May 2, 2013

Gamification Fostering Workplace Competition

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Tags: Gamification

As you may have heard, gamification is barreling in to the workplace and making its presence known to employers and employees alike. It is the process that uses game design techniques to enhance non-game contexts, like a training module or a way to generate sales leads. Not only does it increase employee morale, but it has also been known to stimulate workplace competition. Some of you may feel a little timid and unsure of forcing competition into your workplace and others are all for it, so let me tell you some pros and cons of workplace competition.

Pros:

Productivity will increase. When everyone is striving for the same goal, they are less likely to slack off because they don’t want to be seen as the one who is straggling behind.

Find ways to be more efficient. Employees will find better ways to accomplish the tasks and goals so they can be ahead of the game.

Profits will escalate. Because your workers are being more productive and efficient, there should be a resulting correlation with revenue.

Learning from others. Every employee brings their own specialized skill set and in the spirit of competition, be able to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of others.

Utilize team competition. You don’t necessarily have to pin individuals against each other. Instead, it helps to establish teams, where it can be a group effort to achieve the best efforts and promote camaraderie.

Cons:

Stress, Stress, and more stress.  A competitive environment is great for making people strive to be the best they can be but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of stress along the way. Stress and anxiety can dampen productivity and lessen the motivation of employees. In extreme circumstances, it can cause some employees to look for other means of employment and potentially cost you a great employee.

Sore Winners/Losers. Let’s face it, not everyone is suited for a competitive environment. You will always have those people that like to rub it in other people’s faces when they are doing well and that just doesn’t create a great work environment. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the people who are Debbie Downers and wallow in self-pity if they fail which only brings everyone else down too.

The death of team solidarity. Once you pin people against each other, you risk losing camaraderie and the benefits of teamwork. Everyone will have their own goals and so you risk losing a unified front.

However, if implemented correctly competition could still garner great results. The great thing about gamification is that it puts a fun twist on competition and therefore, should keep the atmosphere positive and motivated. There are five main ways to utilize gamification to promote competition:

1)Points- The object of using a point system is to try and get players to achieve the most points possible. It is easy for participants to compare their scores to others and can even be used as a currency (5 billion points= One Free Personal Day).

2)Badges- Everyone likes to be recognized for their personal achievements and badges are a great way of doing so. After a task is completed, reward the participant with a badge so they can show off their accomplishments.

3)Levels- For longer games, the use of levels can break up the monotony of tasks. For instance, after certain beginning tasks are complete you are promoted to the next level. It is a great way to judge how much work you have done and the time you have put into it.

4)Leaderboards- As with the others, leaderboards are a great way to rank yourself against the other employees. Everyone’s goal is to be at the top of the leaderboard, or at least displayed on the leaderboard, so it motivates employees to do more to get their name displayed for everyone to see.

5)Challenges-These can be specific tasks to be completed and require multiple people to partake in. Only one can win and so it encourages participants to put in their best effort.

 

As gamification increases in the business environment so will competition among employees. Everyone wants to be the best they can be and using gamification is a great way to pull this quality out of your workers. It also promotes a more fun and positive environment for competition with many different ways to show the achievement of workers. Lastly, it is a great way to reward hard work by using one of the mentioned measures to distinguish who is putting in the A-effort. Gamification is slowly but surely replace the “Employee of the Month” walls!