The first commercial video game, Pong, was made available in 1971 and sold 35,000 units to consumers. Since that initial — and, by today’s standards, incredibly modest — foray into virtual games, the video game industry has exploded. Today it has an estimated market value of a whopping $160 billion USD and includes billions of gaming enthusiasts worldwide. It should be no surprise then that game strategies have begun to bleed into the real world, where simple tasks can become ‘fun’ by attaching achievements or game mechanics to them, such as earning badges for reaching milestones or spinning a wheel to earn a prize.
This phenomenon is known as gamification, and since 2010, it has gained an increasingly solid foothold in non-game environments. Some popular examples include the Google Chrome dinosaur running game (also known as the No Internet Game), and Duolingo’s badge-based model for learning new languages.
The goal of gamification is ultimately to engage people with the content they are interacting with. This fosters the sharing of information and collaboration among peers by leveraging people’s natural tendencies for socializing, competition and learning. It can be used to help solve problems, train people or even change behaviours by rewarding participants for accomplishing tasks, which encourages them to participate, compete and retain information.
Does Gamification in the workplace work?
Gamification has been successfully implemented in school settings to encourage students at all levels to learn, and by marketers to sell products, engage customers and increase brand recognition. It’s helped turn boring, repetitive tasks into fun activities that people look forward to and enjoy taking part in.
But can the same be done for corporate culture? Corporate culture, and corporate training, is often perceived as dry, dull, boring and sometimes, completely out of sync with recent technological advances. Even so, gamification has already entered the corporate market. It’s estimated that as much as 40 per cent of Global 1000 organizations used gamification as a primary tool to transform business operations. It’s also estimated that by the end of 2020, the education gamification market will reach an estimated 1.5 billion USD.
Gamification has great potential for employers, who might want to draw upon well-documented gamification principles to encourage their employees to be more productive, recall their training or even change their behaviour. At first glance, it might seem odd to want to encourage employees to play games while at work. But the evidence proves that gamification in the workplace has positive results on engagement, employee morale and training.
What Impact does corporate gamification have on employees?
On average, 70 per cent of employees don’t feel engaged in their jobs. Employees who are not engaged are more likely to burn out, quit or underperform. Incorporating elements of game design into work can be a simple and effective way of motivating them and keeping them engaged. In fact, using gamified activities increases motivation by up to 48 per cent, and nearly 70 per cent of employees intend to stay with a company for over three years if they use gamified activities. Implementing gaming techniques to corporate life can improve employee productivity and output, increase motivation and encourage creativity. It can even foster a sense of belonging to a team and help develop job-specific skills.
These numbers will only increase as millennials and Gen Z employees enter the workforce, as this younger generation is more open to technological processes and grew up playing video games themselves.
The obvious benefit to corporate gamified learning is that it makes the training sessions more fun for the employees, and therefore they are more likely to be engaged. But there are a host of other benefits as well. These games can help motivate employees to learn new skills, train employees in job-specific tasks in safety, and help better understand complex mechanisms and difficult software. Not to mention that gamified training has a great effect on employee morale, with a whopping 92 per cent of employees claiming to be more loyal to companies that have invested in their training.
Gamified learning is also more effective than traditional learning methods and allows employees to practice real-life situations in a safe environment that facilitates better knowledge retention. It also provides instant feedback, so that employees immediately know how good of a grasp on the material they have. Employees are more likely to remember what it is they learned for a longer period, therefore decreasing the likelihood that they will need to be re-trained again.
Jumping into a new training style can be intimidating. This is why at EdApp, our team is dedicated to help find the right training solution for you. Choose from ourgame templates and browse tried-and-true gamification training methods, populated with your custom content.
There’s no doubt that gamified corporate training can be more expensive than traditional training, but it is also evident that the benefits are well worth the extra costs. Gamification works best when there is a clear purpose in mind that can be accomplished through achieving goals. In this, there is no question that gamification can be a useful addition to workplace processes and corporate culture.
One of the best ways to use gamification to create a better workplace learning environment is to create a system that allows your employees to compete with one another. This allows for the team members to continually have a reason to continue the training. When you employ a system that includes leaderboards or a similar structure, your team will be working towards taking that lead spot before working to keep it. This allows them to have a goal and will motivate them to do what it takes to be the best.
Rewards and Achievements
For some people, being the top of the leaderboard is not enough. That is why it may be useful to provide the team with some incentives to encourage them to be the best. This can be simple things like gift cards, rewards, or work-related perks – like the closest parking spot. Anything that you can do to incentivize the team can help with their training and increase your team’s productivity through enhanced knowledge transfer. For example, perhaps you set up a program to teach different types of “closing” to insurance agents and when they master these skills, they get points on the leader board. The more closes your agents have in their repertoire, the better chance they will have to close the sale.
Note of caution: Gamify with Purpose
As with any new or emerging technology, sometimes it is tempting to want to jump on it and incorporate it without having a firm plan. But just because you can gamify a process doesn’t mean you should. Adding gaming elements to boring and repetitive tasks can be fun and increase engagement, but employers need to always consider the ‘why’ behind the actions they are taking.
While well-thought incorporation of game mechanics in the workplace can result in happier employees, the opposite is also true: gaming elements that have no definitive goal will result in confused players. And confused players become frustrated players who start to wonder if their time is better spent elsewhere. Just like with their business needs, employers need to think strategically about the outcome they want to have with employees, and then build towards it. Is the goal to help employees make healthier lifestyle choices? Or adapt to a new work process? Begin with the end result and that will guide you a clearer picture of how to build towards it.
In short, gaming has become ingrained in popular culture, and gamification is a logical solution to some of corporate cultures’ problems. When done well, gamification can increase employee health, retention and happiness, as well as boost productivity and even increase sales.
Interested in implementing gamification into your training platform? Contact EdApp today to see how they can help.
EdApp’s multi-award-winning mobile app is the new standard in corporate eLearning. It uses microlearning, gamification, and spaced repetition to help employees perform training on their own mobile devices. It’s an effective and engaging way to create, distribute and analyse training in corporate, retail and other business environments.
Pandora, Shell, Honda and Sodexo have all adopted EdApp’s products to enhance their employee training through gamification. Choose among a wide array of gamification templates and see completion rates soar to 90 per cent and beyond!