'Gamification' can accelerate the onboarding of logistics workers from disadvantaged groups
With the country facing an extremely tight labour market, logistics companies are aiming to recruit more staff from disadvantaged communities, but unfortunately such people are frequently low-skilled, not native speakers and in some cases have poor literacy skills. That makes it a difficult and intensive task to train them, while their workplace integration is likewise a slower process. In view of this situation, VIL, the Flanders Institute for Logistics, has decided to launch its Gamification in Logistics project on 01 December, in which gaming principles and techniques will be employed to help those staff members to integrate both better and faster.
Almost all companies are today dealing with a shortage of logistics workers, and while people from disadvantaged groups could help to fill this shortfall, a great deal of work is required to train them and integrate them in a team. The upshot is that training institutes and companies are facing a huge uphill battle, given that good coaching and mentoring is so labour-intensive.
'Through this project we intend to develop a platform for "serious gaming" that will allow companies to adopt a low-threshold approach to recruiting non-native speakers, recent immigrants, low-skilled people and others, as well as effectively onboarding them,' says VIL project leader Dirk Jocquet.
A serious game
A serious game is one where the primary objective is not about being entertained. It can serve as an aid for various purposes, such as communication, recruitment and selection, education and training or gaining a better understanding of a situation. That doesn't mean the game is dull – quite the contrary, as the strength of serious games is largely due to the fun factor, comprising both challenges and rewards. That encourages players to advance in the game and absorb the subject being covered. A serious game can be made up of a range of media, such as a boardgame, a card game or a computer game.
'We have settled for a computer game,' Dirk continues. 'Our concept is based on a digital platform operated by touchscreen, tablet or even smartphone. Under the project we aim to create at least two modular games so that companies themselves can start up a number of training courses or communication programmes. The technology-neutral platform can also be linked to a company's LMS.' An LMS, or learning management system, is software that supports the facilitation of learning activities, such as educational or training courses.
It's not only about onboarding
Both the platform and the games are not just intended for recruiting and integrating workers from disadvantaged communities, but also for providing them with on-the-job training or giving them refresher courses at yearly or other intervals. 'We will also be seeing whether the platform can be used for facilitating inhouse communication by, for example, using it as a type of social media,' says Dirk. 'Language training is also one of the options.'
'The platform will be modular so that companies can integrate their own photos, graphics or anything else into the game. We will also include a toolbox in the package so that companies can use both the platform and the games independently.'
The software will be developed in partnership with the XP-lab, which located on the Hasselt campus of the UCLL. 'We will also be working with the inclusivity specialists at that university of applied sciences so that we can learn how to better reach these disadvantaged groups in the future,' Dirk adds.
You can still sign up
Ten companies and educational institutes have already signed up for the Gamification in Logistics project, but there is still plenty of space for more, whether you're a transport and logistics company, a shipper, retail company, temporary employment agency, professional training centre or a tech company.
If you'd like to find out more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org