Gamification and Motivation at Workplace

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Imagine your favorite game, it can be sport, board or online game. But why it is your favorite game? Why are people interested in games? Do people like the competition, connection or just it’s feedback which game gives to people? Nowadays many companies and organizations using Gamification techniques to engage and motivate employees at workplace. But what is it about? Does not belong this in the workplace? For understanding let’s first understand the meaning of Gamification. Gamification involves the development and implementation of game elements in work process. It is a tool to motivate people, to change the behavior through positive reinforcement. For better understanding the meaning of gamification let’s look at some practical ideas. 

As we know when we drive fast and go over the speed limit, we under the risk getting a ticket. Swiss tried a different approach. When people drive at or below the speed limit they can get into lottery where they have the chance to win the proceeds of those who are speeding by simply focusing on the non-speeders and giving them positive feedback today. With good and low abiding driving behavior they were able to decrease the average speed from 35 to 25 kilometers an hour. Or another example of how gamification helps people who willing to change their behavior easily. We have a lot of apps or tools for sport exercises, like Fitbit or Apple watch. 

That can connect people to community of friends, who can give advices or feedbacks and motivate them. Also we can set a goal and achieve the intended goal in a playful way. Moreover, gamification is a standards feature in hybrid or electric cars today. Because these cars require a driver to change normal driver behavior to minimize fuel consumption. So car manufactures are using the game techniques to give feedback to the driver about how do they doing. One of the example is Nissan Leaf which connecting the driver to a community to others drivers to see the regional ranking or the numbers of trees have saved. There is an interesting story about how friends decided to see who can go further on one gallon of gas. Due to this all drivers tried use their resources rationally that gave positive impact to the environment. So these are ways in which businesses are using game based techniques to connect and engage their customers externally.

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Some workers who are in different spheres in businesses can ask, “I do a serious work, how can I play and work at the same time?” Many people have an assumption that the opposite of play is a work. But research does not support this assumption, according to a play theorist Brian Sutton Smith” the opposite of play is not work, but depression”. Human being love to work and play, gamification giving an opportunity to combine the two both together. Concept that play and work is an opposite to one another is a legacy on the industrial range where we clocked in to work and clocked out to play. But does people behavior did not change for the last years? 

People and workplaces have changed significantly since then, we are transitioned from the information age and now we are at the conceptual age. And in this age people expect to bring our creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to work and help business to innovate. To be a successful in this reality we have to be engaged in the mission of the company and make a good decision every day for the further missions. In 2013, was conducted a survey in which 13% of employees was engaged at work, which means that they are psychologically committed to the organization and missions to make a positive contribution. 63% do not engage, which means that they are unmotivated and unwilling to contribute. And the worst is 24%, actively disconnected, they are unhappy and unproductive. 

Business leaders need to engage and motivate their employees and gamification gives opportunities to work and play at the same time to engage less motivated employees. An engaged workforce required an educational workforce and companies that cannot afford send to weeks of training are turning to e-learning. E-learning is the perfect use case of gamification because it allows employees to set their own goals and take the training at their own convenience, so they can take online training on their own as well. 

Gamification offers us a way to encourage employees doing such difficult tasks, too. For example, the job of a call center agent is not easy, they have to listen to customer complains all day and solved them. And it is difficult to one agent to know all answers to all the questions, so agents rely on one another for their areas of expertise. Or another example of how Microsoft is improving the linguistic quality of the Windows operating system, which is available in many languages. They certainly have professional translators, but Microsoft still hires bilingual employees who can check translators to be for sure. So they play the translation of the game and the staff.

Someone can say that gamification manipulate people to do tasks against their willing but my perspective on this is very simple. Ethics and morality govern all aspects of who we are and what we do and gamification is no expectation. If we use a power of game and give people opportunity to do something that they want to do – then we are good. But if we use a power of game to give people that they don’t want to do – we are doing evil. I believe that gamification is a good idea to implement at workplace, because through the game people learning new things faster, effective and cheerfully, and even it can help built trust between employees and employers. There is a wonderful statement of Mary Poppins “For every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap the job’s a game”

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