Ever sit down to play a video game, and promise yourself, “I’ll just finish this one thing, then I’m going to bed,” and two hours later you’re repeating that promise for the third or fourth time that night?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could be just as motivated about finishing “just one more thing” in other parts of your life? Or if your employees or coworkers could find that sort of motivation in getting through their day-to-day tasks on the job?
There’s a reason games hook us in the way that they do. They’re designed to play off the brain’s natural work/reward feedback loops in order to keep people coming back for more. And there’s good news—that same psychology is easy to apply to aspects of life outside of gaming.
It’s called “gamification,” and it’s been around for a while now. In fact, the term was coined way back in 2002, though it’s evolved and changed a bit over time.
Here’s what gamification is, and how it’s changing the workplace.
What is Gamification?
Yu-Kai Chou, a leading gamification expert, defines gamification as, “The craft of deriving all the fun and addicting elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities.”
In other words, using the psychology of gaming to motivate people in a non-gaming environment. It’s something you’ve probably experienced first-hand, even if you didn’t realize it. You know how people worry about their Uber ratings? That’s gamification. You, as a user, are awarded a score, and you feel an inherent motivation to keep your score high. If that sounds like a game, it’s because it is a game.
You’ll find elements of gamification everywhere. Education companies use it. Businesses use it. Apps are all about it. Once you realize what to look for, you’ll see just how prevalent it is in your daily life.
That’s because gamification works. Really well. And because it relies on basic human psychology, it’s not tied into a specific industry or field. As long as there’s a platform available to implement some elements of gamification—and there are a lot of elements—you can expect it to work.
Gamification is Changing the Workplace
At its core, gamification is a way to motivate people to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do. That could be curbing a bad habit—if you’ve ever used a fitness app, you’ve probably seen some gaming elements designed to help you become more active. It could also mean promoting a good habit—if you’re used to seeing badges and other rewards for checking in on your app, you’re used to seeing that positive reinforcement. All of that can work wonders at the workplace.
Gamification changes the way your employees interact with their work—and with each other. It can help people learn new skills, motivate workers to reach new milestones, and encourage people to take on new projects.
It may sound silly, but you’ll be surprised how much motivation you can provide by adding badges and ranks to your training courses.
Competition Works. But so does Collaboration.
One of the key driving factors in gamification is tapping into people’s competitive sides. The key is to keep it friendly—make achievements every team member can get if they work hard enough, and keep contests fair so everyone has a chance to win.
For example, give your customer support team various milestones for the week or the month. Hardest question to answer, fastest average response time, biggest CS victory—all of these are excellent sources for friendly competition, especially if they’re actively involved in picking the winners.
Make all of this visible with an app like GoSpaces so that your team can access their challenges and achievements on their mobile devices. They can keep track of the results, which will keep them involved! As a manager, you can motivate engagement, too, and find ways to let them shine in new challenges.
At the same time, a team that only competes against itself isn’t going to have good relationships in the long run. Luckily, gamification can also inspire people to work together. Look for challenges that require teamwork to accomplish, and set special goals that will reward an entire team or department when they hit their mark.
Getting Started With Gamification
If you’re ready to start introducing game-like elements into the way your business is run, the examples from this post are a good place to start. But they’re just the tip of the iceberg. GoSpaces offers companies the tools they need to bring a whole new level of interaction and collaboration to the workplace. If you’re ready to change the way you do business, let us show you how we can help!GamificationWorkplace