Before we explore the reasons why gamification has taken off in the corporate world, let’s take a step back and explain this term for those unfamiliar with it. According to a definition by Gartner, gamification is “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.”
Game mechanics can include things like rewards or achievements, whereas experience design refers to the journey a player takes, such as following a story or narrative. Finally, digital engagement and motivation makes reference to our increasing use of computers, smartphones, and other similar devices.
For countless companies, the concept of gamification is like a dream come true. Previously, engaging and motivating employees felt like an uphill struggle, which could only be achieved through things like monetary bonuses or the promise of promotion. Nowadays, our reliance and love of new technology has meant gamification can be capitalised on to capture the imagination of staff while keeping stimulation levels high.
But why should your organisation think about adopting this approach? What can gamification be used for, how should it be implemented and who has already taken advantage of this approach?
In addition to its clear-cut definition, Gartner is also on hand to predict that 40 per cent of Global 1000 organisations will be using gamification as the primary tool to transform their business operations.
The reason for such a sizeable uptake is because it can transform typical workplace activities, which members of staff find boring or tedious, into much more enjoyable experiences. In turn, this leads to a more productive and profitable company.
However, implementation isn’t as black and white as this. The unique attributes of individual industries means that you can’t create leaderboards for sales staff or give out badges to top performers straight away. Gamification is much more than a one-size-fits-all solution; it must incorporate your organisation’s specific goals and corporate culture in order to achieve long-lasting results.
Having said that, due to the flexible and malleable nature of technology, customising gamification solutions can be relatively easy. Take training software as an example. If an employee needs to take a quiz to get to another level, the in-game mechanics and narrative can stay the same; only the questions need to change.
What can gamification be used for?
First and foremost, gamification can be used to bring about a behavioural change in employees, from increasing their skill set or expertise of a certain subject to improving customer relationships and boosting on the job focus.
In large organisations, individual members of staff may feel ordinary or unexceptional. Consequently, corporate environments are struggling to keep employees engaged in their work. However, no matter how small a cog may be, it still contributes something to the bigger machine.
This is a story that gamification can tell and capitalise on. But in addition to regaining employee interest, it also allows for new information to be retained and applied much more effectively too.
Even so, the narrative of gamification must always consider the core values of an organisation, which run through every layer of the hierarchy. Otherwise, entry-level staff will feel like their contribution is not being recognised by senior executives or members of the board. Coming up with an enterprise-wide gamification solution is no mean feat, but something that should take precedence when employee engagement levels need elevating.
How should gamification be implemented?
Rather than coming up with a program or course that takes employees away from their roles and responsibilities, gamification should be integrated with existing routines in mind. In addition to avoiding downtime, this also enables members of staff to pick up and put down gamification when it suits them.
For instance, smartphone and tablet apps featuring gamification can be opened up on an employee’s daily commute or while they are home. When at work, they can continue this experience on desktop during quiet periods or at a time authorised by their superiors.
Furthermore, gamification solutions that are hosted in the cloud can be changed and adjusted according to individual requirements. This also means there is no need to install expensive software, which could soon become obsolete anyway.
All the while, senior staff can receive or review employee performance through in-depth analytics. This may include activity metrics, cohort knowledge retention rates, and predicted course completion dates.
Who has already taken advantage of gamification?
Bluewolf – Consultancy firm Bluewolf uses gamification to get employees more engaged and involved with the brand. Its #GoingSocial program offers points and rewards for things like external collaborations and publishing company blog posts.
Keas – This employee wellness platform, which is used by enterprises to maintain lower health insurance costs, encourages client companies to earn awards and achievements for completing tasks and supporting co-workers with their goals too.
ChoreWars – Gamification doesn’t have to be exclusively used for business-based objectives, it can be employed to complete mundane office tasks too. Use ChoreWars as a one-off contest or weekly high-score table with prizes for those who perform best.
Gamification might seem like an approach that has no business in a corporate setting, but due to the extensive advantages of adoption combined with proven examples of successful implementation, the odds are stacked in its favour.