Podcast 29: What can gamification unlock in the workplace?

Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation and also the show host for this show.

This week’s question is what are the Learning and Development opportunities that gamification can unlock in the workplace? A big question and it was one that I was asked by a journalist recently who was writing about gamification and other new technologies in the workplace and gamification is obviously considered as one of those So my answer was, first of all to say it’s a big question.

What are the opportunities? Well the opportunities are quite large. If you think about it most young people will have played games at some point. They may not all be lets say Esports Gamers or really into the big multiplayer online games, but most people have used regularly social media regular games like things you play on your mobile the casual variety and in the wider spectrum of games like multiplayer online games, role-playing games. I would even consider Sports board Games Etc as part of the larger gaming picture. So most young people know that and most young people have on their devices things that are gamified from the get-go. Then they end up in the workplace and they come across often very archaic looking systems or boring interfaces of the things that we use every day.

I mean, you know, there’s nothing wrong with your Word and Excel and Office products, absolutely, nothing wrong, very functional very, you know very much fit for purpose. So you wouldn’t expect there to be game mechanics on top of it. But what gamification can unlock is productivity to use those tools, productivity to complete.

So if we look out workplace productivity most managers would love to know how long are my people working on things? What does it take for them to complete an item Etc who’s in trouble? Who needs my help? Who’s actually doing very well and you know happy to keep plodding along without any hand-holding or anything else?

So those kinds of things are really vital for a manager to know and vital for a person to understand. And often for the individual we don’t get feedback on our productivity or performance until it’s too late or the person either quits or you as a manager have to have a word with the fact that you know, it’s not as good as you wanted it to be but if people knew as and when they went how things were progressing and what was good about it, you know, they would already be at a better starting point.

So that’s the first thing I would say. So what kind it unlock? More productivity, more feedback without having to be there in person. I only think there’s still a place for the person face-to-face conversation too, I so wouldn’t rule out one over the other but we work with a number of systems where you can have dashboards to see about your performance to look at completion to see how you’re doing within the team, to get basically completion rewards, completion unlocking either rewards in the shape of little items or something that you can eventually trade in for real-world items.

So whether that is a badge or real-world item, it’s a reward for something you’ve done or simply a dashboard that gives you the impression. Okay. This is where I’m at. This is where I need to go. This is how we’re doing.

This is how my work is actually having an impact on the larger company because most of us, especially — and I remember when I was in large organizations, would love to know how our work actually makes a difference to anyone because even the smallest item or smallest thing can have an impact but you don’t always know.

So knowing the bigger picture goals and how your personal goals play into that can be very interesting very rewarding and actually make people feel good about what they do.
I truly believe in workplace productivity and gamification. I think that the two kind of work quite well together. I’m also a big fan of Health trackers and fitness trackers, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. The other one that I think works and you know where gamification can house a lot of opportunities in the workplace is to tie learning to productivity.

A lot of the time people go on courses and or take e-learning programs and then they need to make the bridge and putting it into practice. That’s not always a loop that people take so easily and I think this is where gamification can bridge the gap. Where when you have short quest so you’ve just completed a course on negotiation skills and then the next call you take on the phone is from a client where you have to negotiate and I’d say a deal if people see you do that you can do a number of things.

First of all, you can self report on how you felt what you tried how you actually applied something that you took from the course into practice if other people spotted you doing it they can give you feedback on how well you execute it. And if you are on a system where clients also give feedback they can also let you know how well that was received or you could tie it into net promoter scores or things like that.

So, I think you know gamification has the opportunity to make the journey connected and smoother from one end to the other, from training all the way into practice and then again in the training space gamification will tell you or will or should give you indications of progression, indications of habit building, indications of how deep you know the topic.

It can provide for testing things in a safe environment without having to risk. Let’s say, a major equipment failure or major damage to life or other important things in a business. It allows for reflection. And I think good gamification should make you think should make you realize mmmm. It’s not a guarantee that I’m going to do fantastically well, it should be challenging. It should stretch you and sort of say. Oh, how am I going to reach that top level and you keep trying until you get there. So there is a number of things that gamification can unlock and it’s you know, productivity resourcefulness practical implementation of on the job skill.

It can give you feedback and it can keep you on track as in on track to whatever your goal destination is whether that is a promotion whether that is learning a specific skill, whether that is just completion of work, so. From my perspective, it’s quite a linear approach to how we perform things.

And if you have gamification where storylines come in, where simulations are possible, where role-plays are possible you add another layer of reality of learning reflecting what actually happens. I’m making it life like so scenarios are a good example of feedback loops in the scenarios are another good example of gamification actually aiding the learner to be their best self to get better and to perform at a higher level.

So it kind of all look a million of thing. In our feedback what we hear regularly it unlock more confidence. We retain more information. We pushed ourselves further to achieve more. Competition was fun. We learned more about other people in the team.

We had to collaborate and co-create that made us think on how we actually do things for real. So, you know, those are the kinds of things that people tell us when we’ve implemented gamification and they’ve had a bit of time to play around with it. So. I would say there is tons of good applications for gamification and it’s the creativity of individuals designing it and how its rolled out that sort of expanded limited or put boundaries on it. I think.

So. Yeah. It’s a short answer to a long question. I hope there is so many things around it. I personally think learning and gamification by default should go hand in hand. I think it’s setting people up for success. It’s letting people try things out in a safe environment and then encouraging them to practice it for real in their day job.

So I think that’s what learning should have been from day one and often the context and connection is a made because you do everything in isolation and I firmly believe that gamification can be the bridge that sort of connects the dot between just learning and putting things into practice.

So I hope that answers this week’s question of gamification and keep listening.
If you like the show, please forward it on to all your friends and families or other people that you think may benefit, and I love to talk to you. Thank you very much.

Leave a comment

Our Solutions