Gamification is a concept that is widely used in the realm of technology – in mobile and web applications. The last time you used a mobile app, chances are, the brand used gamification to keep you hooked.
Gamification is a strategy that is used to enhance activities by creating an experience that is similar to when playing a game. A game has a structure, and by completing it, you win and receive an award. The structure of the game itself is fun and entertaining, and the final award motivates people to do their best.
Gamification is an attempt to bring this experience of fun and motivation into activities that aren’t actually games. The ‘activity’ could be anything – organisational tasks, an app interaction, a team meeting, and so on.
gamification in the workplace
While gamification is popular in technology, it is not limited to technology. Scottsdale USA-based call center Liveops gamified their customer service department by awarding employees points based on different achievements – how fast they resolved a ticket, how many tickets they closed in a day, and so on. They experienced a tremendous increase in employee work performance once they gamified BAU activities.
Organisations like Spinify helps brands gamify their sales department by rewarding employees based on sales call performance. Creating a friendly competition among peers can be extremely motivating, and by adding a reward to each task, they succeeded in introducing the experience of ‘winning a game’, and the competition between peers made the challenge fun.
Does gamification really boost productivity?
There was a time when discipline and the fear of losing one’s job drove people to perform and achieve their goals. This needn’t be the case today. In today’s business world, motivation drives productivity. Employees want to be motivated; they want to feel like they are part of something more purposeful.
And giving employees this experience through business activities is not easy. That is where gamification comes in. The spirit of competition and earning rewards motivates employees, and motivation is conducive to productivity. In fact, a survey by Zippia in Feb 2022 shows that 90% of employees say gamification makes them more productive at work and companies that use gamification are seven times more profitable than those that do not. The results are in. Gamification enhances productivity, and in this article, we explore how.
4 ways gamification Can boost productivity
1. Increases employee engagement
Why are games so addictive? When we play a game that gives us a reward at the end of it, the neurotransmitter dopamine is activated in the brain. Dopamine gives us a sense of pleasure, satisfaction and motivation. Our brains are wired to continuously chase this feeling, and the activation of this feeling tells us to go back to the activity that triggered it. That is why we repeatedly head back to a game that gave us this experience.
The neurological message is simple: We do something -> our brain gets a reward (dopamine) for it -> we’ll want to do it again.
And this is exactly how gamification in the workplace results in higher employee engagement. In fact, on average, employees experience a 60% engagement increase in a gamified workplace.
When activities at the workplace give employees the experience of having fun and achievement (through points, spot rewards, certificates, etc.), they are motivated to continue working at the task and performing at their best. They’d rather stay at their desk and continue working than take a break, of their own accord. This increases their engagement at work and consequently boosts productivity.
2. creates a Stress-free & happy work environment
The work environment can be stressful, and stress can lead to both depression and anxiety. Stress also has an adverse impact on productivity – employees who are stressed perform poorly, which adds to their stress, and the vicious cycle continues.
You might assume that stress is induced only through extreme work pressure, but for some people, stress can be induced because of something regular, like looming deadlines. Deadlines are something a business cannot do away with. You need to set deadlines in order to have strategic growth, but if that inadvertently induces stress in your employees, what do you do?
The answer, again, is the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter dopamine released when you play games.
Games are natural stress relievers, and the reason is dopamine. This same logic can be applied to gamification in the workplace.
When business tasks are gamified, employees experience a sense of achievement upon completing them. This feeling helps them relieve stress and makes them happy, even at the end of a long workday.
And happy employees are not just productive at the workplace, they also hold the company in high regard outside the workplace. They are more likely to refer friends and family when the company is hiring, and they are very likely to give the company positive employee testimonials, which helps attract more talent into the company.
3. achieves more value from trainings & workshops
Sally Beauty, an American beauty products supplier, wanted to build customer relationships and loyalty by having its store associates guide customers to buy the right products. Store associates were unsure of this process or how to properly engage customers.
Instead of running conventional workshops, Sally Beauty partnered with Roundtable Learning and created a highly-interactive gamified eLearning solution. Store associates could log in to this platform and participate in real-world scenario-based games. The result of training staff through gamification was so impactful that their sales increased, and one product line actually sold out within 48 hours of launching the new training program.
Employees kept coming back to the training because they experienced it as a game, and the brand reinforced the key concepts of training through each simulated scenario.
Traditional workshops and training can be quite boring, and while employees will attend them out of obligation, they might not actually be absorbing the important information being delivered.
Gamifying training programmes get employees more involved and engaged. They pay attention because they don’t want to miss a step and lose points, and through this undivided attention, the company can reinforce the information it wants to.
4. Leads to more collaborative teams
Gamification of team tasks will create a strong bond between team members, and they will push each other to be more productive. This is, after all, what happens in team sports, isn’t it?
HRs use team-building activities during the onboarding orientation to help new employees open up and meet their peers. Employees who join together tend to form a strong bond that lasts throughout their tenure, because of the fun activities performed together during the orientation.
Applying the same concept to BAU tasks, gamifying day-to-day activities will create a sense of collaboration between employees and the team will work together toward collecting a reward. The result is a strong and collaborative team that is highly productive. Team activities being tracked within the team management software can be gamified within the software itself. As employees mark tasks as being completed, the team gets rewarded a point or any such similar award.
Employees can also be encouraged to participate in non-work related team activities to help enhance their bond. Team games at the workplace like quizzes or online games can be conducted to achieve this. Platforms like im-a-puzzle helps create a fun-filled challenging environment in which you can have your teams compete.
4 successful gamification examples
Zappos, a US-based retail service company, used gamification to promote creativity and collaboration within their call centre division. Call centre work usually doesn’t require creativity or collaboration, as employees attend calls by themselves. Zappos, nevertheless, wanted its employees to experience a sense of creativity and collaboration.
They introduced gamification by offering rewards, or ‘Zollars’, to employees who helped other employees out. They also organised games where employees could pitch project ideas to each other and if employees were interested in making the project happen, they could do so and earn ‘people points’, another component in the reward system.
Software corporation SAP used gamification to enhance its customer support. SAP noticed that some companies found it difficult to implement their ERP or had questions post-implementation. While they had a support team in place, they also wanted to create a community of users who could help each other.
SAP created a portal where customers could post questions about purchased software and other customers would answer them. The portal was then gamified, top answers would get points and users with top answers would accrue points. This greatly increased participation among customers on the portal.
Google has gamified its workplace and experienced tremendous results. They offer their in-house currency ‘Gooble’ to top performers in the company, and this incentivises Googlers to perform their best.
They have also introduced gamification in the recruitment process. Instead of holding open interviews, Google hosts a Google Code Jam Talent competition which attracts people interested in working for Google. They select candidates for interviews based on their performance in this competition.
Domino’s pizza introduced gamification in the workplace in a very creative way. They encouraged employees to create their own pizzas – with their own choice of bread, sauce and toppings and then give it a unique name. These pizzas were marketed and for every pizza sold, the employee who created it was given a monetary reward.
Introducing gamification is not difficult. All you need is to find a way to creatively turn day-to-day activities into a game, complete with milestones and rewards.
Fortunately, there are lots of tools available today that deliver ready-to-use gamification products. Leveleleven, for example, is a platform built to gamify the sales process. It has built-in features that a business can use to start gamifying sales activities from day one.
All in all, workplace gamification, when done right, has the potential to greatly enhance employee engagement and productivity.
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