The serious matter of games at work

July 2014

Recent research shows that two-thirds of the world’s largest companies will most likely use gamification by the end of the year, and 55% of 18 to 24 years olds would welcome it. It might be a relatively new concept in the workplace, but you can’t ignore those stats, and many companies are realising the cost savings in human resources, increased productivity, improved morale and better client relationships as a result of it.

Anton Cabral, ‎Partner and Managing Executive at LRMG Performance Agency is an advocate of this method of employee learning and engagement and believes that the entertaining and competitive aspects of gamification can breathe new life into your workforce. “Gamification encourages participation by creating a structured experience with clear goals, challenges, rewards and instant feedback. Adults are already engaged in games in almost every sphere of their lives, from games like CandyCrush to reward programmes like Discovery Insure’s mobile app. When executed correctly, gamification in the workplace can achieve that same level of engagement as these games.”

Cabral uses the example of large manufacturers who are realising the need for a shift towards more sustainable practices, and this shift involves educating employees and changing their behaviours. “Instead of having lengthy instructional meetings or giving employees large bodies of text to study, look at creating a game-like experience that would submerge the learner and create buy-in,” advises Cabral. “Gamification makes learning more fun, helps people retain information better that when learning from a book, and ultimately keeps employees more motivated.”

Another common, process-heavy challenge faced by many corporates is how to get new employees on –board with the business. A gamified eLearning strategy with clear objectives can help develop a mutual relationship of trust and loyalty. Depending on your budget, you can create a complicated game or something as simple as a leader board in the office designed to let both parties know
what is required to make the professional relationship successful.

“It could provide new employees with an understanding of exactly what is required of them and what tools and resources are available to help them achieve this,” explains Cabral. “It could give employers a better understanding how to provide the tools and assistance each particular person needs to succeed.”

Successful gamification programmes, regardless of the actual mechanics, should be designed around clear objectives. Some of these could be to create a sense of belonging, encouraging a sense of community through collaboration and providing an opportunity to learn and grow. It can also encourage positive competition.

“It doesn’t matter what the size of your budget is, if you create a game that is able to capture the imagination of your employees and encourage ownership and productivity, you will see a return on investment,” concludes Cabral.

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