If you have ever questioned gamification in the workplace, you must know that rewards and recognition are the top two factors that boost employees’ motivation. So, what’s the point in leaving them out of workplace learning strategies? Certainly, gamification has the potential to improve your business performance but what is gamification? And what are examples of gamification in a workplace that can inspire you to leverage it?
Gamification has become a lot more common over the past few years. In fact, it has now become a norm and is included in many eLearning strategies. As per the various leaders of the field. 2018 is the year when the gamification sector will get matured, both in the institutional and corporate sector, and the hype surrounding gamification is likely to fizzle out gradually.
Gamification is a simple strategy of applying game-oriented thinking to various non-game applications. It makes such non-game applications more engaging and fun for employees. This might seem like a new plan for you but gamification has been around for a long time now.
Think of a salesperson of the year or employee of the month! Sounds familiar?
But it is just recently that gamification has become big business. That is exactly why gamification is now a crucial concept in big organizations that truly understand the value of employee commitment and motivation.
In each job that needs to be done, there must be an element of fun. As soon as you find the fun, snap! That job’s a game now!
There are tons of examples how some of the biggest enterprises are incorporating gamification into their business strategies.
To give you an example, Google has incorporated a travel expense game that focuses on employees that travel a lot. They are encouraged to keep track of their travel expenses related to the business trip.
The real motivating factor is that every penny that they save from spending and that is officially allocated for the business trip is then paid back to them as an addition to their salaries. They may also choose to give out this amount as a charity if they like to do so.
The best part about incorporating gamification is that it is more psychology-oriented than technology-oriented. It has a psychological impact and encourages workers to compete and prove their best.
To put in simple words, the concept of integrating gaming mechanics into the current business system to keep employees interested and performing at the peak performance is recognized as gamification in the workplace.
The Psychology Theory behind Gamification That Makes it Work
The main reason why gamification works is that it taps into the top three motivators (recognition, sense of competition and reward) to improve employee engagement. It is the convergence of productivity and technology where game mechanics are utilized in a non-gaming context.
A gamification tool taps into the psychological behavior which governs our everyday decisions and provides a strong platform to share our achievements, managing our work progress and building competition.
Gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology
Gabe Zichermann, "Gamification by Design"
A successful gamification tool only works when it provides users the following:
The required motivation to perform the task and to receive the offered rewards or to gain recognition.
A great ability to carry out the tasks by breaking such tasks into bite-size chunks, facilitating it and by increasing the user perceived capability.
A cue or trigger to complete the action.
It took the not-so-interesting task of system debugging and turned it into an interesting contest in which programmers were asked to compete and highlight the most glitches in the least possible time.
Today gamification is being implemented by leaps and bounds. As per the MarketsandMarkets report, the worldwide gamification industry is likely to be valued at around $ 11.1 billion by the end of 2020, right from $ 1.65 billion in the year 2015. With such remarkable growth, gamification will be a game changer for many small businesses in just a matter of a few years.
A personal training or fitness business might expand their reach just by offering various virtual personal training, integrating a mobile app to monitor body exertion level, improve form and manage the number of reps to fully match the customers’ fitness level. To name a few fitness apps which are already using the great gamification concept to ensure fitness fun include Superhero Workout and Zombies, Run!
Coca-cola integrated the element of game design back in 2006, encouraging consumers to collect their loyalty points and get rewarded with exciting prizes. They integrated gamification as part of their popular ‘My Coke Rewards’ campaign and they ultimately retained around 20m lifetime members eventually.
Another great example is none other than popular Nike brand. They developed Nike app that rewarded the consumers with ‘cheers’ each time they shared statistics related to calories burnt, running and more on social media. A similar business app would reward employees with points or badges for peer to peer recognition.
Virtual reality and Augmented Reality
will boost next-gen gamification design
The iOS augmented app from IKEA, assists customers in planning the furniture placement on their phones in an immersive, fun way. These enterprise examples might appear unapproachable by many small businesses at this time but they are likely to evolve significantly in the near future.
Gamification vs. Game-Based Learning
There is a huge distinction between gamification and game-based learning. One should not misunderstand these terms or their intended application. It is important for businesses to understand the distinction if they wish to leverage the strategy.
Gamification is the idea of including game-design elements in more non-game situations. On the other hand, gamification is the simple use of games to improve the learning process. Clash of Clans and Pokémon are the two popular illustrations of game-based learning design.
Since now you have a good idea about gamification and its implementation in a workplace. Let us have a look at big organizations that have successfully implemented gamification in their business strategies:
Cisco Employees Easily Play Their Way to Become Social Media Masters
Challenge: Cisco invested in a program – global social media training - for its contractors and employees to create and leverage the social media skills. However, the training program comprises of 46 courses that became overwhelming to ascertain where to begin. Gamified Solution: The Company introduced basic three levels of certification with regards to the social media training program. The levels were divided into Specialist, Strategist, and Masters.
In addition to this, there were also 4 sub-certification levels for external communications, HR, internal partner teams and sales. They also mixed in various team challenges to integrating a healthy dose of collaboration and competition into earning certifications. Result: Since they simply gamified the social media training program, it became challenging as well as engaging and over 650 employees got the required certification with over 12500 courses taken.
Microsoft Staffers Globally Weigh In for Language Localization
Challenge: Microsoft is a big corporation has an array of language localization requirements for its various products. To make sure that translations made sense and were accurate was certainly a huge challenge to be managed by a single team Gamified Solution: Microsoft integrated gamification strategy and created a ‘Language Quality’ game. The game was simple and involved Silverlight application that allows users to just view screens in order to check for accuracy of the language. To make its employees pay attention, Microsoft intentionally included different poor translations while improving the focus of its employees. Results: Over the course of the period, almost 4500 users were found reviewing 500,000 screens to improve or correct translations based on native languages. To your surprise, Microsoft Japan planned a company-wide day off just to play this game and it successfully leads to winning the leaderboard.
Umbel Assist Individuals to Self- identify Themselves as Best Job Candidate
Challenge: Just like any other big data startup, Umbel also strived to hire only the best-suited candidates for their technical fields. However, the screening process is always extensive and to save the hassle of individual screening in the traditional manner, Umbel integrated gamification in the smartest manner possible. Gamified Solution: Umbel created a game challenge as a screening process. It was known as Umbelmania and in this game; the professional coders and amateur were asked to fight off a series of the opponent as a fighter style first-person game. But in reality, they were coding the movements. The whole point was to get points by playing the game. However, the points were highly meaningful for players. They factor into how far a player could advance into the interviewing process. Results: The game was simple and sorted out the right candidates strategically. An amateur who was not sure about their coding potential could easily gauge their performance against opponents and then might clearly see how well they are suited for the applied job.
Deloitte Built Leadership Training That Became Addictive to Senior Executives
Challenge: Deloitte had created a leadership training course for its senior executives but faced trouble motivating executives to initiate and complete the training program. Gamified Solution: Deloitte made use of Badgeville and introduced gamified elements such as leaderboards, badges, and status symbols. It used to measure the number of executives that participated and completed the training course. Result: This gamified solution not only encouraged executives but also reduced the training curriculum average time by almost 50%. The program also increased the number of users who return to the site on a regular basis by almost 47%.
SAP Leveraged Gamification to Achieve Better Sale Results
Challenge: SAP, being the top ERP solution provider, couldn’t afford sales representatives having insufficient knowledge or to be unaware of intricacies of its complex product line. Gamified Solution: SAP made it simpler by leveraging gamification technique and developing an application (more like a game show) called RoadWarrier. This game application simulates conversing with a customer and employees who perform well get awarded badges along with a prominent place on the leaderboard. All employees are required to do is to answer the questions of the customer accurately. Result: this game show like app did not only made learning a lot more fun, it also created a real-life scenario for the sales representatives. They became more confident and motivated, it contributed in boosting their productivity and knowledge in dealing with customers and it exponentially helped them achieve better sales results.
Treehouse Used Gamification to Help Student and Professional in Learning New Skills and Career Advancement
Challenge: Treehouse being a virtual training academy aimed at motivating young students to learn advanced business skills and recognizing professionals by providing career advancement opportunities Gamified Solution: Treehouse worked around the idea by offering points and badges technique as students work through the courses library to display their achievements while impressing potential employers. The higher the points, the higher will be the salary. Results: students feel motivated and choose from different tracks for pre-defined outcomes. Since tracks are divided into manageable chunks, tracker keeps students’ progress updated as they work to achieve their goals. This helps them learn the business skill while also getting potential employment opportunities.
Bluewolf Achieved Maximum Employee Motivation and Engagement in Building the Brand
Challenge: the company faced difficulty in keeping employees engaged and motivated in establishing the brand name. Gamified Solution: Bluewolf used the technology and created a #GoingSocial program through various initiatives like employee ‘Pack Profiles’ giving rewards and points for external/internal collaboration, earning Klout scoring of 50 or more, publishing a blog post on official company’s blog and others. Result: This created a much more robust and potential social presence of the brand while engaging and motivating employees to work for their brand authority. It resulted in bringing in potential customers while driving employee investment.
It’s time to Step up the Game!
All of these are the best and most creative examples of gamification in the workplace. Gamification is certainly a strong mode of innovation for employee and customer engagement. The above-discussed examples are great gamification concepts integrated with many renowned organizations.
As always, whatever the technology or trend, what we are adapting through gamification is the communal and meaningful experience that fully engages us. Undoubtedly, gamification brings a lot of benefits that significantly improve the performance of employees in the workplace, and above discussed illustrations certainly hold credence in proving the same.
Gamification is a great strategy to transform a boring task into a fun activity. When a business has an enthusiastic and engaging support team, it definitely gains the upper hand in increasing the business worth and in outperforming its competitors.