how gamification elements can create an engaging work environment
By michael roche in Culture
The daily routines of a workplace can often lead to monotony—it’s something we all deal with from time to time. But what if work was less of a job and more of a game? Adding gamification to the work environment is a way to spice things up without taking away professionalism and productivity.
A quick crash course in gamification: it’s a process that takes game mechanics and applies them to anything from work environment and culture to training with the goal of producing specific results, such as building a more engaging work culture.
Instructure, an educational technology company perhaps best known for their LMS Canvas, is a good example of how to implement gamification effectively. The busiest time of the year for this company is aptly deemed “Fallapocalypse” because of the influx of new clients and start of the fall semester at universities. It becomes gamified when they reward employees who take the most phone calls with things like big, shiny nerf guns or gift cards. This gamification is fun and engaging, and it leads to more calls taken overall. It also helps alleviate the potential harsh times during this two-week peak. Instructure has gamification nailed, and they did it with a few easy tricks.
Sound interesting? It’s a lot of fun when you pull it off, but it also requires a bit of effort at the beginning. When applying gamification, it’s important to realize that it’s not a one size fits all—your company’s existing culture matters. Just like with any new strategy, you need to take a close look at your company’s culture. Does your work environment have a competitive feel? If so, engaging your employees with leaderboards could be an apt option. If your department is tech savvy, digital leaderboards are easy to implement. If your team prefers to go with the old white-board-and-marker technique, then have at it.
There are many ways that you can use gamification in your workplace based on your company’s needs. Does your company struggle with employee onboarding? Gamification can help. Those first few months of work are crucial to engaging your new employees, so turn the onboarding process into a series of fun, rewarding challenges!
Do your teams prefer cooperation to competition? Group competitions and team-based challenges are a great way to go. These activities provide another way to make your teams feel connected to one another while also producing results.
Do your employees prefer to work on their own? A great way to engage your employees and let them know that you care about their well-being could be to use a healthy lifestyle app like Achievemint. Achievemint lets employees keep track of daily healthful habits and amass rewards over time. This is a great way to help foster a more cooperative and friendly work environment. If you show employees that you care about their livelihood outside of work, they are more likely to be more satisfied workers.
After you’ve chosen a strategy, the next step is to get upper management on board. Consider the personalities of your management team and involve them with implementing your chosen strategy. If they see how gamification could help increase both productivity and satisfaction with employees, then they are more likely to stand behind it. If leadership doesn’t agree with potential changes, then the rest of the company will not follow suit.
Once you’ve got the greenlight from management, avoid the temptation to implement it immediately—it’s easy to get so excited that you introduce your shiny new strategy without a beta test. Implementing a gamification strategy is not about dropping it into the mix and expecting change to happen on its own. You have to pick a strategy that fits into your existing culture or it could end up making employees feel less engaged than before.
In the end, when you use gamification to help bring about improvements in the workplace, it also helps make things more fun, rewarding, and enjoyable. To get the best benefit out of a gamification strategy, make sure it matches with your department and its employees.