Five ways gamification can boost business

By Neil Draycott, Head of Solutions & Architecture, Business Systems Limited 

If you’ve ever spent hours playing a game in order to unlock a new achievement, or get to the next level, then you’ve experienced gamification at its finest. The psychology of wanting to be rewarded is human nature and it can be applied to the workforce too. Gamification – a recently developed and growing trend in the business world – relates to taking the typical elements of game playing and applying them to a professional setting. The concept has a range of benefits and research shows that companies who use gamification are seven times more profitable than those that don’t, with 90% of employees claiming gamification makes them more productive at work.

Keeping staff engaged at work is challenging – particularly when it is a repetitive job. Gamification is an effective method to liven up mundane work, improve team morale and increase productivity, which can have a huge financial impact on a business. Here are five ways to implement the process into the workplace.

Gamify the training process 

New employees are faced with the daunting task of getting up to speed with how to use new software, what their manager needs and getting to know their colleagues, which can be overwhelming for a lot of people. Gamifying the onboarding process is a smart method to get new starters up to speed fast, without other employees having to spend too much time helping them. Using interactive games – along with a quiz at the end of a tutorial to ensure the information has been learned – is a productive method to get new starters on track early. It’s a fun way to learn and also allows new starters to work independently and at their own pace to learn new skills, without pressure from a colleague or manager.

Upskill current employees

Using games is a great method to upskill existing employees too. Once an employee has been at a company for some time it is not unusual for them to become bored or demotivated and begin to cruise along with no real challenges on a day-to-day basis. Upskilling current employees through gamification and showing them a clear path forward of how to progress within the company is key to keeping employees motivated and happy in the workplace. An employee motivation survey found that motivated employees are 87% less likely to resign. Gamifying work in specific areas can not only broaden an employee’s skill set but also accelerate their rate of learning.

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Introducing incentives is also a great way to boost productivity, but be careful not to revert to a simple voucher every week; speak to the team and find out what it is they are after – different people are motivated by different things.

Recognise wins

Creating a reward structure involving achievements, online badges, and leaderboards is a great method to increase employees’ drive and, if done well, can be vital to employee retention. To create a successful structure, speak to staff to find out what makes them tick. This may be recognition for some or prizes and rewards for others. Personalise the structures to ensure all members of the team have something they genuinely want to work towards. Receiving awards for good work is stimulating and can go a long way to keep employees’ spirits high and productivity up as well as encouraging workers to repeat the behaviour.

Healthy competition 

Not only is gamification great for individuals who want to improve and compete with themselves – it can also bring a team together. Having small competitions for prizes in teams adds an added element of fun and brings out the competitive side in people, which naturally increases productivity. Friendly competition at work can help colleagues bond and improves overall workplace culture. A Glassdoor survey revealed that 56% of workers felt that a good workplace culture was “more important than salary” for job satisfaction.

Tackle unpopular tasks

There are always tasks at work that are dreaded. For tasks that staff begrudgingly do, try offering rewards for completing them. Having an incentive to tackle jobs that are usually avoided gives employees a reason to take them on, as they know it will be worth it if they receive recognition or earn a prize afterwards.

There are multiple ways different aspects of working life can be gamified to improve all areas of a business. Not every facet of the workplace needs to be turned into a game to drive productivity, but if there are areas where results are dwindling, incorporating game elements can really boost results and morale. Keeping employees motivated and engaged at work goes hand in hand with a thriving business and gamification is a great way to do this.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024