We all love to play. We like to win, we need to achieve, and to move forward. These are simple, fundamental human emotions. Simple, but also powerful.
We know that gamification plays a huge part in digital learning and in engaging and enthusing employees. We know it to be a powerful tool in learning and development. Gamification is a key element to Wranx, driving users forward through rewards, badges and leaderboards, encouraging competition between peers and teams. It’s a simple idea but incredibly effective, and certainly not just the latest fad.
When we make work fun, we get better work. We can increase engagement and motivation in employees and also use gamification as a valuable tool when engaging with customers or clients. There are a wide variety of ways to implement it in the workplace, with an equally broad range of desired outcomes.
Not all gamification methods are digital, though. In 2016, City University London, (in conjunction with the NHS and Focus Games Ltd) developed a board game for nurses called The Drug Round Game. The game was devised with staff members’ input, and its face-to-face nature allowed users to share best practice, experiences and knowledge – something not always provided by digital methods of training. The game addressed issues such as medication errors, drug calculations and medicine management. These are essential skills which require constant refreshing and practice and peer support throughout the game helps colleagues keep up to date.
As a tool for business, the power of gamification isn’t limited to just learning and development. There are many ways for organisations to harness its power, whilst bearing in mind the engagement, motivation and commitment it encourages. When Ford Motor Company (Canada) introduced a gamification element to their Learning Management System to train staff about new models, options, technologies and finance systems, they saw a 417% increase in learning engagement, which enhanced customer satisfaction and drove an increase in sales.
Following recent changes to British pension law, Kingfisher – owner of B&Q and Screwfix – used gamification to raise awareness of the changes amongst its 36,000 employees. The game, Bolt To The Finish, centred around a family of bolts (as in metal, not Usain!) being chased by a nut and was created to show the benefits of pension saving. The best results were received when people saved for their pensions early, so the younger characters had an easier time in the game than the older characters. Kingfisher were very pleased with the results, with 20% of their staff choosing to pay into their pension at maximum contribution level, and 78% reporting that the game had encouraged them to think about saving for the future.
Gamification can help engage potential recruits from admission through to induction and beyond. It provides an easy solution to assessment for tracking performance as well as professional development. We also know that enhanced engagement can bring better retention. Through gamification, that process can start from induction.
Nobody loves to compete more than a salesperson. By rewarding the employee not only for the deal, but for each step of the process towards that deal, companies can further drive sales. Also, encouraging collaboration between peers in the sales department can enhance the completion of deals. Again, gamification can help with this.
We live in a world driven by digital social interaction, and there is value in employees being encouraged to push the business through their social networks, sharing information through advocacy. We may also see companies using gamification aspects to their marketing to customers, building the customer’s engagement and encouraging return trade.
Every business seeks new ideas, new ways to do business. The top ideas and innovations in business can be rewarded, and collaboration across teams and departments encouraged.
The benefits to organisations of a gamified workplace culture are great. Companies will see increased levels of engagement, better retention, and happy, enthused staff. Employees will feel included and encouraged if they see their efforts rewarded, and all of these factors can drive an increase in productivity.
So to conclude, gamification works. It works for employers and employees alike. It provides employers with a new approach to employee engagement. It can form the basis of a new collaborative and cooperative way of working: a connected, social workforce. Obviously gamification isn’t just a simple answer to all the challenges of doing business. However, when targeted at the right issues and with the right design, gamification works.
Though gamification has been around for some time now, there is certainly more to come. With the advent of VR, AI and wearable tech, we will see many more examples of the innovative use of gaming principles, and in many ways, we stand at the beginning of an exciting journey.
It’s certainly not a case of Game Over yet!