Motivation through Gamification: The Path to Productivity?

For years, GTD (get-things-done) advocates, efficiency experts and HR professionals have searched far and wide for the best way to enhance productivity in the workplace. For a small business, it may not be that simple, especially when people are wearing several hats at the same time.

Productivity word cloud

Image Credit: Grasko via Creative Commons license

For any size enterprise, perhaps the best way to enhance productivity is to establish targets and find creative ways for people to reach these. Here is where gamification comes into play.

What is Gamification?

Gamification involves using games and psychology to encourage specific behaviors within the game’s target audience. Research indicates internal gamification can increase employee productivity by 40%. This approach allows you to work with the employees, rather than doing something to them. Companies with the happiest and most engaged employees are among the fastest growing.

How Can Gamification Enhance Productivity in My Workplace?

For gamification to work effectively, the system must be designed with the right actions in mind. You must first determine the behaviors you want to encourage and measure, along with any behaviors you want to discourage. From there, you must determine your reward system, as the incentives to play the game must be worthwhile to the employee, or you won’t get the participation levels you’re looking for.

As you create the reward system, remember, you’re creating an economy. Whether your game allows employees to rack up points, coins, stars, or other rewards. the reward currency should translate to tangible, attainable rewards. Don’t setup a system where employees must play for years to reach a level of success – or a system that favors seniority. Create a system that allows employees to use their points but keep their status, to let employees know they are valuable to you for their past performance.

Simulate competition. When employees are competing with each other, they are all bound to be more productive. However, carefully create your system so that no one loses, because it could create a toxic work environment. If some employees feel they’re better than others because of the competition, you’re setting up for potential employee retention issues and reducing morale. One way to address this is through a perspective that employees are playing against themselves and their own limitations, rather than other people.

Gamification

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What Platforms and Applications Can I Use?

GamEffective.com offers an extensive platform for building games ideal for any business goal. Beyond building a game to help with employee productivity, they can build platforms to help you train your employees, and even engage and support your customers.

With Gameffective, Yahoo was able to increase its customer service key performance indicators (KPIs) by 10% in just two weeks (source). Using a sports-based game that varied based on the region where it was being used, Yahoo was able to implement the game with their call center employees within four weeks, and they noticed a significant improvement in team performance – something they still have nearly a year after introducing the game.

Keas is platform that helps promote productivity while managing costs. The difference with this platform is it focuses on employee health and wellness, by encouraging employees to develop healthy habits with motivation and support from their fellow employees. In the end, employees who develop healthy habits are sick less often, thereby showing up to work and being more productive. When a business has happier and healthier employees, it saves on healthcare costs.

Pfizer rolled out a game to 35,000 U.S. based employees, designed to foster healthy behaviors. Results were astonishing, with a 70% increase in the most healthy population, and a 50% decrease in at risk employees. More than a third of the participants posted to the program’s social feed — three times the industry average for most employee collaboration tools.

Badgeville provides a similar platform where employees can earn badges for certain tasks, giving them status, and thus helping to earn their loyalty. At the same time, gamified solutions can be built to target your consumer audience to drive sales and build customer loyalty.

With the gamification market expected to reach $5.5 billion by 2018, and engaged employees up to 202% more productive than non-engaged employees, isn’t it worth considering gamification to boost employee engagement and productivity?

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