Gamification Basics

corporate cultureEarlier this month, Deloitte published its Global Human Capital Trends report for 2016. It’s a great read – you can download it here. Called “different by design,” it discusses 10 trends in organizational design and culture, in learning, leadership, workforce management and more.

Taking a look at the report through the prism of performance gamification, I’ve noticed four trends that are worth mentioning. This is actually pretty natural since performance gamification ties into the core drivers behind today’s modern workplace.

1. Culture at the workplace
Suddenly, culture has become the belle of the ball. 82% of respondents to the Deloitte survey view workplace culture as a potential competitive advantage. Over 50% of the companies surveyed, a huge number, say that they are currently attempting to change their company culture due to changes in the talent markets. It seems that companies have now realized just how important culture is, and also how little they know about the state of culture in their organizations and fewer than 12% of companies state that they understand what their company culture is.

As companies become invested in actively impacting corporate culture, the use of performance gamification, which can bring increased transparency, a tie-in between personal and corporate objectives and better direct employees at work, is a way of directly addressing culture issues, especially with rank and file employees.

2. Employee engagement
One of the report’s most interesting points is that organizations are very focused on engagement; and how they are worried they aren’t doing a good enough job of it. Organizations are undergoing a major shift, where surveying engagement is no longer the responsibility of only the HR department, but of managers at all levels, all the way up to the CEO. Companies are vying for the “Best Place to Work” lists and can’t afford to just passively measure engagement and satisfaction. Interestingly, although 48% of executives say that engagement is a very important issue, 64% of companies still only measure engagement annually. Organizations are now looking for solutions that can measure engagement on a more continuous basis and offer constant feedback and insights to managers.

Gamification solutions could play an important role in this space, since these continuously monitor different aspects of the workforce, and provide important insights to managers. Gamification platforms also use behavioral economics to keep the workforce engaged and motivated, and make sure that employees are constantly being challenged.

3. Meaningful work
It turns out that free beer, ping pong tables, and bean bags are all nice, but they’re not the reason an employee stays or leaves a workplace. Instead, in order to have highly engaged employees, companies need to instill a sense of meaning in their workforce. Employees are becoming more and more aware and sensitive to the higher mission and vision of the companies that they work for. Alternatively, they want to feel a sense of personal growth, mastery of new skills and professional development.

I’ve written extensively about how intrinsic motivation will always trump external compensation or motivation, and as this report shows, other companies are seeing this trend as well. Gamification can be a great tool to show employees how they are progressing and developing, as it can give a practical sense of how an employee is performing in comparison to herself, other employees and different average scores. Gamification is also beneficial for the creation of a sense of meaning since it provides transparency and allows employees to connect the general goals the organization is working towards.

4. Millennials at the workplace
Millennials are now more than 50% of the workforce, and they think and work in a completely different way than what we’ve been accustomed to. They don’t fear moving workplaces if they think there’s a better option out there for them, and they even expect to work in many more places than previous generations. What’s more, companies feel that they are doing a lousy job of engaging millennials.

Since these employees are completely accustomed to using technology and it being an integral part of their lives, they expect to see technology being used in the workplace as well. For many millennials, games and gamification were already a part of their education, and they are extremely accustomed to it. Companies need to find ways to utilize this and build on technology to achieve the best results possible for their organizations.

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