By Kayla Matthews
Gamification is a tool used by businesses to achieve new goals. However, with the emphasis on fresh new technology, many small companies are hesitant to adopt the strategy.
Implementing gamification is easier than you think and can lead to significant results. That’s why many large brands, including Microsoft, Target and Nike, have already undertaken the challenge.
What Is Gamification?
Gamification is a tool that implements game design and content elements into non-game applications to motivate participation, engagement and loyalty. It doesn’t have to be digital, relegated to your website, apps or social media. It can also be analog and relate to day-to-day operations.
The elements of gamification are referred to as game mechanics, covering competition, challenges, collaboration, levels, badges, instant feedback and more. These elements can be used in various combinations to achieve your desired goal.
While some businesses use gamification as a way to connect with customers, many have already realized the benefits of bringing the tool into the workplace.
How to Gamify Your Workplace
For gamification to be successful, it has to be well-planned, executed and maintained. If done right, it can increase engagement and motivation in employees.
When considering how to gamify the workplace, ask yourself the following questions:
- What goal or objective do you wish to achieve?
- What is your target employee behavior?
- How do you think gamification will help?
- What motivates your employees?
- What tech will employees be comfortable with?
The gamification process isn’t an instant one. It’s a method you should test and tweak each time you implement a new idea.
- Train New Hires
Training new hires can be tedious, especially when there’s a lot of information to cover in a short amount of time. At the end of orientation, it’s not uncommon for trainees to feel they learned very little. By implementing gamification into the new hire training process, you can create a system that promotes learning through gaming mechanics.
One example of this is using badges as a user progresses. Samsung developed a similar program dubbed Samsung Nation, which rewards users with badges as they create content, watch videos, review products and engage with the community. Other companies are using a similar gamification process where new hires can gain achievements as they train.
- Boost Employee Performance
Outside of new hire training, gamification is used as a tool to enhance employee job performance, with 90 percent of employees rated more productive when using gamification. It can add a fresh and healthy competitive air to your office space, spurring employees to have fun as they work harder.
One example of using gamification to boost performance is Salesforce, which introduced its Big Game Hunter program to entice sales representatives to use the customer relationship management (CRM) system. Each team member started at the first level as a chicken hunter. As they became more aware of the CRM features, they could work their way up in status.
- Implement Team Goals
To make gamification work, you need to understand what your employees want. Once you have a goal in mind, create a path with actionable tasks to achieve it. By creating a clear objective, using a focus both you and your employees can agree on, you can use gamification to align employee goals with your own.
One example of a goal that can benefit both employees and management is a new R&R space, which can easily be added with an office pod. While you may think napping during work hours can’t possibly be beneficial, research shows there’s a strong correlation between rest and recovery and workplace productivity.
- Use Clear Communication
From new hires to top-tier managers, employees need clear communication and feedback to perform well. This can be a major issue employers face, especially those with a large workforce. Without open and clear communication, workers often feel disconnected and unpassionate about the work they do.
One way to combat this is to learn from Target, which wanted to connect with front-of-the-line staff — cashiers. Target decided to create a game they could play when checking out items for customers, providing real-time feedback in the form of red and green blinking lights. Before this method, cashiers had no way of knowing if their methods were effective.
- Improve Workplace Efficiency
Employees may be knowledgeable and hardworking, but that doesn’t mean they’re being as efficient as possible. One method businesses have used to evoke leaner practices is to introduce gamification in the form of challenges, achievements, rewards and recognition.
One company utilizing gamification is Omnicare, which created a series of achievements sales representatives could work toward, starting with a challenge at the beginning of each shift. As workers progress through the day’s problems, they can earn rewards. This led to less wait time for customers, an increase in customer satisfaction and a reduction in employee turnover.
Utilizing Gamification in the Workplace
When implementing gamification in your workplace, the key to success is understanding precisely what you wish to achieve. Listen to your employees to better understand their wants and motivations. Try to come up with a rewards or achievement system that works with their unique desires and limitations.
Once you’ve used this tool, be sure to assess if it’s effective and what areas can use improvement. You should always be searching for new ways to optimize and improve results, even when you’ve already achieved your desired goal.
About the Author: Kayla Matthews writes about communication and workplace productivity on her blog, Productivity Theory. Her work has also appeared on Talent Culture, MakeUseOf, The Muse and Fast Company.