Examples of Gamification in the Workplace
For millions of years, ever since the first hunter gatherers trudged through forests and jungle for food, people have expected to find work difficult. Whether plowing a field, tightening a bolt on an assembly line or compiling an accounting report, people took for granted jobs were boring, at best.
However, during the entire history of humanity, people have voluntarily enjoyed playing games. When not forced to earn their living by the “sweat of their brow,” people raced, wrestled, debated, tossed carved bones that would become dice, threw rounded objects, dealt cards and invented hundreds of board games from checkers to chess to mahjong to Japanese Go. The current mania over Pokemon Go is just the latest example of how people prefer to dedicate their time, energy and attention to activities with little or no tangible reward at the end, except to the few, finest professional-level performers.
Until recently, unless you worked in a game-related industry, you expected the time spent in your job or professional career to remain boring. You did it because you needed the money. Money was your external reward you needed to buy food. You played games for fun and recreation, on your own time.
Gamification in the Workplace
The Millennial generation and technological advances are driving a movement to make work fun. To the extent companies assign job tasks that aren’t, they’re falling behind. Millennials are the least engaged generation in the work force. Older workers understand performing jobs just for the money. Yet many companies don’t understand why they should pay their employees to have fun. Many still refuse.
However, things are changing. In his book Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards, gamification pioneer Yu-Kai Chou lists gamification in the workplace as one of the current top applications of the entire trend. That’s because when companies encourage employees to have fun while (not in place of) working hard, they do work harder and, therefore, make those companies more successful.
On average, companies with unmotivated employees make only 50% of the profits that companies with motivated employees make. They experience only 40% of the revenue growth. A study done by Gallup a few years ago found that only 13% of employees were “actively engaged” with their jobs. A full 24% of employees were actively disengaged. According to a recent State of the American Workplace report, 70% of Americans don’t like their jobs. According to Gallup, that disengagement costs the United States economy $370 billion annually in lost productivity.
How are companies utilizing gamification in the workplace? Here are some examples:
- Pep Boys
Pep Boys is a large automotive and auto parts sales and service chain in 35 states. Their employees quiz each other every day on how to prevent loss of inventory and workplace safety. Employees who can’t answer correctly receive an immediate reminder. Employees who answer correctly get to play a slot machine game with a chance for a cash award. This has reduced inventory loss (mainly through reducing employee theft) and decreased on-the-job injuries.
The search engine’s employees who travel on business play their Travel Expense game. If they spend less than they’re allowed on a trip they have the choice of receiving the difference on their next paycheck, having it to spend on a future trip or donating it to charity.
This software and website development company saw its productivity jump after it added game-like features to its platform. Employees receive badges, called devatars, for completing tasks, especially the boring and challenging work employees usually avoid or put off. The percentage of employee task completion jumped from 10% to 80%.
- Lawley Insurance
The insurance company discovered it could not rely on its sales forecasts because of inaccuracies in its database. Business analytics needs accurate information, but wasn’t getting it. For two weeks they ran a contest for employees to discover and correct missing or inaccurate information. This included updating opportunities and updates, logging phone calls with sales prospects and leads and recording sales meetings. In two weeks, Lawley’s employees generated as many Salesforce activities as they had in the preceding seven and a half months.
Sales departments have traditionally been pioneers in gamification. Perhaps that’s because salespeople don’t perform jobs that are simply difficult and boring, they must also endure large amounts of rejection. Therefore, to keep salespeople motivated, sales managers have often used friendly competition and prizes to keep their staff making calls. SAP is a leader in the field of Enterprise Resource Management, and they designed Roadwarrior for their own sales team. Besides rejection, one of the biggest challenges their sales representatives face is keeping up with changes in their product. Therefore, Roadwarrior simulates a planning session that takes place before they call a customer. They must correctly answer multiple choice questions. Leaderboards track the top performer, and everyone can challenge the leader to a duel of quizzes.
- True Office
This company specializes in applying gamification to what many employees would nominate as the most boring part of their jobs, attending compliance training. From sexual harassment to HIPAA medical privacy laws to environmental protections, True Office makes the required training to remind employees how to obey the laws and regulations of their industries more fun and engaging.
An IBM company, Bluewolf builds digital solutions to help company employees and their customer relations. They encourage their customers to “go social,” and decided to take their own advice. They wanted to increase their own internal and external collaboration, building a culture of sharing. Their employees win points and other rewards by replying to a Chatter post, writing a blog post for Bluewolf, getting their own Klout score over 50, and other social media-oriented tasks.
Gamification with Datagame
The gamification trend is just beginning. The Millennial generation grew up playing computer games. They’ll perform at their best for companies that adapt to their needs.
Contact us to learn how you can use gamification in your workplace. Our DIY gamification platform is a great solution for your business needs.