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Engagement Lessons for Communicators from Pokémon Go

Hugh SweeneyHugh Sweeney·

What communicators can learn from Pokémon GO?

It is universally recognized that employee engagement plays a key role in driving company performance. So what can we, as communicators, take from Pokémon and apply to a corporate environment?

Pokémon GO has been extremely successful in engaging people all over the world (some people have been arguably too engaged).

Firstly, Pokémon GO makes great use of gamification through badges, awards and ‘leveling up’. Walking to hatch eggs or collecting new Pokémon unlock these achievements, rewarding the player for their commitment and their work. This recognition should be replicated in corporate organizations. Employees who go above and beyond the call of duty should be rewarded and encouraged to continue their efforts. This can materialize as promotions, pay rises, and/ or benefit-in-kind. While these rewards can be expensive, recognition doesn’t have to cost anything.

Here at Newsweaver we have a monthly lunch during which a number of stand-out performers get publically thanked and applauded. This can be a great way to boost employee engagement.

In Pokémon GO, Pokéballs and other usable items are acquired by visiting Pokéstops. Pokéstops are real world locations (from statues to walking maps) which for the most part have some historical relevance. Pokémon GO, as a result is teaching its audience about the history of the area though the player has alternate objectives.

One of the biggest challenges for internal communicators is getting employees to live the company’s core values. Surely there is a lesson to be learned by associating the company’s core values to something that seems unrelated. My Suggestion? A photo competition to see who can capture the companies values best with a single photo, and then reward the winner with Pokéballs… or something more relevant. Give your employees opportunity to get involved with the business and you will see the effect it has on employee engagement.

One of the attractions of Pokémon GO is the Go factor, encouraging gamers to get out and move. This is very engaging, highly immersive and very healthy (ironic given the sedentary nature of traditional gaming). Organizations can engage their workers by facilitating and encouraging healthy and active pursuits – sports and social outings, lunch-time running clubs, walking meetings, company walks and discounted gym memberships are just some of the ways that this can manifest itself. Employees notice when the organization they work for has an interest in their health and well-being. It comes as no surprise that there is a correlation between organizations who care for their employees’ health and employee engagement.

Just as an engaged Pokémon trainer is a force to be reckoned with, so too is an engaged employee.

What else can Internal Communicators learn from Pokémon? Send us your thoughts on twitter @Newsweaver_IC

Two tips for Pokémon GO players

Eevee Evolution

To evolve Eevee into a Vaporeon, Jolteon or Flareon nickname your Eevee’s before evolving:

  • “Rainer” for Vaporeon
  • “Sparky” for Jolteon
  • “Pyro” for Flareon

This only works before you have gotten each evolution, after that its randomized.

Save your Stardust

If your aim is to catch all 150 Pokémon and you’re not concerned about your Pokémon’s combat power then don’t worry about this tip. Stardust is used to level up Pokémon and is awarded in the following ways:

  • 100 per Pokémon caught
  • 500 for a new register in the pokedex
  • Throw accuracy can give a bonus of up to 100 but normally 10 or 50
  • Catching a Pokémon with a curve balls give the trainer an extra 10
  • Battling at gyms – (determined by gym level and Pokémon defeated)
  • Hatching eggs – (determine by distance walked)

The level you are on determines the maximum combat power you’ll encounter in the wild. This means that the Pokémon you catch between level 1 and 15 will never start with particularly high combat power and it is unlikely you will still be using these Pokémon by level 20. As a result, if you’ve spent your stardust upgrading a Pidgeot or a Hypno who appeared to be powerful you’ll feel you’ve wasted you’ve stardust when you really need it to upgrade a far rarer Snorlax or Rapidash (I’m speaking from experience here)! Basically try to save as much stardust as you can until you reach level 20, you’ll appreciate it more then.


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