What Gamification Does for Employee Engagement

Does your organization have low employee retention rates? Is your onboarding process a drag? Do you have trouble getting employees to collaborate, share knowledge, or keep records the way they should? All these problems stem from — you guessed it — a lack of employee engagement.

Enter gamification. Simply put, gamification is the use of game mechanics and rewards in a non-game setting to increase employee engagement and drive desired behaviors. In part, the idea behind gamification is to tap into people's innate desire to play games to influence how they behave and what they do.

Sound creepy? Fair point. Yes, gamification can certainly be used to promote behaviors in which people may not otherwise engage. But the best gamification programs operate by rewarding people for behaviors they are already inclined to perform or are required to perform, increasing their engagement and enjoyment.

In other words, gamification makes the things you have to do more fun. And by now, you should know that injecting fun in the workplace goes a long way toward increasing employee engagement.

To be clear, gamification isn't about creating a game. Instead, with gamification, you use game mechanics to enliven an existing experience — say, an employee training program, a company intranet, or a database application — making it more engaging. Note that the “experiences” listed here are digital in nature.

That's not to say, however, that some principles of gamification can't be applied in a real-world setting. In fact organizational development, facilitators, and training professionals have used a non-digital form of gamification for years when facilitating experiential exercises into our workshops. They learned years ago that that there are real benefits to injecting fun into our agendas. Engagement — and energy — always goes up!

Gamification enables you to drive, measure, and reward high-value behaviors by employees. Game mechanics leverage design and behavioral psychology principles inherent in today's social games to drive and reward specific user behaviors in business environments. Smart gamification elements — such as points, achievements, levels, leaderboards, missions, and contests — can be employed to drive desired behaviors on virtually any enterprise application.

Your employees, like anyone, crave attention, recognition, approval, and rewards. With gamification, you feed this craving — and in the process convert employees into highly engaged collaborators and advocates.

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