Gamifying Business - The New Buzz to drive Employee Engagement
Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 1138
, Published on 20 February 2015
By integrating the objectives of business with the creativity offered by, Organizations can apply the essence of games-Fun, Transparency, Achievement & Recognition to the real-world business objectives and can thus improve employee engagement, boost productivity and lift Operational performance.
Employee Engagement and Performance
Engaged Employees are considered to be the most important assets of any organization irrespective of the industrial segment or geographical location it belongs to. Employee Engagement has always been the most talked about HR process in the companies as it’s the tool that can support the achievement of organization’s business objectives & goals, Increase the bottom line, Foster Creativity & innovation and ultimately lead the organization achieve its vision..
Engaged employees are most committed to work and put in 57% more effort in job and also they have 87% less probability to exit the organization – than employees who are disengaged. (Research by Corporate Leadership Council)
But, the research has shown that employee engagement is proving to be the most difficult task for the organizations worldwide and the number of engaged employees are still in minority around the globe.
According to a recent report by Gallup, only 13% of employees are engaged at work! 63% are not engaged, and 24% are actively disengaged!!
PWC’s Research also depicts the same picture with 10-15% of employees across industries in disconnected category with higher probability of leaving the organization they work in..
The challenges are due to changing workforce demographics with huge influx of millennial generation into the business world, global outreach of organizations connecting all and fuelling the aspirations of both organizations as well as individuals. To find that ever alluding solution for this, one needs to identify the drivers of engagement in present day world.
With the rising influence of SMAC, the technology could help us find the linkage between engagement drivers and organization’s goals & objectives.
Gamification is one such tool that could hit the engagement drivers of bringing transparency, increasing collaboration , encouraging Learning & Growth at the time & location of employee’s choice, making social networking with Leadership an ease and Recognizing the employees in the way & on the platform they want thus satisfying their need for self-esteem.
Gamification : New Cure for poor Employee Engagement
Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts to engage and motivate people helping them to solve problems and increase user’s self contribution. Gamification taps into the social desire of humans for Self-esteem, Community Collaboration & Achievement and the desire to interact.
The Term Gamification was first coined in the year 2003, however, it gained popularity only in 2009-2010. The most common form of Gamification which we all have seen or experienced is the Customer Loyalty Programs. In India, It was eMee which first started providing Gamification services for business problems and it’s the one behind the innovative employee engagement platform of Persistent Systems.
In recent years, more and more companies are moving towards gamifying their processes in order to improve employee engagement and thus overall performance and productivity.
Gamification was earlier restricted in terms of having a social networking within the organization or providing portal for rewarding Badges or Points. But, in recent years it has grown to be used as strategy tool in order to impact the life-cycle stages of an employee in the organization from hire to exit. Talent Acquisition, Employee Induction, E-Learning platform, Performance Evaluation Mechanism, Feedback Process, Career Mapping and exit process can all be integrated in Gamification Model and could be carried on in a much more interactive and engaging manner.
It’s Already Proving itself
Various Companies worldwide are reaping benefits of Gamifying their processes.
The company needed employees to Beta-test the upcoming version of Windows operating system but was stuck due to cold response from employees to volunteer for the same. They were reluctant to spend time on downloading the software ,using it and then providing feedback on the same. However, when the process was turned into hangman type game with teams competing against each other, the participation quadrupled. Now, Microsoft uses games as primary tool for engaging employees.One such application is Communicate Hope which has witnessed a 16 time increase in participation of those who play than the non-gamers.
Gamification is used by US army for Recruitment process. America’s Army is the game on recruitment portal where players are provided simulated basic training before a team-based combat game. This helped in attracting a large no. of applicants and proved to be most effective form of advertising costing just 0.25% of the whole recruiting budget.
Facebook implemented Rypple, a social performance platform in 2011. This application allows employees to participate in various challenges related to skill up gradation, receive recognition from peers and supervisors, get information about different projects others are working upon, get internal reviews and communicate with ease.
SAP is using game-based initiative in its Accounts Payable business function. Cisco has successfully implemented Gamification in terms of simulated Car racing game to increase its global sales.
Thus, Gamification is now being considered to one of the pieces that could help in solving the Employee Engagement puzzle.
Effective Gamification Strategy
Making the approach personalized for the employees will help in achieving the target of engaged workforce and increased performance.
However, there are still concerns over its long-term effectiveness. Managers fear a distracted workforce wasting time on playing games, but this generates from unawareness about changing behavioral patterns and generation gap between the management and employees in the hierarchy.
Another concern is regarding the use of Gamification in various processes blindly by organizations following the success examples of others thus belittling it to stopgap measures which will do more harm than good.
So, How to go about it?
Gamification can be the most cost-effective way for providing an engaging environment building a transparent system which can be upgraded and customized to incentivize the employee’s behavior regardless of demographics.
Some watchpoints for implementing Gamification are:
1. Include Peer or social Recognition and provide opportunities for career advancement in the games as they have proven to be the most effective Gamification approaches across the industries.
2. Keep changing the games after a year or two to avoid boredom
3. Use Gamification as a supplementary tool without replacing the traditional rewards & recognition. Gain employee’s confidence & trust in the new process before pulling the trigger on existing processes.
4. Use Gamification for the jobs and activities that are repetitive and have measurable results.
This article has been authored by Shashank Jha from SCMHRD