People of all ages enjoy games — the prospect of scoring points and earning rewards is just something we’re instinctively attracted to.
That’s why today you’ll find gamification techniques featured in far more than just board games and playground pastimes.
Gamification appears everywhere from the corporate world to improve employee engagement to the consumer product world to entice users to further engage with an app or product.
Read on to learn more about gamification and how to implement these strategies in the workplace to inspire employees to be more invested, engaged, and productive at work.
What is Gamification?
Gamification is the process of incentivizing peoples’ engagement and activities to drive results with game-like mechanics.
Elements of game play — point scoring, competition, and rules of play, for example — are applied to nontypical activities, such as an employee engagement program or an online marketing initiative.
In business, gamification can be implemented in a variety of departments, including sales, marketing, and HR and recruiting. For example, gamification techniques may be used to motivate employees to complete activities that drive sales, leads, and meetings with qualified candidates.
Here at EveryoneSocial, we’ve seen incredible results with the gamification features built into our platform.
What makes gamifying the workplace so popular? The fact that it’s so effective. Just take a look at these gamification statistics:
- 90% of employees say gamification makes them more productive.
- Employees report a 60% increase in engagement with a gamified work experience.
- Organizations that implement gamification strategies are seven times more profitable than those that don’t use them.
What is an Example of Gamification?
Glad you asked because we’ve got a great one!
EveryoneSocial’s leaderboard is an excellent example of gamification because it’s designed to get your people creating, sharing, and engaging with content.
Every participant has their own dashboard that displays their rank, change, and accumulated points, making it easy to see exactly where everyone stands — and how far they have to go to move up in the competition.
Ed-tech company Instructure took advantage of this gamification feature to encourage its employees to use the EveryoneSocial platform, and program leader Shannon Ma further incentivized participants’ social-sharing efforts with opportunities to win prizes like gift cards and iPads.
And it worked. Really well.
In just two months, the company grew its users by 336% and content shares by an astounding 3,846% — and that’s only the beginning. Just take a look.
“Hosting contests is incentivizing and exciting, and it just relights that fire,” Ma says. “Plus, as you can see, it also continuously helps increase engagement. And when you reset the leaderboard every Monday, you get fresh content and records, which is really helpful to see who’s engaged and who isn’t.”
Want to see some more successful gamification examples? Here you go!
What Is Gamification Strategy?
Gamification strategy is the process of taking something that already exists, like a software application or online community, and using gaming techniques to motivate consistent participation and long-term engagement.
Gamification in the workplace isn’t an actual game though. Instead, it focuses on the mechanics of how gaming works.
This creates a simple way for employees to view their own progress and build continued engagement within the company.
As we like to say, in the world of business software like EveryoneSocial, the foundation of success is engagement. In other words, how often and how much are our users using our product?
High engagement means success for us and the client.
Some of the same tools and processes we employ to gamify our product can be used in a general business environment as well.
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What Are Gamification Strategies for Business?
Clearly, there are a lot of benefits to gamification. However, there are also pitfalls, and some organizations go too far with these strategies, leading to negative results that impact business objectives.
Let’s take a look at what works with using gamification in the workplace vs. what doesn’t.
1. Take the long view.
Regardless of who or what you’re trying to gamify, it’s essential that you take the long view.
It’s very easy to get people excited such an initiative at first, but over time, that enthusiasm can wane, especially if your gamification attempts are needlessly complicated.
One of the chief things to avoid when it comes to gamification in the workplace is going too deep too early.
Make sure that whatever you do is appropriate for the audience and not going to be a one-and-done program. After all, the goal is long-term engagement — not a brief spike.
Naturally, there will be some people who relish competition more than others, but you want to try to engage as many people as possible. So keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t, and make adjustments as needed.
2. Don’t overemphasize rewards.
Thinking that people will participate in your program only if the rewards are big and flashy is a fallacy.
The best corporate gamification programs are about the competition itself. The problem with relying on big rewards to motivate employees are twofold:
- You can’t keep funding big rewards over the long-term. (Remember what we just talked about above?)
- It can create false incentives. In other words, people end up cutting corners just for the win.
3. Create a level playing field.
When we help our clients gamify their employee influencer programs, we advocate that they share the scoring framework with all of their users.
This helps everyone understand how the game works, what the goal is, and how to succeed at it.
Of course, gamification in the corporate environment should always be about some larger goal (e.g., driving new leads, increasing brand reach, etc.) and having the rules of the game out in the open helps everyone participate, regardless of who ends up winning.
4. Don’t celebrate just the top performer.
We’re all winners! No, but seriously, performance should be measured at least in part based on participation.
If 90% of your participants are fully engaged in your program, that’s a huge win, regardless if the top 10% drive the majority of the results.
So celebrate all your participants. After all, gamification in business is about the team.
Yes, you should reward your very top performer, but be careful to reward your participators as well. If you don’t, you’ll likely see a big drop off in engagement.
Related: We’ve asked some digital media, social, and transformational leaders to share their toughest lessons learned, keys to success, and emerging opportunities in employee engagement. Download the guide here.
5. Come up with creative rewards.
Back on the topic of rewards, it’s important to keep in mind that some prizes are more effective than others.
Instructure, for example, has clearly had enormous success with gift certificates and iPads. However, material rewards won’t work for every team or every company.
We’ve found that some of the best gamification rewards are those that are connected to professional recognition and advancement. These include such prizes as lunch with the CEO, a LinkedIn recommendation from a VP, a shout-out at an all-hands meeting, an invitation to guest blog on the company blog, etc.
Note that these rewards are also low- to no-cost and they really connect the gamification back to the business as a whole, which is very important.
6. Track and report.
You know that saying, “If it doesn’t get tracked, it doesn’t exist?” That certainly goes for gamification programs.
Tracking is important for a several reasons, but most importantly:
- It helps participants know where they stand and how to improve their performance.
- It helps the program leader understand if the program actually drives results.
We recommend putting a tool or solution in place like EveryoneSocial, which allows you to easily share results with users either through the web or mobile app, or an email newsletter and track overall program performance.
Of course, you can also do these sorts of things by hand, but that gets difficult and time-consuming pretty quickly. Why not let EveryoneSocial do that work for you?
Bring Gamification to Your Business
Hopefully, these points and learnings about gamification for business can help you think about how to better organize and execute gamification strategies at your company.
Things are more fun when there’s some competition; however, it’s important to be careful and be measured in your approach.
If you have any other thoughts or questions about gamification for business, or how some of this may apply to something you’re considering for your company, drop us a line. We’d be happy to chat.