Have you ever dreamed of making your job as engaging and exciting as a computer game? You’re not the only one. As many as 60% of employees believe that incorporating gamification elements into their work makes them more productive. Gamification in the workplace improves employee engagement, motivation and efficiency. And besides, it teaches teamwork. As many as 83% of workers are more involved in training when it includes elements known from games. So how to introduce gamification in your company and how to assess whether it brings any benefits? Read our article and find out.
Gamification in the workplace - table of contents:
What is gamification?
Gamification is using game mechanics in other fields, such as education, marketing, and team management. Gamification in the workplace aims to increase employee motivation and engagement by introducing elements used in games, for example:
- reward and penalties,
The origins of gamification date back to the ’80s, when companies began experimenting with introducing gamification elements into their training systems and management processes. The term became popular at the very beginning of the 21st century thanks to Nick Pelling, a computer game developer. Today, gamification is used by many well-known companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Nike, which employ these techniques to increase their employees’ productivity, creativity, and loyalty.
The psychology of games
In gamification, it is crucial to understand what makes computer games so engaging. And these are mainly rewards and competition.
Rewards, such as points and achievements, motivate players to take action and pursue goals. They can get them, for example, by completing certain tasks. After collecting a specific number of points, employees can exchange them for various benefits. In the workplace, these may be, for instance:
- symbolic awards, such as the title of employee of the month, and
- extra time-off.
The elements of gamification
What are the elements of a gamified system? It depends on its complexity and the purpose it was built for. Is it to increase productivity by incorporating competition between teams? Then a well-optimized scoring system and a publicly available list of the teams that completed the most tasks in a given month will be enough. But many companies are looking for more complex mechanisms to engage employees, known from adventure games or simulations. Most of them, however, use:
- Points – they are awarded for completing tasks or achieving goals. For example, a sales professional may earn points for selling a product, while a customer service representative may get points for solving a customer’s problem.
- Levels – participants can level up by earning points, and collecting a certain number of points through completed projects can unlock extra privileges or benefits.
- Achievements – for example, a marketing specialist may receive special bonuses for achieving a record number of new newsletter subscribers.
- Rankings– having a transparent list with scores allows employees to compare their achievements with others. In a company, there can be a ranking of top couriers who deliver packages on time, without accidents, and in an environmentally friendly manner.
- Challenges – these are tasks that require employees to be engaged and creative. For example, a team might get a challenge to develop a new marketing strategy in a week, and earn extra points or achievements when it’s all done.
Types of games
Depending on a company’s needs, various types of computer games are used. The most popular ones include:
- role-playing games, and
- skill games.
Simulations are games that mimic real-life situations. They help people acquire skills and knowledge in a safe environment. For instance, a customer service simulator allows employees to learn how to handle various types of customers and situations they may encounter at work. Another example can be a simulator of a VR machine, which helps users to learn how to operate the machine effectively.
Role-playing games are based on a narrative. They usually require participants to make decisions that affect the development of the story. They can be used to teach strategy or making decisions in business. For example, it could be a game about managing a company, where participants must make decisions about resources, marketing and other aspects of running a business, and their choices affect its success in the game.
Skill games help improve manual skills and coordination. They can be used to sharpen concentration and problem-solving skills. An example of such a game could be a puzzle game, where employees have to solve problems or assemble blocks quickly.
How to introduce gamification in the workplace?
The decision to introduce gamification in the workplace must be well thought out. After all, it is not only about improving efficiency, but also about employee satisfaction. Therefore, the following steps will be important:
- Analyzing needs – identify the goals of gamification. For example, it could be to increase employee engagement, improve efficiency or develop skills. In a manufacturing company, the goal might be to increase productivity on the production line, while in a large organization it might be to integrate employees within a particular department.
- Choosing the right tools and technologies – based on a needs analysis, choose a type of computer game and game elements that would be suitable for your business. For example, in an IT company, you could implement role-playing games to enhance programmers’ time and project management skills.
- Creating an implementation plan – create a comprehensive schedule for implementing gamification, considering employee training, game testing, and result evaluation. For instance, in a sales company, you can plan the introduction of a simulation game during quarterly training sessions for sales representatives.
- Introducing gamification – explain the rules of the game to employees, provide access to games, and introduce a reward system.
- Monitoring and measuring results – track the results of gamification through metrics, surveys, or employee performance reviews. Access to data and statistics is one of the greatest advantages of gamification! For example, in a logistics company, you can measure the efficiency of warehouse workers by analyzing their performance in simulation games.
Introducing gamification in the workplace requires proper preparation and a well-designed implementation plan. This plan should take into account analyzing a company’s needs, selecting appropriate tools, providing employee training, and monitoring outcomes. Although adopting gamification at work can be challenging, following these steps can greatly enhance employee engagement, effectiveness, and skill development across industries.
Introducing gamification in the workplace can help increase employees’ motivation, commitment and efficiency. To successfully implement gamification, it is necessary to understand the psychology of games, select the right tools and technologies, as well as draw up an implementation plan. Monitoring and measuring the effects of gamification will let you optimize processes and adapt it to your company’s needs.
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