HCM Social and gamification

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If the driving shoe fits…

Oscar Lausegger, HCM Strategy Director at Oracle @OscarLausegger


Uber’s skill-building game points to some serious possibilities for recruiting skilled employees

How much does a candidate’s CV really tell you about their aptitude for the job? There’s no doubt that if they’ve worked for a competitor or hold a relevant university degree it’s worth considering them for an interview at the very least, but as we all know that doesn’t guarantee they’ll perform well.

That’s why employee referrals are so valuable. When someone has the personal backing of an existing employee who has already proven themselves they instantly become a much more attractive prospect.

In recent years, companies have taken this further by using employees’ social networks to cast an even wider net in the search for the best talent. The difficulty there, however, is to narrow the search to candidates with a specific set of skills that can actually be verified ahead of time.

That’s why Uber‘s recent release of UberDRIVE caught my attention . For a bit of background, the company released a game in which players get to experience a day in the life of an Uber driver, picking up and dropping off virtual customers on the roads of a faithfully recreated digital city.

Originally conceived as a means to help drivers become better acquainted with the cities they operate in (itself a worthy example of HR gamification in action) the company can also use the game to recruit new employees. Uber plans to send a message to the highest scoring players asking them if they’d like to join the ranks of its drivers.

Is this a tongue-in-cheek recruitment approach? Absolutely. Will it work? Who knows?

 Is this a tongue-in-cheek recruitment approach? Absolutely. Will it work? Who knows? 


Either way, it does highlight the reality that the smartphone has essentially put a new recruitment device in everyone’s pocket. It also points to the possibility of mobile games becoming a new frontier for discovering untapped talent.

I’m not saying people will necessarily start queuing up to work for Uber just because they enjoy playing the part of a virtual driver. By that token I would be building up medieval empires for a living or working as a professional “Candy-Crusher”. However, there is something to be said for finding new ways to focus the search for talent while still reaching out to the highest possible number of potential recruits.

 ...there is something to be said for finding new ways to focus the search for talent while still reaching out to the highest possible number of potential recruits.  


Engaging passive candidates remains one of the major struggles for HR today. The best employees are highly valued by their current employers and are usually treated as such. They are also less likely to be very active on LinkedIn (at least for job seeking purposes) if they feel happy and secure in their current role. Proactive outreach, whether direct or via social media, therefore has a limited impact on these individuals.

Whether or not gamification is the answer remains to be seen, but finding new effective ways to engage talented individuals is an absolute priority for HR teams today. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find willing skilled workers at a time when so many companies are coping with widespread digital disruption and need talented individuals to help them come out on top.

It’s perhaps telling that the one of the companies taking the lead in this space is also one that is responsible for disrupting a long-established industry on a global scale. And while Uber’s game remains first and foremost a fun learning and CX tool, it has certainly put into play some ideas that merit serious consideration.

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