The drop in business activity due to the COVID-19 outbreak has been nothing but challenging – A first for our relatively young company. But instead of adopting a herd mentality and mandate unpaid leave, our team “warriors” diverted most of our working time and energy into product development. To be frank, it has been rather fun in the office for the past couple of weeks :)

Here’s a snapshot of our very preliminary prototype of a learning boardgame that “teaches” change and resource management:

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In fact, we are actually considering publishing it as an actual boardgame. Haha. Any beta testers are most welcomed :)

But it is this experience that got me more and more interested in the concept of gamification, its mechanics, psychology and elements. And the more I reflect, the clearer the applications become. Gamification, be it online or off, makes many dreary aspects of work more engaging and pleasant.

Firstly, let’s define it. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines gamification as, “The process of adding games or game-like elements to something (such as a task) so as to encourage participation.”

You know it, I know it, we all know it – Games are fun. Especially so in this day and age, it taps into our need for instant gratification, rewards and feedback. And this is where gamification comes in. Gamification is an example of making work enjoyable. And we’re all aware that happy employees are more productive, they perform better, feel more engaged, work harder and stay longer with a company.

The application of game design theories and techniques to everyday work situations has led to new, creative ways of engaging employees. At the same time, we need to ensure that it is done meaningfully. It’s important that we focus on what’s important in game design – think of balancing competition and collaboration/cooperation, defining a meaningful game economy, or improving social interactions with fellow users.

When done right, gamification can boost productivity and engagement, but how can we implement it well?

Here are five ways to help you on your journey.

1)   Identify Goals You Want To Achieve Through Gamification

2)   Determine Required Changes In Behaviour And Skills That You Would Like To See In Your Team/Organisation

3)   Ensure Gamification Design Is Done Around User Experience

4)   Make The Purpose Clear To Employees

5)   Tailor Game Elements To Employees And Relevant Workflows

For example, performance management tracking can also be done through a gamification process, making reviews easier and more concrete. Even the talent recruitment process can benefit from gamification done right.

Did you know that Marriott hotels created a Facebook game back in 2011, where players managed a hotel and used it to identify potential talent to fill positions at their hotels? Marriott effectively utilised the game environment to not only train employees in the needs of running a hotel, but also build support for the culture of the industry.

People development companies like us at Right Impact that use L&D programmes to bring out the best in people are using gamification to do so. The benefits of gamification at work are found in the very reasons games are so fun and in that rush we feel when we succeed.

Whenever you earn a high score or unlock an achievement, your brain releases a rush of dopamine; the hormone that makes you feel good. And when that happens, people crave more of it, and ultimately work towards it to feel that sense of achievement again.

To put it simply, gamification can make mundane work tasks so much more gratifying and motivating.

Written by Andy Pan, Director (Client Solutions) of Right Impact, and the Author of Happy Companies, Healthy Profits

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