How Gamification Makes Social a Reality

Many organizations already have rewards and recognition in non-digital forms today. They have spirit awards, employee of the month, sales clubs, above and beyond awards, high fives, years of service, and more. All of these rewards are designed to motivate and recognize employees for their good performance and behavior. Some awards have monetary benefits and others allow you to cash in points for prizes. Or perhaps you receive a plaque or professional certification that hangs in your cube often going unrecognized. What if organizations had a way to translate all of these rewards into a digital form? What if they allowed workers to establish a professional presence and digital reputation within the organization? What if there were leaderboards for everyone to see their progress towards reaching certain goals and rewards in relation to their peers? What if organizations could track worker activity and influence the right kind of collaborative behavior within a business process?

All of these “what if” type questions are addressed by the concept of gamification. No, gamification is not playing games at work! It is defined as applying a game-oriented approach to business-focused activities. Gamification makes rewards and recognition in a digital form a reality for businesses. When integrated directly into enterprise social software, backend processes/systems, and workflows, gamification adds real business value including:

  • Influencing the right collaborative behavior within a business process
  • Increasing engagement by motivating, rewarding, and recognizing workers
  • Building reputation within the organization
  • Providing more transparency and real-time feedback within a process
  • Emphasizing knowledge sharing across various roles in the process
  • Subscribing to and monitoring people and their activity
  • Measuring, analyzing, and acting in real-time

Now that you understand a little more about what gamification is and the underlying business value, here are three simple steps to get started using it:

  1. Define Goals and Scope. What are the goals for your gamification initiative? What’s the target audience(s)? Is it your entire network or a specific group of users? How will you measure success?
  2. Identify Behaviors and Rewards. What behaviors and rewards or recognition align to the identified goals? What are the types of collaborative behavior you want to encourage, reward, and recognize within a process or collaborative set of work activities? Are these rewards tied to status and/or the employee review process? Are there specific campaigns or missions? What about employee motivation in terms of intrinsic (non-monetary) vs. extrinsic ($ or material goods)?
  3. Funding and Sponsorship. This includes funding for implementation services, communication planning, rewards, and/or gamification technology. A strong executive sponsor is needed to help champion the project. Funding can be justified because social and gamification are tied to strategic goals, business process, and key performance indicators.

For those techies who require a deeper understanding of the enabling technology, the key point to emphasize is INTEGRATION! Below is a deeper look at what the integration of business process/systems, gamification, and enterprise social looks like:

Integration is how enterprise social becomes a business reality. And the results are improved employee engagement, increased efficiencies, and higher worker productivity.


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