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Make Sure Your Gamification Doesn't Fall Flat

This article originally appeared on the bluewolf blog.

Applying gamification to the workplace can be an effective way to engage employees and increase morale within the company. Using game-like mechanics can encourage reps to follow the correct processes, collaborate more with associates, and keep track of goals and milestones both individually and for the department. Ensuring the engagement lasts requires additional consideration as to why games work in the first place—because they are fun. We like to play games because we gain satisfaction when playing them. Some people prefer trivia and puzzles, others like board games or cards, and some would choose racecars over tag. However, in the workplace, gamification commonly has one game that everyone must play. In that design we must consider the rewards the users will pursue to keep them engaged. Richard Bartle described online game players to fit into 4 different archetypes: achievers, explorers, socializers, and imposers.

  • Achievers tend to focus more on gaining points and reaching a personal best. Obtaining the maximum number of points and focusing on their goals encourage these players to, well—achieve. Gamifying a process often appeals to these types of players. If each step of the process earns a point, achievers are diligent about each action to ensure they receive the reward.
  • Explorers will often go out of their way to discover new aspects of the system. Uncovering hidden points or expanding their knowledge appeals to explorers. Awarding badges for non-advertised actions will help engage explorers. Change the contest quarterly to award different badges and keep the player always searching for more.
  • Socializers like the collaborative aspect of the game. They are drawn toward the ability to have an interaction. Socializers commonly care for the other players and want to make sure everyone is doing well. Making team goals and progress toward that goal can help motivate a socializer. Give them the opportunity to connect with coworkers and support each other. Allowing for social-time might seem like it pulls employees away from their work, but it will increase morale and improve the quality of work.
  • Imposers are out to win the competition. They are not concerned with the amount of points earned, but only if they are in first place. Imposers like to see their name at the top of the leaderboard and are motivated to stay there. Change the metric featured on the leaderboard periodically to ensure that imposers continue to be challenged at the top.

Establishing relevant rewards can be a common oversight, but it is extremely important to reward people and make them feel appreciated in a way that is impactful to them. Always keep these different player types in mind when applying gamification so you can maximize employee enjoyment and adoption. 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace helps clarify how people differ in their appreciation language. Check out 'Gamification—Why Play?' to learn more about the advantages to ramification.

Adam Pierce
Senior Adoption Consultant, Bluewolf www.bluewolf.com

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Adam Pierce is a Senior Adoption Consultant for Bluewolf.