Employee engagement levels are at an all-time low, with 70% of the US workforce saying that they feel actively disengaged from their work. Many professionals and business leaders are now looking at introducing gamification into the workplace to boost employee engagement and morale.
Gamification means using game-based elements, such as scoring, leaderboards, rewards, and competitions, to facilitate more active engagement. Fun employee engagement ideas could include something like having Trivia Tuesdays for an hour every week. Employees could be quizzed on company values and mission statements, with the winners getting prizes.
According to Gatner, a technology research and consulting company, 90% of employees are more productive when using gamification, and 72% believe that it makes them work harder. It is reported that game-based motivation can raise engagement levels by up to 48%.
Gamification injects some fun into the workplace. Basic human psychology tells us that this will make us more attentive, interested, and engaged employees will lead to a more productive workplace.
The most effective gamification will include these elements.
- Leveling up
- Fast feedback
Most simple games on phone apps will contain at least some of these elements. Addictive games are those which incorporate these elements the most effectively. When looking to bring gamification into the workplace, have a game designer who specializes in this area. You can use data from employee surveys to find an area that needs more employee engagement. You can then think of creative ways to meet these needs.
Gamification in the Workplace
Let’s look at some ways gamification can be introduced into the workplace.
Gamification for Work Training
You can make your onboarding processes even more efficient and successful by introducing some gaming elements. This will make the training more enticing and enjoyable, and increase employees’ motivation to undertake it.
Deloitte incorporated gamification into their “Deloitte Leadership Academy”. They were able to motivate employees to sign up and complete the training. They used elements such as leaderboards, missions, and badges into their online curriculum. Since introducing these elements, they saw a 37% increase in users returning to the training site each week.
Gamification to Enhance Work Performance
Gamification can also be used to enhance job performance. The company Salesforce introduced its “Big Game Hunter” program to increase the usage of its customer relationship management system.
Their sales personnel started off as chicken hunters, and they eventually worked towards more rewarding game statuses as they became more familiar with the CRM system. They basically turned customer relations into a fun video game.
Gamification to Improve Communication
Employees need regular feedback and communication in order to do their jobs well. Lack of communication often leads to disengagement. Target overcame this problem by introducing game-based elements into the way cashiers approached their work.
They enabled cashiers to get real-time feedback while checking out items for customers. Red and green lights would blink to show whether items were being scanned efficiently. Before this was introduced, they got very little feedback on how effective they were.
Examples of Gamification
Let’s take a look at different ways gamification can be utilized.
This makes work training and learning more fun. It can include elements such as using point-based quizzes and trivia. This is an effective way to help employees track their learning progress and determine where they need to improve.
A bit of friendly competition in the workplace can significantly increase engagement and help to boost productivity. A points-based leaderboard is a way to gamify and quantify competition at work. This can be especially effective for sales reps or any high-performing employees with a competitive edge.
Facebook and Instagram both have “like” features. Social media is an integral part of most people’s lives and they are used to this kind of recognition, it can be an extremely useful gamification technique to use at work. You can create a platform that lets employees share likes and shoutouts. This is great for social bonding and celebrating achievement.
You can have software with “progress bars” that shows teams and individuals how close they are to reaching their goals. This can help employees to feel like they are making progress. Achievement and a sense of progress are vital elements of gamification. You can also introduce the concept of “leveling up” when people hit specific markers on their progress bar.
Badges can be an excellent way to reward achievement. It makes achievements visible and easy to quantify, and it’s also social and can encourage competition—this method of gamification ticks all the right boxes.
Points Rewards Programs
A points reward program is really an all-encompassing gamification element that can be added to any of the solutions above. Adding points to your games and then giving real-life employee rewards, such as gift vouchers, travel vouchers, or cash, is bound to be a huge incentive when it comes to employee engagement.
Companies That Successfully Gamification
Many companies have had massive success in integrating gamification. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Google had a problem with many employees not submitting travel expense information on time. Their solution was to give employees an allowance for each work trip, and they let employees who didn’t spend the entire allowance choose where the remaining money went.
They could add it to their next paycheck, save it towards future trips, or donate it to a charity of their choice. Within six months of launching this program, Google had 100% compliance with their travel expense system.
Microsoft had a lot of localized language problems with their various products. Ensuring that translations were accurate was a huge task. They built a “Language Quality” game that lets users view screens and check for language accuracy.
4,500 employees reviewed 500,000 screens to help check for errors or improve translations. Microsoft Japan even took a company-wide day off to play the game and reach the top of the leaderboard.
Engine Yard is a cloud app management platform. They invested in a troubleshooting platform, but employees weren’t using it, so they added gamification. They rewarded contributors with achievements and introduced missions that users could complete. They saw a 40% increase in employees using the platform.
Why Could Gamification Fail?
If gamification doesn’t connect to a company’s business objectives, it may be doomed to failure. If managers don’t listen to and take their employees’ needs into account, this is also likely to lead to failure.
Omnicare introduced gamification into their workplace, with disastrous results. They were trying to shorten waiting times at their helpdesk and introduced a leaderboard. Employees with the fastest turnover times were also given a cash bonus.
The results were disastrous, with waiting times at an all-time high. The help desk reps felt like they were being micromanaged, and it is clear that Omnicare failed to understand what motivated their employees.
The key to successful gamification in the workplace is understanding why you want to implement it and what you wish to achieve. Listen to your employees’ needs and motivations so you can come up with reward systems that fit. Test the gamification project to see what works and what doesn’t. If you keep this in mind, you are sure to achieve positive results.