Encouraging millennials to collaborate and learn on the job

Lauren Trees (APQC (American Productivity and Quality Center), Houston, TX, USA)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Publication date: 10 August 2015



The purpose of this paper is to present enterprise social networking and gamification as two potential tools to help organizations engage Millennial employees in collaboration and learning.


The research provides general descriptions of enterprise social networking and gamification approaches, shares data on adoption of these approaches from APQC’s “2015 Knowledge Management Priorities Data Report” (based on a January 2015 survey of 524 knowledge management professionals) and includes four company examples adapted from APQC’s Connecting People to Content and Transferring and Applying Critical Knowledge best practices studies. The methodology for APQC’s best practices studies involves screening 50 or more organizations with potential best practices in a given research scope area and identifying five or six with proven best practices. APQC then conducts detailed site visits with the selected organizations and publishes case studies based on those site visits.


Enterprise social networking platforms are in place at 50 per cent of organizations, with another 25 per cent planning to implement them by the end of 2015. By providing near-immediate access to information and answers, enterprise social networking helps Millennials learn the ropes at their new workplaces, gives them direct access to more knowledgeable colleagues who can assist and mentor them, and helps them improve their business outcomes by reusing knowledge and lessons learned across projects. Younger workers can also harness the power of social networking to create a sense of belonging and build their reputations in large, dispersed firms, where it is particularly difficult for them to gain visibility. A recent APQC survey indicates that 54 per cent of organizations either currently employ gamification to encourage collaboration or expect to implement it within the next three years. The rush to gamify the enterprise is, at least in part, a reflection of employers’ desire to satisfy Millennials and make them feel connected to a community of co-workers. Although games appeal to a wide range of age groups, Millennials grew up with digital interaction and tend to prefer environments that emphasize teamwork, social learning and frequent feedback – all of which can be delivered through gamification.


The value of this paper is to introduce the value of and relationship between enterprise social networking and gamification platforms to human resource (HR) professionals looking to increase engagement and retention rates for Millennial employees.



APQC is a member-based nonprofit and one of the leading proponents of benchmarking and best practice business research. Working with more than 500 organizations worldwide in all industries, APQC focuses on providing organizations with the information they need to work smarter, faster and with confidence. Every day we uncover the processes and practices that push organizations from good to great. Visit us at www.apqc.org and learn how you can make best practices your practices.


Trees, L. (2015), "Encouraging millennials to collaborate and learn on the job", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 118-123. https://doi.org/10.1108/SHR-06-2015-0042

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