Gamification: A worker who plays is a worker who stays

Gamification: A worker who plays is a worker who stays

I’m browsing through my photos and choosing my profile picture. When I’m done, I switch to the main page and mark this task, which is part of a to-do list of any novice in our company, as completed. The Progress Bar, which shows my progress through the initial training, is a bit fuller now. There are still a few videos to watch and some questionnaires to answer.

It has been around 5 years since I joined a multinational IT corporation in Brno. Part of the onboarding process was the first month of training - I went through tutorials, got to know the workplace and my colleagues and explored my new company. Most of the tasks took place in the company's intranet (similar to Wikipedia). But it wasn’t all normal boring stuff like reading through internal company regulations the whole day. It was spiced up by elements of gamification.

Playing a game makes you happy

This made me more interested in the company and more happy and happy in the first days during which I couldn’t do anything yet. And this is the reason why gamification is becoming increasingly popular in corporate processes.

A few years ago, a job interview was mostly a test of the candidate’s knowledge. Today, while expertise and know-how are still very important, the HR managers focus very much on the characteristics and soft skills of the possible new hires.  It is much more important for the company that the candidate fits into the team, can adapt, to be able to make decisions for himself rather than to have only puffed knowledge in the field. That’s why companies are using gamification not only for the onboarding process but also to judge the level of soft skills of each candidate.

Gamification makes everything better  

If we visit auntie Wikipedia, she will tell us that “Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. It can also be defined as a set of activities and processes to solve problems by using or applying the characteristics of game elements.” Making anything into a game makes it that much more enjoyable.

Motivating kids to clean their room faster by pretending the aliens are coming or making the employees learn about new rules more effectively by creating a fun avatar and progress board both use the same principles. When we play, we engage not only our gray brain cells but also our emotions. And we learn and work more effectively and in a better atmosphere.

From whiteboards to intranet battles

Small companies can use a simple whiteboard to track the progress of each member, giving them a fun task and rewards for completion. Corporations can invest in a modern intranet system than will allow their workers to gain points by completing additional tasks, filling in questionnaires or learning about new company policies. Then, they can use the points they got to, let’s say, purchase a super cool tiara or a sward for their avatar.

My former employer also used this approach to employee engagement. As a result, our team was actively involved in bonus tasks beyond the scope of our work and continued to educate ourselves. It worked because the context of the game gave new meaning to our actions and woke up individual ambitions. Luckily, the HR people who were designing this didn’t forget about the importance of the main element of games, which is fun and entertainment.

Internal versus external gamification

What I describe above is called internal gamification, because it is carried out at the company level between employees and employers. Game elements appear in the strategic management of the company, HR or on the website of the company itself. The aim of the internal gamification process is to make people engaged in the company, to keep the corporate culture fresh and, last but not least, to strengthen the communication between individual employees.

Another approach is external gamification. It tries to involve people from outside in company activities or raise the awareness of potential clients about their services. In this case, certain corporate departments prepare events for the public, such as exhibition stands, competitions on social networks and their website and more.

Enjoy gamification in the outdoors

Internal gamification does not have to be just about a well-tuned intranet with several gameplay elements that make the employees get attached from the very first day. Not every company has such a process and can engage its people in this way. However, the corporate team building with gaming features is a great choice for companies who want well-tuned and powerful employees, but don’t necessarily want to invest time and money in internal gamification.