How Using Technology To Gamify The Workplace Is Creating Happy Workers


The idea of playing games at work sounds like it would detract from productivity, turning workers into zombies at the computer screen as they play through games. Enterprise gamification, however, combines the best of both worlds – using carefully crafted games at work to make everything from training employees to monitoring progress and fostering employee engagement easier and more fun. Considering Ry-Jenkins reports 97% of children play computer and video games, gamification is a smart way to keep kids engaged in the classroom. Why shouldn’t it translate to adults at work?

Gamification at Work: How it’s Done

There are over 100 million active gamers – including those who play video games, online and computer games, social media games, and apps. Nearly 30% of gamers are over age 50. Every day, more than 215 million hours are spent gaming – that averages to 41 minutes of gaming per person per day, in the United States alone.

Gamification at work is done with the help of a game designer, who can sit down with the company and learn more about what they’re looking for from the game. By identifying company objectives, the game designers can create a narrative, a reward system, etc. that encourages participation in the game, which in the end, helps the business accomplish their goals.

Challenges and Disadvantages of Enterprise Gamification

Enterprise gamification isn’t just as simple as choosing an objective and creating a game to make it work. In fact, Gartner research said 80% of gamification projects will fail, primarily because of poor design. That means, for it to work well for a business, the more time you spend in the design phase getting it right, the better.

To be effective, the game needs to be transparent. People are more motivated by team incentives than they are individual ones, but in order to stay motivated toward success, they must be aware of what everyone else is doing. It provides the social proof we need to keep going for the appreciation and recognition we want.

To encourage participation, a game needs: clearly designed rules and instructions; effective rewards, and structure. Make sure people know how to play the game, what they need to do to progress through the game, how they’ll earn points/rewards in the game, and what those points/rewards will translate to in real life. If there’s no real life equivalent to cash in rewards, why would people want to participate?

Take for instance, Zappos – a company who designed a game with plenty of digital reward accomplishments. Those accomplishments translated to nothing in the real world, and therefore, many players gave up and quit.

Advantages of Using Gamification

There are many advantages to using gamification. Increase competition between salespeople to boost revenue and teamwork. Encourage employees to collaborate with one another. Promote open communication between employees and management. Engage employees at work. A lack of employee engagement costs the U.S. economy more than $500 billion every year.

Beyond fostering employee productivity and happiness, gamification can also be used to: help solve complex business problems, collect powerful customer data, educate employees and customers on new products and services, and help you stay relevant with customers.

Businesses Using Gamification Successfully

LiveOps used gamification at their call center, and not only reduced call time by 15%, but also increased sales by more than 8%.

Hyatt Hotels used gamification to reward employees with incentives. After a customer serivce rep makes a certain number of calls or enrollments in the loyalty program, he or she receives virtual tokens to play in a game. Rewards could be anything from a gift card to a local restaurant to a vacation. 99.6% of participants compete.

Silver Grill Cafe, a restaurant in Fort Collins, Colorado, used gamification with their waitresses to cross-sell menu items. Waitresses earned points which were then converted to monetary rewards on a Visa gift card. The restaurant earned a 66.2% return on investment – for every dollar they spent on the game, they earned $1.66 back n increased revenue because of the sale on targeted menu items.

Games have long been used in the work environment. The military, for example, uses video games to help soldiers see how to behave in a simulated war environment. And, with the help of trained medical professionals, video games are used to help veterans confront traumatic memories through exposure therapy. LEGO® bricks are also used to promote team building exercises, particularly in building robotics.

In the end, gamification at work, when done correctly, can take a business to new heights. Not only does the game need to be entertaining, it needs to work toward helping employees accomplish goals that will make them more productive at work. Whether it’s used to onboard new employees and teach them about company processes, or a simpler approach used to help employees see their productivity and efficiency, it can be a valuable tool.

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