The word ‘gamification’ might sound intimidating…but the concept has been around for generations. At the heart of gamification there are ten mechanics AND it turns out that you and your employees are already experts on all of them.
Let’s take a look at where gamification crops up in your day to day.
For all of us living in the United States it’s Girl Scout cookie season. Take a look at those sweet little girls hustling Thin Mints outside the grocery store… their sashes are full of brightly colored badges. Icons for each skill learned – fire safety, first aid, knot tying – proudly displayed for all to see. Gamification allows each employee to have a digital trophy case full of badges for peers and supervisors to see.
I have an older sister. We were (and remain) fiercely competitive. In high school a first place finish in the 500 yard freestyle from her almost always ensured a podium finish for me in the 100 backstroke. Like sibling rivalry, gamification encourages healthy competition in the workplace. Transparently displaying your workforce’s ranking gives each team member a reason to compete while ensuring things remain friendly – you’re on the same team after all.
3. Fast feedback
Think back to elementary school–the good life… until you do something out of line and your teacher utters three words that initiate a walk of shame.
CHANGE. YOUR. CARD. Gamification is a bit like changing a card or earning a sticker. The basic mechanic is fast feedback, connecting behavior to results. Are you performing better today than yesterday? How do you compare to co-workers? What did the last five customers say about your performance?
You know that whiteboard with rankings that sits in your break room; people generally forget about it until an email crowns the winner. Digital gamification platforms amp-up the transparency and value of this type of competition. Performance strengths and weaknesses are immediately visible, so everyone knows exactly where they stand relative to goals and to teammates.
5. Onboarding & Orientation
I vividly remember freshman orientation in college – “Fight on, you stalwart ram team…” the opening to my school’s fight song forever seared in my mind. New recruits – students or workers – respond to a high-energy introduction. So why do most workplaces cling to boring classroom-style training? Gamification creates new, individual paths that break down the traditional rigidity of onboarding.
I run at 5:00am. Sometimes my start is a little slow, and through my earphones a voice tells me I need to kick it into high gear to reach my goal time. Fitness apps and gamified workplaces are no different when it comes to the basic mechanic of goal setting. Gamification helps set and reinforce the right goals. For example, you can offer points when an employee meets their handle time goal for five consecutive days.
I’m in line getting a cup of coffee captivated by the Gold Card held by the person in front of me. The basic mechanic is leveling-up. Starbucks – like many other companies – gamified rewards years ago by creating social hierarchy based on levels of spending. Similarly, gamification drives adoption by creating levels that reward users for expanding or refining skills and/or adding to their knowledge. In the workplace, new levels in gamification software open access to new challenges, skills and rewards.
REFRIGERATOR. REFRIGERATOR. REFRIGERATOR. You scream like they didn’t hear you the first time, because you’re in a heated game of Taboo and after the first three clues you are at a loss. Time dwindles and your partner finally says the word “Tupperware.” That’s the answer you were looking for. Gamification encourages employees to reach out to one another as they work to complete quests and share best practices. Collaboration is required to advance in a well-designed gamification program.
Finding the right place to eat with friends is difficult. You need to balance taste, price and food allergies – and impending starvation. Yelp to the rescue! Review apps like Yelp make it easy to tap into the collective knowledge of a community of reviewers. Gamification engages participants with a communal experience. The feeling of everyone being ‘in it together’ draws co-workers into your gamification program. One person starts talking about a new challenge or quest; suddenly a handful of people are sharing how they beat the quest.
Almost every game has some type of point system and gamification in the workplace is no different. Take for example the last two contact centers I’ve visited. One had a whiteboard that displayed the names of 5 employees, each with tallied points next to their names. At the second a supervisor had created her own currency; earn enough “Kelly Bucks” and you could redeem a more desirable shift, or other goodie from Kelly’s drawer. Point systems are the oldest motivators in the book.
We’ve walked through the 10 game mechanics. Does every high-powered gamification program need to use all 10? Absolutely not. You have to find the right combination of these mechanics for your organization, to meet your goals. That’s the game.
To learn more, download our free white paper on the 10 Gamification Mechanics.