There’s nothing quite like going to work and enjoying your job, but that’s a lot easier said than done in this busy digital world.

However, it is possible, and the solution lies in badges, avatars, points and leaderboards. It’s all about helping staff improve their productivity habits by playing games.

Confused? Don’t be – this is a growing trend and it’s known as ‘gamification’. If your business isn’t investing time and resource in it at the moment, it’s missing out on lots of staff engagement.

So, if you have the question “what is gamification?” hovering on your lips, we’d like to answer it for you, and provide some examples of how you can use it to benefit your business and its employees.

What is gamification?

Gamification should be thought of as a business tool for helping your customers or everyone in your company achieve their own goals. In turn, that should inspire the business as a whole to meet and exceed its own goals and ambitions.

In its simplest form, gamification is the process whereby a business incorporates game mechanics into procedures and tasks that motivation participation. In turn, employees and clients become more engaged and loyal to the task in hand. It might even help with staff retention and recruitment, but we’ll get onto that later.

It can be used for anything from a typical day-to-day operation to customer engagement and beyond. For instance, you might decide to award points for employees who complete the most outbound calls in a day and run a leaderboard to keep track of who is the best performing.

Similarly, you might encourage team members to create their own avatars which can be assigned to their profiles in your internal networking platform. Add to that the awarding of badges and points for achieving certain feats, and the allure of gamification can really take hold for most people and show them how to build good habits. It can also be used in a similar way to engage your customers or users of your app/software.

Gamification can be used by big and small businesses, but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, there was once a time when it was something that only larger businesses could afford to invest in.

Thankfully, things have changed, and if you’re wondering what is gamification and how can it relate to your small business, we’ve got some tips for making use of it in your operation.

How gamification could help your company

Let’s take a common example of how gamification can be used in any business: the 10,000 steps goal.

If you’ve got a smartwatch or keep track of your daily activity on some other form of habit tracker, you’ll be aware that the recommended daily amount of 10,000 steps plays a big role.

It’s a number we can all aspire to and one which is also, importantly, achievable. The clever bit lies in the device manufacturers ability to gamify the process of hitting that steps goal. You might be presented with a daily ‘ring’ that needs to be closed to hit the 10,000 steps or given the opportunity to compete against friends and family. It’s addictive, and spurs you on to become more active.

Illustration of gamification icons.

So, how can gamification help your business? Here are a few of our favourite reasons.

1. It boosts teamwork
A collaborative working environment is only possible if everyone wants to work together effectively. Some light, healthy competition goes a long way here.

By setting goals based on points or earning badges, team members will feel far more inclined to get involved and work together – or individually – to achieve a common goal.

2. It inspires people to be creative
Creativity should be present in every area of your business, no matter the task at hand.

Unfortunately, people often feel hesitant to offer their own ideas or thoughts when in meetings, but if there’s a competitive element involved, you’ll probably find they’re far more inclined to do so.

3. It’ll boost sales
If there’s one way to supercharge your sales team, it’s to add some form of gamification to their working day.

Gamification, by its very nature, is designed to make people want to do stuff. If there’s a leaderboard charting the top performing sales people, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll all work extra hard to see their name in lights.

4. It encourages training
Everyone should aspire to learn, constantly. With gamification, you can inspire your team to do just that on a more regular basis.

Learning should be fun, and gamification can turn boring PowerPoint presentations and PDFs into something far more interesting. Think quizzes, games and competitions that aid learning and encourage participation.

5. It lifts everyone’s spirits
Coming to work should be fun, and while there will always be tough days, there’s no reason for everyone’s spirits not to be lifted as often as possible.

Gamification can once again save the day here, by turning what might be mundane, stressful tasks into something fun. In turn, this makes people happier and creates a far more pleasurable working environment for everyone.

6. It encourages more employee referrals
Finding and keeping the best talent isn’t easy, but gamification can help encourage more employee referrals – something you perhaps haven’t considered.

The best way to find people who are likely to hang around and work productively for your company is for existing staff to recommend your workplace to their friends. An employee referral scheme that offers rewards for successful recruitment referrals is a form of gamification and one that will help you build an amazing team.

Wrapping up
Gamification really could transform your workplace, but it isn’t something that can be implemented overnight.

On the contrary, gamification is something you have to work at hard and consistently. For it to be successful, it needs to be designed, executed and maintained with a real desire to make it a long-term strategy.

Start by speaking to your employees. What would they like more of in their job? What fun elements would they like to see added to the business and its processes to make it a better place at which to work?

Gamification won’t magically make everything better, but it will improve employee engagement, participation and their collective desire to help your business hit its biggest goals.