Can a Gamified Work Environment Get Your Employees to Better Collaborate?

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Employee engagement is a critical component in the success of large organizations and businesses. Add gamified work environment to the mix.

Employee engagement is a critical component in the success of large organizations. In a competitive market, acquiring the right talent pool is tough enough.

But even after building up a good talent pool, keeping people engaged and cooperative can also be difficult. A slow pace of work, an office environment with poor feedback mechanisms, an unchallenging job, and a monotonous workflow might contribute to disinterest, leading to reduced productivity or even attrition.

Large enterprises often employ gamification to gauge performance among employees and to improve productivity in certain areas. However, a gamified environment is not just limited to customer service or even big companies.

All kinds of organizations can leverage such platforms in fixing issues in the workflow, encouraging users to become more collaborative and more productive, and ultimately boosting the value of the brand.

Related Article: When Work Becomes Play: Gamification in the Workplace

Without a means to better engage people, productivity takes a hit, and the organization suffers. A Gallup Poll reveals that employee lack of interest and unwillingness to engage actively in their jobs leads to nearly $370 billion in annual losses in U.S. alone.

One such way is establishing an environment in which employees can gauge their accomplishments more accurately while enjoying the experience along the way. Gamification has been used in customer-facing applications to engage the target audiences, and this has yielded overwhelmingly positive results. According to Gartner, businesses successful in engaging users through gamification have seen 250 percent higher growth than their peers.

One of the basic ideals of enterprise gamification is establishing an environment where achievements matter. The underlying concept involves imparting a sense of accomplishment. For employees, achieving recognition for learning new things or completing certain tasks makes their job meaningful. It goes beyond monetary reward, however. Studies have revealed that even cash rewards are inadequate in motivating employees.

Going beyond improving productivity for individual employees, a gamified environment can also be a creative means of improving working relationships across the organization. This can be done by fostering an environment of sharing, bridging generational divides, and facilitating organizational change.

For GamEffective, an enterprise gamification platform designed to be easily integrated into enterprise applications, the collaborative nature of achievements is much more powerful than individual incentives. This is particularly because of social aspects such as social gratitude and social acceptance. Studies have shown a 14 percent improvement in performance in manufacturing and 20 percent in an academic setup when team-based gamification is employed.

Fostering an Environment of Sharing

Customer satisfaction is, of course, an important part of any business. For organizations with a large clientele – such as a utility or telecommunications company – brand value is highly influenced by how customers are happy with service or at least with support. Many brands have adopted a community approach to resolving customer concerns, which can significantly improve the rate at which problems are resolved.

For instance, T-Mobile runs its T-Community social business portal, which is a peer-to-peer collaboration tool that lets both employees and fellow customers respond to helpdesk inquiries. When the company redesigned the portal with a gamified approach, employee participation increased by 91 percent, and contributions also significantly rose. As an effect, customer satisfaction scores also increased by 31 percent.

T-Mobile achieved this by incorporating gamification into both its in-store and online community, wherein employees can earn status and rewards for using the T-Community system, answering questions, liking content and being active within the community. The gamified system also lets employees compare their progress relative to their peers.

Facilitating Organizational Change

Change management is often the Achilles’ heel of any organization, as it can bring about dissent especially among employees who have already been entrenched in their preferred or usual way of doing things. Within a gamified environment, management can simply implement a few tweaks to make the changes more acceptable.

An example of this can be found in the gamification solution implemented at Yahoo. The company wanted to increase the priority of customer satisfaction, which resulted in a policy shift toward improving customer service. In a traditional structure, the company would have needed to shake up the entire organization to implement this change.

With gamification, it became a matter of a few simple tweaks. Yahoo simply attached more points to customer satisfaction in its gamification platform. The employees concerned with customer service instantly registered this change and in no time, they had focused on it to score higher points. With employees being more satisfied with higher scores, the company also achieved its larger goal at the same time.

For organizations straining to adapt to the rapidly shifting market needs, flexibility in influencing employee behavior is critically important. As illustrated by the case of Yahoo, gamification can be the perfect tool in effecting such modifications in the shortest possible time, with minimum resources and without sapping the satisfaction index among employees.

Bridging Generational Divides

With the increasing digitalization of businesses, more traditional processes and approaches are giving way to new technologies. While this generally improves productivity in the organization, it may come at the cost of alienating more experienced employees who might still be used to the old ways. A gamified environment can effective in bridging the generational gaps that might exist between newcomers and old-timers.

For example, insurance firm Allstate wanted to impart to employees the importance of privacy and security, particularly given the risks of online identity theft. Instead of a straight-cut training, Allstate launched an online course that involved a superhero and villain to illustrate the implications of privacy and security risks online.

The effort received mixed reviews, with younger employees feeling more comfortable with the platform than their older counterparts. However, more employees still participated with the gamified environment incorporated rather than the traditional approach. Even among old-timers, many felt that the game factor reinforced previously-learned information in a more interesting way.

Related Article: Leadership of Champions: How to Actively Create Your Company Culture

Organizational Culture is Also Important

Gamification offers a lot of promise for an organization looking to engage its employees and help them achieve satisfaction from their jobs. Improved productivity and performance are difficult without happy and interested employees.

The vital thing in devising an enterprise gamification solution is to consider the fact that one-size-fits-all does not apply here. An enterprise gamification app needs to be carefully aligned with the work environment and overall work ethic of an organization while keeping in view the target employees. It should be interesting enough for employees and relevant to their job. Recent success stories in gamification are increasingly focused on data-driven motivators.

Bottomline

If done right, an enterprise gamification solution can be a true game-changer for the productivity and performance of an organization. A survey by Aberdeen Group reveals that organizations with effective enterprise gamification solutions improve their employee turnover by 35 percent and employee engagement by 48 percent.

T-Mobile’s redesign of its customer service platform brought about a 783 percent increase in employee responses, a 583 percent hike in employee contributions and an overall increase in employee participation. These trends clearly speak for the sheer potential of employing a game-based approach to enhancing business productivity.

Image Via: https://blog.bufferapp.com

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