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Gamification

Since the beginning of the new millennium, it’s been said that gamification, when used in business, smaller or bigger, is a revolutionary method that will change employee motivation and improve efficiency, thus leading to bigger sales.

Gamification techniques came into Polish business quietly. The moment when more and more companies started to introduce gamification into the structure of their operations was no sudden shock or a major change of the employers’ habits. Still, it remains a fact that employee motivation systems based on achievements in ‘games’ become more and more popular and will soon become a part of even small enterprises. It’s also a good moment to write about the myths and inaccuracies in the perception of gamification as a tool for motivating employees. Falling into this trap may thwart even the best of the employer’s plans and squander the employees’ will to change. So, what are the things to avoid in the process of gamifying the employee motivation methods?

1. Gamification is not pointsification
You will often come across the opinion that gamification is just a way of assigning points, virtual badges or medals on the basis of which you can clearly determine who did more work in a shorter time and with good results. However, there is another method that is a part of gamification: ludification (playfulness), which is focused not so much on assigning points and ‘rewards,’ but on recognising employees for achieving something difficult, unexpected, or arduous. Below is a list of concepts associated with pointsification and ludification:

Pointsification

 Collections
 Pre-set goals
 Competitive
 Badges
 Scoreboards

Ludification:
 Progress
 Big wins
 Self-directed goals
 Learning
 Social

2. Gamification makes everything better
Gamification, when used skilfully as a motivation tool (adapted to the size of the company, the nature of its operations, and the personnel), will surely result in bigger sales of products and services and, consequently, more profits and better efficiency. Better-motivated employees that function within the enterprise’s society are naturally more goal-oriented and focused on working together for the benefit of the company. A badly selected system of gamifcation and rewarding particular activities and results will be counterproductive, demotivating employees, reducing efficiency and sales, thus decreasing the income of the company.

3. Gamification is the only motivation tool
Companies using games to motivate their employees often think that the games system is all they need. However, motivation can be divided into intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation means satisfaction from achieving the goal, unexpected rewards, and stimulating creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Extrinsic motivation means primarily rewards for reaching pre-set goals, working solely for the reward, and a possibility of reward inflation. Conclusions? Anyone introducing gamification in their company should try and balance these two types of motivation. What else? Important factors that affect motivation are employment stability, democracy in making the key decisions in the company, and the atmosphere of everyday work.

4. Gamification is engaging
Naturally, it is, like every other game. But once again, there are two elements: transactional engagement and emotional engagement. The former is pay for performance, doing only what is required, and jumping ship for a better offer. The latter means attachment to the company, a desire to do more and get more in return. Again, the key thing is balance, which ensures optimum results of motivation through gamification. If the scales tilts to one side, it never produces benefits!

5. Gamification must have badges and points
If you follow all of the above advice and don’t believe all the popular opinions about gamification, your system will do without badges and points assigned to employees.

To sum up, the crucial thing in introducing gamification tools is to make thought-through decisions with respect to the extent and the manner of implementation of these tools. If care is taken of the necessary balance between all of the aspects, the new tools will surely contribute to boosting efficiency and effectiveness of employees, their satisfaction, and their levels of motivation. From there, you are one step away from bigger sales and bigger profits.

The article was written on the basis of the ‘5 myths about gamification everyone shoud know’ report by Darcy Jacobsen. Source: http://www.globoforce.com/gfblog/2013/5-myths-about-gamification-everyone-should-know/