By Ashley Stowers
After reading the title of this post you may be asking yourself “what the heck is gamification and how is this relevant to my company?” Well, gamification can be used by businesses to improve employee engagement and motivation to improve results and solve problems. Technology Advice, describes gamification as the application of game elements to non-game contexts – taking the elements we like about games and applying them to real-world scenarios to make them more interesting and engaging.
“But why would I want employees playing games at work?” you may be asking. Well, gamification has been proven to increase engagement, efficiency and morale, and the positive feedback users receive helps build motivation.
Examples of gamification used in a business environment can be points systems that track completion of certain tasks like on-boarding or compliance training, volunteer or charity events or contests, training and up-skilling, or even an update on the old-fashioned sales board. Points can be spent on either real life or virtual goods, depending on what your company chooses to offer as an incentive (it may be the glory only!).
Rewards don’t have to be just for employees either! Implementing a customer loyalty program is another example of gamification.
Characteristics of a good game can be translated to the workplace.
Whether you’re aiming to improve sales results, increase productivity or improve on-boarding success, the way you plan and structure your game (or gaming elements) is critical to ensure it’s both understood and adopted. Your game doesn’t have to be high-tech or costly, but be sure to include these key elements.
- Introduction: A solid introduction and tutorial ensures users become comfortable with the gameplay and understand key characters, as well as how to succeed and accomplish tasks. An explanation of the structure and progression of the game should also be provided, setting expectations of what the intended outcome is, what is required of the player in terms of their time and effort and what they can expect to receive for successfully completing the game.
- Structure: The structure of the game can be determined based on who it’s designed for and what the objective of the game is. For example, I prefer more task oriented gaming with clear goals and set tasks that have to be accomplished before advancing. In a business situation, this option is usually most appropriate. However, having the ability to branch out, in an open-world environment, without limitations, is another common structure of games. Bringing in fun elements like personalized characters, social and collaborative tools, incremental rewards and recognition are important structural elements.
- Challenge: Arguably, the best part of video games is the challenges they posses, and for many of us the challenge has greater appeal than the rewards. People love being good at something, and most people will become motivated to work through the game to better their skills and master the challenges set in front of them. Games enhance problem-solving skills and promote teamwork. Setting up teams can be a great way to solve problems. If the objective of your game is to solve a complex problem consider team challenges with team rewards.
- Progression: In almost every video game there’s the ability to check out your statistics, how you’re performing, and how much further you have to go until the next level. This basic concept of advancement and progressing through the game, gives the player a reason to keep playing. Map out how your game will unfold for your players.
- Achievement and Rewards: Reaching the next level or increasing competence in a given area is key, and gives players a sense of accomplishment when completing a particularly difficult task. In addition, players can earn items (knowledge, virtual currency, points, new locations or levels etc.) when they accomplish tasks. These rewards for a “job well done” create engagement and incentive for players to continue. No one wants to log eight hours of gameplay with nothing to show for it! Choose your rewards based on the amount of time and effort players will need to invest to ensure your game is appealing.
We’re currently seeing some of our customers implementing gamification techniques and tools such as wall-mounted KPI dashboards to encourage productivity and create a fun motivated team environment.
Do you currently have or plan to implement gamification techniques in your workplace?