Using Gamification in Business to Increase Performance

Create a place where  people can thrive and grow together

Do you want more engagement?

Well, of course you do. Who would ever say their employees/people are totally engaged and working to their fullest capacity towards the company’s goals?

The REAL question is – how do you increase performance? Particularly when you know there are countless tactics and strategies out there, so where do you start? What is the right solution to focus and spend your time and efforts on?

That’s where Gamification comes into play.

But what is Gamification?

Gamification is the process of integrating game elements and psychological principles into an existing system. This system can be a website, existing enterprise software, an app or an online community.

Ok, great. However, that still doesn’t explain how to apply Gamification in Business. Nor does it explain why it’s a good idea.

Honestly, there are many reasons why companies think it’s a good idea to integrate game mechanics, behavioural elements, and design techniques into their systems, however, let’s just focus on the most important reason:

It works.

Gamification works and history doesn’t lie. Games and their elements are present in all cultures. They are one of the oldest forms of engagement and human social interaction.

In the Roman Empire, gladiator battles were designed around a theme, competition, challenge, and social status. In the ancient Greek games, crowds of people were inspired by time pressure, accumulating points, making progress, leader boards, and prizes – and we are still very much engaged with the Olympic Games! 

Source The New York Times

But why have game mechanics and game elements always worked as a successful tool to engage millions of people for generations and why will that certainly continue for a long time to come?

The reason is that games tap into the basic mechanisms of human behaviour. You can effectively fulfil human desires like reward, socialization, status, altruism, competition, self-expression or achievement when you’re playing or even simply cheering for your favorite team.

Games & Gamification

Gamification like games, keeps players engaged by helping them get better at something meaningful to them. This is what we call progressive skill building. Where we help people evolve basic skills and simple decision making into very complex skills and decision making through incremental progress.

Gamification taps into the brain’s pleasure system.

The anticipation of most types of rewards and benefits increases the level of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a hormone and it’s also one of the main neurotransmitters in the brain. It contributes to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.  It also plays a crucial part in modulating focus, motivation, cognitive flexibility, and emotional resilience.

The term Gamification was first mentioned in 2002. But it gained a lot of popularity beginning in 2010. Since then companies have started to implement Gamification in business for employee and customer facing applications.

Where do we find employee focused Gamification in business?

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Learning & Training

Gamification in corporate education allows companies to remain adaptable and dynamic for members (and non-members) of the millennial generation. Today’s workforce is comprised of up to five different generations. Each generation is motivated by different factors: from financial incentives, or meaningful work to genuine relationships.

It’s hard to maintain long-term engagement for everybody. It’s hard to ensure that your company goals and employee achievements are moving in the same direction.

With Gamification applied to training programs, companies are seeking to take out the dull, monotonous, and repetitive elements of the daily workplace and replace them with an inspiring learning journey. A new exciting journey that empowers them with the sense of self- achievement, autonomy, mastery and social interaction.

When you are coaching you must understand that success is the result of behaviour, which is determined by attitudes, which are formed by conditioning, which takes place through repetition. – Charles A. Coonradt 

Gamification in corporate learning for employee facing applications is largely used to

  • Maintain excellence in employee skills
  • Level up team knowledge and motivation
  • Improve important information retention
  • Stimulate self-paced learning
  • Develop specific learner skills
  • Measure and track activities (behaviours)
  • Increase problem-solving resolutions
  • Reward best performers
  • Identify and support underperformers
  • Provide ongoing feedback

Click here to know more about Gamification in Learning & Training

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Employee Engagement

Studies show that only 13% of employees worldwide are currently engaged in their jobs. What’s the outcome of this global engagement crisis? 

Well, employees that don’t experience enough engagement means 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity, and 15% lower profitability. When we are talking in US dollars, we are talking about 34% of a disengaged employee’s annual salary, or $ 3,400 for every $10,000 of salary they earn.

Lack of engagement costs. Highly engaged employees provide the best customer experience. Disengaged employees can contribute to losing customers. It affects customer loyalty and the whole company’s growth is damaged.

Source Company Bug

Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.- Stephen R. Covey

The focus on using Gamification in corporate engagement is to transform the workplace environment into a great place where everybody wants to perform and work well. Game elements and game mechanics are associated with particular extrinsic and/or intrinsic motivators to trigger expected behaviours.

Gamification brings a fun and interesting narrative, lays down rules, provides challenges, and rewards.

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Real Time Performance

When you face a chronic disease like diabetes or hypertension, how do you know these conditions are under control and you are getting good results?

It’s nearly impossible to control what’s going on with your health without having regular tests to track and measure the results.

It’s like trying to improve your swimming speed but never keeping track of your time, how do you expect to know if you are getting better or worse? 

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. -Peter Drucker

First, you need parameters to compare different stages of progress. So, you can make assertive decisions to achieve and improve your objectives.

The process of assigning measurable results to demonstrate how effectively you are performing can be applied to all areas of life – including business. This explains why KPI’s (key performance indicators) play a crucial role in knowing whether your employees are hitting their goals.

How does gamification in business drive better workplace performance?

Gamification in business allows managers to keep track of their resellers, contact center agents, or even IT teams’ results. It allows managers to analyze which group is performing according to the company’s mission and which group is falling behind. As a result, they are able to support the underachieving group to help them level up. 

With a consistent coaching approach in mind, using frequent feedback, points, and leader boards to engage, offering meaningful rewards or status to achieve, and mapping out clearly defined goals, you empower your whole workforce to perform far better.

See in this infographic how Gamification in business can transform management.

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Contact Centers

Have you ever heard of the equation: “Happy Employees = Happy Customers”? I’m almost certain you have. The best part about it? It’s actually true.

Now the theory is great but how do we act on it?

What can you do when you haven’t reached the unacceptable rate of absenteeism yet but your company has already noticed your contact center suffering? If you’re key metrics like First Call Resolution, Average Abandonment, and Average Handling Times are hitting alarming numbers, chances are your company has been paying the price for some time. So, what proactive action could you take to avoid your organization tumbling towards delivering a poor quality service?

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. – Steve Job.

Great work requires great performance. As long as you have well-trained and satisfied employees, your company will certainly experience an overall improvement.

Why should you be using Gamification in your Contact Center?

Everybody knows how stressful a call center environment can be. Particularly when we talk about social interactions and delivering results. Gamification adjusts unwanted behaviours by increasing these six elements in call centers:

  1. Morale – Conflicts can be a constant situation when there’s a lack of perception of fairness among contact center agents. Managers’ favoritism disturbs the workplace harmony. With Gamification, your company controls the rules of the game. For example, employees can earn points (that can be exchanged for tangible rewards) when they answer calls in less than 10 seconds. It’s subtle, but did you notice what just happened? We’ve transferred the decision making power away from the manager and towards the employees’ efforts.
  2. Performance – Easily keep track of important KPI’s with powerful analytics that provide real time progression/regression of contact center agents. Gamification also promotes autonomy by helping agents to master soft skills, so they make less mistakes and increase productivity.
  3. Engagement – Gamification works with both internal and external motivators. What does that mean? Some people are more intrinsically motivated – meaning that their satisfaction comes from within. For example, when they collaborate, are challenged, feel autonomy, receive appraisals, get increased status, or when they are simply curious. And some others are more extrinsically motivated – meaning their satisfaction comes from the outside. For example, when they receive financial rewards or even a promotion.
  4. Transparency – Better communication of your company goals is ensured when they are clearly visible. Gamification can also identify the individual agents’ performance. This is important as agents want to know how they are performing. Also, they want to know how their colleagues are performing and who is ahead of the game on each team? Everybody wants to be kept in the loop.
  5. Support – Through Gamification you can encourage continuous learning. Helping contact center agents to learn and practice on the roead to getting better results. Gamification increases essential information retention and reduces the learning curve. Throughout this learning journey, the team is supported and engaged – from the underachieving agents to the well-performing agents (that from time to time can also underperform). 
  6. Value – Poorly trained employees can become multi-skilled assets owned by the company if they are well supported, trained, and engaged.

 See more gamification benefits with this Infographic.

Click here to read more about Gamification in business for Contact Centers.

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Sales

Part of the formula for a manager to get better results from their sales teams lies in the daily work environment. Toxic environments produce toxic results. How come? Well, toxic environments make people sick, make sales decline, and make great employees quit.

How to recognize signs of a toxic environment?

  • Lack of empathy, appreciation, or support
  • A demotivated sales team
  • Inequity, unfairness, favoritism, injustice
  • Decreased loyalty and commitment
  • Focus on the wrong priorities
  • Team sabotage
  • Get involved in the work of others without consulting them
  • Lack of integrity, encouragement of dishonesty
  • Resistance in delegating work
  • Look at the details instead of the big picture
  • Discourage others from making decisions
  • Monitor what’s least important and expect regular reports on miscellany
  • Discount the experience and knowledge of colleagues

According to studies from Harvard Business Review, among employees who’ve been on the receiving end of incivility:

  • 8% intentionally decreased their work effort.
  • 47% intentionally decreased the time spent at work.
  • 38% intentionally decreased the quality of their work.
  • 80% lost work time worrying about the incident.
  • 63% lost work time avoiding the offender.
  • 66% said that their performance declined.
  • 78% said that their commitment to the organization declined.
  • 12% said that they left their job because of the uncivil treatment.
  • 25% admitted to taking their frustration out on customers.

How can Gamification help your sales team?

Toxic behaviours can be changed. Gamification in sales departments transforms the toxic and stressful work environment into a healthy and enjoyable ecosystem. 

It’s used to organize team challenges to promote collaboration and team spirit. Give badges, rewards, and new status to increase engagement and loyalty. 

Use transparency to show all sales results over the  short and long term to eliminate favouritism and promote equality.

Click here to know more about Gamification in Sales Motivation & Performance.

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Development Teams

There are many moving pieces with every IT project. It’s hard to keep track of everything at the same time. Working together to accomplish shared behaviours requires a lot of discipline, engagement and collaboration.

What are the common problems in IT departments?

  • Developers are demotivated.
  • Team members are lost. They are not clear about the team’s direction, purpose or performance.
  • Bad performance – poor quality of code and delayed projects.
  • Toxic work environment – relationship between team members and managers are damaged.
  • Lack of fun.

How is Gamification used for Development Teams?

Leadership is the most important factor in the success of an IT project. Team leaders are using gamification to encourage positive behaviours within their teams. They are using Gamification to keep their teams organized, with their KPIs under control. So, they can continuously reward good performers and help the underperformers. With Gamification, team leaders can also keep engagement levels up through real-time feedback and team building challenges.

Discover what are the characteristics of high performance teams with this infographic.

Click here to know more about Gamification in Development Teams.

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Onboarding & Development

The growth and success of a business are not always enough to retain future employees. Everybody knows that on-boarding processes can be tricky. In fact, it is not a surprise that it is considered the most critical cross-functional process in a company. Usually, on-boarding new employees requires following methodical steps across various departments – HR, IT and training. And it is filled with opportunities for frustrations and negligence. 

Do not underestimate the power of an onboarding program

It’s no wonder that 90% of new employees determine within the first 6 months, whether  they will stay with a company or leave and new employees are 69% more likely to stay longer than three years if they experience well-structured on-boarding program.

First impressions are a big deal. And preparing a supportive and challenging environment to make a good impression can have big benefits – it shortens time to productivity and increases employee engagement and talent retention.

How is Gamification used in Onboarding and Development?

Gamification in business is used to support new hires by enrolling them in an automatic training orientation program. It ensures that important (but tedious) processes like introductions, work environment information, computing access, company culture and policies, procedures and paperwork are easily absorbed and accomplished.

With Gamification, every difficult project or assignment completed can be recognized and rewarded. Managers can track employee progress and performance. And set up more frequent feedback. For this reason, gamification prepares new employees to achieve daily objectives that meet the company’s long term goals.

Learn how to engage new hires to accelerate productivity and performance here.

Where do we find consumer facing Gamification in business?

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Community Engagement

Building an engaged online community requires consistent nurturing but can be a very valuable resource. So, do you understand why your community rarely interacts and participates with your brand?  Why are your people abandoning your brand or even uninstalling your apps? Why can’t you make more sales or get more product reviews? 

Here are some common reasons:

  • Lack of engagement
  • Lack of social interaction
  • Lack of information
  • Lack of user benefits
  • Lack of two-way communication
  • Lack of loyalty
  • Lack of originality

Community engagement rules can’t get clearer: the closer you get to learners, fans or customers, the more likely you are to make them participate, answer feedback, give reviews, share experiences and even buy your product.

That’s why more than 60% of the best performing online communities use some flavour of gamification.

How is Gamification used in Community Engagement?

Gamification in community engagement helps to increase:

  • Engagement Levels: by giving rewards for good behaviour. This can be a discount or coupon towards the next purchase, offering a new status with great benefits. Or even giving collectable badges.
  • Social Interaction: by encouraging users to challenge their friends in competitions. Showing leaderboards. 
  • Social Proof: showing how many people have performed the action, creating expectations or obligations from a real person or friend.
  • Education: by informing and building understanding of a new product, process, event or service. Providing free training resources.
  • Communication and User Experience: by asking users for feedback.
  • Product and Brand Awareness: through users spreading the word in the form of word-of-mouth marketing, social media mentions, and online reviews.
  • Loyalty: by offering a partnership program, where customers can earn redeemable points every time they buy a product.
  • Demand: by setting limited time or quantity to drive scarcity.
  • Sense of Achievement: by enticing a sense of completion with a goal-oriented approach.

Learn more about how to use gamification in your online community here.

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Customer Sevice

What better way to increase your customer satisfaction levels than by giving them what they want when they need it. So, how do you nurture and build a long-term relationship with your customers when you are plagued by at least one of these problems in your contact center?

  • Failure to meet obligations – customers encounter long resolution time for their problems or no resolution at all.
  • Lack of professionalism – customers get frustrated when customer service agents fail in following some ethics standards, in order to get their commissions.
  • Lack of concentration – customers receive wrong information, contact center agents don’t pay attention to gather the details that can properly help your clients.
  • Unavailability – customers can’t get their problem resolved and become tired of waiting in line.
  • Lack of empathy – customers are disrespected, there’s no sensitivity or responsiveness from contact center agents.

How does Gamification in Customer Service benefit clients?

Gamification for customer service is largely used to fix employee’s performance issues with deep on-going training and engaging incentives. When employees are engaged, happy, and prepared to deliver quality support, then consumers will experience quick resolutions to their problems.

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Sales

Bringing a product to a new market or a saturated market is a complex task. New products are easier to sell when they seem familiar. Studies say that 82% of searches choose a familiar brand for the first click.

What does that mean?

First, customers need to be engaged with your brand in order to buy from you.

In other words, the more they see or experience something, the more they will like it. This is what we call a mere-exposure effect.

How does Gamification in Sales benefit customers?

Gamification gives customers a reason to use or learn about your product while they are having fun. Gamification can be used in sales to encourage people to take actions that may eventually lead to a sale, such as:

  • Education – providing training or information will allow you to further strengthen the bond with future new clients.
  • Engagement – offering incentives to try the product, with exclusive offers or discounts. Using quests to offer small goals to achieve rewards. Creating competitive games for users with points and leaderboards.
  • Customer Insight – reward clients who provide you with feedback or who let the world know how much you mean to them.

Learn more about Gamification in retail here.

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Learning & Training

The new era of learning is here. The world of education and training is moving towards e-learning. It’s not a surprise that research and marketing forecasts for this market are expected to reach $325.10 billion by 2025.  E-learning has a very bright future. But creating a successful training program is not as simple as it may seem. What you’ll find is that many e-learning projects are actually failing.

But why do many e-learning initiatives have no impact on the organizations or consumers?

  • Lack of communication – there’s no recognition when learners accomplish their goals. There’s no frequent feedback.
  • Inability to Report Success – there’s no alignment with business goals and e-learning goals to justify return on investment (ROI) when you can’t track and measure behaviours.
  • Boring – there’s no engaging content with a compelling narrative.

How does Gamification in Education and Training benefit consumers/employees

Gamification is an immersive, exciting experience that engages and motivates employees to achieve more by injecting into the workplace:

  • Interaction & Dynamism –  create individual and team-based competitions that motivate employees to achieve certain pre-defined KPIs by offering prizes, awards, privileges, and recognition.
  • Fun – enhancing the learning experience, exchanging tedious tasks for fun will actively drive self-motivation, and will lead to the course/training completion within the deadline with higher rates of data absorption and retention.
  • Analysis – tracking behaviours and finding proper support for underachievers.
  • Cost – increasing performance, productivity, and adoption of business applications.

See the main 12 benefits of using Gamification in Learning with this infographic.

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Custom App

How do we avoid an app from failing in its first year? How to keep app users engaged? Afterall, maintaining a mobile app requires a lot of time, effort and money. So you definitely want to be part of the 26% of apps that successfully re-engage users within the first 24 to 48 hours of their first login. 

How Gamification in Apps is used to help user engagement

Are you familiar with the Duolingo, Starbucks or Fitocracy apps?

They are examples of successful gamification use cases. Let’s check out the gamification elements and mechanics they are using:

Duolingo – 300,000,000 users
  • Reward: Earn Lingots. In this case, learners can collect lingots when lessons or skills are completed.
  • Leader Boards: Show their position compared to their friends. Which entices curiosity and motivation for coming back and continuing to learn.
  • Point & Level System: Gain XP (experience) points. The more xp points, the more progress. The more progress, the quicker your level goes up.
  • Badges: Earn badges. Complete a series of tasks, or advance skills and get recognized.
Starbucks23,400,000 users.
  • Points: Gain 2 stars for every 1 dollar spent.
  • Loss Aversion: Don’t miss their double-star day.
  • Reward: You can exchange stars for benefits like free brewed coffee & tea. Or get a birthday treat.
Fitocracy- 12,500,000 users.
  • Points & Level System – Earn points either for completing a workout or Fitocracy assessment. When you accumulate x amount of points, you level up.
  • Achievements/ Rewards – Receive badges for achievements. For example, running your first 5km or cycling certain milestone distances.
  • Quests – Similar to achievements, but generally with multiple tasks. For example, “try three different shoulder exercises within 7 days” or “century push: perform 100 push ups in as few sets as possible.”
  • Challenges – Basically works like a competition, but on a larger scale. You can create challenges with other groups.
  • Competition & Leader Board – Start a competition with another member. During the duel, you can check both performance and results.

Their formula is clear. Just like the three apps above – the more interesting, entertaining and engaging your mobile app is, the more your audience is going to love it.

Not only will the user engagement skyrocket, but also gamifying your app will make your users more loyal to your brand, they will be the best reviewers and recommenders of your product.

See how you can make people engage and interact with your app here.

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Customer Loyalty

Loyal customers refer more people and bring in more business. They will also buy other products and services from you. Not to mention, it’s much more expensive and time-consuming to acquire new business than to build upon an existing relationship.

Make new customers but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.

Yes. Old is gold. Undoubtedly having a tool to make existing clients click with your brand and communicate gratitude for your customers’ business, in the form of small tangible rewards and positive incentives will only benefit the connection, the relationship you have with them.

How does Gamification benefit consumers?

Gamification enhances the engagement experience with your store with:

  1. Higher levels of engagement – using gamification principles to reward your customers for performing positive behaviours, even those that don’t benefit them directly, like for example referring friends.
  2. Learning – empowering clients with new product information. Giving badges and VIP status for acquiring knowledge.
  3. Measure customer retention and satisfaction – boost crucial KPIs like CSAT, Customer Retention Rate, NPS (net promoter score) and more.
  4. Training – the better trained customer service agents are, the better quality of work they will produce.

Conclusion

Times have changed and so have people. Gamification in business is no longer a new concept and over the years more and more companies are adopting this new way of working. 

Engagement and performance are at the top of the list of priorities for growing companies. Retaining and training talent saves money. Engaging and motivating employees increases performance and generates more value with the same resources.

A customized 360 degree Gamification solution is a powerful asset which can help you experience positive changes and results across the organization.

Mambo’s Gamification Software provides all the missing tools for engagement and performance in your business. It delivers a complete package structured to engage your employees, customers, learners and even fans.

With the Mambo Gamification Platform, work has never been so much fun!