Five Simple Rules for Staying in the Game – Impact Blog!
Gamification is gaining traction in all kinds of industries including sales, customer service, employee training, customer engagement, education, even hiring and firing. So what’s the buzz about? Gamification takes the components of games—a goal, clear rules, feedback system, competition, points, strategy, rewards, narratives, teamwork, etc.—and uses those to make everyday tasks more interesting, engaging or motivating.
Gamification builds on the premise that games are fun and engaging. After all, World of WarCraft claims over 1 million players! Gamification takes this trend and puts game design into the work and training space. It gives people a chance to compete against co-workers or against themselves, gain points and rewards, and achieve a higher level of competence in the workplace.
Customer Service: Training Tool and Workplace Motivator
Health professionals and pilots are just two professions that train on simulators, gaining valuable experience before they ever step into the workplace. Similarly, “games” can be used to train customer service representatives in a number of areas including workflow processes, proficiency with technology and software, and dealing with (virtual) clients before they actually go out onto the floor. As the user masters a particular skill, the program moves on to the next level, identifying areas for improvement, testing choices, tracking progress and rewarding successes.
Gamification can also be instituted in the workplace, allowing co-workers to compete with each other, gain points, and support their team for prizes. Employees can see how they’re doing on measures of productivity, quality of service and customer satisfaction, with feedback for improvement. In both training and on-the-job gamification, supervisors can track progress and step in with additional support as needed.
Know the Score
When it comes to gamification, remember that one size does not fit all. Just because “games are fun” it doesn’t mean that all games are fun to all people. They must be meaningful to the goals of your organization and its culture. They should target particular behavior that needs to be corrected or strengthened. Point and award systems must truly measure valuable actions on the part of your staff. Here are some simple rules to play by:
- Provide Ongoing Rewards and Feedback. Don’t wait until the end of the day, week or month to let workers know what’s working and what’s not. As in any game, we want to know the score throughout the game! Institute meaningful long– and short-term goals. This will help keep workers engaged over time.
- Make it Interactive. Lectures can be dull and slide presentations can be sleep-inducers! The beauty of games is that they are interactive. Players can move things around, manipulate their environment, explore options and test new skills. Select programs that keep the “player” immersed and engaged.
- Take Advantage of Self-Paced Learning. In the world of gaming, each new feat you accomplish gives you greater challenges. The game remembers where you left off and your level of capability. Compare this to many training situations where you’ve had to sit through several hours of a presentation to get the few bits of information you really want and need! Gamification saves precious time by allowing for individualized, self-determined behavior.
- Keep it Simple. Some of the most fun games—those that have stood the test of time—are those with a straightforward premise that almost anyone can play. Avoid programs that are confusing or time-consuming to learn. Always go back to basics and evaluate what you’re trying to achieve. What do you want your staff to gain by these activities?
- Word to the Wise. In 2011 research firm Gartner called gamification a “highly significant trend” with “enormous” potential. But a year later, the company noted that gamification was still being driven by “novelty and hype,” and predicted that by 2014, 80% of current gamified applications would fail to meet business objectives, mainly due to poor design. Just because it’s “a game” doesn’t mean it’s going to make your business thrive. Get clear on what objectives are to be accomplished and what trends you want to encourage.