Bets? At Work?

Sometimes, when we want to promise ourselves that we’ll do something, we make bets. Well, it isn’t really a bet – it’s more of a challenge to ourselves, or a prediction. It really is committing to something – a goal – and working hard to see it through.

Sometimes you see this mechanism in TV game shows: a contestant reaches a certain number of points, and then they are offered a double or nothing choice by the host. Answer one more question correctly and you’ll get double the points.

Betting (or gambling if you may) is known to cause the human body to produces more dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin, all work together and lead to a positive, energetic feeling about oneself and, in the workplace – to be more engaged.

Contrary to common belief, money doesn’t have to be a part of it. Studies have shown that intrinsic motivation can be as powerful as extrinsic one. The sense of winning a friendly competition, the sense of control over ones’ own actions, and finally, the feeling of accomplishing something, is powerful enough to create change.

The Bet on Yourself Feature

One of the game elements in GamEffective follows a similar logic. We call it “Bet on Yourself”. Its logic is that making predictions or committing to a goal –by how much can you exceed your goal – makes us more alert and engaged, by the mere fact of making the prediction and wanting to follow it through (if you’re interested, you can read more about it here).

Here’s how this is used, typically in performance environments (when we use the platform to drive motivation and performance, tracking employee work-related KPIs):

Employees using the GamEffective platform get the chance to bet on their future achievements. Bets are time limited and are not always available, so the engaging element is not exhausted or misused.

For example, employees can make a bet on their future KPI performance, for instance, how many sales calls they will make. In collection centers employees are often measured by the number of “Promises to Pay” they achieve. With one of our clients, we offered employees the chance to hit their target in a certain amount of time for the chance to win extra 100 points in their game. The opportunity to bet what only available for few days. Here is what it looked like:

Running this Bet on Yourself campaign resulted in a noticeable peak of engagement as well a + 30% jump in the “Promises to Pay” KPI. In later surveys employees stated that betting on themselves added some spice to their daily routine, and in retrospect, has made them more eager to reach their target.

Driving Commitment through Engagement Automation

While the “bet” is still live, employees receive a string of messages encouraging them not only to place a bet, but later, to succeed in their bet. GamEffective’s triggering and engagement automation support this (here’s a webinar describing this). Engagement automation ensures employees receive constant feedback on how they are doing, in a way that encourages them and offers support when needed. For example, this message was send automatically to users who placed a bet but have been struggling to reach their target:

Other messages were sent to users according to their performance. this helps managers stay focused on employee performance while assuring constant engagement efforts.


Betting and Digital Motivaton

Of course, extrinsic motivation elements can also be involved. At GamEffective we sometimes connect rewards to a virtual store, but as we have discovered, the best practice is to mix verbal encouragement, coaching and support, along with physical rewards. The practice of combining different reward types to achieve ultimate engagement levels has been suggested by Dan Ariely, a behavioral psychology expert.

While offering employees this feature managers were also able to get more insight about their teams’ behavior. Especially after offering the betting option more than once, on different occasions and different time frames.

In the team level, we can learn if there is a successful “flocking” effect, meaning that employees push each other to take more bets which will result in better performance results, causing employees to push themselves forward and reach better results.

This can also increase engagement in other elements of gamification used as it encourages the sense of achievements and control over results. For example, we have seen that when employees win game coins in a bet, they become more aware of their coin count and look for more places to earn them.


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