Gamification in the Workplace: Why and How to Use It
Let’s face it: the workplace can be dry. Gamification at work is a simple yet effective method of engaging and motivating employees during non-game activities. It can also make those mandatory tasks on your to-do list that much more fun.
Consider that your teams are likely more willing to participate in mandatory courses on topics such as workplace safety if they could collect points and earn rewards along the way. Other gamification concepts include leaderboards, scores, and badges.
What Is Gamification?
You might be wondering: what is gamification in the workplace? Gamification uses game techniques in a non-game context to help entice the learner to interact more with the material. Many companies lean on gamification to help create internal competitions to instill a sense of healthy competition within the workplace. By implementing scores, levels, and prizes as extra motivation, gamification can help your employees feel excited about learning new material.
A recent study shows that 83% of people who received gamification training felt motivated while 61% of those who received non-gamified training reported feeling bored and unproductive. If you haven’t considered implementing this tactic in your company, now is the time to do so!
Gamification at Work: Examples
Gamification is relevant for nearly any industry or company size. If you need a bit of inspiration on how to gamify your workplace, consider the following biggest workplace gamification trends.
- Employees who receive the highest scores on company-wide assessments on workplace safety will be able to choose one item of company swag. This simple yet impactful tactic can encourage your employees to pay more attention to the material so they answer relevant questions correctly. Without gamification, your employees may rush through the material to complete it as quickly as possible.
- Companies have built a library of online eLearning courses on varying topics. Employees who complete a course will get a gift certificate of their choice. This tactic motivates your employees to continue to build upon their skill sets.
- Rather than using presentations or manuals to train your employees, consider creating online mini-courses that have characters, quizzes, and a scoring system.
Implementing the above tactics can transform the way that your employees learn and grow with your company.
Benefits of Gamification in the Workplace
Gamification in the workplace comes with many benefits, we’ve outlined a handful of them below.
Increases Engagement, Motivation, and Productivity
This tactic can increase employee engagement by presenting information or tasks in a more challenging manner. Employees will feel that much more satisfied and accomplished when they finish a more difficult training, resulting in feeling more satisfied. Companies that use gamification have found that productivity increases by 50% and employee engagement increases by 60%. When you show your employees that you are willing to help them reach their maximum potential, you will keep high-value employees around for longer.
Improves the Work Environment
Another gamification benefit is that it improves the overall work environment. Employees will undoubtedly deliver their best work when they are surrounded by a healthy work environment. For example, if the current work revolves around specific employees constantly receiving praise from higher-ups, other employees may not feel motivated. Gamification gives all employees a level playing field to demonstrate their value to the company.
Boosts Employee Advocacy
By implementing gamification tactics at your workplace, you can boost your company’s image. As soon as an employer recognizes their employees, they are more likely to share their experience with others on social media. Not only will gamification keep employees motivated and engaged with the company’s material but they will become the voice of your organization. In return, this will help to build the reputation and following of your company.
In any organization, teamwork plays a positive role in bringing people together. As soon as like-minded individuals join forces to pursue a common goal, nothing will stand in their way! By gamifying the workplace, you encourage your employees to come together who have similar perspectives and work ethics. By creating a more teamwork-focused work environment, you cultivate a healthy employee culture centered around growth.
How to Use Gamification at Work
If you need gamification in the workplace ideas to increase employee engagement and motivation, here are some tips to get you started.
Clearly Communicate Game Goals and Processes
Employee gamification in the workplace starts by ensuring that your team has an in-depth understanding of the goal of the game and how it works. For example, you want to use gamification with your sales team to help close a certain number of contracts within three months. Before kicking off this initiative, it’s important to communicate the following:
- The goals of the game
- The criteria to let them know if they’ve won
- Rewards they’ll receive for winning, placing second, etc.
- Benefits to the business and to the employees achieving the goals
- Rules, particularly any that disqualify an employee
The rules should always be very clear to those participating to reduce the risk of creating an unfair race. Emphasizing a sense of purpose is equally important as a sense of achievement. Always communicate the purpose clearly and early on.
Include Gamification in Training
Building gamification eLearning courses is another tactic to entice employees to learn and grow. While training is often associated with dry, boring material that employees are forced to learn, by implementing gamification, you can build a culture of friendly competition.
Here are some common gamification features to include in your courses:
- Points: They earn points as they complete taskFs, achieve desired results, or simply log onto the platform.
- Leaderboards: Learners can compete against one another to earn the highest number of points and to find a leader among their peers. By including a leaderboard, you add an exciting, dynamic addition to learning.
- Badges: Reward course completion and noteworthy results with virtual badges! As learners navigate through the course, they will accumulate badges on their profiles.
- Rewards: Consider implementing real-life rewards like company swag, online gift cards, or other participation incentives.
Offer Desirable Rewards
Offering desirable rewards is an essential tactic when incorporating gamification into the workplace. Keep in mind that not everyone is after the same incentives. Try to ensure that the rewards you’re offering are relevant and desirable to employees. If not, they won’t feel a sense of further motivation to complete the training or interact with the material.
For example, maybe you’re running a “star employee” program that offers rewards for exceptional achievement. Consider the employee’s perspective: will a digital badge be enough to keep them motivated in the long run? The novelty of winning a digital badge will quickly wear off. Consider a more enticing prize like a weekend away, a gift card to a restaurant, or a couple of extra PTO days. Get creative with the types of rewards you’re offering as every employee engages with work differently.
Recognize Everyone’s Contribution
Another aspect of employee gamification in the workplace is recognizing that everyone is different when it comes to learning. Maybe you’re using gamification to improve the participation level in training and workplace activities. Make sure everyone in the organization feels like it’s worth it to participate, it’s not all about the achievement.
Consider the different kinds of rewards that you can offer for simply completing a training course or hitting a KPI benchmark. Public recognition can go a long way in rewarding participation.
Track the Success
Like any new company initiative, you must measure both your successes and your failures to improve. Gamification undoubtedly offers many benefits but it isn’t guaranteed to achieve results. In some cases, gamification can have benefits that extend beyond the goals that you originally intended.
If possible, set up an analytics dashboard that tracks how your gamification program performs against the original goals that you created. Track variables such as the number of employees who participate in the program, the number of people who complete the goals, and how the overall job performance has improved since the start of the gamification program.
In the case that you cannot compile participant statistics, consider how you recognize and reward your participants. Maybe the overall job performance doesn’t improve at the same volume that you expected. In this case, adjust your initiative to better align with your business goals and your KPIs.
Reflect on Performance
Just as you track the successes and failures of employee gamification, make sure that employees have the opportunity to reflect on areas in that they succeeded and areas that they failed. For example, let’s say an employee was not able to close enough contracts during the sales team’s 3-month challenge. What will you do to show the employee what they could have done differently to achieve the goal?
You can close every game or challenge with a recap that highlights both the successes and failures of the program. Focus part of this session on what the individual employees are doing well so that others can learn from their mistakes.
Need Help Implementing Gamification Into the Workplace?
It can feel daunting and overwhelming to make changes to how employees interact with your workplace, but gamification is a unique tactic that yields successful results. If you’re interested in hands-on guidance from gamification and eLearning experts, our team at Allegro Media Design is happy to help! To learn more about our process and our offerings, please get in touch with us!