The gamification technique is about making an activity more interesting and rewarding. And I believe these are the two things that entice any human mind to engage in an activity.
Your desk or field job could also be one of the activities that can be exposed to gamification. After all, appraisal, rewards, recognition, healthy competition and creativity at work are the motivating factors for employees. This is what keeps them on their toes and get set going.
Gamification techniques can be one of the tools that if used effectively can help an organization bring major changes at its workplace.
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* Enhance Productivity
Happy employees are the most productive and nothing brings happiness like motivation. Factors of motivation can vary from person to person. Just because it is a workplace that doesn’t mean only cash incentive, promotion, paid leaves, other monetary benefits can be the sources of motivation. Things like food, free movie tickets, concert passes, paid trips can also bring motivation.
If your reward is fulfilling and the work is made interesting, productivity will find its way. Let’s say you assign points to a task/work. As and when that task is completed, the progress chart is filled and employees move to the next level. But this point game is possible where the task can be quantified, such as leads generated by the marketing department or conversion done by sale personnel.
In the case of creative fields like writing, the performance can be based on articles/blogs view, bounce rate, retention rate, likes, shares, comments. Make a colourful track chart, monitor progress, inform employees when they reach a new level and the game is on!
* Accepting Change Becomes Easier
You must be aware of the storm brought by Pokémon Go. A location-based reality app that was downloaded by 100 million (on Play Store) and achieved $268 million mark in terms of revenue by August 2017. These are the figures achieved within one year of release. On its first day of release, 6 million downloads took place in US, New Zealand and Australia alone. Its ground-breaking number and server overload pushed the developer to put a break on its release in other countries.
People were breaking all end loose. They let go off their work, food, sleep to reach the targets.
This is the power of a game!
Usually people remain resistant to change because the path from their ‘comfort zone’ to ‘change’ is boring. However, so is not the case if you try to bring that change in a fun manner. As you know, games are anytime fun. Therefore, the gamification technique facilitates an organization to let its employees leave their comfort zone without any resistance.
* Defines Career Path
Games are flexible. You choose what to play, with whom to play and when to play. You decide your character and what powers it holds. It is customized to the extent that you can even select your mission or target.
Similarly, if you have interns or freshers to fill the vacancy, who are the jack of all trades (only theoretically) but master of none, gamification techniques will help you to find out what they are good at. These newbies are the young blood, who prefer cargo climbing net over straight ladder as former gives them the room to make their own space.
If gamification techniques are integrated with campus placement management software, it can really help new ones with their career path.
Facebook game created by Marriott hotels in 2011 is the perfect example of this. Players were asked to manage the hotel and accordingly their positions were filled at U.S. location.
* Makes Atmosphere More Socializing
Have you ever been part of a team building activity organized by your office? If you have been, you may be aware of what I am going to say.
The adrenaline rush that those games and activities bring, they make you talk to a person whom you might have seen for the first time. Imagine you are a part of a team (of say seven members) in which you hardly know anyone. However, your excitement to win as a team will make you leave all your apprehensions behind and engage in discussion with its members.
Perhaps Laure Cetin, SAP’s community manager, was familiar with this too because that’s how she decided to implement gamification technique into SAP’s community network to bring engagement. Members were supposed to receive badge and points depending on how regularly they logged in, feedback provided, added content or provided feedback. Amazing results could be seen in just a month. Community feedback shoot up by 100% and engagement within the company’s social network risen to whopping 400%!
* Helps In Learning New Things
Learning becomes easy when it’s fun to acquire, and games are all about fun.
Duolingo, the language learning game, is inspired by it. It has helped 100 million people learn new language.
Online simulation has a huge role to play in an organization, helping employees practice job skills. If the virtual world is well designed, the trainee will be able to improvise in the real world better and cope up with unpredictable situations confidently.
How gamification can go wrong sometimes?
By Being Counterproductive
Who said change is always positive?
As per Gabe Zichermann, co-author of Gamification by Design, 'gamification is 75 percent psychology and 25 percent technology.’
The nature of games is such that it triggers the release of dopamine, a hormone that is involved in memory retention and encourages one to lay hands on new things. Well, the same hormone is also blamed for addiction. But that is because too much of anything is bad.
Similarly, if gamification technique is not used in the right manner, it can also become a reason for underperformance. Don’t bring the concept of gamification on board for the sake of doing it. If your game lacks creativity and meaning, it is worse than being pointless. It can prove to be counterproductive. Employees who are desperate to win might even cheat as they want the reward by hook or by crook. And it can result in other employees losing motivation.
Omnicare, a pharmacy software company, is the epitome of it. It brought the respective concept with the aim of reducing helpdesk wait time. The fastest player was supposed to be rewarded with a cash incentive. However, the thought backfired as highly skilled employees felt that they were being over-monitored. And it eventually resulted in longer wait times and increase in employee turnover.
By Discouraging Human Touch
Gamification is good as long as employees and organization don’t get dependent on it. It should be used for the purpose of recruitment, job training, enhancing skills, learning new things, but self-improvement should not stop with the games.
Things like socialization, discussion, debate should not see an exit door. Therefore, organization should let employees forget about competition, winning and losing. For instance, if a person needs help from his or her colleagues to accomplish a target, a company should encourage it instead of pulling that person back in the name of competition.
Employees should be encouraged to work together, connect to mentors. In fact, they can do so even when they are trying to reach a target in a game. Such a step will give room for healthy competition and it the environment in which employees learn & work really matters.