Can gamification provide the productivity boost businesses are searching for?

Gamification in the workplace is a management technique that’s improving employee production rates, boosting morale and inspiring teams to get projects accomplished quicker and more efficiently. Consider what motivates your employees - rewards, competitions and strong motivation. All of these are elements of gamification.

This strategy works because it employs all these tactics to keep your employees on task, focused, and working hard - after all, if your employees aren’t motivated to do their best, how can you expect your business to succeed?

According to a 2015 poll from Gallup, about 31.5 per cent of US workers were engaged in their jobs. Combating that, Badgeville, a global leader in business gamification, shared their own productivity results after using gamification in their everyday management. They found that about 90 per cent of workers had increased productivity and about 86 per cent of workers polled had increased their goals.

What accounts for the difference in employee motivation? Gamification.

The science behind gamification

Gamification is basically game-based motivation to get your employees invested in their projects. It’s all about increasing their desire and willingness to do something you assign. The reason gamification works so well is because of dopamine. Drive and ambition are driven by this chemical signal that gets passed from one neuron in your brain to another. Your body releases dopamine when you experience something satisfying or pleasurable, like winning a competition at work. Things like receiving awards or getting credit or winning can help release dopamine, and your body is always driving to produce more.

Read: Why being boring is good for business

How does gamification help your employees?

Using gamification in your workplace can undoubtedly help motivate your employees - but why does that happen? Gamification can do a lot of different things that can benefit your company. Firstly, because of the dopamine reactions it fires in your brain, it can inspire your employees to change their behaviours, to accomplish more tasks, and to set higher goals for themselves.

More than that, it can drive your employees to collaborate more and share more information if they know that working together can help them win a game or receive an award. When you make work more fun for your employees, you get better work, and in turn, when you reward your employees for that work, they engage more often and deeper. Gamification can increase the bond amongst your employees and help them grow together, too.

Gamification makes working fun - it increases the ability of your employees by making difficult tasks simple through practice or by lowering the activation threshold. It also uses regular and positive feedback to help build up your employees’ motivation even further.

How we gamify our workplace

What’s interesting about gamification is that it can be implemented in so many ways. At our company, we gamify the platforms we use for everyday work. For example, we use Trello for project management, and we gamify it to make it fun. We also set up our projects like levels, which act essentially as milestones. When you hit a milestone, you unlock the next level.

With Trello, there are fun programs like Get Badges that feature badge designs that are set in place to help your employees get their tasks accomplished. There are badges that help you remove items on your task list, commence a new task, track your progress, and help create a practical framework that keeps your employees motivated. Certain things will gain you points, and those points will gain you badges.

Another gamification program used on Trello is Habitca. It turns your life into a role-playing game and allows you to set recurring tasks (daily things), one-off tasks (to-do lists) and option tasks (habits), then will reward you with gold, new skills, and spell casting. It essentially turns your work life into a role-playing game that’s open ended, providing you with motivation to get things done, but leaving you with enough concentration to focus on your real-life tasks.

Gamification and you

Gamification works because it enhances the reward of completing a task into something more tangible and something your employees care to chase after. In the end, gamification isn’t real a game. It’s the use of game mechanics to drive positive behaviour and increase engagement. Gamification creates innovative, unique ways for employees to monitor their progress, get invested in their performance, and change their work culture for the better.

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