Prime Insight
Prime Insight

Gamification in the Digital Workplace

Posting date: 20 December 2019
Sylvia McCoy our consultant managing the role

Gamify Your Business Process to Boost Productivity

Gamification takes employee engagement to a new level, because people engage with things that they enjoy – and people enjoy games. The digital workplace is an enabler of gamification at scale. It puts people back where they should be – at the heart of the business. Employed correctly, gamification is a mega-motivational tool. But why does it work, and how can a digital workplace gamify its approach?

What Is Gamification?

Gamification is not a new concept. It has been used by businesses to improve productivity and sales for decades. Take McDonald’s as an example. Its staff are awarded gold stars that showcase their experience and ability to customers. In-house, they run Employee of the Month awards, adding competition in the workplace. Each year they run the highly successful Monopoly Game, which boosts sales with participating customers. 

The digital workplace takes gamification to a new plane. It allows companies to produce work-based games that staff can play in real time. In the digital workplace, organisations can create friendly competition between staff thousands of miles apart, playing in real time. It reshapes work as a game, and that changes the way that employees relate to it. 

Run-of-the-mill tasks become opportunities to excel. Digital workplaces transform routine processes and procedures into fun. This fun can lead to success, individual and public recognition for work done well, and rewards. It is a motivational tool that boosts productivity.

When gamification is employed successfully in the digital workplace, employees increase their focus, work harder, and collaborate more effectively

Dena Haron

Does Gamification Work?

Various studies have shown that gamification has a real impact in the workplace. For example, citing various sources, The Startup reports that:

 • 90% of employees are more productive when they use gamification

 • Gamification increases employee engagement by 48%

 • 72% of people believe that gamification inspires them

 • 95% of employees enjoy using gamified systems 

These results are backed up by outcomes of individual organisations that use gamification. For example:

 • Cisco improved their sales by almost 10% using gamification

 • Steward Agency doubled their productivity in just three months using gamification

 • Target gamified their checkout process, and lowered checkout times and improved staff morale

 (See Neil Patel’s blog “Gamification for Better Results”)

Why Does Gamification Work?

Gamification using digital technology works because of basic biology. It increases the desire to perform well because of the enjoyment it provides. This enjoyment causes the body to release dopamine. This is fired from one neuron to another in the brain, and creates drive and ambition. Hence, productivity improves. 

Think of the good feeling you experience when you receive recognition from a manager, a reward for work done well, or for coming top in a workplace performance league. That’s dopamine at work. The good feeling your have drives you to produce more dopamine by doing the same thing that you have done, but doing it even better. Thus, productivity improves. .

How Do You Gamify a Digital Workplace?

There is no single right way to implement gamification in the digital workplace. However, in the digital workplace, platforms can be set up for gamification. For example:

 • Project management systems could be set up like video games. As one milestone is completed, it unlocks the next.

 • Organisations could recognise milestones and achievements by awarding badges (like the ‘Top fan’ badges that many fan clubs award on social media) to encourage greater interaction and effort. • Tasks and progress toward professional qualifications could be similarly rewarded.

 • Points could be awarded for good work and collaboration with others. Points make prizes! Teamwork can be rewarded by ensuring that collaboration becomes an integral part of the gamification. Employees are awarded more points for recognition by their colleagues, where teamwork has led to the achievement of team goals.

Gamification Step #1: Know Your Employees

Before considering gamifying your digital workplace, you must understand what excites your employees. You must learn their motivations, their personal and collective objectives, and how they do their work. You must know who your employees are to connect them to the game.

You should also consider how your digital workplace works, and what systems people interact with. They will need to access these systems to play the game, and it is important that it is easy to play. You’ll need to answer questions such as, how do employees review their progress and standing? Some organisations are enabling employee access from their mobiles to the game’s scoreboards. This embeds a deeper connection between the organisation and the employee, with the employee aware that the organisation has invested in an employee ecosystem with a sole purpose. 

In such a digital workplace, employees can check on their individual progress at any time and in real time. The organisation can monitor and measure interaction, using the collected data to iterate its approach to gamification. This also enables the organisation to measure its ROI, by analysing the data and contextualising it to the objectives of its gamification approach. .

In Summary

Gamification in the digital workplace is a strategy used to improve morale, motivation and results. It works best when organisations have a deep understanding of their employees, and link performance to rewards and recognition as well as introducing a competitive element.

When gamification is employed successfully in the digital workplace, employees increase their focus, work harder, and collaborate more effectively. As gamification tactics become more commonly used in modern, digital workplaces, organisations are increasingly seeking the tech talent needed to develop and create gamified work environments. 

Get in touch with the Digital Team at Prime Insight to learn more about how digital technology is shaping how we work and where we work, and the opportunities that await talented candidates at all levels of experience.

Gamification takes employee engagement to a new level

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