Gamification is the application of elements typical of game playing in areas that are not usually game-related. There’s a growing trend in business to gamify tasks like training and team building to encourage and incentivize employees. Companies have also looked into gamifying their marketing efforts, allowing customers to have fun and feel a sense of accomplishment when they engage.
When implemented wisely, gamification can boost both enjoyment and results for everyone involved. Below, 15 members of Forbes Technology Council detail the most innovative uses they’ve seen companies make of gamification, as well as strategies that have worked for them.
1. Uncovering Existing Metrics
It’s too easy to confuse gamification with game-like mechanics. Gamification doesn’t require any narrative filter, just a sense of progression and reward. The clever ways I see it used inwardly revolve around applying comprehensible metrics to things that already existed—dev teams often don’t see the praise account managers do, for example, so showcasing that in a cumulative way can do wonders. – Artem Petrov, Reinvently
2. Incentivizing Teams To Attain Goals
I use scorecards with every team I manage. I’ve used a scorecard or scoreboard to set a goal for a team to complete such things as a certain number of unit tests within a week. Set a goal for the team at the beginning of the week, with the prize for achieving the goal by noon on Friday being that you will get everyone pizza. Make the first goal relatively easy to achieve, then raise the goal slightly next week. – Patrick Emmons, DragonSpears, Inc.
3. Motivating Individual And Collective Behavior
From my perspective, the optimal way to leverage gamification is to reward both collective and individual behavior. Companies need to embrace a model that motivates and empowers from the bottom up, ultimately providing timely and value-add recognition that motivates an individual on a personal level, but also at the same time encourages the group at a larger level so they remain engaged. – Andres Angelani, Cognizant Softvision
4. Increasing User Engagement
Gamification within a product makes the user experience more engaging and personalized. Especially for business-to-business, software-as-a-service solutions, games can transform ordinary business processes into tools for team motivation and appreciation. We have a leaderboard that recognizes team members who complete the most work orders in a month with badges. We’ve found this to be successful for team building. – Ryan Chan, UpKeep Maintenance Management
5. Improving Online Visibility
To increase the online visibility of Nike, the brand created a system of points that people received for their sports achievements. Users were encouraged to share their results online. Eventually, it helped many people become healthier, and Nike’s popularity grew big time due to plenty of shares and mentions all over social media. – Daria Leshchenko, SupportYourApp Inc.
6. Getting People To Talk
A good tech company should be holding retrospectives on a regular basis. It can be difficult to get people to talk about failures and wins in a meaningful way. Using a retrospective game to get people talking works wonders. There are a handful of useful texts out there that describe these games and how to use them on your teams. Once you get the hang of them, make your own. – Kevin Batchelor, Complete Merchant Solutions
7. Improving Tech Adoption
While implementing a new CRM system, our firm created a game to score users on their adoption (e.g., points were awarded for entering an opportunity). This competition unlocked the huge investment while empowering our team to learn. It was so successful that we ended up creating a new external product based on the game that gives clients one consistent, engaging way to learn across enterprise systems. – Matthew Lieberman, PwC
8. Encouraging Employee Social Media Participation
We’ve seen significant results through the gamification of employee participation on social media. We use an employee engagement platform for social media that puts competition front and center through visible leaderboards where everyone can see how their participation stacks up. We then publicly recognize the most active participants to build a culture of social selling, sharing and engagement. – Jed Ayres, IGEL Technology
9. Reinforcing Socially Conscious Office Policies
Everyone in the office wants to follow the rules, but occasionally they may slip up when working in a hurry or juggling multiple activities. One company uses a custom matching game to remind employees about the stringent recycling policy and to tell them what goes in the trash and which plastic is acceptable for the blue bins. Employees can have fun while helping the environment at the same time. – Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales
10. Making Boring Things Fun
We’ve used gamification for a variety of things: social events, migrating systems, finding bugs, etc. While this has worked well, we use it cautiously as it can sometimes distract when people “play the game” instead of committing to the purpose. Use games when just completing the task is good enough and long-term motivation isn’t a success criterion for the activity. – Ram Prayaga, mPulse Mobile
11. Driving Corporate Performance
We’ve seen dozens of customers use gamification to create a culture of voluntary learning across locations and job titles and aimed at specific business goals. But the most fun example was just this week when the CEOs of two of our customers, both regional grocers, challenged each other to accumulate the most points for knowledge growth across their entire organizations in the next year. Game on! – Carol Leaman, Axonify
12. Making Every Employee A Brand Ambassador
We created an internal “brand warrior” program at a major consumer entertainment company ahead of a globally anticipated product launch. Employees earned experience points and levels based on the product training they completed. All employees were eligible to participate, and XPs gained could be used at the employee store. This way every employee is a brand ambassador. – Michael Thiessmeier, Enjoy Technology
13. Improving Security Training
Introducing a gamified security training platform in your business has proven to be extremely successful. In a fun and intuitive way, team members learn how hackers try to breach companies by essentially “hacking” one another within the platform. This leads to a better understanding of cybersecurity and better results than typical companywide security training. – Joshua Ferry, CloudInsyte
14. Improving A Company’s Security Posture
CISOs use gamification to improve their company’s security posture by encouraging employees to participate in the cybersecurity program. As risk owners complete security-related tasks they get points that accumulate toward incentives. Leaderboards and other public-recognition methods drive a deeper sense of risk ownership throughout the organization and aid in reducing the company’s breach risk. – Gaurav Banga, Balbix
15. Enhancing The Employee Referral Process
One of the most impactful aspects of any business is hiring the right talent. For example, our HR team has gamified the employee-referral process, awarding prizes based on phone interviews, in-person interviews, job offers and accepted offers. With this shift, we are set to exceed our hiring goals, and great employees tend to bring similarly talented people. – Guy Bloch, Bringg