Use Employee Games to Achieve Your Business Objectives

Interested in applying gamification to your business in order to help increase employee engagement? If so, the first thing you need to recognize is that gamification, like any attempt to improve employee engagement, requires an investment of time to develop a multistep process to ensure success.

Gamification is a program, not just a project. You can't just apply gamification for three months and call it a day — you need to invest in the strategy for the long term.

Developing a gamification program involves these broad steps:

  • Pinpointing your business objectives

  • Identifying the user behaviors that will drive your business objectives

  • Choosing rewards

  • Selecting game mechanics

For your gamification efforts to be successful, first you have to pinpoint your business objectives — what, exactly, you want to achieve. For example, maybe you want to speed up business processes. Or maybe your goal is to drive sales. Encouraging collaboration is another common aim, as is improving employee education and training and developing an effective onboarding process.

Whatever your objective, gamification can help you meet it — while at the same time fostering engagement!

Speeding up business processes

Most business software, though designed to automate business processes, still relies on human participation. For example, companies such as Oracle, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, and others offer sales, financial, and communications technology to help businesses run more efficiently. Quite frequently, though, actual humans must input and manage the data. Often, they don't do so well, resulting in lost productivity and diminishing the value of the extremely expensive software.

For example, consider a support organization in which a key business process is the opening and closing of support tickets in a service desk application. Using gamification, you could recognize key behaviors such as opening a support ticket and closing one.

After the behavior tracking is in place, the system could reward high-performing employees. In the end, the result would almost certainly be an increase in the rate of closing those tickets, and in engagement in general.

Driving sales

Gamification can reward people for performing key business processes in sales applications and, in doing so, speed them up. For example, in a sales application, sales teams must manage their leads and opportunities by inputting critical data points.

By measuring and tracking desired behaviors, you can set milestones and showcase success on a leaderboard. The social pressure to succeed can help drive adherence to company processes. They'll naturally fill out more lead forms, creating more opportunities for the business.

Encouraging knowledge sharing and collaboration

As companies have observed the power of social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and even Wikipedia, they've tried to apply similar principles in their own organizations by providing internal social networks, blogs, wikis (websites that allow for the collaborative edit of content by users), and other technologies to promote knowledge sharing across the workforce.

But more often than not, the workforce tends not to use them. According to Forrester Research, such tools are adopted by only 12 percent of the workforce.

Why not? One reason is that people are resistant to change. They're used to e-mail and their other creature comforts. They also believe knowledge is power, and they aren't terribly inclined to surrender that power to others.

Using gamification, companies can champion employees who leverage these types of collaborative applications. As people share valuable knowledge, other employees can benefit. Improving knowledge sharing and collaboration can also speed up productivity — another common business objective.

Improving training and education

At many companies, people must complete various training courses online. The problem is, no one wants to actually complete these courses. In fact, sometimes it seems as if the age-old instinct to play hooky becomes more powerful than ever when you're faced with the prospect of completing online training. By leveraging gamification programs, companies can acknowledge and champion employees who complete important training.

Aiding with onboarding

These days, to get started at a new company, employees must move through a mountain of paper or digital paperwork. By gamifying certain processes along the way — for example, filling out forms, completing compliance training, and learning about key company policies — companies can improve the rate at which these tasks are completed.

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