Are you the coffee-lover who goes to Starbucks at least once or twice a week to earn your gold stars? Or the air miles collector who’s hoping to get that free ticket to Paris? Or maybe the health buff who keeps tracks of their goals and earn badges on their FitBit app? If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions then you, my friend, just participated in what is called gamification.
When we talk about games, we usually associate the concept of gaming with competition and of course winning. With the previous examples, they emphasized the element of rewards and incentives more than competing with other ‘players’ aka other customers. It was not about collecting more points than others, it was about making sure you participate as much as possible so that you won’t miss out on the goal or reward you’re aiming for. It didn’t feel like a game but you were dedicated enough and were able to see that there was something you wanted to get.
That is the core of gamification. It uses game mechanics to non-game contexts. Now, imagine applying the concept of gamification to motivate your team. Tedious, repetitive and even dull tasks can be fun, manageable and, if you really want the game element to be obvious, can be transformed into healthy competitions in the office.
When assigning challenging tasks, it promotes problem-solving skills. When assigning challenging but achievable tasks, it produces engaged team members with a sense of accomplishment. For example, maybe your program involves a point system where different activities or tasks that are completed meant more points. Let’s say five stages of training which are worth 2 points each or maybe successfully discovering new clients meant 5 points and actually closing the deal is a whopping 10! A specific number of points helps the team member to level up or be part of the leaderboard. They were given a task, they delivered and their achievement is instantly recognized. Motivate your team through the data you show. Yes, show it, don’t just keep them in an Excel spreadsheet hidden in a sub-subfolder in your desktop. But hold on there, don’t just “rinse and repeat”. Remember to change it up a bit whether it’s the point system, the game itself, or which area of work to focus. It’s really how you gauge your team and see where they need a little more motivation. You’d have to really think about the rewards and make sure it is tailored to your staff. Otherwise, it’ll all go downhill and you’ll have a group of uninterested team members.
I’ve mentioned that gamified programs are not necessarily evident to the users or audience as games. Salespeople usually have a competitive quality in them and what better way to use that ambition than the competitions they are part of in their work environment. So whether or not your program is obviously designed similar to a game, you already have an array of players who are ever ready to show their best skills. Your job is to find their spark and ignite it.
So what are you waiting for? Let the games begin and may the odds be ever in your favor.