ConAgra Foods, one of North America’s leading food companies, needed to train managers on selected parts of its integrated talent management process. Enspire developed a solution known as “Managing Talent for Results” – a custom board game, supplemented with a web application, based on a simulated talent management scenario. “Managing Talent for Results” is played over the course of four virtual “years” in the life of the fictional company. Each team is given high-level goals in the game: increase productivity at a higher rate than competing teams and increase revenue relative to revenue targets in each round.
To accomplish these goals, teams must align their employees’ performance levels – as specified on employee cards – to the requirements of the positions they occupy on the game board. The closer employees’ performance levels are aligned to requirements in their assigned positions, the higher the team’s overall productivity and revenue. More broadly, teams also want to make sure that they are aligning talent to the company’s strategic goals, which appear as shocks throughout the game and change the state of play.
Players strategize their decisions using the game board and paper-based assets during each round of play, and they register their decisions in the web application at the end of each round. If they can navigate the challenges of play and succeed at the game’s overall goals, they will beat competing teams in the game on the basis of productivity and revenue earned over the course of four years. In practice, game play is highly engaged and conversational among players within teams. There is a great deal of strategic discussion among players within teams leading up to the execution of their talent management efforts at the end of each round. There is also a highly competitive atmosphere among teams as comparative team results are presented to participants by the facilitator at the end of year of play.
Ultimately, ConAgra Foods and Enspire created an experience that enabled participants to meet all of the desired outcomes, giving them the opportunity to construct understanding directly through a simulated experience. But the experience is not only valuable on its own – it also connects to learning within the broader workshop. As such, it insures that business managers carry key learnings from the workshop directly to their jobs.