Using a Game-of-Chance to Motivate Employee Learning: Evidence from the



Our study examines the effectiveness of a novel approach intended to increase employee behavior desired by the company, the use of a virtual slot machine that employees can play to possibly win tangible rewards of gift cards. We use proprietary data from a company that implemented an online learning platform to allow its employees to voluntarily self-administer training on a daily basis. Employees who complete the daily learning modules and answer quiz questions correctly earn points that they can then use to bid on gift cards on an online auction site. The company subsequently activated the slot machine option which allowed employees to also use the points to play a virtual slot machine to win similar gift cards. We have several months of employee-level data before and after activation of the slot machine. We create matched samples of employees who played the slot machine versus employees who did not play the slot machine at all after it was introduced, with the matching done on multiple variables proxing for employees’ intrinsic motivation to engage on the learning platform prior to the slot machine activation. Using a difference-in-difference approach, we find that employees who played the slot machine increased their level of training engagement (i.e., number of daily training modules completed and quiz performance) after the slot machine was activated more so than employees who did not play the slot machine. These results suggest that the slot machine was effective in increasing training engagement.