Gamification At Work: What Employees Really Think

Gamification At Work What Employees Really Think
Summary: Prominent case studies on employee engagement and gamification leave out one important factor: how do the employees feel about using engagement software? In the flurry of gamification hype – some of which is warranted and some of which is unfounded – the perspective of employees is constantly missing from the discussion. A recent survey revealed their thoughts.

What Employees Really Think About Gamification At Work

You may already be familiar with many of the most prominent case studies: Deloitte increases the number of weekly returning users for their Leadership Academy by 37%. SAP repurposes training materials into an online gamification platform and increases new hires’ awareness of SAP products and services by 75%.

These case studies are a testament to gamification’s power to increase the effectiveness of eLearning programs for business.

But these and other prominent case studies leave out one important factor: how do the employees feel about using engagement software? In the flurry of gamification hype – some of which is warranted and some of which is unfounded – the perspective of employees is constantly missing from the discussion.

Rather than being included as active participants in the conversation, employees are often relegated to statistics after a program has been implemented. To find out what employees actually think about gamification software, TechnologyAdvice surveyed a random sample of 398 office-based employees to discover if they thought adding digital engagement elements to their work would help them.

We limited the Do Office-Based Employees Want Digital Engagement Programs? survey to employees whose main job functions included marketing, customer service, or sales. Some of our key findings included:

  1. 70 % of employees thought employee engagement programs would help them in some way at work
  2. 54 % said they would be more likely to perform a task if it included game elements
  3. Opinions varied between departments about the ideal work environment. Marketing and customer service preferred collaboration while sales preferred competition

Why These Gamification At Work Findings are Significant for eLearning

Of all the different use cases for gamification, eLearning is one of the most exciting. A significant amount of research links games to an increase in learning. And while gamification only borrows elements of actual games, these elements can evoke similar mental stimulation. The fact that a majority of office-based employees would be more likely to perform a task that included game elements certainly provides eLearning professionals with strong evidence for pursuing gamification as a solution for disengagement.

From a broader perspective, the significant number of employees who think engagement programs would help them at work speaks to the problem of workplace engagement in general. Is the nature of the work itself the disengaging factor, or is it the environment, or even the employee? It’s difficult to say, but American workers certainly think that supplementary software could help fix the problem.

ELearning professionals or training managers may only think about engagement in terms of the completion rate for their onboarding material, but if employees don’t retain the required information, it will affect their performance in other areas. Engagement isn’t a problem of any one department; it’s a company-wide issue that should be studied and addressed.

So if employees desire engagement programs, why is the predicted failure rate of gamification so high? The answer isn’t difficult to ascertain. As with any type of strategy, if the message doesn’t match the audience, the desired results won’t be achieved.

Gamification At Work Requires Personalization and Research

Different personality types are often drawn to different job functions and specialties. For example, our survey revealed that employees working in customer service and marketing prefer collaborative environments. The gamification market hasn’t turned a blind eye to this information, and a number of solutions now focus on breaking larger departments into smaller teams to engender collaboration. Creating team-based activities to promote learning, for instance can motivate employees to gain the proper knowledge while also adding a team-building element.

In contrast, our findings underscored the competitive nature of many salespeople. While not surprising, this finding is significant. Sales people may actually prefer more competitive eLearning software and rewards, such as badges for the most correct answers during professional development courses.

However, it’s important to refrain from making assumptions purely based on department. Though it’s quite likely that disparities do exist, it’s always best to take a survey of each department to gauge their interest and gather more information. Then you’ll know how to proceed.

Remember: no solution should ever be considered one size fits all.

Without proper research, how can businesses expect to know their audience? Implementing a competition-based program in a marketing department may end in failure not because every marketing department abhors competition, but because the people in your marketing department don’t want to compete against one another.

When examining the pulse of employee engagement software in the American office, it’s clear that employees are open to solutions that will help them stay engaged. However, they have different expectations about how this should be done.

Businesses and organizations of all types should take note.