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1 Gwen Jenkins commented Permalink


Employee A couldn't care less about badges, seeking only to collaborate in areas where she has something to offer. Employee B loves having the most points, so he seeks to participate in every project or discussion that comes his way. Which employee is best served by gamification? Which contributes more to productivity?

2 Tim Royle commented Trackback

In response to Gwen Jenkin's post.

If the assumption is that Employee B is collaborating in areas that he knows very little about and is not adding any value then probably Employee A is best served by gamification. She will be recognised for her effort by the reward system through the natural process of doing her work. Unlike Employee B, who is perhaps just chasing glory through leaderboard rankings, she is truly adding value and will be rewarded as such.
Back to the above definition of gamification:
Gamification is the application of game design techniques to business processes aimed at encouraging user adoption and participation.
So, Employee A doesn't have to care about badges she can ignore them if she chooses, but she will still be recognised by her peers and her leaders for her efforts. As with most things in life excellence will rise to the top. There will always be those who choose to try and manipulate any system for their own advantage. Ultimately, they will lag behind those who are collaborating more intelligently, regularly and properly using the tools at their disposal.
Another factor is that organisations can add incentive schemes to their "measure and reward" system so that Employee A well may find herself being paid more for her efforts. This may motivate her to care more about her badges and how to "level up".
There's a comparison in the gaming world with people who use game cheats. They will probably finish the game more quickly than someone who doesn't cheat, but are they the better player?
Without knowing more about the individuals A + B it's impossible to tell who is best served by gamification, but at least we are gathering employee performance data that we can apply analytics to.
One of the badges we use in our deployment of IBM Connections is based on peer recognition and tracks how many times people say "thanks" to you. Employee A may receive more peer recognition through the quality of her input and may rank highly in the "Thanks" Kudos Badges leaderboard which is a very important leaderboard in our organisation.
Let's not forget poor Employee B, he may not be the most creative, experienced or knowledgeable employee, but he may be playing a very important role by encouraging others to participate.
Thanks Gwen for your thought provoking input.

3 Adam Brown commented Permalink

I would add Gwen that a well designed gamification system does not just reward activity, but valuable activity. Simple posting for the sake of winning point or badges or whatever, in a well designed system, will not achieve the outcome that your example employee B wants. In a well designed system, only good content, that may be recommended or liked by peers, or might generate discussion or ideas, would be worth more "points" than simply a post for posts sake.

Gamification is not about points, or badges, or leaderboards, etc. These are simply tactics that we use to motivate people. Gamification starts with defining your business objective or desired outcomes and then leverage these tactics to motivate and guide people to get there. Is it a silver bullet that will motivate all people? Off course not. Does it have a strong influence on many people? Absolutely. It is one strategy that organisations can utilise to drive the outcomes they want.
Do you earn points on your credit card? or frequent flyer program? Status Points, and membership levels? These are simply game mechanics used to drive customer loyalty. They work very well. They drive customer behaviour.
Even heard of a sales person having target's associated with their commision or bonus? Trips away etc? Making "Club". These again are just game mechanics designed to motivate the outcome the business wants the sales person to achieve.
Gamification has its place and smart businesses are learning how to apply it to drive better business outcomes.

4 Thomas Zhou commented Permalink

I think the biggest barrier to successful gamification of business is that the internal processes of many businesses are poorly instrumented, and rely heavily on manual reporting. (If only CRM's could read our minds).

Gamification is prolific in social networks because those systems are enclosed, and any interaction done within them can be monitored and analyzed. If you look at a video game, the environment is fully enclosed and players can be rewarded for activities such as spending 5 hours in the game.
How hard is it still for any large enterprise to have any clue what any individual employee is up to at any one time? Can a CEO find out if one of their ops staff is at their desk? Probably not without great difficulty. On the other hand, any admin in Facebook can know everything anyone has done on Facebook since the dawn of the universe. Complete system control.
Fingers crossed this has not inspired HR to put in weight sensors on my office chair and a GPS tag in my ear.

5 commented Trackback

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6 commented Trackback

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