Gamification Basics

social proof in enterprise gamificationToday, in a world full of information, media and communications – it’s really hard to stay focused. It is even harder to use persuasion to influence behavior.

Enterprise gamification is about using game elements to influence employee behavior. What most people miss, though, is that it is also a great platform for employee communications, which further enforces persuasion and can encourage commitment to behavioral changes. Enterprise gamification, with the right calls to action and communication, also provides us with the behavioral cues that reinforce behavior.

This post is inspired by “the small BIG – small changes that spark big influence”. The book’s authors, Steve Martin, Noah Goldstein and Robert Cialdini argue that making a small change (the right change, based on neuroscience, cognitive psychology, social psychology and behavioral economic) results in BIG effects.

Thinking about persuasion (the book’s authors talk about “persuasion science”) is based on the premise that people may be willing, in theory, to do something – help an old lady cross the street, diet, vote or change work-related behavior. But this willingness needs persuasion – first people need to agree to undertake a behavior. People also need cues – reminders to do the right thing.

One of the underlying principles of persuasion science is using social proof. Social proof means that we are more likely to act if we believe others are doing the same. This post will show how using enterprise gamification, for sales, customer service, call centers, eLearning and more, is a great  way to create social proof and increase the likelihood your gamification project will succeed.

  1. Using social proof to go with the crowd.

    The book tells the story of how, in 2009, Britain’s tax collection agency decided to try a small BIG change to its tax collection letters. In the past it had informed people their tax payments were delinquent, told them what are the fines and interest they are risking. But in 2009 it decided to add a sentence – one sentence. That sentence resulted in a dramatic rise in collection. What was that one magical sentence? A simple statement of how many people actually do pay on time.

Why is that so persuasive? Because it gives social proof – people shape their behavior by the behavior of those that surround them. This is not motivated by a simple desire to be like everyone else. Social proof is driven by strong human needs – to make accurate decisions quickly, to be approved by others and to think well of oneself.

Use gamification communication to drive social proof: don’t use a competition to show who completed a challenge first. Do show how many people already completed a challenge, how many people manage to have high first call resolution rate or how many people follow up with an email after a sales call.

  1. Using social proof to against the crowd

    : sometimes a desired behavior can be encouraged by using people’s desire to not go with the crowd. Sometimes using people’s desire to disassociate themselves from a group works better. You don’t want to smoke if I prove to you that smokers are lazy. Cool kids don’t want to adopt geeky behavior. Communicating something negative about people who do not perform a certain action would make people more likely to perform that action, especially in social settings.

Use gamification communication to drive social proof: drive information about behaviors that should be avoided: call center reps that did not complete a certain eLearning stage were less successful at a certain task, sales people that did not complete CRM records sold less etc.

Above all, remember that enterprise gamification is a great tool to communicate goals, objectives and best practices. You can also think about using the social proof principle to make sure that enterprise gamification, when used to communicate, makes the right points that drive persuasion and commitment.

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