Gamification in the Workplace: Introduction, Benefits, Tips, and Examples

by Kylee Stone Sep 18,2023

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

The saying “work hard, play harder” may be familiar to you, but is this really what gamification in the workplace is all about? Not quite. Although gamification in the office might take inspiration from games, its primary goal is to engage and encourage workers during tasks that are not games. Alternately, add a bit of pleasure to specific required duties.

If your staff knew they would earn points and receive incentives for completing crucial training on workplace safety, wouldn’t they be more motivated to do so? Or, wouldn’t a worker be pleased to find they excelled in their company’s cybersecurity test?

Scores, gamification, and badges are ideas we’re accustomed to seeing in video games, but they might also be employed in the workplace. But first, let’s look at how they might be used in the workplace. Let’s define gamification in the workplace in more depth.

What Is Gamification?

Gamification is integrating the game into eLearning and staff training programs. This approach lets a company include engaging, game-like elements that help employees engage in the training while effectively delivering the lessons, such as narrative, problem-solving, and incentives.

Steve Jobs reportedly said, “The one and only way to accomplish outstanding work is to enjoy what you do. Contrarily, gamification makes work more appealing and less stressful for employees. Employees are encouraged to work harder when they receive prompt incentives, regular feedback, and appropriate recognition.

Gamification at Work Is Trending 

Managers and workers may both benefit from gamification strategies, which increase engagement. As a consequence, gamification in the workplace market is anticipated to be valued at $30.7 billion by 2025.

A company’s productivity is increased via gamification, which combines tasks, corporate objectives, and rewards and recognition. Due to this, more than 400 major corporations, including Google, Formaposte, and Domino’s, have started to make significant investments in gamification.

It’s critical to realize that gamification does not aim to transform employment into a game. Instead, the goal is to combine gaming principles with work-related tasks to increase efficiency and make the work more fun. Encouragement of employee involvement also motivates workers to concentrate on the company’s success as a whole.

Workplace gamification benefits for employees include motivation and encouragement, a fun educational atmosphere, and a more inviting workplace. In this essay, we examine the advantages of this strategy and the reasons it is becoming increasingly popular.

There are several instances of organizations implementing gamification in their operations. Starbucks launched “My Starbucks Rewards” by gamifying its customer rewards program. Depending on how many purchases they make, clients can raise their degree of loyalty under this system.

Google encouraged its staff to keep a record of their corporate travel expenditures by gamifying the process for submitting travel reimbursements. The funds formally designated for their work vacation serve as an incentive for the employees to save. Employee savings are either given back to them as extra compensation or contributed to their chosen charity.

Benefits of Gamification in the Workplace

Gamification is an appealing technique to support your staff’s learning and development of new abilities they may use to improve your business. But is it worthwhile to spend simply because one of your rivals is doing so? Here, we highlight three commercial advantages of gamification adoption that demonstrate it is worthwhile for your organization to invest time, money, and resources in:

Enhanced Security: 

Since 40% of IT security breaches result from human error, investing in your staff’s cybersecurity education will always pay off. Because security training that incorporates gamification has proven to be up to 77 percent more successful than conventional educational training tactics, integrating the benefits of gamification in the workplace could be beneficial. Due to its growing popularity, you may use various gamification training tactics. Spend time conducting market research, choosing one affordable for your business, and then watch how quickly your staff picks up new techniques for protecting your data and thwarting any threats.

Reduced Employee Stress: 

According to a comprehensive review of prior research, people who played the SuperBetter app for 10 minutes each day for a month reported much fewer melancholy and anxiety symptoms than the review’s control group. In addition, the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center reports that recent research indicated that, compared to various other smartphone apps, SuperBetter had the highest impact on lowering anxiety symptoms. By providing your staff with subscriptions to gamification-based applications like SuperBetter, and Calm, all of which encourage the user to relieve stress through exciting and engaging activities, you can help your employees avoid burnout and experience the advantages of gamification in the workplace.

Draw Talent from Generation Z and Millennials:

It will be vital for your company to draw and keep this new generation of talent after Gen Z and millennials make up the majority of the working population in the nation. What will it take to entice these young professionals? Via the adoption of gamification in the workplace. Both generations love technology and spent their formative years engaging in video games that served as the basis for gamification. Both like a challenge and could be more interested and engaged in more traditional forms of education. With gamified training, they get what they want and prefer ingestible, inspiring, and engaging visual information.

Why and Where to Use Gamification at the Workplace?

Workplace Gamification has the potential to boost employee engagement and motivation, but it requires a systematic approach to be effective. The business transaction or tasks you would want to adopt gamification must also be carefully chosen, and the gamification mechanics must be developed with the same level of attention.

The following is a list of some business goals you may use gamification for:

Makes learning enjoyable and exciting.

Making learning more entertaining and engaging is the most typical application of gamification. Gamification inspires students to become involved in the education process as active participants. Ninety-nine percent of students said that the point-based system makes them more engaged, and 82% said that they appreciated the gamified experience’s numerous degrees of difficulty.

Strengthens your connections.

Hiring people who share the organization’s culture is crucial for engagement and retention. By making its training games accessible to the general public, the US Army has successfully expanded the usage of gamified events in its recruitment process. This gamified activity gave people an enjoyable, educational, and engaging virtual army experience.

Promotes an excellent work-life balance.

Given the prevalence of work-from-home (WFH), many businesses are using gamification in their wellness initiatives to motivate staff to maintain a balance between their professional and personal lives. Employees that are content are more engaged, productive, and upbeat.

Companies are using gamification in a variety of use cases to boost worker engagement and enhance process results. However, corporate learning continues to be the most popular area for gamification adoption in the workplace. Employees prefer gamification at work when it comes to communication and training, according to research on gamification at work.

Focus on areas where Gamification can be used:

Gamification for employee engagement examples can help an organization in a variety of ways.

  • Development and Learning

Games can help both new and experienced employees learn new skills. Gamification of learning platforms has the potential to improve retention and results.

  • Customer Service

Gamification achievements and rewards can motivate employees to provide better service to customers. They also encourage employees to share new solutions and ideas with their colleagues.

  • Increasing Sales

Gamification can improve salespeople’s collaboration. It rewards not only the final sale but also all of the steps that lead up to it.

  • Teamwork

Even in different offices worldwide, teams can use games to share information and learn from one another.

  • Corporate Culture 

Gamification can help spread the company’s culture through various projects and programs. It can aid employees in spotting changes to engage in molding the culture of the company.

Five Ways You Can Deploy Gamification in the Workplace

  1. Make your objectives clear and transparent

Establish clear objectives before you, and your employees get carried away with all the fun and games. Determine why Gamification is important and what you hope to gain from it. You can then decide what game to use to achieve your objectives. Of course, once you’ve established your goals, you must communicate them to your employees. Remind them that these games are for more than just entertainment. Maintain alignment between your activities and the goals of your company. Also, ensure these objectives are communicated to the rest of your team. Setting milestones is another effective way to motivate your employees. It gives them a sense of accomplishment, which makes the games more rewarding and relevant.

  1. Describe the game’s rules and procedures

Every game has its own set of rules that players must follow. As a result, knowing the game’s rules is critical so your employees can fully participate in your activities. Aside from your objectives, it would help if you also communicated the game’s rules and processes to everyone eligible to participate. This includes the criteria for determining whether or not they have won, the rewards at the end, the guidelines for qualification and disqualification, the duration of the activity, and what they must do to win. This ensures that everyone understands how it works. Similarly, they have a reference to refer to throughout the activity. Everyone will be competing fairly this way.

  1. Begin with the basics

Sometimes, less is more, especially when you’re just getting started. And, with Gamification, you should keep things simple at first. This means simple mechanics and short activities with corresponding payoffs. This allows you to test which ones work and which don’t without wasting too much time, money, and energy on inefficient processes. Starting with straightforward challenges like vying for the “top weekly customer satisfaction score,” “most resolved incidents in a week,” “flawless attendance for the month,” or “highest monthly quota achieved” can be a great way to begin. It is easily quantifiable, and your employees can immediately get their rewards. Similarly, all of these are attainable and align with your company’s objectives. Taking things slowly allows your employees to adjust and gain confidence.

  1. Offer tempting rewards and incentives

Gamification in business is also associated with a rewards and incentives system for your employee experience. These can take the form of acknowledgment, tokens, or both. This would give your employees the push and motivation required to participate in your activities. A recent study found that 83% of employees are motivated to perform better and work harder when they know there will be rewards at the end. Not to mention that creating a friendly and competitive environment gives them a reason to keep improving rather than becoming complacent in the long run. You must, however, ensure that your rewards appeal to your employees. For example, competing for the title of “top employee of the year” would necessitate more than a badge and a quick pat on the back. To entice your employees to work hard for the title, there may need to be more than a simple gesture in recognition of exceptional achievement.

  1. Make use of data

Businesses are becoming more data-driven than ever before. You can easily mine and analyze data from various aspects of your business using the tools and software available. And, yes, Gamification can provide valuable information. You can learn about your employees’ strengths and weaknesses by incorporating Gamification into your workplace. Similarly, this allows you to identify areas where you need to improve employees and how to address such issues. This data can assist you in developing more effective business strategies and plans. More than that, it can help you in developing a strong culture for your organization to become future-ready. For example, using Gamification in HR can provide you with a wealth of knowledge regarding managing your employees. You can learn about the best gamification methods for increasing employee engagement, the most effective communication methods, the common skills you should train your employees in, and much more.

Gamification Examples

Some of the examples of gamification in the workplace known for making the workplace fun, intriguing, and easy are as follows:

  • Gamification in the Workplace at Salesforce

Silicon Valley’s top gamification vendor, Bunchball, provided a solution that integrates seamlessly with the UI. The straightforward program has a customizable featured challenge, a progress indicator, and a team leaderboard. The application functionality and team standings use points and progression bars to show where various teams stand concerning one another. Employees can choose between physical or virtual items on the incentive tabs. The gamified experience motivates sales teams since they receive real-time feedback that encourages them to meet short-term and long-term objectives.

  • Workplace Gamification on the SAP Community Network (SCN)

SAP Community Network (SCN) has effectively used game elements to boost member engagement. Users may earn points on the gamified network by blogging, participating in forums, updating wiki pages, or delivering white papers. The user’s awards and points are totaled across all locations and displayed on a scoreboard that is accessible to everybody. SAP has added extra incentives to make these points more valuable to the staff. The community network points amassed qualify as a KPI for employee performance appraisals. 

  • AstraZeneca Gamifies the Launch of New Medicine

To educate freshly hired sales staff on novel medical treatments, AstraZeneca introduced a new training program in 2015 dubbed “Go To Jupiter.” The following gamified components were employed in this training to entice learners: mini-games, rewards for noteworthy accomplishments, leaderboards, and team contests. As a consequence, student engagement levels reached 97%, and the learner completion percentage rose to 95%. 

  • Gamification Is Used By Deloitte To Develop Senior Leadership

To aid learners in the development of their soft skills, Deloitte included gamification components in its senior leader training through the usage of their leadership school. Learners choose personal learning objectives and investigate numerous training subjects during the course. After completing each assignment, students are awarded badges to commemorate their accomplishments. They may also view leaderboards that show the top 10 users across various activities.

  • Gamification in the Workplace at PwC to Find Talent 

PwC uses gamification to find fresh talent using the game “Multiply.” Candidates can play the game to determine whether they fit the company’s ethos and can work there. The game also brings players together to solve difficulties related to actual business issues.

Gamification in Training

Employees would want to see gamification in the workplace, technical skill development, service and product training, and corporate compliance training. With 83% of staff feeling driven by gamified learning, there is a significant positive association between gamification training and staff engagement. Employee motivation results in increased productivity and much-reduced boredom.

Research indicates that 70% of L&D specialists will include gamification in corporate training initiatives. The top three favored game aspects that incorporate learning are ranked matches, badges, awards, and visually represented dashboards and progress indicators.

  • Dashboards and progress bars: The dashboards and progress bars display the activity’s current state of completion in terms of a percentage or other metrics. Users are encouraged to finish the task and come to a logical conclusion by the progress gauges.
  • Trophies and badges: These are awards and recognitions for learners’ successes, displaying their mastery of a particular subject.
  • Leaderboards: Leaderboards show how students compare to one another and foster a culture of competition that will help them succeed in their chosen industries.

How Does Game-Based Learning Affect Employees?

In today’s fast-paced corporate environment, when it takes less time to reply to customer inquiries and launch products, self-learning is an integral approach.

Team members are encouraged to be independent and involved in their learning using game-based learning strategies. This kind of problem-solving is also made possible by the knowledge of engaging in a game alone, which is just as crucial as working with others. Inspiring our innate love of games, game-based learning solutions deliberately teach us new abilities and expand our knowledge. By doing this, employers can measure the experience while also giving learners a meaningful one.

Puzzles, games that require players to solve problems and strategize challenge-based games, and situational judgment situations are all examples of teaching tools. The objective is to stimulate creativity, foster teamwork, and spark a fresh solution to problem-solving.

Also read: The Ultimate Guide to 360-Degree Feedback in the Workplace

Wrapping Up

You will get an idea about how to arrange and carry out gamification tactics at your organization with the aid of these ideas and insights regarding gamification for business.

Workplace gamification has the capability of making work more enjoyable. Employee engagement, happiness, and motivation may all increase as a result. They say that life is a game; therefore, let’s strive to make work seem more like a game. 

The use of gamification in the workplace will advance along with technological advancement. Reach out to Engagedly if you’re seeking a technological partner to help you adopt gamification.


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Kylee Stone

Kylee Stone supports the professional services team as a CX intern and psychology SME. She leverages her innate creativity with extensive background in psychology to support client experience and organizational functions. Kylee is completing her master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology at the University of Missouri Science and Technology emphasizing in Applied workplace psychology and Statistical Methods.

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