Yes, I do believe badging has a place inside the enterprise.
If you’re not familiar with badging as a concept, you would be wise to visit the fantastic HASTAC community entitled “Badges for Lifelong Learning” for a primer and then further your understanding with information provided by Mozilla’s Open Badges; one of the pioneers in the fledgling badging field.
How can badges play an effective role inside an organization?
When an employee is able to demonstrate levels of knowledge, experience or acumen to others in the organization via badges, they are instantly gaining credibility with their peers. Employees might not otherwise know that someone has a certain intellect, however, badges can provide this and in return, a level of credibility is gained in the eyes of the knowledge seeker with the badge holder.
Badges can help bring awareness to other employees that knowledge, experience or acumen actually exists in the organization itself. For example, if an employee is seeking ‘Java’ skills, and the system has been set to display certain levels of competence through badging (and search is enabled) this brings an awareness to employees that was otherwise missing.
It’s rather obvious, but badges can also be thought of as motivational opportunities. If an employee is interested in a higher degree of credibility or wants to contribute to organizational awareness, employing badges could help push the employee to higher levels of skill, knowledge or other traits. If, for example, your goal is a higher degree of collaboration in the organization, perhaps you could establish participation-based badges in your system to help motivate employees to contribute more.
Some employees may want to utilize badges as a way in which to highlight how they have been recognized in the company. A ‘badge of recognition honour’ is not out of the question. For example, what if an employee has crossed the 5-year mark at your organization; couldn’t he or she display a 5-year badge on their home profile page to denote the significant achievement? There are many more to consider as well.
Career development itself is a badge, isn’t it? Let’s say, for example, an employee enters the organization as a Level 1 Engineer. Over the next four years, she progresses to become a Level 4 Engineer, whatever that means in terms of the job description. Each step of the journey could have a badge associated with it, and the employee can prominently display it on their home profile page as well.
In summary, I’m not tying academic credentials to badges inside the organization; rather, I’m linking the concepts of work-based knowledge, experience, recognition and career development as ways in which to enhance the employee experience.
I’m also not at the stage where external badges may find a home inside the organization.
But when badges are used inside the organization for internal only purposes, there could be fantastic results culturally, collaboratively and educationally throughout the digital walls.