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GAMIFICATION: WHAT IS IT AND HOW CAN IT BE INTRODUCED IN THE WORKPLACE?

 

It’s very easy for a business to solely focus on what engages customers and sometimes turn a blind eye to what engages their employees, yet the financial impact that improving staff morale and motivation can have on a business is phenomenal. You can have the most supportive manager in the world and the kindest colleagues, but if your day-to-day work is mundane and uninspiring, it doesn’t matter how many benefits or how nice the people are, demotivation and productivity will inevitably decline. This is where gamification can be implemented, which has the potential to be hugely advantageous for a business and its staff. Not only does it make the job more interesting but it will also add a competitive edge, improving staff productivity, and overall business results. 

Gamification is adding game-like features to non-gaming settings in order to improve engagement and productivity. It is based on finding out what motivates people to perform and changing something dull into a fun, positive experience. Neil Draycott, Head of Solutions & Architecture at Business Systems Limited, has five techniques to help gamify the workplace. 

Gamify the onboarding process

Training new employees to get them up to speed with the basics of how to do the job is a great example of how to use gamification; this can be done by implementing games with multiple levels for new starters, with the option to complete tasks and rank up. Just like playing video games, the more you play them, the more you learn and the better you get – the same applies with work, a great motivator for encouraging knowledge consolidation with your new starters. 

Reward achievement

Creating work leaderboards with prizes for top performers, biggest improvements or consistent participation is a great way to motivate employees. Speak to staff to understand what type of reward they would like and if that means different rewards for different people, make it happen. By personalising the reward system, staff have something they genuinely want to work towards, which in turn will boost productivity and engagement. This type of structure can also bring out the competitive side in people, whether that be beating their own scores or having healthy competition with work colleagues, with the added bonus of improving team morale and bringing staff closer together. 

It’s important to ensure you are encouraging healthy competition though, as if it’s taken too seriously or is too complex, this can have an adverse effect and actually demotivate staff. If done right, this type of reward structure can contribute to staff and talent retention. A Glassdoor survey revealed that 56% of workers felt that a good workplace culture was “more important than salary” for job satisfaction. 

Gamify job performance 

This method is a great way to keep current employees interested and productivity high. Let’s face it, once an employee has been at a company for some time and is in a routine,  day-to-day tasks can start to feel monotonous. Implementing gamification to work tasks can counteract this and give the employee a reason to go above and beyond for an achievement or reward. It also provides a great opportunity to upskill current workers, through tutorials that teach new skills, which will only increase their rate of learning. 

One other useful method which can be gamified to motivate current employees is the company’s career ladder. Creating a clear pathway where staff can specifically see what it is they need to do to get to the next level (promoted) is extremely important for staff retention. 

Incentives for unpopular tasks

For the jobs that employees have to force themselves to do through gritted teeth, provide them with an incentive, such as an achievement unlocked for every X amount of times they complete the task. Small incentives such as this can go a long way in motivating workers to complete the more tedious tasks that no one wants to do. 

Champion teamwork 

Incorporating point-scoring elements in small teams is a fun way to bring out people’s competitive side, which will naturally improve effort and results. Gamification doesn’t just have to be individual point-scoring. Delegating big projects to small teams is a great way to improve teamwork and collaboration among workers, and will also encourage task efficiency and completion. It also means staff are more likely to open up and communicate with each other in the future, whether that be asking for help or giving advice. 

Creating a workplace culture where staff are not only competing with themselves but also with others in a healthy, fun way is a recipe for success. Gamification is a great tool to use to liven up office work, bring colleagues closer together and broaden employees skill sets, whilst also increasing a business’ bottom line. It’s not easy or straightforward to create a healthy working culture – if only it was as simple as having a £20 voucher up for grabs at the end of the month; in reality, it takes time to create a thriving working environment where everyone wants to learn and take on more tasks to pick up new skills – the prizes and rewards are brilliant add-ons to help push employees to stay motivated.