Gamification for workplace learning and engagement

What is gamified learning?

The gamification of learning applies principles of game design to non-game scenarios in order to help an audience learn more effectively.

Deloitte pinpoints four elements of gaming that account for its widespread appeal:

Feedback: Gaming creates a world that enables instant results based on performance. There’s an immediate understanding of how well you performed, feeding the desire for feedback and recognition.

Flow: Losing track of time because you’re so immersed in a game is referred to as “flow” by psychologists. Our ability to concentrate becomes automatic.

Progression: Games inspire us to keep working toward goals, as they have levels or other measures of moving forward.

Gratification: Neuroscience tells us that when we learn and acquire new information, our dopamine production rises.*

Source: “Gaming away the leadership gap,” Deloitte Insights, 2016

These attributes are also gaining traction as extremely effective mechanisms for adult learning, quickly making their way into gamified learning platforms. It’s therefore no surprise that gamification in the workplace is becoming an increasingly popular tactic for increasing employee engagement.

Why use gamification

A recent Gallup poll reveals that just 13% of global employees are actually engaged at work. Gamification solutions can play a major part in engaging employees, while at the same time driving behavioral change to accelerate business goals.

Daniel Newman, author of Futureproof suggests that the two most important areas for gamification in the workplace are training and mobility:

Training: Companies can move beyond standard corporate training materials to more interactive, easily digestible methods that reinforce key messages daily. Rewards can be designated for particular outcomes, which reinforces the importance of the message.

Mobility: Regardless of location, corporate gamification offers an opportunity to easily track, communicate and reward staff, removing the need for a direct line of sight. There’s a “constant and active” presence on the digital screen.*

Source: “How to Drive Employee Engagement with Workplace Gamification,” Forbes, 2017

Gamification for employee engagement

By drawing on the compelling elements of gaming listed above, gamification at work builds employee satisfaction, recognition and a sense of pride in accomplishments. These are incredible drivers of employee motivation and, in turn, engagement.

Regular and consistent feedback in the form of points, badges, levels and progression, along with a sense of social competition have made gamification a powerful way of building employee engagement without additional resourcing or compensation.

If that’s not a compelling reason to start evaluating gamification tools, consider the staggering research on how engaged teams grow profits three times faster than disengaged teams.*

Source: “The High Price of a Grumpy Workforce”, Inc. Magazine, 2016

Gamification in training and development

As more and more digital natives enter the workforce, gamification of training is a natural fit for how information is consumed and retained. Having been raised in the digital era, this talent pool is known for shorter attention spans, but a strong capacity for learning, especially when rewards and benefits provide positive reinforcement on a frequent basis.

Gamification in corporate training helps provide a sense of autonomy, buy-in and the freedom of going at your own pace. These attributes help digital natives feel more in control of their learning, which they strongly prefer.

Gamification ideas for employee engagement

When applied effectively, gamification can guide desirable behaviors, develop new skills, and enable innovation. Your organization can gamify everyday work experiences in a multitude of ways, including:

  • Making e-learning more fun and interactive
  • Driving friendly sales competitions
  • Recognizing and collaborating with peers across the organization

The key to increased productivity in the workplace is employee engagement and gamification of learning has proven to be an effective tactic elevating engagement.