2020 certainly presented HR teams with new challenges.
On one hand, many new employees joined new companies and new teams during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the vast majority were suddenly forced to work from home during this time. And if those companies did not have an official work-at-home policy in place before this sudden event, this new dynamic could present a number of real challenges, including low morale, demotivated employees, and lost productivity.
Despite this sudden challenge, HR managers and teams could use gamification in new ways to overcome these potential obstacles and actually get even more out of remote teams.
Gamification in the workplace is not a new concept. It has been used successfully by business leaders and managers for quite a while, but it’s worth a look at the potential of this strategy.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines gamifying as “the process of adding games or game elements like keeping score and competing among teams as well as using other non-game contexts like online marketing, product promotions, or even a simple task.”
Recently, gamification has become an even more popular work trend in business environments, especially as a way to drive employee motivation and engagement. This leads us to a follow-up question: Just what is workplace gamification?
In this context, gamification does not refer to turning work into a game. Instead, it is a play on human psychology, which uses a game context to motivate a person to attempt to compete with others and prove themselves to be the best in front of their manager (or other authority), peer group, and competitors.
To picture the value of gamification, just think of the good old days when completing your homework correctly meant getting a gold star on your paper and even a little praise from your teacher. That was the power of gamification.
You’ve been a part of these situations for a long time now, to the point where this idea has become a natural part of your daily life starting with school and now, in the workplace.
Examples of gamification in the workplace can include game-based activities such as keeping score of who closes more deals in sales, or who achieves a specific monthly goal first. Rewards and recognition approaches (and platforms such as HR Cloud’s Workmates) are based on the same concept and can provide extra motivation for more collaboration and teamwork.
While it may be tempting to rush in and attempt to take advantage of many different aspects as you implement gamification, business leaders first need to identify and focus on those that best suit our requirements.
Never underestimate employees’ urge to compete and “win” in their quest to prove that they are better than all others. In this case, your workforce will strive to be the best at their jobs but will also be interested in exploring and adapting to the most recent developments in the industry, both while on the job but also during any training or education they may be pursuing. This opens them up to a whole new world of learning, which leads to even more advanced skills. If done successfully, this new level of expertise will become a win-win: beneficial for the company and the employee.
Higher skills lead to better efficacy in direct proportions, and that is what you as an employer aim for, isn’t it? This also positively affects the overall organizational productivity and works to motivate employees, thus propelling the enterprise towards its goals faster.
Contrary to popular belief, everybody likes a challenge! And when it comes to a group task, let’s just say it’s a recipe for success. Creating inter-departmental teams and setting up competitive game-based goals is a surefire way of raising the workforce’s morale while also promoting teamwork between various departments. Many companies also use CRM software to ensure that all members are on the same page about each assigned task.
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Having fun while working is important but what is also essential is the fact that each employee can analyze for themselves how well they’re performing or how far they are from reaching their targets in real-time. Keeping a check on one’s own work further builds responsibility and motivates the worker to try harder.
Each company has its own policies for motivation and engagement and appreciation of their employees, and none can be considered higher or lower than the next. As mentioned before, you need to choose the best way to recognize and reward your workforce.
The following however are some generic ideas that may help you in successfully gamifying your organization.
Tipping your hat for their exemplary services in front of the entire office is sure to earn you their loyalty, while also motivating them to work harder and achieve more targets. Demonstrating appreciation in front of their colleagues is a great way to let all your employees (even worldwide) know digitally through your social media pages of their success. Everyone loves fame and recognition and giving it to them, even on a minor level, will increase their morale and encourage other employees as well to perform better.
Many corporations around the globe don’t just assign tasks to their employees but also help them in upskilling through various free and paid courses. These opportunities to learn more in their fields are respected and greatly appreciated by the workforce as it does not just display that the company has their overall welfare in mind, but also enhances their individual market value.
Company-sponsored trips, discounts on gyms for workers of a certain enterprise, free gifts on the business’ founding day, and gift cards to online or offline brands and stores on the personnel’s birthday are just some ways of celebrating the alliance between the organization and their employees. However, these go a long way in building a rapport amidst the parties, and the team steps up their game to justify these presents. You can gift them an experience as well.
Often while commending the work of the highest achievers, the corporations forget to acknowledge the job well done by the rest of the team. This can hurt their confidence and determination, thus leading to a decline in their productivity. Thus next time, make sure all your employees feel appreciated while incorporating gamification at work.
Use elements and game mechanics like scoreboards, leadership positions, points, and badges during the various training sessions of the workforce. You can also use social media platforms to keep a track of the highest scorers. This encourages the workers to give their best in the process which has a dual effect - on one hand, they learn better as that’s the way to higher rewards, and on the other hand, it builds up a healthy competition in the teams which further propagates inter-departmental and intra-departmental harmony and a happy work environment.
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a whole lot of health issues for your workers. By including some gaming elements in their daily routine, like points to the one with the highest number of steps per day, can contribute to their good health while simultaneously showing how much the company cares for their well-being. This can also further reduce the number of sick leaves taken by the staff, annually.
Gamification to Games - Beware!
A common misconception in organizations, that stems from the term ‘Gamification’ itself is that it refers to turning work into a game.
That is absolutely not what it is though.
The best-gamified process is considered to be the one where the player doesn’t even realize that he/ she is playing.
Avoid building games on top of complex processes as that might result in lowering efficiency in the long run as the team now has to spend more of its resources on both the game and the actual task.
In the end, we are certain that you have accurately grasped what the term and its surrounding hype are all about. Now is the time for its effective application.
So what are you waiting for? Run for it now before someone else takes the cake. Best of luck!
Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. As a passionate SEO and content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory, and Inc42, to name a few. He can be reached at Twitter @DholakiyaPratik