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How to Build Great Culture with Gamification

The weekly motivational quotes, leadership newsletters, and that cool new staff lounge aren't cutting it anymore. All these “Employee perks” are designed to keep people in the office for longer but don’t really do much for overall employee productivity.t. So, it's time to look into deploying smarter employee engagement strategies. Better yet, it’s time to start doing something about how companies are run to not only retain your top talent but to motivate them to new heights.

Nearly half of the world's workforce will consist of Millennials in the near future. The “Millenial” demographic group includes those born roughly between the early 1980s and the mid-2000s. By the year 2025, they will make up 75% of the entire working population, and it won’t be any surprise that they will be a force for change in the way we work. Especially since this is the first generation to regularly rank appreciation, acknowledgment, and company culture as the highest priorities in the workplace.

But rather than wait for the change to happen, why don’t we start putting the building blocks to evolve the way we work in place today? Let’s start with one of the most ubiquitous factors of a “good workplace” — team culture — and how companies can utilize gamification to help cultivate a positive company culture sooner rather than later.

The Problem of Managing Teams Today

Although geographically dispersed teams are often necessary for success in today's global economy, this setup can weaken the sense of community within teams. Your regional teams may become more competitive as "us vs. them" mentalities emerge as teams gradually cover more ground on their own. In most cases, it’s the competitive nature of your workforce that is to blame, not your management.

Have you ever witnessed a salesperson staying late at the office in an attempt to make a final sale? Have you ever arrived at work the following morning to find the same salesperson hard at work preparing for his next important meeting? Good workers are some of the most ambitious and focused people you'll come across in your career. They are a unique species whose activities are driven by a need to stand out from the crowd and win.

Put another way: They want everyone to know that they are the best. You've hit the proverbial jackpot in terms of revenue generation if you can harness that competitive drive by providing an atmosphere that is also highly visual, entertaining, and difficult. That’s where we believe gamification can help.

What Exactly Does Gamification Mean?

According to the Oxford dictionary, gamification refers to the “application of the typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity”. We know that’s a mouthful, but basically, gamification refers to implementing gaming processes into other aspects of everyday life — such as the workplace.

Over two-thirds of the American workforce is disengaged, according to findings from a recent Gallup research on the workplace. The reason for this is quite clear: Businesses that don't take the time to inspire and excite their employees will quickly find it difficult to turn a profit.

Worse yet, they might find it hard even to retain their employees! One LinkedIn blog post found that the average employee only has a 35% chance of staying with an organization if they do not feel empowered or involved in making a meaningful difference. That same blog states that the percentage of employees who wanted to stay with their company tends to drop over time — from 76% after 12 months, 59% after 2 years, and 48% after 3 years.

For the most part, companies have used tactics like “employee of the month” awards, leaderboards, and even sales bells as motivational tools to boost employee morale and, ultimately, productivity. While these tools definitely worked, they only did so for the individual teams that they were used for — and a majority of the time, they were only used within sales teams. Rarely has there been a move by companies to bring separate teams together with these motivational tools.

Why Use Gamification?

Despite technology developing in leaps and bounds, the majority of companies, and even those who themselves create SaaS products, have not utilized motivational technologies in-house. This is a huge oversight, as the landscape of the workforce hasn’t adapted much to the major shift in technology for many years. Even nowadays, many companies still rely on emails for internal communication when SaaS products like Slack exist, and remote-capable jobs are more recently being forced back into physical offices. A great way for companies to use modern technology is to change the way we manage teams overall — with the use of employee engagement software.

Gamification software has been proven not just to boost productivity but also foster a better team culture, even across team lines. Research has continuously found that recognition is one of the most powerful motivators for humans, especially within the workplace. In fact, the experience of being valued and appreciated through recognition is considered to be of greater value to people than the possibility of monetary benefit.

In a nutshell, gamification combines this changing landscape of technology with our innate competitive natures and the motivating power of recognition into one neat package.

How Does Gamification Work?

When gamification hit the peak of Gartner’s hype cycle in 2012, many called gamification nothing more than the latest hype train and that it doesn’t actually bring much value to the workplace. Well, unfortunately for the naysayers, gamification is very much here to stay. The concept of gamification isn’t a free-for-all — it needs to go hand-in-hand with specific rules in order to be an effective platform. When incorporating gamification into the workplace, there needs to be clearly defined objectives, a path toward mastery, and meaningful rewards for completion. Only when these aspects are in place can you enjoy the great benefits that gamification can provide to the workplace.

How to Use Gamification to Bring Your Teams Together

By now, the benefits of gamification and why it’s an effective tool for fostering a more positive team culture should be clear. Gamification software is a great way to incorporate modern technologies into the workplace further in order to push employee productivity to greater highs. While many of us are competitive in nature, there’s nothing better than public recognition of the good, hard work that we’ve been putting into our process — and that’s exactly what gamification can do in the workplace.

So, let’s take a look at how you can use gamification processes to cultivate team culture, both within and between teams!

1. Employ Cloud-based Software

The ability to bring together members of geographically dispersed sales teams is one of sales gamification's most compelling features. Sales gamification provides potent tools that can unite your teams around common goals, whether they're located on various floors of the same building or in different cities around the world. Since then, companies like WaterCircles AS have seen an uptick in openness, output, and morale throughout the office.

Just close your eyes for a second and picture this scene: you and your sales team are celebrating a major transaction. There are probably balloons and champagne involved, and everyone present is positively giddy. Because it is hosted in the cloud, gamification software can make it seem as though everyone on your sales team is in the same physical location. We know it's not always possible to gather your complete sales team in one place, so deploying a special SaaS platform allows remote employees to feel like they're part of the party and is a great way to bring teams together.

2. Utilize Data Visualization

The data visualization platform of certain well-designed gamification products goes above and beyond, providing a convenient way to view and comprehend your own data — allowing you to adjust your own tactics. In most cases, you can check out and evaluate what other reps are doing as well! It is fast, simple, and practical, and it ensures that your salespeople have access to the information they need at all times. As a result, it is simple to assess how well or poorly one office is performing in relation to another.

3. Provide a Public Recognition Platform

Human beings are largely motivated by the desire for social approval. That's why sites like Facebook and Twitter and loyalty programs have become so integral to our daily lives. However, the same idea can be utilized to inject some much-needed joy and excitement into the workplace, all while boosting performance on key metrics. Just use gamification!

By rewarding regional or remote sales representatives for a job well done, gamification software for employee engagement can help bring your offices closer together. Each time a sale is made, the employee’s name, photo, sale details, and personalized celebration music or video will be displayed on screens in the office so that everyone can celebrate and express their gratitude. Get rid of that old sales board and bell and see what it's like to have your entire team working together. Better yet, stick a couple of big TV screens around the office to further take advantage of these gamification systems by providing live updates, key metrics, and the latest targets to go after

4. Run Team-based Competitions

Do you want to know which city's team did better in terms of sales this month — Country A or Country B? Wanna know who made the most offers or who had the most successful meetings? Office competitions used to be labor-intensive and time-consuming to organize. Thanks to modern gamification software, that’s all a thing of the past.

Sales competitions can be shown in real-time using data pulled directly from your CRM via your gamification software of choice. Eliminate the need to search through spreadsheets to find out who's in the lead. Putting tally marks on a sales board to keep track of progress is no longer necessary. There will be no more inconvenience — only highly productive fun! You may easily motivate your team to achieve its objectives by simply setting a start and finish date, selecting participants (or teams), deciding on the most important metric to be measured on, and designing an incentive. In fact, you can have several contests going at once, and you can even host annual competitions during special seasons or events!

5. Host Company-wide Lottery

When hosting annual or seasonal competitions, consider turning those into a company-wide lottery program! While we definitely stand by the research that recognition is a great motivator, sometimes adding a cherry on top through highly lucrative prizes is just what you need to push productivity further. Survey your company and find out if there’s a common trend within things that your employees would like or need. Then, use the results of that survey to create the ultimate prize, or even better, give your winners the ability to choose, with a full shop of prizes to pick from! You can even turn the lottery company-wide and pit department against department, which is sure also to help boost team motivation overall.

But aren’t lotteries normally based on luck? Well, yes. However, when you add great gamification software into the mix, employees can boost their chances by continuously hitting team-specific KPIs. If you feel like productivity is flagging at work, a little change of gamification scenery—like rewarding a trip to Italy or the newest iPhone—can do wonders for boosting short-term productivity.

Build a Great Team Culture With Gamification

The use of gamification in the workplace has been shown to increase productivity by 90%, according to this Medium post, and 72% of survey respondents agreed that gamification motivates them to work harder. Furthermore, the article states that participation increased by 48% in gamified workplaces. All of that is thanks to the implementation of one simple process!

As a result, the discussion has shifted from whether or not gamification is beneficial to how best to implement it inside an organization's particular processes in order to boost company culture. Happiness at work can't be achieved with a regimen of strict work rules and no playtime — we all know this by now. The key to success in this new gamification world is locating the appropriate game-based tools and actually using them.

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