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Creating more productive companies with gamification

by Daniel Newman

Futurist Faith Popcorn claimed that 70% of large enterprises are using some type of workplace gamification to incentivize their employees. Gartner[1] has estimated similar numbers. With gamification of the workplace, or “enterprise gamification,” today’s companies seem to have found a way to make everyday business tasks more fun and engaging. Does gamification really work within an enterprise framework? It sure does. At least, that’s what these case studies show[2]:

  • SAP Streamwork added gamification in brainstorming groups and grew generated ideas by 58%.

  • Spotify and Living Social replaced their annual reviews with a mobile, gamified solution and witnessed over 90% of employees participating voluntarily.

  • Deloitte designed its training programs using gamification, which resulted in 50% less completion time and improved long-term engagement.

​While the problem of disengaged employees is a challenge that present-day enterprises are still struggling to cope with, gamification can change the situation for those businesses who take a chance on it.

What is gamification?

Simply put, gamification is the application of game-thinking in non-game contexts. This means certain common elements are typically “borrowed” from traditional games and applied in new ways in areas ranging from training and education, to sales and marketing, from customer retention, to employee engagement.

How can gamification impact the bottom line of organizations?

Most of today’s organizations still follow the archaic “carrot-on-a-stick” rule of motivation to engage their employees. Dangling a reward in front of employees is supposed to entice them to work hard and motivate them to achieve their goals. Most fail to realize that this method hardly inspires the modern-day workforce, least of all, the Millennials. While the problem of disengaged employees is a challenge that present-day enterprises are still struggling to cope with, gamification can change the situation for those businesses who take a chance on it.

I believe when you enjoy what you do, productivity follows suit. The concept of gamification builds on this idea. Making work enjoyable and fun can most definitely be a productivity booster for the enterprise workforce. Gamification does that.

How gamification makes your workplace more productive

Gamification has a proven track record among the businesses that have tried it. But, how can it inject that extra dose of productivity among your workforce? Here’s how:

It embraces technology. For many of today’s employees, the idea of a happy workplace begins by having the latest technology at arm’s reach. In a recent study by Dell,[3] 76% of employees have reported that technology has influenced the way they have worked in the past year. In fact, availability of technology is an important factor that helps them determine if they would take a new position or stick to their old one.

Gamification, with its almost instant tech appeal, can not only improve employee engagement but also push them towards being more productive by enhancing their competitive spirit through game-like challenges.

It drives clear outcomes. Gamification is a great way for people to measure exactly how they are doing against a goal, and their peers. It makes incentivizing easy as well, as it allows for incentives to be built against the employees’ goals and roles. It allows an individual to evaluate their performance much better, as a result.

It helps to personalize. With gamification, companies can personalize incentives. This means that employees can be rewarded in a way that suits them individually. For instance, meeting a goal can have monetary rewards, but could also mean flex time, or a trip, depending on the employee’s preference.

Besides making the workplace more engaging and productive, brands embracing gamification are better positioned to retain their employees by fostering an environment of healthy competition. That competition not only urges employees to up their performance levels, but also boosts their morale by offering tangible signs of accomplishment. This is what we call a win-win situation, and gamification may give us a glimpse into the future of the workplace.

What solutions make the most sense for your business?

Find the techniques that will work best with your workforce and your culture.

Dan Newman is the president and founder of Broadsuite, where he consults for a wide range of brands on their digital strategies. He is the author of 2 books, including the Amazon best-selling business book, “The Millennial CEO,” and “The New Rules of Customer Engagement.” Newman also contributes to Forbes, Huffington Post and Entrepreneur, and was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the 100 business and leadership accounts to follow on Twitter.

[1] Gartner. Best Practices for Harnessing Gamifications's Potential in the Workplace. 18 October 2012

[2] Chou, Yu-Kai. A Comprehensive List of 90+ Gamification Cases With ROI Stats.

[3 ]Dell. Beyond the Cubicle: How Technology Connects and Optimizes the Modern Workforce. 2016