Let’s be honest. Sometimes work isn’t the most thrilling 8 hours of your day. A lot of us do the same tasks day in and day out, with very little excitement and change happening throughout the week.
Even in more exciting jobs where there is quite a lot of change, it can be easy to get bogged down in the mundane tasks which make up the majority of our work.
A bored employee is an employee that is more likely to quit — so making work more interesting has been the goal of management and senior executives alike for generations.
In recent years, with the rise of digital technology, a new tool has emerged which holds great promise in this area: gamification.
In this article, we will go through the definition of gamification in further detail, discuss some of its benefits and challenges, explore some of the ways it can be used in the workplace, and look at a few case studies of businesses that have successfully implemented it.
Let’s get started!
What is Gamification?
Gamification can be defined as the use of game design elements in non-game contexts. This means taking the things that make games fun and engaging, such as points, badges, leaderboards, and challenges, and using them to motivate and encourage people to achieve their goals.
It is important to note that gamification is not about turning work into a game. Games are voluntary activities which people engage in for fun, whereas work is something that we have to do whether we like it or not.
The aim of gamification is not only to make work more fun, but to make it more motivating, engaging and productive.
Gamification in the Workplace: An Example
Now that we’ve discussed what gamification is, let’s go through a detailed example into how it can be used in the workplace:
A company has a customer service department which deals with customer queries and complaints. In order to improve the productivity of the department, the company decides to implement a gamification system.
The first step is to set some goals for what they want to achieve. For example, they might want to reduce the average call handling time, or increase the number of calls that are successfully resolved on the first contact.
Once the goals have been set, they need to be turned into specific challenges which employees can complete in order to earn points, badges and rewards.
For example, an employee might earn points for every call that they take, or for every customer query that they resolve. They might also earn badges for completing a certain number of calls, or for resolving a certain number of queries within a set period of time.
The company can then use these points and badges to create a leaderboard which ranks employees according to their performance. This not only provides some healthy competition, but it also allows the company to identify and recognize the top performers in the department.
Finally, the company can offer rewards for employees who reach certain milestones or achieve specific goals. These rewards could be financial, such as bonuses or commission payments, or they could be non-financial, such as extra holiday days or vouchers for free products.
Benefits of Gamification
There are many potential benefits of using gamification in the workplace. Here are some of the most significant ones:
Increases Motivation and Engagement
One of the main goals of gamification is to make work more engaging and motivating. By adding elements of fun and competition, it can make even the most mundane tasks seem more exciting. This can lead to employees being more productive and motivated overall.
Helps People Learn New Skills
Gamification can be used as a training tool to help employees learn new skills. When learning is made into a game, it can be more enjoyable and memorable. This means that employees are more likely to retain the information and be able to apply it in their work.
Increases Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is another benefit of gamification. By giving customers rewards for completing certain tasks or reaching certain milestones, businesses can encourage them to keep coming back.
Makes Complex Tasks Easier
Gamification can also make complex tasks seem less daunting and more manageable. By breaking down a task into smaller, more achievable goals, it can make it feel less daunting and more fun.
This can lead to employees feeling more confident and able to complete the task successfully.
Encourages Healthy Competition
Healthy competition is often seen as a good thing in the workplace. It can encourage employees to work harder and push themselves to achieve their best.
Gamification can be used to create healthy competition by setting up leaderboards or giving rewards for reaching certain targets.
Potential Challenges With Gamification
While there are many potential benefits of gamification, there are also some challenges that businesses need to be aware of. These include the following:
It Can Lead to Unhealthy Competition
While healthy competition can be a good thing, gamification can also lead to unhealthy levels of competition. This can happen if employees become too focused on beating others or getting rewards, and start to neglect their work or other important tasks.
It Can Create a Feeling of Exclusion
If not done correctly, gamification can create a feeling of exclusion among employees. This is because not everyone will be able to achieve the same level of success, and some people may feel like they are being left behind.
It Can be Time-Consuming
Gamification can also be quite time-consuming to set up and maintain. This is because it requires careful planning and design, as well as ongoing monitoring to ensure that it is working effectively.
How Can Gamification Be Used in The Workplace?
There are many different ways that gamification can be used in the workplace. Here are some detailed examples into how you can implement this tactic into your firm:
1. Set Up a Leaderboard
One way gamification can be used in the workplace is to encourage employees to reach their targets — which can be achieved by setting up a leaderboard where employees are ranked according to how close they are to reaching their targets.
This will create a sense of competition and motivation amongst employees as they strive to move up the leaderboard.
2. Encourage Positive Behaviours
Another way gamification can be used in the workplace is to encourage positive behaviours.
This can be done by giving employees rewards for exhibiting behaviours that are beneficial to the company, such as arriving on time, meeting deadlines or going above and beyond for customers. These rewards can be in the form of points, badges or even physical prizes.
3. Improve Customer Satisfaction
Gamification can also be used to improve customer satisfaction.
By setting up a system where employees are rewarded for providing excellent customer service, you will encourage them to go above and beyond for customers, leading to improved satisfaction levels.
Gamification Case Studies
There are a variety of ways gamification is used in the workplace — targeted at either customers or employees. Let’s go through a few ways gamification has been used by real companies around the world.
Nike+ is a great example of gamification being used successfully to encourage people to be more active. It is a fitness tracking app which allows users to track their runs, set goals and compare their progress with friends.
The app makes use of many game design elements, such as points, leaderboards and badges, to make the experience more engaging.
For example, users earn points for every mile they run, which they can then use to unlock new challenges and achievements. The app also has a social element, allowing users to see how their friends are doing and share their progress on social media.
Nike+ has been very successful, with millions of users worldwide. It has been shown to increase people’s motivation to run and stay active, and has even helped some people to completely change their lifestyles for the better.
Duolingo is a language learning app which uses gamification to make the experience more enjoyable and engaging. Like Nike+, it makes use of points, leaderboards and badges to motivate users.
For example, users earn points for every lesson they complete, which they can then use to unlock new challenges. The app also has a social element, allowing users to see how their friends are doing and compare their progress.
Duolingo has been shown to be an effective way of learning languages, with users reporting that it is more enjoyable than traditional methods such as textbooks and classrooms. The app has also been praised for its use of gamification to make the experience more engaging.
3. Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut used gamification to garner increased loyalty among their customers.
In 2013, Pizza Hut launched a program called “The Game”, which was a gamified loyalty scheme for its customers.
Customers could earn points by ordering pizzas, and these points could then be redeemed for prizes such as free pizza or discounts off their next order. The scheme was a great success, with over 1 million people signing up within the first few months.
The Bottom Line
Gamification seems like a great way to make your employees more motivated, as well as being a useful scheme to increase customer loyalty — in a way firms like Pizza Hut have done.
It has its fair share of challenges, but it is clear to see the benefits far outweigh the potential issues we could face. If you’re looking to perk up disgruntled, demotivated employees — gamification is an excellent option to consider!