Driving higher levels of employee engagement are turning into a major challenge for organizations across the globe. As organizations explore different strategies and methods to attain this objective, some yield better results than others. One such strategy that is proving extremely beneficial in terms of enhancing employee engagement is the implementation of the concept of gamification. This novel concept is being used by organizations to motivate and empower their listless workforce to enhance their productivity and performance efficiency. Recent research has proved that implementing the concept of gamification in organizations has resulted in enhancing the engagement, productivity, and happiness levels of more than 80% of the workforce.
Overview of the concept of gamification at the workplace
Contrary to the popular belief, gamification is not about turning a workplace into an arena for playing games. Rather it is about using the elements of gaming and game thinking in a non-gaming environment, such as business activities, to drive workforce engagement. It focuses on a key aspect of human psychology for driving engagement and uses technology to put it to work in a business environment. The concept taps into common motivating factors such as recognition, competition, and rewards to improve engagement by leveraging various game dynamics and elements including collaboration, opportunities, and progression. In fact, it is one of the few engagement strategies that can be used across key areas within an organization.
Benefits from workplace gamification
Implementing gamification can provide great benefits for an organization, which is what makes it a popular choice for bringing about transformation at the workplace largely populated by millennials. The most important of these benefits are listed as follows:
- It offers real-time feedback as employees don’t have to work toward annual goals. Instead, they can work toward real-time, measurable, meaningful targets, similar to a game.
- Gamification helps to eliminate fears of favoritism by allowing employees themselves to see how they stack up against one another and how they are being rewarded for it, again very similar to gaming scoreboards and leaderboards.
- Since psychology is an integral part of gamification, it helps in simply making day-to-day work-life more enjoyable, as if the employees are actually playing a game.
Key steps to effectively implement gamification
Implementing the concept of gamification within a business environment is slightly more complicated than creating a rewards program. It needs to be designed strategically to cater to the distinct employee dynamics within a specific work environment. That is why it is important to take the following key parameters into consideration to ensure its successful implementation:
- Understanding employee needs
Trying to implement an engagement strategy, including gamification without first carefully assessing the needs, goals, preferences, aspirations, and behaviors of the employees is likely to prove futile. Obtaining this information provides an organization with the necessary insights for identifying issues that gamification needs to address. This, in turn, helps the organization to clearly define the basic framework for designing and implementing the concept. Organizations also need to define employee behaviors with respect to the processes for the effective integration of gaming elements.
- Establishing the business case
Establishing a robust business case is essential for the successful development and implementation of a gamification program at the workplace. This comprises mainly of proper identification of organizational goals of gamification, the meters that quantify the achievement of these goals, and the business values that the fulfillment of these goals are expected to deliver. For this, the organizations need to define the expected changes in employee motivation, behavior, and attitude that the program should bring about. This is essential for defining quantitative KPIs relevant to the gamification process as well as measuring the return on investment by establishing a baseline for comparing the outcomes.
- Ensuring the involvement of all stakeholders
Implementing the gamification program requires the contribution of various stakeholders within the organization. Ensuring the active involvement of these various stakeholders is essential to get the desired outcomes from the implementation of the program. For this, the organizations need to make the different stakeholders responsible for aligning the program with the core objectives of the organization. Most importantly, the employees, who are the biggest stakeholders in the process, should be made aware of the possible impact and outcomes of the program with respect to their roles and responsibilities.
- Measuring progress – repeat, and refresh
Measuring the outcomes of implementing the gamification program through various pre-defined KPIs is essential for ensuring its success. The project leaders also need to interact with the various stakeholders and participating employees to gain a proper understanding of their experience with the program. This information should then be used in conjunction with the quantitative performance data of the program KPIs to fine-tune any discrepancies and overcome any shortcomings in the program. This approach of repetitive feedback and refreshing the program can help the organizations get the maximum out of it.
When done right, gamification has the potential to create the outcomes that it promises in the form of changed behaviors and attitudes, significant improvement in employee engagement and rise in productivity and efficiency, leading to business growth.