Enterprise Gamification And Office Holiday Parties: A Surprising Truth

Enterprise Gamification And Office Holiday Parties: A Surprising Truth
Summary: Research shows that peer interactions affect employee engagement. Everyone is now into the office holiday party. It is that time of year. Yet, how do offsite parties and events compare to daily on the job interactions? And what does enterprise gamification have to do with it?

A Surprising Truth About Enterprise Gamification And Office Holiday Parties

Engaged employees: a holy grail and also a source of anxiety. Who hasn’t seen alarming statistics claiming that employee engagement is at an all-time low? And what does the annual holiday party have to do with it?

Research by the CEB - Corporate Executive Board - says that peer interaction is a strong driver (36%) of employee engagement. Employers probably know that already; that’s why external social events exist: for employees to interact with each other. As I am writing this post, annual holiday parties are happening everywhere.

The same source says something interesting that can be truly surprising, but only at a first glance: peer interaction that happens at work is more effective than peer interaction during extracurricular activity. Going bowling with colleagues is nice, but peer interaction during the workday plays a more significant role in improving engagement and productivity.

4 Enterprise Gamification Tips To Promote Team Interaction At Work

Most people think about gamification as a way of driving the individual. What they don’t know it that it can work well to promote team interaction at work; this drives positive interactions with peers – and engagement. Here are four tips:

  1. Drive eLearning and awareness with gamified peer interactions.
    Think of a new product launch. Everyone at sales, marketing and support should know about the new product, its features, advantages, differentiators, etc.  Someone sets up a training or on boarding system, together with some enterprise gamification (which works well for employee training and onboarding).  What if that would be implemented using team training goals and team-based competitions?  We know these work exceptionally well in enterprise gamification. Use it.
  2. Use the employee engagement funnel to find peer engagement leaders
    Let’s think of a metaphorical funnel - the employee engagement funnel - in which new employees or unengaged employees come into the funnel and become more engaged. The advanced stages in the funnel, leadership and bringing others (ambassadors) are based on peer interactions, such as showing others how things can be done and conveying knowledge on the job.  Gamifying activities that consist of leadership in training and teaching others – on the job – will encourage this behavior and reward it.
  3. Use good deeds gamification
    Encourage good deeds (helping with on-boarding, sharing materials, engaging with social networks and knowledge management systems). The crux of this concept is getting Karma points (read more here). You can also use “old fashioned” games to do this (read here). One example is card collection: employees collect cards for each person they interact within an agreed time period, just like kids collect baseball cards. Cards are required to fill an album, reflecting the interactions each employee went through in the specified time. Another  great way to do this is “pat on the back” games, where people are recognized for positive peer interactions.
  4. Use enterprise gamification as a means of communication and recognition among peers
    Enterprise gamification is about using game elements to influence employee behavior.  It is also an optimal way to foster employee communication and interaction, providing “social proof” that is a strong driver of motivation. Enterprise gamification, with the right calls to action and communication, provides employees with the behavioral cues that reinforce behavior. If enterprise gamification is used to encourage peer interaction and reward it, we’re in a win-win situation, even after the holiday party is over.