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Many of us use gamification in our everyday lives without even realising it. Fitbit is probably the most well-known gamification app for those who like to monitor their health and fitness. Another popular app is Duolingo where the user can choose a language to learn. The aim of gamification is to encourage the user to take more challenges, increase their skillsets and improve their behaviours.
Gamification engages, it allows people to connect with others, its educational, it motivates, it rewards and creates healthy competition. And, it’s for these reasons that gamification has earned its rightful place in business.
Businesses which embrace gamification aren’t turning their workplaces into spaces where games are played, they are creating cultures where they motivate, drive higher levels of employee engagement, inspire productivity and creativity, and increase their bottom line.
What is gamification in the workplace?
Gamification integrates gaming elements to create motivational and engaging experiences. Areas where it can be used effectively in business include learning and development, customer retention and recruitment.
Many of us are familiar with gaming elements by using gamification apps in our leisure time and understand the concept of working through challenges to move up a level or to receive points. It’s something Millennials and Gen Z employees are extremely familiar with.
Using gamification in the workplace is no different; it taps into our desire for intrinsic motivation and we feel pleasure when we receive an instant reward and feedback. The only difference is, it is set in a real-life situation.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
· Uber have embraced gamification to influence the behaviour of their drivers, encouraging them to continually deliver great customer service. Passengers are asked to provide feedback in the form of a badge. These badges appear against the driver’s profile to increase their appeal for future customers. Drivers can be awarded badges including the ‘Excellent Service’ badge, the ‘Entertaining Driver’ badge, and even the ‘Awesome DJ’ badge.
· It’s no surprise to learn that Google adopted the principles of gamification early on and still uses it as part of their recruitment campaigns. Candidates are given challenges regarding the role they are applying for and the ones with the highest scores are invited for interview. But more importantly, Google is able to identify the applicants who share the company’s values and have the correct skill requirements.
· Many organisations, no matter their size, are turning to gamification to assist them with the upkeep of their employee records, in particular, their knowledge and skills. For example, you may be launching a new product or service and use a gamification learning experience to determine your workforce’s level of understanding.
Gamification for learning and development
Introducing gamification to training programmes adds an additional dimension, it has the capability to switch what could be deemed as an unengaging task into a productive and enjoyable experience. It speeds up the learning process and improves learning retention.
We’ve all experienced a training session where we sit in a room and are handed training materials to follow and read-through. Did you feel motivated with a desire to learn more? Probably not.
Learning and development coupled with gamification promotes active learning and participation. Instead of the usual pass or fail scenario, the participant may find themselves taking an online quiz, becoming part of a team trivia content or even ranking on a public leaderboard.
Benefits of gamification
Gamification, when implemented and planned correctly, can have a positive effect on a workplace culture where impactful results are visible. Gaming apps have the power to:
· optimise workflows
· enhance sales
· improve customer service
· attract top talent
· develop good habits
· reduce staff turnover
· improve social media commitment and advocacy
By attaching relevant elements to the gaming apps your employees can work towards badges, work in healthy competition to appear on a leadership board, gain points which can be redeemed for set rewards and more.
Offering opportunities to receive reward and recognition through goal setting and challenges feeds our competitive nature and motivates us to gain higher results. These goals can be for personal attainment or set against peers.
According to the Gamification At Work survey conducted by TalentLMS last year:
· 89% of employees said that gamification made them more productive.
· 88% said it made them feel happier.
· 82% said they have an increased sense of meaning and purpose.
· 87% said they felt more socially connected with a heightened sense of belonging.
· The most appreciated elements of a gamification app in order are: the awarding of badges, gaining points, receiving virtual or physical rewards for accomplishments, the use of a leaderboard and finally, the unlocking of higher levels.
Organisations which know their workforce, and actively seek ways to engage with them through regular surveys and effective communications, will understand which reward elements will work best. You can consider the following to show that you care for, and value, your employees:
· Scores/Points. The more progress an employee makes on their performance, the more scores or points they can achieve through a gamification app. These can then be turned into actual rewards, for example, vouchers to use in their leisure time or to be used to boost their health and wellbeing through gym membership discounts.
· Badges/ribbons. These visual rewards are given to acknowledge improvement and to encourage individuals to grow and develop new skills.
· Leaderboards. This element encourages and promotes healthy competition to show continued progress.
· Levels. By completing challenges, the employee can advance to higher levels as they improve their skills or increase their knowledge. This has the added benefit of allowing the employee to create their own learning path.
· Feedback. The receiving of positive and reassuring feedback for hard work and improvements helps an employee gauge their own progress.
There is no size fits all. Ensure you have a variety of recognition and rewards to motivate and engage all of your employees.
How to implement it
Gamification is an excellent way to boost employee engagement, and as such the way you implement a gamification strategy should mirror the way you determine your engagement strategy. Here are the main points to consider
· Identify objectives and goals. What is it that your organisation wants to achieve?
· Decide if any behaviours need to be changed or improved upon.
· Determine the steps needed to achieve these objectives and goals.
· Know the user outcomes. Establish the actions you wish your employees to take to obtain rewards. Make sure that these are in line with your business objectives.
· When introducing gamification, communicate the purpose of it. It must be meaningful to your workforce to ensure they are on board with it.
· Get creative. Your organisation will achieve greater results if the gamification app is tailored to your workforce and your business’ workflows.
· And finally, make it fun.
Like other business strategies, it makes good sense to involve your employees from the start. Identify a team of individuals who will be excellent advocates for the app; they can act as the ‘testers’, be the ‘ear to the ground’ with regard to what their colleagues would like it to include and be influential during roll-out.
Successful gamification strategies must appeal to their targeted audience and be an incentive to work hard.
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