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    January 2, 2024

    Gamification: Is it Working for Your Employees?

    The idea of using gamification in the workplace is not new.  A standard definition of gamification is the process of adding elements of games to non-game activities, such as working or studying. In the workplace, gamification can encourage employee engagement, gratification, and retention. Gamification for employee engagement applies game mechanics to traditional work to increase motivation, engagement, and productivity in a fun way. The game mechanics often used in employee engagement gamification include points, levels, rewards, badges, leaderboards, and more. The question is when does gamification work and when doesn’t it work.

    When it comes to employee health and well-being, gamification for activities can be very effective in getting employees engaged. Though not everyone is competitive, it has been shown that leaderboards, if people are competing against those at similar levels, can be very effective. It can backfire if someone who is trying to get from 1,500 steps a day to 3,000 is competing against those who consistently get over 10,000 steps a day. Just gamifying something doesn’t guarantee employees will participate. It also doesn’t work if the activity, workshop, or action is something that is not meaningful to an employee in their current circumstances.

    It’s important to consider alternatives that allow them to participate, and potentially get the same reward, but be engaged differently.

    As you look to use more gamification, there are best practices:

    • If your employees don’t know what they’re working toward or what they need to do to get there, your gamification attempts will not produce results. Make sure your communications are clear about the benefits and resonating with everyone in your workforce.
    • Use public recognition and rewards to give employees a greater incentive to meet personal and company goals. Make sure that you are highlighting employees from different departments, levels in the organization, and backgrounds. It may not always be about a big goal but could also be about an increase in how many people in a team or location are working towards their goals.

    An efficient feedback loop will help your program use gamification successfully. 

    • Immediate and frequent feedback via scorecards or benchmarks toward a goal will allow employees to adjust their performance accordingly.
    • Gamification works only if your employees care about what they’re doing and why. Engagement is not one-size-fits-all, so gamification can’t be either. Talk to your employees about what motivates them and what rewards they might want before you implement a gamified system. You’ll have more success.  

    Every organization wants its people to be productive, engaged, and resilient. Adding gamification in the right way can help make that happen. It can create better team building, an increased awareness of the company’s objectives, and, most importantly, an event or program that is memorable. It is important to remember that employees aren’t training or in a health and well-being initiative to just earn a gift certificate. Best-in-class business gamification focuses on intrinsic rewards and benefits. It helps employees along the journey to greater success in the long term.


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