In recent years, gamification has become somewhat of a buzzword. But, as with all buzzwords, it’s often used without a true understanding of what it means. So, what is gamification really all about?
Gamification creates opportunities for friendly competition and overall higher achievement by using gaming techniques to boost interactivity and engagement. It might sound complicated, but it really isn’t.
You see, most people function at their best when they’re in healthy competition with others (and even themselves!). This pushes them to grow and improve in many aspects of work, life, and learning. And applying gamification in the workplace is a way of leveraging this sense of competition to deliver a high return on investment.
The Benefits of Gamification
In addition to making the most of the human need for competition, gamification promises several valuable benefits in learning and in the workplace:
● Higher rates of participation: You can’t win if you don’t take part! Gamification boosts participation by promising rewards for high achievement. Improved participation in workplace activities is linked to better performance toward achieving business objectives.
● More creative problem-solving: The desire to achieve drives innovation, because it encourages employees to get creative in solving the problems they face at work. In a workplace setting, this can even result in more efficient processes, thanks to employee proactivity and initiative. This alone is a compelling reason to apply gamification in the workplace.
● Better long-term information retention: When learners are forced to look at knowledge from a different angle, such as through friendly competition, their ability to remember that information long-term improves. This is because the information doesn’t remain abstract. Instead, it becomes tied to a real-life goal and sense of achievement.
● Job satisfaction: The sense of achievement that comes with beating your personal best (or the employee next to you) is addictive, and can improve employees’ happiness at work. Better emotional engagement with one’s work is also known to boost workplace satisfaction.
Tips to Implement Gamification in the Workplace
The benefits of gamification are hard to ignore. But, how do you unlock them? These corporate gamification tips are a good place to start.
1. Clearly communicate the goals and processes of the game
Let’s say, for example, that you want to use gamification to drive your sales team to close a specific number of contracts in three months. Before starting this initiative, you need to clearly communicate the following factors to the team:
● The goals of the game
● The criteria to know when they’ve won
● The rewards for winning, placing second, and so on
● The benefits for the business and the individual of achieving the goals
● Any rules, especially anything that disqualifies an employee
Whenever gamification is applied, the rules of the game should be crystal clear to all participating employees from the start. After all, no one wants to compete in an unfair race!
Don’t forget that a sense of purpose is just as important as a sense of achievement. Make sure that you communicate the ultimate purpose of the game as clearly as the criteria and rewards for winning it.
2. Offer desirable rewards
Not everyone is after the same incentives. The rewards on offer for high achievement in gamification in the workplace need to be relevant and desirable to employees.
For example, if you’re running a “star employee” program that awards exceptional achievement, will a badge be enough to motivate employees long-term? The chances are that the appeal of badges will wear off after a while. The promise of a chance for a bigger prize, like a five-star weekend away, might be more effective for motivating employees.
But prizes aren’t the only reward to consider. Every employee that emotionally engages with their work craves recognition. Consider how small, quality-of-life rewards, like a voucher for a lunch out, can be used in combination with public recognition, e.g. presented in front of the whole company, to keep employees engaged.
3. Recognize everyone’s contribution
The catch of gamification in the workplace is that sometimes only the highest achievers feel recognized.
So, when you’re using gamification to improve participation in training and workplace activities, you’ll want everyone to feel like it’s worth participating. This makes it important to celebrate participation as much as achievement.
Think about the kinds of rewards you can offer for completing a training course, a workplace challenge, or achieving KPI benchmarks. Often, public recognition can go a long way toward rewarding participation.
4. Track the success of gamification in the workplace
As with any new initiative, you’ve got to measure your successes and failures in order to improve. Gamification can offer many benefits, but it’s not a silver bullet. And sometimes gamification can even have benefits beyond what you initially predict.
Design a simple analytics dashboard to track how your gamification program performs against the goals you set out for it. Track factors like the number of employees who participate in the program, how many complete the goals of the program, and how much overall job performance improved during the gamification program.
If you’re finding low participation statistics, you might need to consider how you reward and recognize participants. If overall job performance doesn’t improve as much as expected, the gamification program might not have related closely enough to business goals and employee KPIs.
Either way, the best way to improve your gamification strategy is to track and analyze the right data.
5. Reflect on performance
Just as it’s important to track the successes and failures of applying gamification in the workplace, it’s also vital that employees are given an opportunity to reflect on where they succeeded and failed in the challenge.
Let’s say that an employee failed to close enough contracts as part of the sales team’s three-month challenge. How do you show that employee what they could have done differently to achieve the goal?
Close every game or challenge with a “recap” during which both the top successes and failures of the program are highlighted. Make sure to focus part of this session on what individual employees did well so that others can learn from them too.
6. Use gamification in training
Gamification in the workplace will feel natural when it’s already baked into employee training. Unlock all the benefits of gamification in learning, and establish a culture of friendly competition by incorporating gamification features in your eLearning courses.
The most popular gamification features include:
● Points: Learners earn points for completing tasks, achieving a certain result, or logging on to the learning platform.
● Leaderboards: Learners can compete to earn the most points and rank highest out of their peers. Leaderboards can be an exciting and dynamic addition to the learning experience.
● Badges: Reward completion, good results, and exemplary behavior with virtual badges that learners can accumulate on their profile.
● Rewards: Beyond badges and points, real-life rewards like vouchers and discounts can further incentivize participation.
Choose an LMS that lets you play
Want to reap benefits like improved employee engagement and retention? Or does your business need to meet an audacious goal that requires exceptional employee performance? Gamification in the workplace might just be the solution, and training might just be the place to start.
The first step is as easy as choosing an LMS that provides all the features and flexibility you need to get playful with gamification in your training. So why not sign up for a forever-free account on TalentLMS to see how gamification can work for your business first-hand?