More Smiles at Work: The Gamification Way

Dive into the ins-and-outs of gamification for your organization with our Sales Director for Benelux, Richard Harsevoort.

Richard Harsevoort

Sales Director Benelux - March 2, 2020

Do you feel that your employees passionately detest Mondays? Do they seem to get on with the week with nothing more than neutral satisfaction? Do you ever get the sense that the collective energy at work is low and that the drive is missing?

If you answered “yes” to even one of the questions above, it is time to look at smarter employee engagement techniques—since the weekly motivational quotes, leadership newsletters, or even the hip new employee lounge with comfy beanbags and the foosball table are just not cutting it anymore.

Ever since I said goodbye to working at a multinational corporate organization in favor of the startup life, I feel that I have become more observant of employee-leadership behavior dynamics and more conscious of the need for organic engagement and happiness at work. These are things that probably become more apparent when one is taken out of the process-driven multinational corporate (MNC) setup and are faced with a start-up environment, so inherently people-centric that even minor flickers in engagement levels send ripples across the whole organization—almost like a butterfly effect of happiness at work.

This is likely also why having a startup outlook towards all people processes is of great help—it enables you to look at every employee as an individual with hopes and dreams and specific traits, rather than a mere cog in the machinery. In the present global work ecosystem, where employee happiness is both the currency and an important metric for business success, that outlook is a necessity.

So, why is it important to focus on employee engagement? Here are a few helpful statistics to keep in mind:

  • Employees who do not feel adequately empowered or like they are involved in making any meaningful difference only have a 35% chance of staying with the organization (LinkedIn)
  • The likelihood of an employee wanting to stay with an organization tends to decrease with time - 76% after 12 months, 59% after two years and 48% after three years (LinkedIn)
  • At any given time, more than 30% of your employees are looking for a new job, either actively or casually (Ceridian)

We may spend hours trying to map out business growth, to chart out where we rank on search engines and spend weeks to depict all these metrics in attractive graphs and diagrams, but we often forget the simplest of metrics—smiles at work.

Are your employees genuinely happy to come to work every day? That is where gamification comes (or should come) into the equation. While I am not claiming that gamification is the answer to all your people riddles, it is certainly an interesting and fun way to solve them.

Not one to measure the success of your organization in employee smiles? Here are a few numbers for you—according to a recent Gallup survey, gamification led to a 147% increase in performance, a 25-65% dip in turnover and a 37% decrease in casual leaves and absences.

Let’s put on our thinking caps and ponder over this a little. Why and how does gamification work better than more traditional methods of motivation and engagement? It is probably because of a mix of various factors:

  1. Gamified processes and content have a way of appealing to the child in us by providing instant feedback to our actions.
  2. We tend to respond to games because they simplify the action-reward equation and we understand which behaviors are rewarded more easily.
  3. There is a level of fun that is injected into tasks that could otherwise be rather mundane.
  4. Healthy competition leads to stronger social cliques with colleagues and teams.
  5. There is an undeniable level of intrinsic motivation to win that is stronger than just the need to keep one’s job or to make money.

When these factors come together, employees feel a stronger commitment to the processes at work and even the most mechanical of systems can be transformed into something that is fun and uplifting.

Let’s take a peek into work processes that could be gamified for the better:

  1. Learning and Development: Gamified systems lead not only to better talent acquisition but also to better retention through meaningful ways of talent management. Thus, these systems could be applied to training modules in a way that is direct and relevant to the employees. For example, the first five employees to finish a course on the latest data analytics-driven sales processes could be gifted with a free pass to study a course of their choosing on any online learning portal.

  2. Sales, marketing and service: Employees are your full-time brand ambassadors even if they do not have customer-facing roles. For those who do, the opportunity to promote the brand is even more apparent and the stakes are higher. With gamification, not only can employees in sales and marketing be driven to accomplish the final sale but also be motivated to follow certain standardized steps and processes when it comes to serving customers in a way that upholds the brand.

  3. Culture champions: Your organization exists beyond the vision statement and the culture document—it lives in how your employees behave every day. Using gamification in guiding your employees could help you build and uphold an honest, driven and happy culture at work. Linking positive and negative reinforcement to everyday-behaviors might seem outdated but could go a long way in helping your employees buy into the culture that you wish to set at work. Moreover, it could also motivate them to be engaged as they realize that every small action on their end, leads to bigger repercussions for the organization.

A Medium article put forth that 90% of employees are more productive when they use gamification and that 72% of people believe that gamification inspires them to work harder when there is a level of gamification at work. Moreover, the article also claims that engagement levels increased by 48% in gamified work environments. The debate thus is no longer about whether gamification is helpful but rather about how best to apply it to your unique systems at work, in a way that makes sense for your specific brand of culture. All work and no play is not the right path to delivering employee happiness. The crux of the matter is to find the right game-based tools to help you win the gamification race.

Are you gamification ready? Send a message to richard@salesscreen to learn more!

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