Can gamification motivate your employees?

Engagement & Motivation
November 8, 2018

It’s pretty safe to say that happy people function better. Therefore, having happy employees means more productive and motivated employees. Many people think they’re multitasking to maximize their efficiency in a workday. In reality, what is perceived as “multitasking” is actually redirecting focus extremely quickly, causing the inevitable; lack of motivation and eventual exhaustion. Motivation is neuroscience, and dopamine plays the largest part in the most “important reward pathway in the brain.” Not only is dopamine commonly associated with pleasure, but it is actually spiked when motivation and reward are involved. Scientifically speaking, your brain can only focus on one task at a time, and coincidentally, the easiest way to attain this productivity spike is by setting incremental goals. Gamification is an easy solution to simplify tasks, in turn creating efficiency and productivity in the workplace.

Why games?

What is it about Pokemon Go, Overwatch, and Call of Duty that is so addicting? Extremely successful video games are created by having obstacles that are just challenging enough for the player to keep coming back for more, but not so challenging that they eventually give up. What is every gamer chasing? A reward. Games connect to the top three psychological aspects for motivation: recognition, competition, and reward. Companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, and Treehouse, amongst many others, have all used gamification to increase business productivity through employee engagement. Gamification is about using the psychology of gaming to motivate your employees.

This is not meant to turn a work task into a game, but instead create a reward-based system that encourages healthy competition. Most employees want to be recognized for their contributions and know that what they do within the company really does matter. Using the many gamification tools such as badges, leaderboards, challenges, levels, and point systems, employees become motivated to gain recognition for their work. This gives the employee a sense of control as the cued micro-tasks help them to perceive their capability. This encourages the inherent competitive drive, that is within us all, to be brought forward, leading to the overall employee and company growth.

Does it really work, or is it simply a trend?

It is possible that gamification is both - a trend that actually works. Besides employee engagement, gamification promotes many positive outcomes:

  • Real-time feedback, allowing the employee to see where they are doing well and track smaller or forgotten tasks.
  • Elimination of the fear of favoritism by showing the employee where they are excelling or falling short in comparison to others.
  • Objectivity
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Improved productivity, which in turn improves business outcomes.
  • Happier employees, happier customers. Gamification can simply make work just a little more fun!
90 % of employees are more productive when gamification is implemented. But how do you get started?
  • Identify what goals need to be achieved within your business and why. How can you get there? Work backward to ensure you don’t miss any steps.
  • Determine what changes need to be made in employee behavior and skill to make this happen? What are your employees expected to achieve when using this app?
  • Clarify, do your employees understand the purpose of gamification and how it can help? This will ensure that the application will be used once it’s implemented.
  • Design, take time to create an application around the users/employees experiences - and make sure it’s fun! Need a little boost? Book a demo with us for some fun, easy, and effective employee engagement tips.
  • Personalize the game to your employees and their workflow - make changes according to their needs and involve them in the creation process.

That being said, gamification can present some major limitations if not implemented appropriately. Many careers do not have quantifiable performance tasks, which are trickier to track in the gamification world. A gamification application can easily fail if it is designed poorly or fails to possess meaning to the employee. Even if you have the perfect app, if an employee isn’t a good fit or a negative office culture looms in the air, gamification may just make the employees even more unhappy, viewing it as one more task to live up to. Finding the right balance is crucial for employees to avoid feeling constantly “on” and competitive, especially with the transparency of the stats available to everyone in the office. In the wrong context, this can leave your employees feeling violated, controlled, and eventually burned out from the stress of staying ahead.

If you really take the time to design your app to meet your employee needs, there are endless possibilities for its use in engagement. Whether your employee is working in-office or remotely, the mobility of gamification can be easily applied to jobs with trackable tasks like measuring sales made, clients acquired, and complaints cleared. But everyone can take a training tip from the gamification app that SAP tech enterprise created. They created a virtual world called Roadwarrior, in which the employees can interact with simulated clients and close sales. They gain points and badges for correct answers and successful deals. Not only did this virtual leaderboard provide them with higher levels to unlock, as well as in-office recognition, but it also made their real-world interactions much more efficient and successful. Knowing your employees can help you keep them happy - and what a better way than to have a little fun!

Discover how your organization can benefit from peer-to-peer recognition - book a demo with Qarrot today!


The Team at Qarrot