The benefits which the gamification of otherwise boring business technology can bring are impossible to quantify. However, the growth of the global gamification education market value ($450 million in 2018 to $1.8 billion in 2023) gives us a good idea of how effective it is.
Gamification hold the promise of increasing employee engagement, as well as employee satisfaction and loyalty. Don’t forget about productivity. Games motivate people to be competitive and to work just that little bit harder in order to win.
According to the study of gamification’s effects on the mechanisms that drive motivation in humans the effects of this technique can be varied. This means that you’ll need to use different gaming elements to achieve your desired outcomes. The most important thing though is that your employees will be doing that work willingly because games are fun.
Turn training into a simulator game
Training and onboarding are the areas where gamification can achieve the most because they make traditionally mundane tasks exciting. Thus it increases both engagement and information retention. The most effective method is to create a simulation in which employees can develop the necessary practical skills. With the rise of VR technology, the potential of such custom gamification solutions is unlimited. It is worth noting that airlines as well as NASA and some branches of the military are the most avid users of custom simulators.
Basically the same method can also be used for prospective employee assessment, which is another area where gamification makes a difference these days. The US Army did just this with its America’s Army game. It is reputed to help determine whether recruits are “soldier material.” Simulator games are what you should use if you need to provide practical experience when it isn’t possible or is too expensive to do in real life.
Make product testing interesting
Product testing can be boring and many see it as a waste of time unless they are paid specifically to do it. Turning it into a game can provide motivation which will have your employees or even outsiders clamoring for a chance to test and thus to help you improve the product.
Microsoft used this technique when turning the beta-testing of Windows OS into a game of Hangman amongst its employees. The company also encouraged product testing by setting up competitions among teams of testers.
Strengthen the company culture
A strong company culture brings a competitive advantage to the business (Deloitte survey). Gamification can be used to encourage it and improve relationships between your employees. To achieve this, you can set up a game that will motivate your employees to get to reward each other for performance, as Zappos did.
Games don’t all have to be online. You can also use “live” games as a team bonding exercise. For example, organize a company-wide paintball competition with mixed teams that encourage people from different departments to mingle and work together.
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Motivate to excel (and earn points)
The idea is to combine technology with the basic motivational gaming tools (leaderboards, challenges, levels, badges, and rewards). These solutions should be developed with your business in mind or have the ability for you to customize it so it can be integrated within the business structure for most efficient motivation.
These are the gamification practices that are very easy to integrate into the work process and they are perfect for competitive environments. The sales industry is where such encouragement of competitiveness will achieve the best results. However remember that for this method to work you will need to provide good incentives so that your employees will strive to be at the top of the leaderboard.
Why gamification fails
The most common reasons for gamification projects’ failure are:
- Not setting clear goals
- Bad planning
- Failure to connect the game elements to the actual work process
- Choosing the wrong kind of gamification for your business
- Not understanding what motivates your employees
As you can see, the key to a gamification success is research and careful planning. You need to be sure that the type of game you offer your employees is of a kind that they will be interested in. However, at the same time you also need to understand that while gamification is effective and will work for many, it might not work for everyone. Therefore, it’s important to assess employee reactions and discuss the matter in private to find a personalized solution.
Bear in mind though that workplace gamification has to be subtle and integrated within the workflow. This way it will boost the process instead of taking the employees out of their workplace and into the virtual world, and thus distracting them.