As the Millennial Generation moves into more and more management positions, one of the challenges that they face is the fact that workers are not as engaged as they could be. According to the Gallup Poll, with only 32 percent of the workforce considered to be currently “engaged” in their positions, there is plenty of room for improvement. When employees are engaged, they become more creative and productive. The more productive they are, the more success their company will achieve in the marketplace. Therefore, it’s no wonder that companies are constantly looking to increase employee engagement.
For a long time, companies have been enhancing their corporate culture by porting practices that are often used in sales and marketing to other parts of the company as an incentive. Known as ‘gamification’, some of such practices include giving employees rewards and recognition for their achievements. That way, they are likely to spend more time and effort doing what is necessary to ensure that their firm moves ahead. Simply put, they are more satisfied and more motivated.
Here are some tenets of the latest gamification trends that are currently holding sway within companies in the US market.
Clear Objectives and Expectations
As with most incentive programs, successful managers are looking to convert their specific requirements to objectives and expectations that workers can understand and adhere to. To be able to do so, they need to make effort to understand what their workers want in the first place – the implemented incentives need to match the workers’ desires.
In that respect, looking at management systems from cultures like Japan can be insightful because they are very focused on managing their teams by knowing a great deal about what their workers want.
In the end, transparency and fairness become key elements of installing a gamification incentive program. Without them, there is no trust between workers and managers.
Regular and Consistent Feedback
After a gamification initiative gets underway, it is also important to structure the rewards so that the average worker is receiving regular and consistent feedback on their engagement and overall progress. Of course, the basis for that type of understanding goes back to Frederick Taylor and scientific management, which held that workers who were given consistent attention outperformed those who were not.
Fortunately, most gamification models incorporate this into their structure, giving incentive in small amounts so as to provide workers with a consistent experience.
Sense of Accomplishment
In addition to extrinsic rewards, building intrinsic value is another feature of gamification that allows managers to create a framework that will save them time while workers become more engaged. In fact, by encouraging and then leveraging a worker’s need to achieve, some prominent gamification consultants have shown that workplace productivity will go up significantly.
In other words, when workers see that their effort is appreciated, they will gain an inner sense of accomplishment. Feeling proud, they will continue to work efficiently in order to meet the company’s expectations on a regular basis.
Training and employee development is one area that is really starting to get more attention from companies hoping to encourage workers. Gamification is a great example of how emerging technologies are providing new ways to make training more effective, especially in cases where online training or eLearning programs are applied.
It makes training more interesting and fun because the scenarios and challenges created through game-based learning are authentic, putting trainees in real-world situations that mirror what they’ll do in their job positions. Such learning undoubtedly contributes to the development of required skills.
Healthy Competition and Collaboration
Another reason why gamification is great for employee engagement is that it encourages healthy competition and collaboration. Of course, in order for such an encouraging environment to exist, the rewarding system needs to meaningful and well-balanced.
This means that managers need to take into account each employee’s specific role within the company while giving rewards. It also means that the achievements of all employees need to be compared transparently. In the end, each employee needs to feel as if they’ve been given the award they deserve.
With a good game design that enables the rewarding system to be fair and encouraging, a healthy competition will surely ensue, raising each worker’s productivity.
Creating a quality gamification framework can take time and effort. To do it right, you will probably have to seek expert opinion. However, all the effort eventually pays off. Once a program is developed and implemented, many companies have found that productivity gains and ROI make the adoption of gamification a very worthwhile endeavor.
Guest article written by: Joe Peters is a freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast from Baltimore, also interested in all things business-related. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about latest apps and gadgets or binge-watching his favorite TV shows. Feel free to reach him on Twitter.