Let’s first define “work gamification” – it’s not about playing games, but about reinventing performance measurement and feedback systems to create positive motivational structures that trigger and maintain enthusiasm and motivation. interest in applying personal talents and innovation for the achievement of organizational goals…and for people to benefit from them.
Due to technology, the rules of personal and organizational psychology have changed. Standards of emotional satisfaction have been radically transformed, as have our levels of patience. It affects group dynamics at work as well as personal life, mental health, anxiety, and ultimately performance.
We’ve identified 4 foundations of how gamification can not only solve these problems, but help organizations foster high-performing and innovative cultures.
#1 GAMIFIED INSTANT GRATIFICATION
Nowadays, social networks generate instant gratification, this is how our life is gamified with likes, shares and comments. The more we get, the higher our perceived value. As humans, we need to feel that we are valuable or that we have the potential to provide value.
Current feedback and performance measurement systems are not consistent with instant gratification, and while organizational culture is underpinned by the behaviors of the people who work there, this is generally left to “corporate values” or “mission statements” posted on the wall.
What we forget is that while goals can only be measured through KPIs or annual reviews (which take a lot of TIME), every goal can be reverse-engineered into behaviors…and each of those behaviors can be observed (or not) on a daily basis which means that rather than measuring the end result, measure and comment on the behaviors that will ultimately achieve this end result.
#2 RESERECTION TO TRANSFORM LESS PERFORMERS
We often find that some people are always ahead in performance… even without gamification, this can have a negative emotional effect on underperformers who tend to maintain the status quo. These average artists can opt out of a gamified system, especially if they fall behind.
This is where “resurrection” comes in, combined with several lists of behaviors. While the master roster can measure those who exhibit all or most of the behaviors and show competence as high achievers, having a tiered system that repeats every week will have the greatest impact.
Indeed, even if an average performer is on ONE of the 8 lists…they are on the list, even if it is not the main one, the emotions of achievement are there and the potential to achieve more becomes more real…so motivation sets in. And, when the measurement starts again (Game Resurrection), the possibility of obtaining higher ranks triggers new efforts to demonstrate more desired behaviors. This offers all levels of performers the opportunity to continually improve based on feedback from the previous week and be rewarded for it.
#3 GAMIFY SEVERAL LEVELS TO UNIFY CULTURE
Group dynamics are the basis for varied behavior. You may notice that you behave differently at work than with your friends, or even differently with a different group of friends. That’s because we cater to each group’s unique motivational mix.
If gamification only supports and measures individuals, the competitive nature will be counterproductive to teamwork. But, when we include LEVELS such as Individual, Team (better if it’s a cross-departmental team) and Organization (the “Evolution” level of the culture and its progress)… the multiple unifying elements support overall organizational goals.
We use the Squadli behavior gamification app and OCEAN culture benchmarking to gamify each of these levels. While the team and individuals can easily have a weekly game cycle, the progress of culture evolution should be measured quarterly or every 2 months, giving the whole organization the opportunity to celebrate.
#4 GAME THEMES GIVE WORK A NEW DIMENSION IN CULTURE
The emotional gratification we get from shopping, going to the beach, or mountain climbing can be recreated through themes in a gamification, “FUN” is achieved by the emotional reader for diversity, and augmented by others emotional readers like Challenge, Belonging, Success and Suite. The more emotional drives are combined with diversity, the more fun something can be. The emotional motivation of recognition as currently used in most games or management is JUST ONE of the gratifications needed to build a high performing culture.
So if instead of having points, you have powers, volts or infinite stones, and the levels could be related to superheroes, secret agents or jet-setters… an employee finds out a new world through his work, creating an emotional touch to achieve objective behaviors and companionship.
Because culture is the essence of performance, and because modern strategies MUST take into account the state of emotional engagement in a world marked by “noise”, gamification is the key not only to engage , but also to improve the skills of its staff.
Written by Arthur F. Carmazzi.
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