Thursday, May 8, 2014

Playing the Game

Gamification is still firmly on the agendas for many organizations – whether for boosting customer engagement, improving the efficiency of customer support teams, making training more fun, or driving some serious innovation. What’s changed, however, is that nowadays companies are taking a far more measured approach to its implementation. They understand that by closely aligning business objectives with the player’s individual needs, play styles and incentives they will unlock Gamification’s real potential for driving results.

At the peak of the hype, many organizations jumped on the badges bandwagon. "Complete this training and win an awesome badge to pin on your desktop!" Unsurprisingly, not everyone was overawed by such exciting schemes. Better to provide a range of incentive options and allow employee or client to pick what works for them. It could be social recognition by likes, or access to more interesting projects or groups of employees who’ve had similar training.

Employee health and fitness inside companies is one of the most successful examples of Gamification at play. A number of firms offer employees health bands to encourage them to stay fit. The business objective is to lower medical insurance costs and reduce sickness related absence by improving the overall health of the employee base. Employee benefits ranged from reduced insurance premiums and better health, to recognition, fun and the opportunity of competing with other employees.

Some of the most tantalizing moments in a life of a game are the final ones. Unfortunately, continuity is sometimes an afterthought. For example, how and when to end a Gamification-assisted activity should be decided as part of a conscious planning process that is completed, if possible, before the initiative starts. If a company chooses to expand the scope, it makes sense to evaluate whether additional investment will deliver the expected results. By the same token, stopping a game that has just started to generate team- or client interest could make it more difficult re-engage participants next time around.

Gamification can bring excitement to even the most boring of work activities. It can stir up the competitive spirit and drive innovation inside and outside the company. According to Gartner, by 2015 as many as 50% of companies will have started using Gamification as the innovation driver, and by 2020, most of them will have adopted Gamification in marking and sales as well. However, to achieve the best results it is important to plan ahead and stay focused on the goals. Scores of resources are available if you’re thinking of playing the Gamification card.

Rachel, Dan, & Dmitry

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