According to a recent Gallup report, 87 percent of employees worldwide are not actively engaged in the workflow. Companies that do strive to attain greater staff member engagement and motivation, however, more than triple their business results compared to those who make no effort. How can you encourage employees to work more effectively and increase their involvement? Gamification is one of the ways to motivate your employees, but before talking about it, we first need to figure out what it is exactly.
What is gamification
Basically, gamification is the use of game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage and motivate users to solve problems. This approach has recently received a lot of attention, and many companies have already successfully adopted gamification in dealing with customers and employees. One of those companies is Domino Pizza, which uses the Domino Pizza Hero iPad app to engage with its customers. You may think that Domino’s app has more to do with entertaining and gaining customers’ attention than use as in-house business processes, but did you know that the company’s HR department uses it to select the most creative players — those who show imagination and initiative in the game — as its employees?
We might be used to seeing gamification everywhere and most likely perceive it as entertainment, not as a mechanism to increase employees’ involvement in an enterprise’s business. But that perception is wrong. Here is how productivity and gamification are connected.
What can be gamified
Enterprise gamification can be very effective in the following areas of a company’s activities:
- Business applications, processes, and systems
- Employee education and training
Let’s look at the three most widespread types of use of gamification in enterprises.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Gamification of CRM can be incorporated into customer-facing apps and employee-facing software.
- By offering an online game, Customer-facing gamified CRM turns customer surveys into games, allowing customers to help you design your next products or advertising campaign.
- Employee-facing gamified apps can be used to introduce better reward systems than can typical dialog systems. If you make interaction fun and rewarding, that will be a big improvement over ordinary CRM and e-commerce.
Supply Chain Management
Gamification also helps you to better visualize and understand your supply chain. By involving various players, collaborative aspects of the supply chain can be ingrained and understood more efficiently. At the same time, the entire supply chain management process can be handled more effectively.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Gamified ERP provides reward mechanisms in the forms of points, badges, leaderboard ranking and other visual gaming elements that demonstrate accomplishment or permit redemption for financial or non-financial incentives.
Project management and issue tracking tools
End-users of the solutions will be earning points, gaining badges and experiencing the world of an unknown with more levels coming up. Right now, an Azoft team is working on a very promising project gamifying JIRA, and Redmine.
Powerful examples of gamified software
To illustrate some of the examples mentioned above, here is more information about several outstanding examples.
So how do enterprises benefit from gamified software? Let’s start with Siemens, which uses a gaming platform to engage employees, customers and the general public while promoting awareness of its brand and technologies. The game PlantVille teaches manufacturing concepts through simulation of the experience of being a plant manager. Players participate through a Facebook registration and begin to manage one of three plants: a bottling plant, a vitamin plant or a plant that manufactures trains. Players identify managerial challenges and implement solutions to improve the plant’s KPIs. PlantVille Cafe presents educational platform within the game where players can discuss topics like process control, energy efficiency, industrial networking and more. And to check their problem-solving abilities and test their knowledge players are welcome to PlantVille Puzzler.
Another great example of gamified software is Innov8, Business Process Management (BPM) simulation game from IBM, that is used to teach business process management both IT and business players. The game presents three different scenarios: Smarter Customer Service where players use a call center environment to develop more efficient techniques to respond to customers; Smarter Traffic allows players to evaluate existing traffic model and to re-route traffic based on incoming metrics; Smarter Supply Chains where players evaluate a traditional supply chain model, balance supply and demand and lower environmental impact.
The value of gamification can be seen even in the field such as armed forces. A well-known America’s Army game has brought millions of potential recruits to the forces and become its most cost-effective recruitment strategy.
Why and how gamification works
Here arises a question, why gamified software engage the users more efficient? What is the difference between regular software and gamified one? As Gabe Zichermann wrote, “Gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology” and it says it all. The answer lies within psychology and more precisely within human motivation.
Understanding human motivation
Human motivation falls into two general types:
- Intrinsic presents itself internal motivations such as curiosity, learning, mastery, meaning, belonging, autonomy, etc;
- Extrinsic presents external motivations such as points, badges, competition, money, rewards, fear of failure, etc.
Underlying the concept of gamification is motivation. Gamified software engages with users on both internal and external levels. The more motivational items are used the more efficient software is.
Overview of Some Gaming Elements
Armed with an understanding of human motivation, it is time to take a look at game mechanics, UI elements players interact with, which are relevant to Enterprise Software:
- Points, badges and leaderboards - forms of virtual achievements by the players
- Challenge, constraints/deadlines with optimism — motivate players to action
- Journey, narrative, emotion — incorporate elements into the experience, engages the player on an emotional level, and involve them into a story within the game
Introducing gamification elements into Enterprise Software always keep in mind that to some employees collaboration may be more effective than a competition, so a variety of game mechanics are necessary for gamification success.
Pros and Cons of gamification
- Gamification increases employees engagement
- Gamification offers prompt signs of progress and achievements
- Gamification can be used as a new type of credentials
- Gamification allows the best ones to rise and shine
- Forced play isn’t really playing
- Gamification can be awkward if done in most generic ways
- Gamification can lead to cheating
- Most games get tiresome
The world is a Game
As the well-known quotation by Shakespeare says, “All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players: The world is a GAME”.
Gamified applications have the potential to change the way people work and engage the employees into the workflow on a new level. Gartner states that over 70% of the world’s largest organizations are expected to have adopted at least one gamified application by year-end 2014. Start acting now and you will give the global companies the run for their money.