Increasing Employee Motivation –
Is Gamification The Answer?

by Barbara Weathers

gamificationOne of the focuses for GU Professional Institute is enhancing human performance in a complex rapidly changing economic landscape by providing collaborative learning environments on topics that effect organization’s today and in the near future.  Gamification, when used correctly, can offer a collaborative learning environment due to its social aspects and underlying elements in basic human behavior.

Deloitte Development LLC, released a paper The Engagement Economy: How Gamification is Reshaping Businesses (2012), investigating current business’s usage of gamification and productivity.   According to the authors “(gamification)…will be in 25 percent of redesigned business processes by 2015, will grow to more than a $2.8 billion business by 2016, and will have 70 percent of Global 2000 businesses managing at least one….by 2014”.

Many of you are probably asking yourself – what is gamification and how can it help worker productivity?  I must say, I was asking myself the same questions a few months ago until we partnered with Doug Richards founder of B2i Ventures, now I understand its power.  When use correctly in combination with detailed research, knowledge of organizational goals and specified objectives game theory can dramatically increase performance, engagement and learning.

According to Deloitte, there are four overarching elements to successful use of gamification within organizations:

1) Progress paths:  In games the next desired step is usually crystal clear which is not often the case in real-world scenarios but can be added when progress paths are added to processes and systems.

2) Feedback and reward: Games provide instant reward, while in reality an individual’s action within an organization may never be noticed or rewarded.  Designing the right reward for the preferred action is key and no two people are motivated by the same incentive.

3) Social connection:  Social networks can be leveraged to create competition and provide support.  This enhances the ability to have conversation and dialogs with others that increase interaction and engagement.

4) Interface and user experience: With today’s improvement in video game graphics and Web page design, the user’s expectations for technology can be high, which can be a limitation for businesses without that skill set.

As with any trendy movement there will be success and failure – gamification is a hot topic for now – only time will tell if its applications within the business world will lead to ROI.  However the underlying premise remains – people need immediate feedback and recognition for contributions in the workplace and it doesn’t have to be monetary – it is amazing how motivating a heartfelt thank you during a meeting in front of co-works can be.

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