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7 things HR can learn from Pokémon Go

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Pokémon Go has been wildly popular among the working class since its release in Hong Kong earlier this week – to the extent that bosses are giving staff off time to play the game.

A game changer in the world we live in, the popular game and popular app is resulting in staff acting weird, bosses banning the game, and even a staff based in Singapore being fired for “rude behaviour” on Facebook when ranting about Pokémon Go being unavailable.

Despite the game’s weird effects on employees, there are some good things HR can learn out of it as pointed out by OrangeHRM.

Never settle for just any candidate

Before you start your journey in Pokémon Go, you must first capture your starter Pokémon – Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Charmander. But, if like most people, you want a rare Pokémon like Pikachu at the start of the game, don’t immediately choose one of the three basic starter Pokémon or you’ll probably regret it when you learn that if you run away from the basic starter Pokémon, Pikachu will appear. Good luck finding a Pikachu later on, they are rare.

This is similar to the scenario recruiters often face in the real world while presented with timelines, incentives, or pressured into filling a role as soon as possible. If you’re a recruiter or hiring manager looking for an extremely talented employee, don’t settle for a candidate with a mediocre portfolio or you are likely to end up regretting your decision and your company’s performance will suffer because of it. 

Look in the right places to find the best talent

In the game, certain Pokémon can only be found in certain places and sometimes certain pokemon are restricted only to certain neighborhoods or cities. It is important to know where to look for these Pokémon.

Similarly, if you’re looking for certain talent, know where to look for them. For example, talent in the IT industry can likely be found in Silicon Valley, and graphic designers and industrial designers can mostly be found in Los Angeles. Certain types of people can also be found on certain types of job boards. For example, you won’t be looking for a janitor on LinkedIn since most of them are unlikely to have a LinkedIn profile.

Don’t overpay or underpay your employees

You found the Charizard you’ve always wanted and desperately want to catch him. If you throw your Pokéball too short, you will miss, the same thing happens if you throw it too long. You need to throw the ball with exactly the right amount of power as there is a small margin of error and the Pokémon  will only stay on the screen for a small amount of time before it runs away.

Similarly, when looking for your next VP or director. Knowing that the market rate for one with 10 years of experience is $150,000, don’t try to be efficient with the companies resources and offer a good candidate $100,000. The best case scenario you’ll get out of that is that they accept the low offer and you now have an employee with a low level of satisfaction.

People know how much they’re worth and it’s a well-known fact that employee engagement directly affects organisational performance. Don’t risk it. Plus, it’s likely that another organisation (or Pokémon trainer) will offer the candidate $150,000 and you would have lost your good candidate.

Alternatively, if you offer the candidate $250,000 – much more than they are worth, your company would suffer from high payroll expenses and it might also mean that you might not be able to hire the operations manager you desperately needed.

ALSO READ: Staffer told to stop playing Pokémon Go at work

Sometimes the answer is right under your nose

You have dozens of Drowzees, some stronger than others, but now you are looking for a Hypno to add to your collection. After looking everywhere, you found the Hypno with a CP (Combat Power) of 200 and catch it. You only realise later on that you had a Drowzee on your team with a CP of 180 and if you had pushed the “evolve” button in the game, that Drowzee would have evolved into a Hypno with 500 CP.

Sometimes we are so focused on looking for employees externally that we forget about the talented roster we already have. Hence the importance of a talent pipeline and leadership development. Make sure to consider your internal talent just as much if not more than external candidates. Your internal talent might have much more potential than an external candidate and it’s likely that they will take less time to learn the ropes of the new job given that they are already familiar with how your organisation works.

Diversity is key to organisational success

Having a diverse set of Pokémon types is key to being successful in the game because it enables you to be best equipped to fight different types of Pokémon. Fire-type Pokémon are effective against grass-type Pokemon, but grass-type Pokémon are not effective against fire-type Pokémon.

One example is language diversity especially if you have a global organisation. In a global organisation with a sales team that only speaks English, you’re not well-prepared to catch Spanish Pokémon or Dutch Pokémon because your English sales team does not have a high chance of catching a Spanish Pokémon.  It’s the difference between throwing a regular Pokéball and an ultra Pokéball.

READ MORE: 2016’s top trends in diversity and inclusion across Asia

Bring the employees to you

If you use an “incense” in the game, it will lure Pokémon to your location for 30 minutes.  If you don’t use the incense, you will not catch very many Pokémon sitting at home.

If you think about a great company like Google and Facebook, they’re probably doing a great job at keeping their employee happy and engaged. You should aim to do the same be it sharing pictures of team activities on your company’s Linkedin page or video employee testimonials. Show the world how great it is to work at your organisation.

There are many reasons why Google will get 1000x more applications for an internship than most other organisations. One of those reasons is that everyone knows that Google is an amazing company to work for and they really know how to treat their employees.  This doesn’t mean that you need to have a mini-golf course, scooters, free breakfast, or a beer on tap in the office, but pushing out content (incense) that can assist in luring top talent to you is a lot more effective than trying to find top talent without “incense.”

Growing out of your HR tools

You’ve been playing the game for a while and having wild success. As you continue to grow, the amount of Pokémon that you’re carrying also grows. Soon, you’ll at the maximum number of both Pokémon and items that you’re allowed to carry in the game.

While the structure in which you started out with was great, you’ve now outgrown it and need a “Pokémon storage upgrade” to increase the maximum number of Pokémon  that you can carry and a “bag upgrade” to increase the maximum number of items that you can carry. If you don’t act fast, you will miss out on some amazing Pokémon that you wish you had in the future and while you’re stuck with a maximum of 250 Pokémon, your competitors have already upgraded and are growing exponentially.

Similarly, the HR tools you’ve had in place have been wonderful and have helped accelerate the growth of the organisation. However, the tools needed when you had 50 employees on the team, and the tools you need when you have 1,000 employees are different. You need to act fast and upgrade your HR software before it’s too late. This is also why many HR experts recommend thinking about scalability when implementing new HR tools.

ALSO READ: Best-practice HR tech at ABR Holdings, AmBank, Ericsson

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