IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Gamification: The Secret to Motivating Your Employees

Turning business processes into competitions can make a positive impact on company productivity. By James Kernan

HAPPY EMPLOYEES WILL ALWAYS be more productive. Staff who like their jobs perform better, work harder, and stay with a company longer. Therefore, we need to look at ways to make work more fun and enjoyable. Gamification is one technique employers can use. By tapping into the competitive spirit and hunger for recognition, gratification, and feedback we all have, gamification can help you engage employees, improve productivity, and reduce staff turnover.

Gamification is turning the operations, processes, and competition of gaming into a system that encourages participation and loyalty. The idea is to take something business-focused and make it fun, driving better engagement with your employees, vendors, and customers while creating a community in which everyone is driven to get involved. You can use games to encourage sales teams to close more deals, help desks to answer more calls, or customers to buy more products. When done right, it will get you faster results and even win you more long-term clients.

The Five-Step Process

To set up gamification in your workplace, follow these steps:

1. Identify goals for each employee and department you want to reach. I would recommend starting with your sales, help desk, or service department. Create both individual goals and team goals. Set those goals in writing.

2. Determine the changes in skills and behavior required to reach your goals. This will help you gauge what training is needed before you implement. If your employees are not trained properly, gamification will not work.

3. Design the game around your employees. This may be a game for them, but it’s not for your company. The rules of your game must align with your company’s goals by rewarding employees for completing extra training, for example, or achieving key performance metrics. Rewards are normally monetary, but you can also use gift cards, free lunches, or peer recognition. It’s important to tap into whatever your employees desire and what makes them tick! Friendly competition will keep them motivated as well.

4. Make the purpose of the game clear to employees through weekly reinforcement and transparency. I’d recommend documenting the rules of the game and then reviewing them with everyone in face-to-face meetings. You should also share performance against goals daily, or at least no less than every week. You can share that information via dashboards if you have the right tools or during your weekly team meetings.

5. Distribute rewards on a timely and consistent basis. Everyone enjoys hearing positive things about themselves, so be sure to report good news about leading performers every day or week. Financial rewards can either be weekly, monthly, or quarterly. For simplicity’s sake, I’d recommend monthly if you’re new to this. Last, be consistent about rewards. If you promise to distribute them on the first Friday of every month, then do it!

Make Sure It’s Fun

Please don’t forget to make your game fun, or else all your effort will have been for naught. Involve employees in the process from start to finish. Consider creating a small group to present and beta test ideas, and then to serve as advocates for the game after it’s rolled out. Try to keep all your communication about the game positive and encouraging. Share the results with the team and point out the top producers. You’ll be surprised how reliably peers will poke at the low producers, so you won’t have to.

When executed well, gamification can generate impactful results across an organization. It will give your business a positive boost while also making work more fun and enjoyable for your employees.

JAMES KERNAN serves as a principal consultant for Kernan Consulting and provides coaching, advising, and mentoring programs to IT business owners and leaders. The company offers one-on-one coaching, peer groups, and training as well.

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