First let’s Define “Work Gamification” – it is not about playing games, but in reinventing performance measurement and feedback systems to create positive motivation structures triggering and maintaining excitement and interest in applying personal talents and innovation for the achievement of organizational goals…and for people to enjoy it.
Due to technology, the rules in personal and organizational psychology have changed. Emotional gratification standards have been drastically transformed and so has our levels of patience. This affects the group dynamics in work as well as personal life, mental health, anxiety, and ultimately performance.
We have identified 4 foundations of how gamification can not only solve these problems, but help organizations in nurturing high performing and innovative cultures.
#1 GAMIFIED INSTANT GRATIFICATION
These days social media spawns instant gratification, it is how our life is gamified with likes, shares, and comments. The more we get the higher our perceived value is. As human beings we need to feel that we are valuable or have the potential to provide value.
Current feedback and performance measurement systems are not in line with instant gratification, and while organizational culture is supported by the behaviors of the people who work there, this is usually let to “Company Values” or “Mission Statements” posted on the wall.
What we forget is that while objectives can only be measured through KPIs or annual reviews (which take a LONG TIME), each objective can be reverse engineered into behaviors… and each of those behaviors can be observed (or not) on a daily basis which means that rather than measuring the END Result, Measure and feedback on the behaviors that will ultimately achieve that end result.
#2 RESERECTION TO TRANSFORM LOWER PERFORMERS
We often find that some people are always ahead in performance… even without gamification, this can have a negative emotional effect on lesser performers who tend to maintain the status quo. These average performers can become disengaged in a gamified system, especially if they get behind.
This is where “Resurrection” combined with multiple behavior lists comes in. While the main list can measure those who exhibit all or most of the behaviors and show their competency as high performers, having a multi-layered system that starts over every week will have the biggest impact.
This is because even if an average performer gets on ONE of 8 lists… they are On the List, event if its not the main one, the emotions of achievement are there and the potential to achieve more becomes more real… thus motivation sets in. And, when the measurement starts over (Game Resurrection), the opportunity to get higher ranks ignites new efforts to demonstrate more of the desired behaviors. This provides all levels of performers with an opportunity to continuously improve based on feedback from the previous week, and be rewarded for it.
#3 GAMIFYING MULTIPLE LEVELS TO UNIFY CULTURE
Group dynamics are the foundation of varied behavior. You may notice that you behave differently at work than with your friends, or differently still with a different group of friends. This is because we respond to the unique motivational mix of each group.
If gamification only supports and measures individuals, the competitive nature will be counter productive to teamwork. But, when we include LEVELS such as Individual, Team (best if a Cross Departmental Team), and Organization (the “Evolution” level of the culture and its progress)… the multiple elements of unification support overall organizational objectives.
We use the Squadli behavior gamification app, and the OCEAN Culture Benchmarking Assessment to gamify each of these levels. While the team and individuals can easily have a weekly game cycle, the culture evolution progress should be measured quarterly or every 2 months providing an opportunity for the entire organization to celebrate.
#4 GAME THEMES GIVE WORK A NEW DIMENSION IN CULTURE
The emotional gratification we get from shopping, going to the beach, or mountain climbing can be recreated through Themes in a gamification, “FUN” is achieved by the Emotional Drive for Diversity, and augmented by other emotional drives like Challenge, Belonging, Achievement and more. The more emotional drives combined with Diversity, the more fun something can be. The emotional drive of Recognition as currently used in most gamification or management is ONLY ONE of the gratifications needed to build a high performing culture.
So, if instead of having points you have powers, volts, or infinity stones, and levels could be related to super heroes, secret agents or jetsetters… an employee experiences a new world through their work, creating an emotional twist to achieving behaviors and company objectives.
Because culture is the essence of performance, and because Modern Strategies NEED to consider the state of emotional engagement in a world laced with “noise”, gamification is the key to not only engaging, but improving the competence of its staff.
Written by Arthur F. Carmazzi.