Why your organisation should employ gamification

10 December, 2018
Gamification can be a game changer for organisations. Here’s what you need to know – why gamification works and how to boost its effectiveness.

Using gamification to boost learning in your organisation

Gamification is a learning and development strategy that helps to create a positive learning experience at work. It can be defined as the use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts. Used well, this technique helps make the most mundane or dry topics engaging and interesting. When people are engaged in learning, they develop skills more quickly, and these skills can be deployed to improve productivity and morale. Well-designed gamification can increase participation rates, encourage engagement and improve the retention of information.

Not all organisations are equal, and neither are their employees. Different organisations have different training needs, and different people learn best in different ways. These factors must be considered when designing a strategy to introduce gamification.  Whichever techniques and tactics are employed, an organisation should plan its gamification strategy to meet the outcomes desired by the organisation and motivate employees.

Why gamification works

There are many reasons why gamification is highly effective. The approach can be easily appended to existing training programmes. It is not necessary to start from scratch, either. Existing gamification platforms can be purchased and customised, though care should be taken to make sure that the provider has a good track record of success with verifiable case studies.

There are tools that can be wrapped around your existing systems and learning and development programmes, enhancing your current offering cost-effectively. These tools and techniques can boost retention of information, improve employee engagement, motivate learning, and create a positive learning and development environment in which happier employees become more productive.

How to make gamification effective in your organisation

The effectiveness of gamification is dependent upon developing strategy and employing appropriate tools and tactics. Here are six tips to help your organisation get started.

1.     Make it relevant

There must be an objective attached to your gamification strategy. What is the challenge you face, the change initiative being implemented, or is there another training need that you have identified? From this starting point, an organisation can consider what and how gamification could be used, and then decide which tools and techniques will be most likely to produce the desired outcomes: changing behaviours and development of new skills.

2.     Decide if it is appropriate

While it has many benefits, gamification (and the tactics used) should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Though the fun aspect of this approach enhances engagement, gamification is not always appropriate.

3.     Individualise routes

Not everyone warms to gamification, and not all gamification tactics are appealing to those that do prefer this technique. This may mean providing access to a different gamification tool or more traditional training methods. Remember, too, that individuals learn at different paces, so it is important to provide realistic timelines for completion. If your gamification strategy includes a competitive element, such as a league table, allow people the choice of not being involved in that element.

4.     Set realistic goals

The goals you set will come under several headings. For example, you’ll need to consider return on investment, longevity of outcomes, expectations of results, and the effect on skillsets and morale. Objectives, goals and expectations must all be realistic from the joint perspectives of the organisation and its employees.

5.     Employ gamification to encourage collaboration

When video games first became popular, they were played by single participants. The intervention of the internet and evolution of digital capabilities has spawned more immersive gameplay, in which participants socialise with other game players either in competition or in collaboration. However, gamification does not need to be digital. Bringing gamification techniques into fat-to-face learning is an excellent way to build collaboration and encourage conversations.

For gamification, whether via digital or non-digital tactics, creating tools that encourage collaboration between colleagues improves teamwork and engagement as a social group aligned with a common purpose.

6.     Create a fun learning environment

Using gamification enables an organisation to create an environment where learning is fun. When balanced with other training techniques, your employees should develop skills more quickly and engage more fully with their work. Their experiences will be discussed and shared with colleagues, further advancing the effectiveness of your training programmes.

Discover how The Big Picture People included gamification in its Learning Map to improve staff engagement in health and safety policy at 3,000 Tesco retail sites across the UK.

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