Think of a typical day at the office. If it is anything like Mike Judge’s Office Space, it involves a lot of work that you don’t particularly want to do, but you do it because it’s your job. All you want to do is go home and relax, perhaps with some video games. Well, companies are starting to catch on to this lack of engagement, and tech has provided an ingenious solution: gamification.
What is Gamification?
Gamification in the workplace is an attempted solution to the 70% of American workers who actively feel disengaged from work. Gamification counters this by using elements taken straight from video games! Things like scoring, rewards, leveling-up, XP and other elements can be introduced into the working day to motivate employees and cause them to be actively engaged with their work.
On a basic level, this could be simple games tailored to your specific business goals. If your goal is to disseminate company culture and chosen values quickly, you could have a quiz every week during lunch, giving out prizes for those who display knowledge about company culture and history or to those who demonstrate company values.
Gamification is showing its power when onboarding employees. Onboarding is a critical period, during which employees can adopt values that propel the company forward. Introducing gamification during onboarding is important as it can accelerate this process and motivate employees even further.
For example, Deloitte use leaderboards, missions and badges in their online training curriculum, which led to an increased number of users coming back to train more.
Digitization and Gamification – a Match Made in Heaven
Companies are starting to adopt digital workplaces – supplements to physical office locations that connect employees through a digital infrastructure or platform. If employees log in to their desktop and perform tasks within a digital company platform, these tasks can be monitored and gamified. The opportunity for gamification within digital workplaces is huge! Even tasks like doing spreadsheets or completing reports can be turned into a game.
It is important to note that good gamification should reset every week or month. That’s because in every game and leaderboard, where there is a winner there is also a loser. Depending on company culture, this could create an overly aggressive and individuated environment, which may be detrimental to the functioning and increase chances of employee burnout.
Another way of avoiding this is by putting employees into teams. That way, if a team loses, the individual members will be able to diffuse responsibility for that loss, learning from how they interacted and looking to improve next time. This way, top scorers can be purposefully matched with low scorers, in the hopes that as a team, they will share how they work and lead to permanent improvements in efficiency.
An example of gamification increasing communication towards employees comes from Target’s gamification of the cashiering process. Cashiers don’t get feedback from managers, so Target set up a game where cashiers got real-time feedback to show items that were scanned better than others. This game gave them feedback on all the items that they scanned, communicating their performance better than a line manager would.