Game on: How to engage employees using Gamification

The term "gamification" has been around for a long time. But companies today are still reluctant and unclear on how to engage their employees using it.
By: | January 24, 2020

Everyone loves a game. So why aren’t companies making use of the competitiveness nature of people to engage employees?

The term ‘gamification’ was coined as far back as 2002. We are in 2020 and businesses today are still hesitant and unclear on how to implement it in their workplaces to onboard new members, train employees and even get feedback.

In fact, a Penna study from 2015 found that 70% of HR Directors said that it was not used in their workplace at all. By 2018, TalentLMS data still revealed that around half of employees had yet to experience gamification in the workplace

Gamification refers to the use of gaming mechanics, such as achievement badges or leader boards, to encourage engagement or increase motivation among its users. If the user enjoys the experience they are more likely to use the application again or be engaged with it.

“Gamification can be a really effective engagement tool, for example it can help workforces to develop news skills and work collaboratively by tapping into people’s competitive nature and desire to improve,” said Grant Torrens, Regional Director for Hays Singapore.

“It can give the user control over what they’re doing, providing them with instant feedback on how they are performing and allowing them to earn recognition when they have completed the task.”

While there’s no guarantee of success and gamification might not be suitable for all companies depending on the profile of their employees, it’s something that employers should take a more serious (or fun) look into.

Here are some ways you can use gamification to engage your people:

1) Employee feedback

Gathering regular feedback from employees is essential to understanding an organisation’s workforce. Gamification can have a big impact on the quality of feedback a company collects from its employees. By incentivising employees, they are more likely to provide regular and useful feedback on their workplace and their current morale.

2) Learning and development

The most common use for gamification in the workplace is learning and development. Research from Harvard Business School in 2019 highlighted the effectiveness of learning at work using gamification. The study found that applying gamification during the learning process had a strong impact on the willingness of employees to not only engage with learning, but to complete the programs more consistently.

3) Employee wellbeing

Gamification also has the potential to improve employee physical wellbeing, by turning physical activity into a competition. For instance, there are projects which exist that use gamification to encourage activity among the workforce, such as Step Ahead: Zombies. The project includes a walking challenge, where participants have to escape a virtual zombie invasion and those who don’t walk enough are caught by zombies. The developers of the project have said improvements of 20% in employee engagement were common among participating organisations.