How To Get Started With Gamification

How To Get Started With Gamification

Gamification has seen a lot of buzz in the past year. But while many misunderstand it as “building games,” the truth is far from it. LinkedIn, Amazon, or Loyalty programs are all heavily gamified systems. They change people’s behaviors to share more information, buy more, or do things timelier. Gamification uses the best from video game design, behavior science, psychology, and motivational theory to engage people, make them happier and their work more fun.

Because games reward players and level them up, games need to know how well the players are performing. Every player's activity is tracked and weaknesses and strengths displayed in leaderboards and scores. This gives an incredible opportunity for organizations to know about the true performance of their employees. Current employee evaluations are more based on guts and feelings instead of true data. Gamification changes that. Every activity that an employee performs in a gamified system will be tracked and can be used for giving the player immediate feedback, letting every player know how other players (their team mates) are doing, gives managers an accurate picture of project progress, and HR a clear picture of the overall competency of employees and their progress.

Due to this inherent tracking of player data, gamification is here to stay and will fundamentally change the way business is done, employees evaluated and promoted, and what the role of managers and HR business partners is. This also means that you need to learn of how to properly apply gamification to your business’ processes, systems, and applications. Here are six steps of preparing yourself for the coming wave of gamification.

  1. Make it a habit to look out for applications that people are talking about.
    Use them and try to deeply understand how they are working and why they are so sticky or playful. Don’t just erroneously believe that spending five minutes of your time on an app will give you a deep understanding. I didn’t understand Facebook when I first looked at it. But I forced myself to use it to understand why it was so popular. And then one day I had my epiphany. I had a friend doing standup comedy but I had never seen her. When I was visiting my hometown I read her status update of what she was rehearsing for the evening. So I went to see her that night. From that moment I understood the value of Facebook. You need to experience this epiphany with any popular app or site in order to deeply understand it and be able to use it in your work.
  2. Play games.
    It’s as simple as that. Don’t think of them as waste of time but as continuing education and research. Analyze the game design elements, the fun motivators, the rewards, and what makes a game addictive.
  3. Have a playful attitude.
    Consider yourself a child that is allowed using things in ways they were not intended to be used. Be curious and wondering. Consider limitations as something that you can change and see what happens if you don’t restrict yourself.
  4. Try approaching boring situations with gamification.
    How can you gamify waiting in line, or sitting in a traffic jam? Turn annoyances into opportunities to practice your skills.
  5. Talk to children and teens.
    Ask your own kids or the children of co-workers what games and apps they’re currently using, and why. Youth have become the early adopters of games and gamified platforms, like Instagram or Snapchat. They are also potential customers, future customers, or employees, or maybe even your bosses.
  6. Have fun!

In the next articles we will learn about motivational factors for gamification, and introduce gamified systems that you probably use, but haven’t realized that they use gamification to change your behaviors.

If you would like to learn more I highly encourage you to check out my book: Enterprise Gamification - Engaging people by letting them have fun

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