Research shows that employees who are more engaged in company activities stay longer. This is one of the reasons gamification in the workplace gains popularity and is highly-encouraged, especially with remote teams.
In a recent study by Gartner, 70% of top global companies plan to gamify their workplace for better employee engagement. Some companies that already tried it reported an increase in productivity. Workplace gamification inspires the employees and makes them enjoy working even more.
However, gamifying incentives may be a case-to-case basis and may not be suitable for all employees. Some may even find it difficult at first, especially remote employees. Others may not find this engaging at all. For this, companies should follow several guidelines in gamifying their employees’ incentives.
How gamification works
Gamification is applying game mechanics in a business process or workflow. The method uses a psychological approach of game elements to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty. Companies develop a set of mechanics for employees to follow, then track their progress using monitoring software.
Employers usually apply this method to processes with measurable outputs. For instance, call centers or business process outsourcing companies use gamification to achieve their goals within a certain period. Team leaders recognize employees who reached a certain number of calls received and issues resolved in a week. They award those employees with badges, certificates, or additional incentives to motivate them to give high-quality service to their clients.
Employers also gamify the training and development of their employees. HR teams can come up with establishing employee milestones when learning a new skill. Then, they can organize competition by giving out quiz bees about a module and awarding the employee with the highest score.
Benefits of workplace gamification
Gartner noted that in 2015, 40% of Global 1000 already applied gamification to their processes. These companies mostly use it to help with company transitions. Gamification has already benefited them in different ways:
- Real-time feedback. Gamification allows employers to see the increase in productivity of their employees in real-time.
- Less favoritism. Gamification systems favor all employees since it uses third-party tools for monitoring. This lessens the possibility of employees getting rewarded and recognized due to favoritism.
- A new type of credential. German software company SAP used a point system to the active contributors in the SAP Community Network (SCN). These points determine the ranking of a contributor and are included in their performance reviews and actual employment.
Tips in gamifying processes
Most companies who attempted to gamify their workplace before failed because either (a) there’s no real engagement made or (b) they were not yet ready to gamify. Employers who want to apply gamification in their work must plan and study their measures properly. Here are a few tips to properly plan it:
- Study the “players” in the field. Gamification uses a personality-based approach in applying mechanics to a system. So to make it effective, employers must study each targeted “players” in the field. Analyze what triggers their momentum, how they respond in a situation, and what rewards are suitable for them.
- Organize processes. Target a specific area or team to gamify. For instance, in technical support. Make sure to organize and streamline processes first to successfully apply gamification method. Prepare KPIs and success factors to serve as employees’ quota. Then, set instructions and specific prizes for the targeted team.
- Include user experience. Check for tools that can be integrated to personally track their progress or use existing software. Free tools such as Asana, Slack, and Zoho are some of the best software in the market to use in gamification. Make their progress and statistics accessible for them as part of transparency.
- Test it to a selected few. Have a few employees test the gamified system. Gather feedback on improving and making it more “fun” to use. Let them promote the system to the workplace.
- Launch and monitor for a few weeks. Try to integrate the system into the workplace and note any improvement in employee performance. Continuously monitor the system and update it when needed.
Different rewards and incentives for employees
Employees get more work-motivated when they get recognized and rewarded for their great performance. Thus, one of the goals of gamifying is to motivate employees more.
Employers can prepare several incentives for their employees, such as:
This is one of the usual incentives that employees receive in a gamified workplace. At the end of the week, for instance, each call centre agent is measured with either their number of call resolutions in their shift. The agent with the highest number of calls and rating for their service is rewarded with a small cash incentive and a certificate.
Another usual case in a Filipino BPO setting. Employees love social events, particularly concerts and parties. Some employers give concert tickets or premiere movie passes for their employees as a part of their prizes.
Some teams hold weekly recognition for top agents, complete with awards and certificates. Mostly, this reward comes with either a cash incentive or a gift certificate, depending on the allocated prize for them.
Lastly, they can win free passes to several recreational activities that are also accessible to them. Every month, each employee can have consolation prizes for doing a task, and top employees can be qualified for free entrances to a theme park. They can also win gym memberships and movie tickets to help them relax as well.
How to avoid abuse of gamification
Gamifying the workplace also has its downsides. Employees might show addiction to the game by going to work too early only to reach their weekly goals, sacrificing proper rest and work-life balance. This may cause burnout and might further affect the performance of employees negatively. Without proper monitoring, they can even “cheat” on their progress just to gain progress.
To avoid these situations, employers should consider these measures in maintaining a fair game.
- Restrict quota for each employee. Be realistic with setting objectives and goals of the mechanics. Set a specific quota to each task based on the team’s previous performance. This helps employers determine if an employee cheats on their statistics and prevent employee burnout.
- Give a chance to all team members. Gamifying shouldn’t only benefit a few employees. Set milestones to give other employees a chance to be recognized when they reach a specific milestone.
- Monitor their performance properly. Use a screen monitoring software to monitor the actual performance of your employees. Set random screenshots of their desktops as a reference whenever an issue or suspicious activity arises.
- Think of new ways to improve the game. Lastly, as time flies, the game mechanics applied to a task might get boring and hackable to the players. Regularly improve and update the game by thinking of new ways how to execute it to maintain their engagement.