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Gamification at work. What's the point?

Mira Kekarainen
Mira Kekarainen
Head of Business Development
21.11.2019

Whether the goal is to increase sales, employee happiness, effectiveness or recruiting practices, there’s an app or way to do that in a gamified way. And in an increasing amount, that's exactly what's done. But what’s the point?


Gamification increases motivation 

According to TalentLMS survey 89% of employees believed they are more productive when working in a gamified way, and 88% felt happier at work when gamification was used.

Gamification really has the power to add productivity and motivate people. There are three very simple reasons for this.

1.     Playing makes people goal oriented and active

When we’re actively trying to accomplish something, working towards it instead of passively taking in information, the work put into the process makes us believe that whatever that something is must be meaningful.

Add some game elements to monotonous repeating tasks, and they automatically feel more interesting.

Add gamified elements like a visual progress bar to complex processes with a lot of stages to show the progress, and the whole process feels more rewarding. Dividing projects into smaller sub projects and marking the completion of each sub project visually or with badges or some other way makes taking charge of even large projects easy. It also makes it easier to divide power and responsibility.

2.    Playing feeds autonomy

When we play, we are in charge. We decide what we do and how. This makes us stand behind our decisions, and teaches us how to take responsibility.

But being autonomous is also a really significant reason for work wellbeing and happiness at work.

Being in charge of our own work makes us feel more powerful. When we can make the decisions that lead us towards achievements, those achievements become greater and make us believe in our own abilities. This again helps us do better in whatever it is we’re doing. But only if we feel and see that we’re progressing and achieving something.

Achieving something in a game usually awards us with immediate points, feedback and changing levels. This reward system is usually quite visual. Adding possibilities to affect one's choices, or for instance having a possibility to plan one's work schedule, adds to the feeling of autonomy whether it's in a gamified way or not.

There are already various different apps and programs marking down progress and rewarding us with upbeat messages when our daily goals or tasks get completed. This adds to our sense of progression and makes us feel more accomplished. 

3.    Playing is social

Games at best are interactive. Players are not in their own bubbles but connected with each other, with the game, fighting for a bigger cause or building something greater. When we're doing something together we feel more related to the topic and to each other.

Sometimes playing together, even placing people in made up roles, helps discussing difficult topics or solving difficult problems. Sometimes doing something completely bizarre because "the game asks us to" can even help to resolve stalemate situations. 

Adding fun adds effectiveness

At best gamification adds fun to work. It makes boring topics or tasks more engaging and fun. It can help people to grow to their full potential, and it adds a bit of excitement and positive competitiveness into everything, even if we're only competing against ourselves or trying to get better at something. 

But it’s not one size fits all. Gamification methods do need to be given some thought. I.e. adding too much competitiveness to the work culture in the name of gamification has the risk of making people feel stressed and uncomfortable.

But do it the right way, and you can have a team full of people who want to get better at their work and help each other grow.  

Want to know more? Stay tuned in our blog or read more about gamification with Seppo platform.