Gamification helps to engage and motivate at work

Mira Kekarainen
Mira Kekarainen
Head of Business Development

Business growth is always the underlying factor in companies' needs for skills development. Gamification helps to motivate people, but planning successful game projects requires planning just like any other project.

Gamification is still often connected to competition. Tradionally sales teams have competed on who gains the highest ROI or who goals the most leads. Points and competition, however, only motivate a small amount of people. Research has shown that when a game is used for learning purposes, excessive competition actually hurts motivation and learning results, as it easily leads to fear of failure. This again leads to worse learning strategies, not to mention to unneeded stress.

The benefits of gamification for business actually come from completely different elements than points, scoreboards or best sales person of the week -badges. When the goal is learning, even many sales teams benefit more from methods which feed the players' perception on their own personal development, freedom of self expression, feedback and teamwork. This comes as no surprise to anyone working with people, of course, and luckily hard sales games are nowadays more something you see in old American movies than reality of companies. 

Gamification can engage people to goals and processes, and motivate and bring forth knowledge and skills even better than traditional methods do. But success depends on how well the game manages to foster the players' own motivation. 

It's a given that all business actions aim to business success and growth, and that's certainly why gamification is also widely used in different functions. But in the players' or employees' perspective, company goals can be too overall or disengaging. At best, a game can bind the company's and the person's goals together, strengthen the player's own experience of themselves as professionals, and add their self confidence along with teamspirit. A well-doing and in self and in each others trusting personnel usually also brings more value to the company. 

When companies want to start gamifying processes or trainings, it's good to sit down, and think about the goals. What problem needs to be solved and where gamification can help. A game can usually help when better commitment or engagement is wanted, but also i.e. when the company wants to better understand or put to use personnel's silent information and skills. When goals are clear, it's time to start thinking ways and methods to be used. A game project is like any other project. You need good planning, project management and some methods and checkpoints to measure how your goals are met.

Implementing gamification to company trainings is not hard or expensive. Just modifying existing training materials into a more engaging form can do wonders. And as for measuring success, your own personnel is often the best resource for feedback and inspiration also in game projects. Ask the questions in the beginning, ask for help if needed, and use the right tools, and the benefits of gamification are at your service from the get-go.

If you're interested in learning more about gamification at work, click to our Seppo business site here.