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Gamification in the workplace: appeal to younger workforce and drive motivation

A workplace development that’s gaining traction is the use of gamification as a means of monitoring and motivating workforce efficiency. Gaming principles in a non-gaming environment can alter how individuals, teams and managers interact with each other, and have some unusual applications, too.

While gamification technology is very different to popular game Pokemon Go, the effect is just as interesting: motivating a primarily younger workforce likely to have grown up with console gaming by simulating a gaming environment at work so that they will relate to it.

All across the US and other countries, millennials have surprised their communities by heading out to play the augmented reality game on their mobile devices, sometimes assembling en masse at a local spot to play the game. What’s most intriguing about this is that it is virally disrupting established lifestyle patterns, and without any marketing or advertising push.

While that by-product of the gaming app is somewhat amusing, the application is relevant to the workplace too.

In a desk-bound environment, gamification can be used to provide systems that appeal to a younger workforce, and in doing so, use competitive behaviour to increase productivity and drive overall performance improvements. A dashboard visible to a contact centre agent, for example, can reveal that they’re achieving in certain areas or that they need to work more efficiently in others. Supervisors can also access that same information, allowing them to monitor performance.

Gamification is a way for employers to monitor and motivate workforce efficiency

It’s not simply there for the amusement of agents, the workforce intelligence gained through the information gathered can, with the targeted use of correct metrics and variables provide insights into the business as a whole — are there opportunities to improve first call resolution? In a sales environment, are some contact centre agents taking longer to conclude calls but making more money for the company (or taking longer and costing the company money)? Which agents are using the leads most effectively?

A secondary application is workforce wellbeing. It’s not commonly used in South Africa, but with office workers battling with sore backs, cricked necks and creaky knees after spending the day in front of their computers, businesses could apply what is known as “sedentary disruption activities”.

So the dashboards prompt employees to get out of their seats and onto their feet, even if only briefly. Some health games have gained acceptance as team-building exercises, too. One example is “A Step Ahead: Zombies” made by Atlanta-based FIX.

Personal perks such as points or company prizes can be added to make it fun. It’s not all for amusement or a simple distraction, it can be used to counteract borderline obesity and aid people who are pre-diabetic. In South Africa, where in excess of a quarter of the population is obese, this can assist companies by promoting workplace wellness, this being of benefit to the employees themselves, but also to the company as a healthier workforce will be less inclined to be off work due to sickness.

Gamification has more than one application. Using gaming techniques to monitor and motivate employees has been met with some success in the workplace, but it has multiple potential benefits.

With tech in the workplace gaining a foothold in more corners than ever, this business solution could well be the way of the future when it comes to motivating and driving performance improvements in your workforce.

Author | Jan Kühn

Jan Kühn
Jan Kühn, Director of Solutions Management at INOVO, has over 30 years’ experience in delivering complex voice and contact centre solutions across various industries. His specialities include solutions management, development management, project management and operational management. He has delivered solutions to many of SA’s best-known brands, ensuring that their... More

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