continuously offers value.

Once you implement these into your onboarding training, how can you be certain onboarding is benefitting from the new gamification features?

Key Metrics to Track after you implement gamification in the employee onboarding process

The specific metrics you track in your gamification initiative should align with your unique project goals. As the architect of your gamification strategy, you're best positioned to identify the most relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Select metrics that are significant but manageable and straightforward to report on.

Here's an in-depth look at four crucial metrics that can effectively gauge the success of your gamification efforts.


A primary objective of gamification is to boost user engagement. Key engagement indicators might include:

  • Average actions per user
  • User participation levels
  • Frequency of return visits
  • Progress through different levels

For example, in a system where points are awarded for content interaction, you can track the number of these interactions and where users typically disengage or drop out.

Adoption Rate

Understanding the adoption rate involves knowing how extensively your target audience utilizes your program.

A simple way to measure this is by comparing the number of active users to those with access.

To gain deeper insights, examine the tasks or challenges users engage with, including those they start, abandon, and complete.

Regular tracking (weekly or monthly) of challenge engagement can shed light on user behavior, showing which challenges are popular, left unfinished, and which ones are completed.


Examine how gamification influences employee productivity and overall business performance. Assessing productivity requires measuring key user activities against set business goals. It's beneficial to divide this metric into two categories:

  • The impact of the program on employee behaviors
  • The influence of these behavioral changes on business outcomes

In a customer support scenario, evaluating factors like service quality, the number of resolved tickets within a certain timeframe, and the rate of first-call resolutions can provide a clear picture of productivity.

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI evaluates the financial value of your gamification program against its cost. Measuring cost savings and gains in sales, performance, customer retention, and overall revenue. High ROI figures indicate a successful program, while lower figures suggest the need for program review and adjustments.

When tracking these metrics, it's important to balance comprehensiveness and simplicity to ensure that the data collected is meaningful and manageable.


Onboarding gamification offers a powerful solution for engaging and retaining new hires, providing an exciting and enjoyable experience that motivates employees to reach their full potential. By exploring various gamification strategies, implementing a step-by-step guide, tracking engagement and retention metrics, and leveraging technology, you can create great onboarding.

So why wait? Don't doubt that user onboarding engagement is lower than it needs to be if you aren't adding gamification. Instead, embrace the data presented here to create an onboarding program your customers and team members will love.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an example of gamified user onboarding?

Gamification onboarding involves rewarding users with badges, points, and leaderboards to motivate their efforts, provide meaningful tasks, and create a competitive spirit. These elements create an engaging environment for new hires to get familiarized with the organization.

How do you improve the new employee onboarding flow with gamification?

Enhance your onboarding by welcoming new employees with a gamified orientation experience. Use interactive presentations, icebreaker games, scavenger hunts, game shows, and leveling up to make orientation exciting and memorable! It will make companies using traditional onboarding methods wish they were copying you.

What is an example of gamification for onboarding?

Duolingo is a great example of gamification in action - using elements like streaks, daily goals, and lives to make learning fun and engaging. It encourages users to log in every day and keep advancing their knowledge. They ensure that certain actions during the snowboarding process for the app are complete and encourage users to come back for more Duolingo daily.

How can I measure my success if I use onboarding gamification?

Measure the success of your onboarding gamification efforts by tracking engagement and retention metrics, such as task completion rates, time to productivity, and employee satisfaction. Adjust accordingly to optimize performance and improve onboarding processes overall for anyone interacting with your business.

How can technology enhance the onboarding experience?

Technology can be leveraged to create engaging and immersive onboarding experiences for your new hires, motivating them from the start and setting them up for success. Effective onboarding is often the direct result of including or excluding at least one form of gamification.

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