“Employee engagement” has been a megatrend for employers across all industries in recent years as they strive to unlock the related benefits of productivity, customer satisfaction, retention and many more that come with it. Employers are consistently seeking new and better ways to engage their employees, whether it be through dynamic e-learning or strengthening workplace culture. But one important and powerful design element is still often misunderstood and overlooked: gamification.
Gamification is the application of the game concept to a non-game context—in this instance, turning work into a game. It incorporates rewards (such as points, badges, and gifts) and indicates a status or ranking depending on your achievements. Now more than just a buzzword, gamification is a concept that employers are adopting to ensure that employees are engaged. Why is it so effective? Research shows that it all links back to tapping to a person’s innate need for recognition and rewards. As humans, we strive more towards achievements that have a reward at the end (even something as arbitrary as digital points) and we’re born with an innate drive of competitiveness that pushes us to get there before our peers.
Here’s how introducing gamification elements to the workplace could be transformative for your organization.
It enhances learning and development
A Harvard Business School study in 2019 found that applying gamification during the learning process not only made people more willing to learn, but they became more engaged in the materials and were more likely to complete the course or lesson at hand. This is a crucial takeaway for businesses who are looking to make their onboarding and training sessions more engaging and effective for employees. In fact, a survey found that 83% of those who received training with gamification elements feel motivated at work. With that in mind, consider introducing gamified elements into this process by rewarding staff for reading certain materials or passing an e-learning knowledge test. To help introduce friendly competition, a scoreboard can be created tallying those who perform best in their training sessions.
It boosts productivity
When rewards come into play, people are naturally motivated to work harder — in a working context, this can include coming up with different ways to solve the problem at hand. Research shows that gamification makes 90% of employees more productive in the workplace and 48% saw a rise in motivation. Companies with remote workers can also use gamified techniques to ensure that remote workers remain engaged at work even if they are out of the office. For example, one company who employs remote call centre agents reward remote staff when they hit their call time targets and KPIs. By implementing gamification, the company saw participating agents outperform their peers by 23% and a boost in customer satisfaction by 9%.
It attracts and retains young professionals
Today’s young workforce is very into technology, specifically mobile and video games. With millennials set to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, companies are quickly turning to gamification to make the recruitment process innovative and interactive by gamified recruitment. Tech companies used an online hacking quiz or coding tests for their programmer candidates. Meanwhile, hospitality companies have used avatar games that put applicants in different scenarios to test how they handle situations such as managing demanding customers. With gamified elements introduced at both the recruitment and working stage, businesses can not only attract young new talent but also ensure their retention through working styles that resonate with them.
It boosts morale and sense of value
One survey found that gamified software has a direct impact on team morale, with 88% of employees saying that gamification has made them happier at work. As gamification grants employees consistent rewards in their day-to-day work, they feel a heightened sense of purpose in the company and have a clearer idea of their progress or achievements. While this helps foster a more positive working culture, it also strengthens workplace friendships as peers gain friendly competition in their roles. Above all else, gamification helps to make tasks fun—it adds excitement and anticipation to daily monotonous tasks.
Ready to implement?
Now that we know what gamification is and how it can transform your organization, let’s see how we can start introducing it. Here are the top things to consider:
- Identify the goal of implementing gamification
The first step is to understand the pain points in your workforce and how gamification will help to address it. Ask yourself what you want to change as a result of gamification. Is it to boost employee engagement? Productivity? Morale? Once you know your goals, you can ensure that you gamify the right aspects of the workforce operations. For example, gamifying task lists to encourage operational efficiency and daily productivity by rewarding staff for each completed task. Having the right strategy from the beginning helps to ensure you achieve the results to enhance your organization and employee experience in the right direction.
- Look for a workplace tool with gamified features
After knowing what you want to achieve from a gamified system, it’s time to look for an employee platform that drives workplace operations and communications through this technique. Not only does a centralised tool help to streamline processes and boost collaboration within and across teams, it also ensures the gamified elements are shared transparently across everyone. This boosts the sense of friendly competition and connection through the game elements.
- Set up a system to convert to real rewards
Often, digital tools such as employee platforms will reward achievements and milestones in the form of badges and points. While this is a good starting point for boosting engagement, consider taking it to the next level with real, tangible prizes. Set up a system to convert these digital points into more than a gimmick – for example, employees who receive 100 points can convert this into a free coffee, a day off or a thoughtful gift. In turn, employees will feel much more recognised and rewarded for their hard work.