Gamification Basicsmost popular gamification stories by gameffective

most popular gamification stories by gameffective2015 has been a great year for workforce gamification. It was a year of great changes – a movement away from performance appraisals into “live” employee coaching, a year where workforce gamification became more mainstream and more enmeshed with performance and learning.  Writing a blog depends on user feedback about what’s interesting (and what isn’t), so without further ado, we wanted to share with you our most popular 2015 gamification articles:

1. The Ten Surprising Benefits of Gamification

This one is the the most popular post in 2015. the post discusses the lesser-known benefits of gamification. Instead of discussion “fun” and “games” or point, badges and leaderboards, the article examines the real benefits of gamificaiton: transparency, feedback, recognition and on-the-job mastery. The post also discussed the topic of choice and autonomy at work.

2. Will 80% of Gamification Projects Fail?

Interestingly, our second most popular post this year looked at an infamous part of our industry’s history and asked – Will 80% of gamification projects fail?, referring to Gartner’s 2012 gamification forecast. In this post we looked back at this famous quote and explained what had changed in the industry since the report had been published. What really changed was the understanding of what gamification at work is really about – from feedback, to culture and a “script for work” – and it seems that Gartner actually got gamification right in 2012.

3. Gamification for Employee Onboarding

The third post on this list had to do with a very specific topic – onboarding. The post discusses complementing talent acquisition with onboarding processes. The first days at a new workplace are crucial for employees to feel comfortable, and may very well define their productivity levels in the future. Gamification is a great solution for this, because it enables employees to start at a certain ‘beginner level’ and develop their capabilities and confidence up from there. I also spoke about how gamification can be used for elearning during the onboarding process, and how this can be utilized to analyze and monitor the new employee’s progress.

4. 5 Sales Gamification Leaderboard Mistakes

The next post in our list is about one of my favorite topics – leaderboards. The article maps  five common ways in which leaderboards are done wrong, and specifically sales leaderboards. These include

  • Tracking the wrong benchmarks;
  • Endorsing the wrong behaviors;
  • Overlooking the middle 60%;
  • Making a disengaging leaderboard; and
  • Forgetting teams

In short: leaderboards are a great tool. Use them wisely and remember that sometimes competing against your own benchmark works better.

4. Performance Management Doesn’t Work. What does?

This post about performance management was written because 2015 was a landmark year for this practice. Why? because  some of the world’s biggest organizations got rid of the traditional performance review. This change actually reflects the strengths of performance gamification: timely feedback and an objective understanding of performance and a move away from employee post-facto evaluation into proactive employee development.

5. Gamification and Change Management

All companies change. In our world, companies are actually changing much faster than they used to. That’s why it is important to manage change, and gamification is a great tool to do so.  This post was about how Gamification and change management work together – showing what behaviors are changing, what the expectations are and measuring and “tuning” the actual change. This video has Yahoo’s former VP customer experience discuss the same topic.

6. Team vs Individual Incentives

This post is about team vs individual incentives, transparency, and how gamification is the easiest way to achieve and maintain transparency in organizations. There is some fascinating research on the subject of individual vs team incentives and productivity – guess which works better?. Humans crave social gratitude and acceptance, and care about how they are percevied by others. Yet, for team incentives to work and for these psychological factors to be able to come in to play transparency is needed. In other words, only when employees know what others in the organization are doing and know that their own work will be visible to others, do they care how they are perceived and compare themselves to their peers. Achieving transparency in any organization is an extremely difficult task, and this is where gamification can play an important role.

7. Gamification Analytics Matter

Analytics are beginning to play an important role in HR technology, and gamification analytics are a prime example. We think it’s crucial to know not only how your game is doing but also, where you are losing people, what raises engagement with the platform and what makes your users want to come back to platform time and again. The next level is managerial analytics and providing the tools for the future of “people analytics”.

8. Move the Middle

Here, I wrote about working with the middle 60%. So many employers are focused on the performance of either their best employees (“they’re doing so well! How do I keep this going?”), or on their worst performers (“If only I could get them to do a little better…”), but actually most of the potential for a productivity jump is hidden within the middle ranks.  In other words, a manager who really want to improve her organization, should be thinking about how to move her middle performers up in the class of “good” performers and by this have the biggest effect on the company. In order to achieve this, employers need to think about – capabilities and motivation. An employee needs to acquire new capabilities that will make her better at what she does and more productive. At the same time, if this employee has all the capabilities in the world, yet still isn’t motivated, these capabilities won’t come in to play and productivity won’t change. Gamification is a great way to marry capabilities and motivation.

9. How Gamification Works

This post is actually an inforgraphic about how gamification is implemented, accessible here. It actually works quite nicely with this white paper on best practices for gamification project management.

10. Best Guide: Elearning and Enterprise Gamification

Of all our guides, this guide was the most downloaded this year. Maybe because it is driven by an important insight – almost every gamification project is an excellent candidate for elearning integration.

So, those were the most popular posts of 2015. We’ve already got some great things in the works for 2016 and we can’t wait to share them with you. Keep posted and enjoy the holidays!


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