Improving engagement through Gamification
What is Gamification?
Gamification is the act of applying gaming principles to an everyday situation and is often used by marketing agencies as a tool to engage with customers. It involves tactics such as prize draws and points rewards schemes, and has proved to be hugely successful amongst a wide range of consumers. It creates an atmosphere of excitement and encourages participation in projects and incentives, sometimes without the individual being consciously aware of the influence behind their drive to become involved.
The returns of investing in a Gamification initiative can also prove to be beneficial when engaging with employees. The exciting atmosphere created through Gamification can result in an energised and enjoyable work environment, with research showing that enjoyable work leads to greater levels of efficiency, productivity, and employee engagement. Gamification is a simple and creative tool that a company can utilise in order to increase work enjoyment amongst employees throughout the organisation.
Gamification in the Workplace
The aim of introducing Gamification to the workplace is to boost productivity by making tasks seem more exciting and encouraging different ways of viewing tasks, learning, and problems. Introducing gaming elements into a daily work routine can improve employee engagement, revive energy levels, and transform tasks that can be tedious into fun activities. This improves motivation and, in turn, productivity.
For example, Canadian retail chain Target has developed an application that tracks the performance of their cashiers and rates it according to the fulfilment of their speed targets. The application depicts either a red, yellow, or green colour based on the pace at which cashiers process their transactions in an effort to improve check-out times to avoid the formation of long queues and disgruntled customers.
This initiative has been successful as the gaming element that the application possesses motivates cashiers to monitor their colour rating and adjust their speed accordingly in order to maintain or improve on their rating. The hype generated from interacting with the application encourages employees to work faster, not only improving customer satisfaction but also creates an exciting and fun environment that fosters employee engagement.
This kind of setting is particularly constructive in motivating and engaging Millennial employees who have sited fun, enjoyment, excitement, and the use of new technologies as factors of value when perusing their work environment and associated engagement therein. Gallup has reported that 87% of Millennials want to work for an organisation that offers professional development opportunities to their employees as well as strive for a work environment that is able to adapt their outdated policies and performance management approaches in order to accommodate to their needs and expectations. This is largely driven by their interdependent view of work and life, causing them to seek personal fulfilment in every action that they dedicate their time and energy to throughout the day. Gamification is therefore effective amongst Millennial employees as it affords them the opportunity to develop new skills in a fun manner that also appeals to their desire to engage with current technological tools and trends.
Equipping employees with a solution before encountering a problem
Applying game mechanics to non-game situations can lead to the development of complex problem solving skills. Gamification can be used to engineer innovative training programmes that equip employees with a wide range of relevant knowledge and skills which ultimately decrease response time whilst improving on the quality of solutions generated by employees when confronted with problems during their daily activities.
This can be seen in the training programmes that Canon offers their new employees. Trainees are given a virtual simulation of a copier where they are able to move, drag, and drop various mechanisms of the machine. This is done to provide the individual with a comprehensive understanding of how the copier works, equipping employees with the capabilities of addressing any potential mechanical issue that may arise once they begin working in the field. Preparing employees for the obstacles that they might encounter in a fun and enjoyable manner not only assists in the problem-solving process, it decreases the impact that these issues have on the general productivity level of the organisation.
The adoption of Gamification principles can be tracked amongst many of the World’s well be-known organisations. Companies such as Google, Deloitte, and Microsoft all utilise Gamification in order to encourage employees by creating an environment of inclusiveness and excitement. This ultimately improves employee motivation, engagement, job satisfaction, and overall productivity levels.
There are countless ways in which the principles of Gamification can be introduced into an organisation, the efforts of which can only be truly effective with buy-in from all employees involved. In order to create a culture of buy-in amongst employees that will enable the realisation of the benefits of a Gamification initiative, organisations need to be mindful of the nature of their business and embrace those who work for it on an individual level. This will allow them to tailor their approach according to the strengths, needs, and opportunities faced by employees and will ensure that the right areas are being targeted to maximise the initiative’s effectiveness and improve engagement across all levels and demographics of employees within the organisation.
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