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Gamification in the Workplace for Enjoyment & Achievement

A while back, one of my business clients asked me to help him gamify his business. I had never heard of this idea. After researching it, we came up with a plan. Perhaps this will inspire you in your own workplace.

After all, it's not just that one client. The concept of gamification is sweeping through the business world, with hundreds of companies jumping on the bandwagon over the past few years. Gamification is the practice of applying game design and game playing techniques into normal business operations.

The notion of gamification relies upon the innate desire of people to compete against one another and themselves. Taking tedious work tasks and making them into enjoyable "games" can create a better experience for management, employees, and customers alike.

No matter what line of business you are in, you can use rules, scores, and rewards as motivation to help your organization move ahead.

General Principles for Applying Gamification

1. Clarify your objectives. It's important that your gamification efforts align with the goals of your business. Focus your efforts on areas that provide the biggest payoff.

Why are you implementing gamification and who's your target? Are you using it to increase employee productivity? Or are you starting a customer loyalty or retention program to try to increase business?

2. Understand what motivates your members. Make the rewards exciting and meaningful for all involved parties. For some, you may need to offer tangible rewards such as prizes or cash for completing certain tasks.

However, sometimes just the gratification that comes along with strengthening your knowledge and skills may be motivating all on its own.

Perhaps your company has leveled learning modules for training. Your employees could compete to "level up" before others. Healthy competition can increase productivity!

Implement a system where employees earn points for every training document they read. Take it a step further and let them earn extra points for their next performance review.

3. Keep it simple. Games are easier to enjoy when the basic rules are short and easily understood. You can always design higher levels of play that are more complex later on.

4. Build a sense of community. Look for ways to keep the conversation going. Publicize success stories. Although some players may enjoy individual competition, creating team challenges can enhance cooperation and create a more cohesive work environment.

One primary use of gamification is deepening connections between staff and customers.

5. Offer small and frequent rewards. Studies show that a modest prize each week has more impact than giving away a new car once a year. Seeing others win on a regular basis keeps everyone excited and interested as they anticipate their own turn to win.

Employees can earn and accumulate points that can then be turned in for special privileges or positions.

6. Use measureable goals. Aiming for specific objectives is the key. Let players know what is expected and how far they have to go. Empower participants to achieve goals!

Think about those posters showing a public television station that needs to raise just 10% more to reach its annual target.

Perhaps you can post progress bars, meters, or leaderboards where you show individual or group progress toward an ultimate goal. This will keep everyone on track.

Integrating the principles of gamification into the workplace will lighten the mood, encourage productivity, and deepen everyone's sense of satisfaction. When you approach your work life like a game, you may just end up having more fun than you ever anticipated.

- Mike Acker

Let me know how it goes!

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