For many business executives trying to figure out how they can improve their team’s productivity, gamification may offer a viable solution. The term “gamification” may be familiar to many of you, yet you still may be unclear on what it exactly is and how you can incorporate it into your business’s activities. So, let’s start with the basics and work our way from there.
What is gamification?
In a nutshell, gamification is the process of taking a mundane, everyday activity and incorporating game mechanics into it so as to make the activity more engaging.
Now, let’s breakdown that definition:
• a mundane, everyday activity:
Almost any activity, regardless of what it is, can be gamified. That being said, it has to be pointed out that gamification doesn’t create new activities; it only modifies existing ones in order to make them more fun and stimulating.
• incorporating game mechanics:
Having played several games as kids, we are all aware of the fundamental mechanics of games, even if it is only subliminally. The idea behind gamification is to take these core components behind most games and find a way to include them in a given activity.
Some of the main game mechanics that you should be familiar with are as follows:
Players need to be aware of the rules of the game as well as what it takes to win or lose. If the rules are unclear, players will lose interest quickly.
When gamifying an activity, you want to make the desired behavior be the goal the players pursue, and when players get closer to achieving the goal you set for them, they are rewarded one way or another.
3. Fast feedback:
Be it in the form of points, badges, or something else, a game has to give its players instant feedback, thus engaging them and making them want to play on.
In order to keep track of how well players are doing, you need to have a point system that rewards the targeted behavior and penalizes unwanted behavior. Accordingly, a player will get instant feedback on their actions, letting them know where they stand along with what they can do to improve their score.
Another form of rewarding the player is the use of badges, which can be given when the player accumulates a certain number of points or when they do some other impressive feat that won’t earn them any points. For instance, some sites offer their users badges when the users log in to the site seven days in a row.
It’s not enough for players to know how many points they have; for them to be truly engaged, they need to know how they are doing in comparison to other players. Not only does this bring in the social aspect of gaming, but it also gives the top winners bragging rights, which is an extra reward onto itself. You can incorporate competition into your game through the use of leaderboards for example.
Seeing as we are all social beings, one of the best ways games can engage its players is by building a community, one that fosters relationships between its members and allows them to connect. As a matter of fact, numerous sites, such as Reddit or Facebook groups, are built on establishing a community whose members can have unique interactions with one another.
People love the feeling of achievement, but they also want to feel that they’ve earned it. So, when making a game, you should reward players who put in an effort by allowing them to level up and have access to certain things that they weren’t able to reach before.
Upon starting a new game, players need to be introduced to the game, its rules, and everything else. This is known as onboarding.
Great, but how can gamification help my employees?
I’m glad you asked. To start with, when your employees are highly engaged, they tend to outperform their less engaged counterparts by 147 percent. What’s more, better-engaged employees exhibit an average of 45 percent less turnover and 37 percent fewer absences.
To be more specific, here are a few ways that gamification can boost your employees’ productivity:
1. Better teamwork:
Given that a core game mechanic is a community, it should come as no surprise to learn that gamification helps you build a collaborative environment where social connections are established in order to come one step closer towards achieving goals.
2. A higher rate of referrals:
Happy employees are bound to refer you to their friends and family, making your job of hiring new staff easier. Moreover, you can gamify the referral process, which incentivizes employees to take an even more active role.
3. Lifting your employees’ spirits:
One of the biggest problems with any job is how monotony tends to set in at some point. After all, most jobs tend to get repetitive, setting the stage for boredom to creep in. However, if you take the same task and inject a little fun into it, the entire process can be more enjoyable and pleasant.
4. Gets employees to want to better themselves:
Gamification helps your employees grow in two ways: On the one hand, by breaking down long-term goals into a series of small, achievable tasks, it helps your employees plan better and think in a more strategic fashion. On the other hand, by creating an environment where good behavior is rewarded with points, employees will be encouraged to seek ways to maximize the number of points they accumulate by increasing their efficacy in any given task. Over and above, you can go so far as to gamify the training sessions you offer your employees.
5. Increases sales:
A study once found that when people are put in a competitive situation, their performance is enhanced several times over when compared to when they aren’t competing with anyone. And, this makes sense seeing as nobody likes ending up in last place.
6. Fires up your employees’ imagination:
In brainstorming sessions, it’s normal for some employees to be more engaged than others. Yet, when you sprinkle a touch of gamification with a pinch of rewards over the whole thing, what you get is a different setting where employees will be much more willing to contribute and find creative ideas that’ll help your business.
What about your customers? Can gamification help them?
With gamification, you can offer your customers a better experience, making them want to come back for more. You can increase engagement across your social media, which should up your website traffic. In fact, when a brand engages its customers, it can expect customer attrition to go down by 63 percent and the share of wallet to go up by 55 percent.
So, with that in mind, here are a few ways you can use gamification to your advantage:
1. Get new customers using contests, giveaways, and rewards:
One way you can attract new customers is to resort to offering them a reward of sorts for making their first purchase with you or for referring a friend. Alternatively, you can hold a contest that entices people to play, and you can give the winner a covetable prize.
2. Educate your customers with games:
A lot of the time, learning about the services offered by a company is a dry, boring process that can have the most interested customers’ eyes start rolling over. However, this doesn’t have to be the case for you: You can gamify the education process and let your customers enjoy the whole thing. Over and above, you could offer a reward for those who end up winning the game.
3. Market your products using games:
One way you can get the word out about your products is to promote them with a fun game that gets customers excited.
4. Reward your loyal customers:
The simplest and most antiquated form of rewarding customers is offering them loyalty points. However, you can go a few extra steps and come up with a few schemes that’ll keep them coming back for more: You can create something similar to a scavenger hunt where your customers have to find the deal of the day. Alternatively, you can come up with a lottery system that rewards your customers with valuable prizes.
Having seen a few ways with which you can engage your customers, we also have to cover a few ground rules that will help make your games effective:
1. Let the games be simple and winnable:
One of the fastest way players lose interest in a game is if that game is prohibitively hard to play. Therefore, if you want your customers to get the most out of your gamification efforts and come back for more, you have to make sure that some of them win.
2. Let your games be mobile:
People are using their smartphones more and more these days, which is why you want to make use of this trend and make sure your games are accessible via smartphone.
3. Make the most of social media:
Social media is a powerful tool that allows people to share the things that interest them and grab their attention. Hence, people who get high scores in your games will have a strong incentive to share your brand with their friends and family.
4. Pay more attention to the game rather than to the prizes:
At the end of the day, if your game isn’t fun, people will not play it, regardless of the prize you might be offering. Conversely, if your game is fun but the prize isn’t that big of a deal, people will still play it all the same. Therefore, you should focus on your game and the experience it offers.
5. Have a few celebrities involved in your game:
Seeing as games build communities, people will be much more excited about joining the community surrounding your game if a celebrity they like is also part of it.