Gamification Mechanic Monday: Relative Leaderboard

Gamification Mechanic Monday: Relative leaderboard

Leaderboards have been one of the prime examples of gamification and in some situations it is the only game element applied to measure engagement or specific activities. A relative leaderboard only shows a number of people above you and below you based on your ranking. So your position on the leaderboard is effectively the guide point and base of which other results you see.

Leaderboards can be motivational when you are climbing your way up the ladder and your are in the top of your field. However leaderboards can also have a negative impact when the perceived opportunity to make ti all the way to the top is very limited or nearly impossible, this is when a relative leaderboard score may be more appropriate.

I have worked extensively with sales organisations, where leaderboards are standard practice as part of measuring performance. Typically,  the best connected and higher performing sales people also tend to be those who are in the role the longest. I have often suggested relative leaderboards for all the new starters, the midfielders or even separate unusual rankings based on activity to still allow people in the team to achieve whilst still encouraging wanted behaviour. I personally believe relative leaderboards can keep the motivation in groups who aren’t topping the absolute ranking.

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In a way it’s like running a race and seeing the immediate people in front of you, they are a clear target to take over. You may actually not even see the race leaders, so chasing your immediate visible co-runners is a more realistic target. It will mean you are still moving forward and the relative target with change as you surpass people in your race and providing your don’t let anyone pass you that was behind.

Where can you implement a relative leaderboard?



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