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Is Angry Birds The Answer To Employee Engagement?

Michael Miller Jan 31, 2014 9:47:00 AM

Gamification in the workplaceHow do you make routine tasks more fun and engaging for your employees? Companies like Deloitte, IBM, Google, Microsoft and FedEx have turned to something called gamification to increase employee engagement, quality control and productivity. Those who employ gamification believe that learning new concepts in the workplace can be effective as well as enjoyable through the application of gaming principles. 

What is Gamification?

At its core, gamification is a way to incorporate the aspects of games (specifically video games) that make them engaging and enjoyable to play with non-game related activities like employee training, product training and recruitment. Proponents of gamification claim it gives the employee a similar motivation stimulus to what people receive when playing a video game.  

You can read two differing opinions on its value in these articles from Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.

Gamification in the Workplace

In the workplace, gamification provides a means of encouraging active workplace participation among employees. It creates a way for the workers to relate to their workplace in a fun and positive manner.

For instance, let’s say a company has purchased new software that all of its employees must be trained to use. Instead of sitting everyone down for an instructional presentation where audience participation would be extremely limited, the company chooses to employ gamification. The employees are taught to use the software through playing games that are based around it. They are forced to actively engage with the software and therefore learn how to use it more quickly and thoroughly. Gamification activities that encourage teamwork can promote bonding and establish trust between coworkers. For instance, workers could be split up into teams by department and compete with one another for rewards.

The Future of Gamification in the Workplace

The examples above are fairly basic applications of gamification in the workplace. Moving forward, video games are quickly becoming the golden standard. While mainstream society and traditional media may still consider playing video games as a form of non-skill based recreational activity, quite the opposite is true.  Video games have been shown to improve mental and physical processes in both adults and children. In adults, memory retention, decision making, critical thinking, strategic thinking, and motor skills were all found to be improved in those who play video games.  By using platforms similar to those used in recreational games on the job training programs for pilots, surgeons, and even delivery drivers have been tremendously successful.

Companies large and small are now actively looking to incorporate gamification in the workplace to encourage employee loyalty and bonding among workers as a method of boosting productivity.

To delve deeper into this topic check out Play at Work: How Games Inspire Breakthrough Thinking by Adam Penenberg.

Is gaming the future of the workplace or a flash in the pan? 

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Topics: Employee Engagement