Wizards of the Coast completes the quest for meaningful, engaged employee training

Adopting new solutions is challenging, not to mention costly. Wizards of the Coast created a Smartsheet Rewards Program that motivates staff to engage, learn, and apply their knowledge in daily tasks.

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  • Consumer Goods
  • Live Entertainment, Travel and Hospitality
  • Technology

Organization Size

  • Mid-market (200-1999)


  • North America

“Smartsheet has saved countless hours for our team. As we have one source of truth, we make fewer mistakes, which can lead to better productivity.”

Chizu Hieida

Technical Producer at Wizards of the Coast

“In every pursuit, our mission is to inspire a lifetime love of games,” reads the website of Wizards of the Coast, an award-winning American game publisher. In the mid-1990s, the company originated and popularised the collectible card game genre with Magic: The Gathering. Today, it is also known for Dungeons & Dragons, a roleplaying game that has brought communities across the globe together. With every new game, Wizards of the Coast aims to inspire creativity, imagination, passion, and friendships.


Wizards of the Coast office. Photos courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.

Investing in upskilling

Much like wizards, the project managers at Wizards of the Coast are masters of turning chaos into order, and the company has been relying on Smartsheet for this for the past four years. 11 different teams use Smartsheet Control Center to manage their projects, including aligning multiple production schedules. “Each project can take several years, and we need to have one source of truth with regards to our ever-changing timeline,” explains Chizu Hieida, Technical Producer at Wizards of the Coast. The company also relies on Smartsheet to manage resources, allocate and track tasks, and automate things like blocking day offs on their calendars.


Examples of Magic the Gathering cards. Photos courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.


But when people run into snags, they often run to Hieida, the company’s Smartsheet wizard.“We have over 200 licensed users, and I don’t have the time to assist each of them individually and help them come up with Smartsheet-based solutions,” explains Hieida.

Hieida, though, knows of something else that can help. 

“Smartsheet comes with an excellent resource—Smartsheet University. It's an amazing learning tool, and I’m keen to have everyone take advantage of it to unlock their wizarding powers.”

Hieida decided to incentivize learning. 

“This was my vision: if our employees become more proficient in using Smartsheet, they can create their own solutions, which not only frees up my time as a facilitator but significantly boosts our overall productivity,” she adds.


Examples of Magic the Gathering cards. Photos courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.

Creating a rewarding experience

From that, the Smartsheet Rewards Program was born. Built on top of the resources in Smartsheet University, the program helped employees level up with experience points in Smartsheet. Users start with the core Smartsheet capabilities and move into formulas to build a stronger foundation. “This way, they had a clear path to follow, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of Smartsheet,” adds Hieida. For each step, participants were rewarded with Smartsheet promotional products.

Seeing that promotional products were not enough of an incentive, Hieida came up with more rewards. “Our product team pitched in with our own Wizards of the Coast swag that would go along with the Smartsheet items. I also realized that some people are more motivated by earning LinkedIn badges, so we highlighted that benefit, too,” Hieida says.

Not everything was smooth sailing, though. Hieida faced resistance towards the rewards program from one department but soon found common ground. “I suggested that they align the program with one of our company's goals, which is personal development. That garnered immediate buy-in,” she explains.


Photo courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.

Putting knowledge into practice

Now that employees were eager to learn, Hieida wanted to make sure that the unlocked achievements would be applied to their day-to-day work. “I began assigning post-session assignments,” continues Hieida. “No one seemed to like the term 'homework,' so I started calling them 'Show and Tell' tasks. In return, they received additional swag.” This not only encouraged individual growth but also fostered a sense of community within the company, as users learned from one another.

To create inspiration points, accomplishments were shared via social media and communication platforms. “When one of our users completed the core app, we would celebrate their achievement on MS Teams and ask everyone to join in the congratulations,” Hieida explains. “I encouraged the user to share a fun picture, perhaps dressed in a costume since we love costumes here at Wizards of the Coast. People could then engage with the post by liking, hearting, and offering congratulations.”

Personal fulfilment of engaging learners

Today, Wizards of the Coast employees are ready and incentivized to solve problems independently. “It’s been eye-opening to the team. They have the tools to build whatever they want, and they can own their own solutions,” notes Hieida. 

“Smartsheet has saved countless hours for our team. As we have one source of truth, we make fewer mistakes, which can lead to better productivity. It helps me personally automate so many tasks, see my progress at a glance, and stay organized.”

Unsurprisingly, Hieida is now a Smartsheet Mobilizer, benefitting from exclusive resources and support to help her champion Smartsheet in her organization. “Personally, I found joining the Mobilizer Program to be incredibly beneficial,” she concludes. “It allowed me to engage in meaningful conversations, exchange ideas, and access all the necessary templates. I wish I had joined sooner; it's been a game-changer."


Hieida has become known for her Smartsheet branded nail art. Photos are from previous events including User Groups and ENGAGE . Photos courtesy of  Chizu Hieida.
This story was adapted from Hieida's ENGAGE 2023 Session: "Driving change: Real world success stories from Smartsheet Mobilizers", watch the whole session here.