How VISTA Eye Specialist Uses Gamification to Address the Unhealthy Mental Impact of COVID-19

How VISTA Eye Specialist Uses Gamification to Address the Unhealthy Mental Impact of COVID-19

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia, Dec. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Since COVID-19 pandemic started, the possibility of job loss, pay cuts and less social interaction has given rise to increasing mental disorders. Recent surveys by Hays showed that 37% of workers say their mental health and wellbeing has been negatively impacted during the pandemic[1].

Staff watching the Reality TV series together after work.
Staff watching the Reality TV series together after work.

Staff Fashion Week Entries for the Denim Week - showcasing their creativity in their DIY costumes and also creative photo taking and presentation skills.
Staff Fashion Week Entries for the Denim Week – showcasing their creativity in their DIY costumes and also creative photo taking and presentation skills.

“To take the focus away, VISTA Eye Specialist (VISTA) implemented an Upskilling program to help staff reflect, develop and prepare for 2021 using experiential learning and gamification methodology. The objective is to create a positive workplace environment where staff will experience ’10x More Fun, 10x More Learning and 10x More Staff Engagement’.” say Chief Human Resource Monica Wong.

The Upskilling program was based on the award winning Netflix docuseries – ‘Next In Fashion’[3], a fashion design reality TV competition. Staff were separated into 4 teams; scores were awarded for completing challenges, mini competitions and also individual accomplishments. At the end, 3 teams with the highest scores would win cash prizes. There are also cash prizes for individual winners.

The program focused on 3 key areas :

  1. Mental Well Being: To distract staff from the stress of the COVID-19 issues,
  2. Self Discovery: To allow staff to reflect their year in 2020 achieving self realization and planning for 2021, and lastly
  3. Edutainment: To educate and train the staff with a fun and entertaining program

“This was a gamification and experiential learning program, organized by the Staff for the Staff,” added Chief Center Manager and one of the judges Tan Chin-Ching. “The teams would watch the show episodes together and debrief for learnings and action plans, then we tweaked our usual seasonal costume team contests into a VISTA Fashion week for dress up competitions that mirrored the show’s themes. To enhance staff learning, our staff townhall zoom meeting featured two of Malaysia’s Top Fashion Gurus – Carven Ong of Carven Ong Couture & Shawn Loong, L’Oreal Artistic Ambassador and Founder of Shawn Cutler, who were invited to share their experiences of how they succeeded during this difficult pandemic period.”

Not forgetting the wider community, VISTA added bonus mini competitions that featured raising funds through the sale of face masks, e-garage sales and food sales among others to support the Sabah COVID-19 Relief programs by the Malaysia Medical Association and Mercy Malaysia, which successfully raised RM15,498 to help Sabahans in this crisis. The Company also subsidized staff’s lunch to purchase from local food vendors in an effort to support local businesses and also reduce the financial strain on the staff, and giving the staff the opportunity to meet up and interact with the vendors – understanding about business and life from another perspective while learning about their COVID-19 stories and how they overcome the adversity. This sharing was designed to tune up the staff’s ability to communicate with stories and also presentation skills. And for the final challenge, staff were encouraged to write their own personal self discovery stories to present their learnings and the impact of the whole program on themselves.

“Throughout the whole program, we discovered many creative ideas and hidden talents. We saw many staff started to stand up and take leadership roles, motivated others and whole departments seemed to have somehow awoken from the deep slumber of just daily work and repetitive tasks. The staff showed up dressed to kill – not from buying these costumes for the themes such as the ROCK and Denim Theme, but they designed and made their own clothes from recycled materials. Even our customers were impressed with their creativity and took pictures with our staff!” exclaimed Chin-Ching. “You could see the excitement, the fun and teamwork that emanated from the staff. In our 21 years of existence, this was the first time we saw this kind of enthusiasm and ‘wanting to win’ energy. And to top that off, the stories that were submitted showed us many different facets of our staff, allowing us to understand them better, know how they felt and also witnessing some touching stories that brought tears to the judges and organizers.”

Some of the sharings from the staff such as “Changes are happening faster than you can plan. If Plan A fails, there are still 25 other alphabets left.”, “Winning is not the key, the learning process is what I gained from this” and “In 2021, I want to stop being a paradox – wanting growth but not working up to it”, showed the impact of the program on the staff. In the post survey – 92.5% of the respondents agreed that the program delivered on its goal of 10x Fun, Learning and Engagement. Recently, VISTA was also invited by the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) Malaysia to share this Upskilling program’s success at its Zoom Learning Event – Reinventing Work In The Time of COVID-19.

“It was an amazing journey for us. The program certainly built up the staff and created tremendous teamwork, excitement and energy to tide us over the COVID-19 crisis and got us prepared for 2021. Ultimately, it has also aligned the whole company together to take on the year ahead that is predicted to be another turbulent year, but with this Upskilling, we are in the position to handle it better.” says Monica. “In fact, when it comes to planning, motivating and alignment of the staff with the company’s directions – it may ultimately be a New Normal to incorporate experiential learning and gamification to engage the staff, while keeping it fun and exciting. Most importantly it keeps our staff positive and out of the possible traps of mental disorders, while at the same time help unravel creativity, new ideas, hidden talent and together propelling the company forward.”

About VISTA Eye Specialist

Founded in 1999, VISTA is one of the largest Eye Specialist Centers in Malaysia with 11 centres covering the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Bahru.

  1. https://www.malaysiakini.com/announcement/547629
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIxyU-fKHRg
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp5xik5RG1E