We’ve all had those jobs where we simply couldn’t get motivated. Maybe our tasks were boring—too complicated—uninspiring. In those cases, we muddled through. We got it done. But we weren’t necessarily fulfilled or engaged with the work we were doing. Gamification aims to change all that.
In fact, even beyond monotonous tasks, gamification has the power to amp up the workplace in exciting ways. By 2015, 40 percent of Global 1000 companies were already using gamification strategies to get employees more involved and committed to their daily responsibilities. In this age of digital transformation, the opportunities to implement gamification to help employees adapt, learn, and grow are almost endless. The following are just a few reasons gamification works—and wins—in today’s workplace.
It’s How We Think
Gaming isn’t just addictive because it’s fun to use technology at work. It’s addictive because it’s psychological. It plays to our desires to compete, share, get recognized, and be instantly gratified by a job well done. It can break down daunting and complex tasks down into smaller bite-size morsels, guide us to the next task, and give us a pat on the back for every step forward. It’s like having a constant source of encouragement pop up throughout our workday. Come to think of it, many of us probably use gamification to encourage our kids to do chores. Why should it stop when we get to the office?
It’s More Engaging
Did you know 70 percent of business transformations fail due to lack of engagement? It’s no wonder. When faced with change, many people get overwhelmed and shut down. And in times of digital transformation—when change is happening at lightning speed every single day—that is a problem companies just can’t afford. By incorporating a fun and interactive element into your employees’ workday, you keep them interested, active, and accountable. New software, policies, and assignments are less mundane because employees are being led through them, rather than muddling through on their own. And we all know engaged employees are also more fulfilled employees and therefore more likely to stay through your digital transformation, rather than move on to another “more comfortable” opportunity. I wrote about this extensively in my piece Workplace Gamification Driving Employee Engagement on Futurum.
It’s Real Time
There is perhaps nothing less motivating than working hard every day—to goals no one will even think about until the end of the year. All the blood, sweat, and tears that went into planning a big meeting, launching a major publication, or successfully targeting a new market segment get forgotten in lieu of three top-line objectives that don’t necessarily speak to your everyday accomplishments. Gamification can change that using real-time “Fitbit” style monitoring that allows employees to compete against one another to hit smaller daily targets, and receive recognition instantly for the hard work they are doing. Even better, it can track all those achievements automatically. This is turn leads to more active engagement, noted above.
By continually tracking and acknowledging when employees hit their goals, companies can remove “boss bias” that can occur when a supervisor allows their personal feelings about an employee to interfere with their objective review of their performance. This in turn creates a better workplace for employees, who no longer have to fear their boss’ mood will interfere with their year-end bonus.
OK—this isn’t technically a business goal, but in my view, it should be. When employees enjoy their work—see joy in the challenge—and feel recognized for the time and effort they are putting in, they will want to work harder and smarter than ever before. That’s exactly the kind of commitment we need in times of digital transformation.
Is gamification necessary? Of course not. But neither is AI, machine learning, automation, or any of the other amazing technologies popping up on the tech landscape that are helping companies meet their business goals even more efficiently than ever before. As such, leaders need to stop thinking of gamification as an added expense, and start thinking of it as a way to improve their team’s productivity, knowledge, and skills. No single technology today will bring your company success in and of itself. All are merely tools to work alongside your teams so that you can better serve customers, save money, and find new and exciting growth. And when it comes to games, I always want to be on the winning side of that proposition—especially during digital transformation.