What is gamification?
Gamification is the use of game elements and game design techniques in a non-gaming environment. Put simply, gamification takes major elements of games such as competition, action, and fun and applies them through game mechanics, like points and leaderboards. Gamification uses an aspect of psychology that thrives on competition, engagement, and reward. A study in the Frontiers of Human Neuroscience found that gamification works in a similar way to video games. The concept of gamification is to replicate the benefits of video games, for example, improvement of cognitive behavior.
Gamification in business
Gamification has been used in big and small business to address a number of challenges. Employers are utilizing gamification at different stages of their employees’ careers to aid engagement and retention.
The following are some benefits of gamification in business:
- Onboarding – Employers can use employee gamification to welcome new hires or to introduce new products and services. Quizzes and simulations are some examples of gamified learning. Using gamification to onboard new employees is a fun way to introduce new hires to the culture of your workplace.
- Employee retention – According to research, 87% of business leaders advised that improving retention rates is a high or critical priority. High employee turnover can lead to loss of productivity and could also affect your profitability, as it costs around $38,000 to replace employees. Given that 31% of employees stated that training and education opportunities would increase their loyalty to a company, gamification is one way to provide training and development to keep your best employees. Using employee gamification to assist in retention rates provides employees with dynamic and reward-based training. This is because your employees have the chance to win accolades, which helps to keep them motivated.
- Employee engagement – Keeping employees engaged boosts productivity and helps to facilitate business transformation. Use employee gamification in your small business to demonstrate that you value your employees. Valued employees are generally more loyal to your business. Offering rewards through gamification shows that you celebrate and appreciate your employees. Gamification can also be used to recognize when your employees have exceeded expectations.
- Intellectual capital retention – The Washington Post has reported that 10,000 people retire in the U.S every day. The high number of retirees can result in businesses being left without key information when the retiring employees have not shared their knowledge. This occurrence is known as ‘brain drain’ and can also happen when employees with high levels of expertise leave to pursue employment elsewhere. Businesses can use employee gamification to prevent brain drain by rewarding the expert employee while, at the same time, training others to gain the necessary knowledge.
Gamification e-learning examples
Gamification in e-learning gives learners the opportunity to practice real-life situations in a safe environment.
The following are examples of gamification e-learning that can inspire your small business:
- Duolingo teaches languages and is used by over 70 million people around the world. The company uses gamification to transform learning languages into a fun activity by incorporating:
- Earning currency (lingot) when different activities are completed.
- Using a points system and a leaderboard.
- Providing a sense of achievement with a trumpet fanfare for completing rounds.
- Collaborating and competing with friends that users have invited through Facebook.
- Voting on the top translation that has been submitted by users.
- McDonalds UK’s cash register training game is provided in conjunction with learning provider City & Guilds Kineo. This game involves simulating the cash register experience to find out how learners will provide the best customer experience. The game involves:
- Providing a realistic simulation of the cash register system.
- Using scoring, bonuses, lifelines, and challenges.
- Giving dynamic feedback because the learner’s choices are reviewed in real-time.
- Treehouse is an online training platform that teaches app development, code, and business skills. Learners can select different learning paths for their chosen outcomes. Points and badges are earned as learners progress through the courses on the platform. These achievements can be added to learners’ resumes to increase the chances of securing a job.
Using gamification to train your small business employees increases the likelihood of engagement and information retention. There are a number of ways that you can use gamification to train your employees, including to:
- Establish a healthy competitive environment in your workplace. Encourage your employees to display the rewards and badges earned on professional social media, like LinkedIn. Alternatively, you can dedicate a space to track and show your employees’ progress to encourage team members to work towards getting more rewards.
- Incentivize your employees when they have learned a skill and motivate them to learn additional skills. This allows your employees to feel like they have more autonomy and control over their learning.
- Use a familiar medium to train your employees. If your workplace is made up of Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z, they probably already have a great deal of exposure to video games. This factor should make the adoption of gamification easier. If you have a mixture of generations working in your small business, you should introduce gamification on different levels to include all your employees in your training efforts.
Examples of gamification in the workplace
If you are considering implementing this platform in your small business, the following examples of gamification in the workplace will give you inspiration:
- Bluewolf is an IBM company that provides digital solutions to improve employee and customer relations. Bluewolf used gamification to provide their employees with rewards and points for effective collaboration. Employees can earn points when they share content via Twitter or LinkedIn, publish a blog post on Bluewolf’s site and replay to a ‘Chatter’ post.
- SAP used gamification to motivate their salespeople. SAP designed Roadwarrior to replicate a planning session that happens before a salesperson calls a customer. The salesperson must correctly answer multiple choice questions to win points. The top scorers are displayed on a leaderboard and team members can challenge the leader via different quizzes.
- Google has gamified their employees’ travel expenses. When an employee spends less than budgeted on a trip, they can get the difference in their paycheck, spend it on another trip or donate it to a charity.
General gamification examples
Gamification is not only used in the context of business. Any industry and organization can benefit from the principles of gamification.
The following are non-business related examples of gamification:
- The U.S. Army used gamification to attract new recruits and to encourage awareness. The Virtual Army Experience was displayed at shopping malls and public events to show the public what it is like in the army. The game used combat scenarios where players had to rescue aid workers and man a helicopter while being attacked. The army’s use of gamification helped to provide those who were interested in signing up with a glimpse of what joining the army could entail.
- The World Bank created the game Evoke to encourage young people to come up with answers to the biggest problems facing the world, for example, poverty and hunger. The game is described by the World Bank as a “crash course in changing the world.” Players needed to complete 10 quests over a 10-week period. Those who completed the game earned the title of World Bank Institute Social Innovator. Winners also had the chance to win travel scholarships and seed funding for new ventures.
Gamification software and apps
The quality of your small business employees’ gamification experience will depend on the software and apps you choose. As a small business, there are a number of gamification software and providers that you can choose from including:
- Plecto is a business data visualization platform that utilizes data to improve business performance. Plecto’s gamification dashboard helps you to run contests, define achievements and rank your team’s performance in real-time.
- Quizgame gamifies employee training by reinforcing learning in a fun way. Quizgame provides challenging games to motivate your small business employees with the functionality for employees to directly challenge each other by taking the same quiz.
- Saleskick is a gamification software that helps to motivate sales teams. This software allows everyone on the sales floor to view your sales data in real-time. They also provide leaderboards, goal tracking, the ability to create sales competitions, and rewards for your team.
Gamify your life with the best productivity apps
Gamification is not just applicable to businesses and organizations. Individuals also use gamification to improve different areas of their lives. One example is fitness apps, like Fitbit, that allow you to monitor your fitness and set fitness challenges.
Productivity is an area of personal development that is often associated with gamification. Productivity apps use gamification to help individuals save time and be more efficient.
Here are some of the best productivity apps:
- Habitica provides users with quests, games, and rewards to help them keep track of their to-do list. Checking off a task or completing a project results in rewards such as gold and experience points. The more you get done, the higher the levels you can achieve. This app also includes a multi-player function where other Habitica users can provide motivation to people who are having a difficult time staying on track and remaining motivated.
- FocusList is a focus and daily planner app that is based on the pomodoro technique. This productivity app helps you to plan your day after you have listed what you want to do and estimated the time it will take. FocusList gathers the information that you provide and shows you what your day will look like.
- Hours is a time tracking app that shows you how you spend your day. This app tracks the amount of time you spend doing meaningful work, as opposed to the time spent being distracted. The Hours productivity app helps you to audit your time to determine what changes need to be made.
- Noisli is a productivity app that uses sound to help you to remain focused. Noisli provides productivity sounds that enable you to concentrate on the task that you are performing. Some of the sounds that are thought to aid your concentration include rain noise and crashing waves.
- Pushbullet syncs your computer and your phone to increase your productivity. This removes the need to switch between your phone and computer when you are working. With PushBullet, you are able to view your social media, WhatsApp, and other phone apps on your computer screen even if your phone is in a different room.
- Strides is a productivity app that helps you create new habits. It allows you to start the habits you want to form and tracks your progress. Strides provides you with statistics on how well you are keeping up with your habits. It also provides you with the motivation to stick to your habits with features, like a pace system and calendars.
Invest in your employees
Gamification is one way to keep your employees enthusiastic and engaged. Another important method of keeping employees happy is to pay them correctly for the hours they have worked. Deputy provides the functionality to accurately schedule your hourly workforce so your employees will receive the correct pay.
Sign up for a free trial of Deputy to see how our solution can help to keep your employees happy.
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