Gamification 5

Why Gamification Will Get Your Employees To Go Above And Beyond

As you’ll know from our previous blog on gamification, implementing some typical gaming elements to your incentive programme can help to improve motivation, learning and performance. But why does it work and what sort of results can you expect to see? Will it really be worth the investment and how have other companies managed to engage employees successfully in this way?


Why Gamification?

It taps into key trends that most employees will already enjoy doing on a regular basis outside of work and immediately understand: social media and mobile gaming. Think how simple yet popular games like Angry Birds or Candy Crush are. They are incredibly basic, and yet also highly addictive. People’s competitive nature is always available to exploit for mutual benefit. Furthermore, there’s a bit of science behind how gamification works - Rich Hein in his article ‘How to Use Gamification to Engage Employees’ notes that “A well-structured recognition system can create a Las Vegas-style atmosphere in a worker’s limbic system, stimulating the amygdala and conditioning the brain to pursue ever-greater acts of sales accomplishment.”


When You Make Work Fun, You Get More Work Done

Being rewarded for simple activities that you have to do anyway is a serious bonus for workers. All you’re doing by gamifying things is looking to improve the way these actions are carried out. Rewards have their place but sometimes it’s the journey that is remembered! Achieving regular and consistent praise through points, badges, status, progression continually motivates employees on a daily basis. And in their desire to achieve more and quicker, they will work harder and faster.


Drives Goals and Productivity

You can align what customers want with how employees behave by instilling those behaviours that achieve better customer service and ultimately drive sales, retain customers and turn customers into evangelists - promoting your brand themselves. The recognition that gamification provides, amongst peers and management, can seriously improve employees’ long-term engagement, loyalty and performance.


It Makes Work More Personal

By driving clear outcomes, employees can better see how their performance is improving and their contribution in the workplace. Furthermore, incentives can be personalised, rewarding individuals in a way that suits them. “Gamification by Design” co-author Gabe Zichermann states: “Gamification is 75% Psychology and 25% Technology.”


Increase Team Collaboration

Strangely, whilst gamification usually focuses on the individual, if teamwork is highlighted as a goal you will find that collaboration between employees increases. Rewarding players for publishing best practices or bolstering confidence in lower performing team-mates, seeking and receiving advice from those who have already achieved a badge… there are lots of ways to foster a team mindset.


It’s Not a Flash in the Pan

The beauty of gamification is that it scales up without additional expense as rewards are virtual (status, power, recognition). Gamification is becoming mainstream rather than reserved merely for start-ups or millennial-heavy companies. As you can see from the Google Trends graph below, gamification started to become a popular search worldwide in early 2011 and has continued to rise steadily as more and more people are becoming aware of the term.

 Google Trends Gamification


Case Study - Target

Retailer Target gamified the checkout procedure to improve efficiency in their stores. Beeps and green lights were incorporated into the checkout process to show positive reinforcement. A traffic light rating system shows the cashier how they performed against speed and accuracy goals. Whilst the system has elements of gamification, it isn’t deemed as very ‘fun’ by experts and there’s no indication of any badges or rewards along the way. Rather, the information is used for appraisals throughout the year. Pros: The positive reinforcement and consistent feedback, the speed and accuracy aims are a little like a simple video game, which will help younger cashiers to identify the ‘game’ element. Cons: Design is a little clunky and basic, could do with being slightly more exciting for the player.



Gamification is an incredibly powerful and effective tool with which to boost revenue, productivity and employee engagement. However, thought must go into gamification of everyday activities in the workplace. Even though, it doesn’t always work right away - we must continually strive to gain constructive feedback from any rewards programme, even gamification, so that we can make improvements.

If you are interested in what gamification can offer your organization, read more about Ovation Encore and get in touch!