If we take a look back at our 10 most popular blogs over the past year, it’s clear that the face of enterprise gamification is changing – and for the good! Gamification was always about bringing out the best in employees but the “how” is changing and our blog posts try to capture that. We thank you for your feedback and shares, it motivates us to work harder on more blog posts you’ll love to read throughout 2015!

(1) Our top post of 2014: Can Gamification replace corporate performance management?  While managers are usually given  access to corporate performance management (CPM) with measurable goals, ritualized reviews, rewards, and basically a lot of back slapping that brings them up close up and personal with business strategy, non managerial employees are not exposed to CPM. While they’re surely being tracked and measured, and they know it, management should also provide them with the full picture of corporate objectives and not just a demotivating list of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts!’ Solution? Enterprise gamification can successfully emulate the benefits of CPM for non-managerial employees.

(2) Talking about successful gamification, we raised another extremely interesting question in his blog — Can Competition in Gamification be Discouraging? The LinkedIn Example — and judging by its popularity, we’re not the only ones that think it is interesting. When one actually thinks about it, LinkedIn’s “profile completeness bar,” taps into the intrinsic satisfaction we derive from completing something, rather than motivating us through competition. Make no mistake, there are competition drivers at play — have we had as many Linkedin views as our connections or are we just unpopular (oh horrors, who’d want that?), and enterprise  gamification rightfully relies on competition based game mechanics. What do we learn for our purposes? In the work place, we need to make sure that gamification elements encourage employees without making them feel worthless or over-challenged. Hence, to improve performance you may want to aim for the fuzzy feeling gained from completion.

(3) The Quantified Self Is the Future of HR examines how the fitbit or nike fuel concept can be applied to gamification along with new methods such as “Objectives and Key Results” used by Google, Intel and now popularized by BetterWorks. It also examines the concept of employees’ inner work lives and ties it all back to gamificaiton.

(4) Ok, so if you’ve been paying attention, by now you’ll probably know the answer to this question posed to our readers: Completion vs Competition: Which is better for Enterprise Gamification? This takes the idea of the completion-centric enterprise gamification deployment one step further. Not everyone thrives on competition, in fact an emphasis on competition and leaderboards may sometimes be de-motivating and ignore “the real growth and attempts made by the non-top-performers who are nevertheless performing exceptionally well.” Hence, managers should set individualized indicators and benchmarks for different employees, reward learning, training and task completion, and allow employees to experience the satisfaction that comes from the sense of a job well done!

(5) Pay it forward and Karma points: Good Deeds Gamification, hit a note with readers and with us. While the “pay it forward” expression (a recipient of a good deed returning the favor to others instead of to the original benefactor) has been around since 317 BC, it was  popularized by Robert A. Heinlein and Catherine Ryan Hyde’s 2000 novel and movie “Pay it Forward.” Nowadays, there is even an organization and a world movement dedicated to the idea. It makes perfect sense that encouraging “pay it forward” as well as “Karma” – has real benefits in the corporate world as well. The reddit and Aleph VC examples of using the concepts in gamification are truly worth this read, as well as the application of “karma” to enterprise gamification, especially in the context of learning management systems.

(6) Step back in time and discover some gamification techniques that still work, don’t happen on a screen (can you believe it?), and are absolutely free! From back slaps, to stick figures and good old fashioned raffles, Five Free Gamification Ideas: Motivate your employees the old-fashioned way, is a fresh approach to putting some fun, and more importantly, recognition, back into your organization.

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(7) The Marshmallow Test: Why Trust Matters and What It Means for Employees, actually warns us that when using rewards and gamification to encourage willpower (delayed gratification) among employees, trust is essential, so “keep the rules of the game honest and fair” or “you’ll create a game that rewards cheaters!”

(8) Using the Employee Engagement Funnel and Gamification for Business Transformation, takes a fascinating look at how to use enterprise gamification to create awareness of corporate goals, resulting in higher employee engagement.  The employee engagement funnel is about awareness – letting employees in on the bigger picture of corporate goals etc.; creating onboarding and corporate training practices that actually provide the tools to do a good job. The result? some employees will become corporate ambassadors who help others become engaged and better employees, in a viral expansion.

(9) You won’t find it in Wiki – yet, but read GamifiKAIZEN! – Gamification and Kaizen – using gamification for continuous process improvement, for his illuminating idea that combining gamification with the Kaizen Model – that gradual changes are more effective than extreme changes, and the PDCA Model (Plan, Do, Check Act) – that enables the implementation of such gradual changes, may be one of the best ways to improve process and performance!

(10) Last, but certainly not least, we were all extremely proud of the results of our Yahoo! gamification case study – “How Yahoo! increased its customer service KPIs by 10% in two weeks’ time,” and were delighted by our readers’ response. It discusses how we gamified Yahoo’s customer service, across geographies and teams, to create a lasting and sustainable improvement in KPIs.

Thanks for your support throughout the year, and we hope to bring you more excellent reads, unique perspectives, and some great ideas to keep your employees motivated and engaged through 2015 and beyond!

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