Opening the books only works when people are taught to understand them — which is best done both formally and informally. When The Game is created with broad participation — specifically the people who are closest to the action and who understand the realities — it creates a level of commitment and alignment that just can't be matched.
Certain financial and operational numbers define winning and achievement of a specific goal. But as Game play goes on, or as you’re starting Game play, it’s easy to assume a level of employee understanding and information that isn’t reality. That’s why it’s essential to approach Game play, and financial literacy, with the direction and structure to drive continued learning and engagement.
Successful Game play can’t be rigid; rather it must be fluid and adaptive, to accommodate for changing levels of interest, education, knowledge and tenure. Start by adding these five techniques to your toolbox:
1) Establish a definite agenda and consistent scoreboard structure for huddles. Ideally, every location and department will follow the same (or very similar) schedule.
2) Mix up the teachers. Assign a different teacher to lead a sound byte of financial literacy in each company huddle. Record the segment, then share at each location and department huddle. To further increase engagement, include a three-to-five question quiz that is reviewed and discussed after the segment.
3) Increase the frequency. For example, you could initiate a weekly trivia question emailed and tracked through Survey Monkey. If you’re doing a quarterly MiniGame, consider bi-monthly. The more frequent touchpoints will help keep information fresh for employees.
4) Plan (far) ahead. Plan a year of MiniGame themes, goals and rewards. (Note: Go into it with the understanding that the plan is fluid and may need to adapt with changing goals and business climates.) This will provide a framework and impetus to stay on track and on target with Game play.
5) Build mentors. Introduce a mentoring program for company meetings. Assign a seasoned employee to work with newer team members to find creative ways to teach financial literacy and communicate the necessary company information in an entertaining, lighthearted manner.
The new structure will reinvigorate your Game play, giving more employees the opportunity to not just become involved, but engaged as well. Beyond simply reporting numbers, they will have a greater understanding of what is behind them, and how playing the Game impacts everything they do.
To learn more "practitioner tips" for developing a successful financial literacy program, join Steve Jones and dozens of other presenters at the Annual Gathering of Games, the world's largest conference on open-book management.