May 5, 2014

How WooBoard Gamifies Employee Engagement

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Guest post by Colin Wong at WooBoard.

Colin Wong Wooboard Gamification Headshot

Colin Wong, Product Manager at WooBoard

Lack of employee engagement is a serious and widespread issue. According to Gallup’s 2012 survey of over 142 countries, 87 percent of employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work. The cost of actively disengaged employees alone to the US economy is more than $550 billion each year.

Clearly there’s a lot more value in creating an engaged workplace than just feeling warm and fuzzy. Companies with an engaged workforce earn on average 2.5 times more revenue and more than twice the net annual income of those with low engagement levels.

Game Design

As with all gamification products, it’s critical to identify the correct processes and intrinsic motivations to incentivize. In the case of employee engagement and workplace recognition, the core motivators are the innate desires to give and receive recognition, to encourage and support each other, and to connect. An effective game design must tap into and provide users with an appropriate level of satisfaction and accomplishment for demonstrating these behaviors.

Common Mistakes

The great majority of engagement and recognition platforms currently in the market, however, fail to incentivize and acknowledge such multi-faceted desires. Rather, they incentivize the passive act of receiving of recognition – quite simply, the employee who receives the most recognition wins. By incentivizing a passive action, these programs consistently fail to deliver widespread engagement. The result is a random recognition program in which just a few people remember to participate.

Despite having gamification features, poor game design means that these platforms are unlikely to achieve their objectives, or deliver meaningful return on investment.

Our Approach

WooBoard is an employee engagement and recognition platform that allows employees to send recognition and share updates in a way that is instant, social, and meaningful.

WooBoard employs a comprehensive points system which rewards users for all engagement actions (not just receiving recognition), including sending recognition, sharing information, earning badges, connecting with colleagues, and logging on each day. The system reflects the multi-faceted human motivations behind employee engagement.

Most importantly, the system drives daily and widespread engagement which ensures that recognition is transparent and meaningful. This provides a genuine base on which to drive real cultural and behavioral change. Below, we’ve highlighted two recent case studies.

4mation Technologies

4mation is a website and software development company with a younger workforce that’s both positive and playful. WooBoard provides the 4mation team with an outlet to express themselves in a way that is constructive, reinforces company values, and is aligned with business objectives.

In the context of employees who are already motivated to connect, encourage, share and recognize, gamification provides an ideal means of creating a conversation of recognition and a strong company culture.

We can’t take all the credit, but we will say that 4mation was recently recognized by Business Review Weekly as one of the top places to work in Australia.


Carat is a global and market-leading media company which makes use of WooBoard’s reporting and leaderboard functionality to run their comprehensive recognition and rewards program. Each week, the employee with the most points receives a gift voucher. Each month, a different company value is chosen and the employee with the most Woos tagged in that value receives an experience. Finally, each quarter, the team with the most Woos is invited to lunch with the CEO.

Through this tiered and targeted rewards program, Carat is able to create a highly engaged workforce, encourage and promote company values, and generate real return on investment.

Some work cultures are conducive to recognition and encouragement, but for the most part a busy workplace doesn’t naturally lend itself to giving adequate recognition to employees. Gamification provides an ideal means to incentivize and change behaviours so that such actions become second nature in the workplace.

photo credit: Alex E. Proimos via photopin cc