How your business can implement gamification to motivate a fatigued workforce

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How your business can implement gamification to motivate a fatigued workforce
Businesses who incorporate games into the workforce will deliver an enhanced employee experience.
Photo by Beci Harmony on Unsplash

There’s a reason that parents use games to maintain their kids’ attention and keep them active.

Friendly competition and the desire to win is a guaranteed way to engage people; however, it is something we seem to forget in the workplace. 

Playing is a natural human instinct, and as our work environment continues to evolve, it’s even more important to understand, leverage and even celebrate the traits that set us apart from machines and algorithms by breathing a new life into our business meetings and workplace culture.

With a whole year of remote meetings under our belt, we’re all feeling the effect of conference call “fatigue”, a very real phenomenon caused by certain elements of video calls tiring us out when used in excess.  

While meetings aren’t going to disappear anytime soon, businesses can look for new ways to motivate their fatigued and disengaged workforce by incorporating gamification into their meetings, training programs and manager check-ins. Here, we delve into the benefits that come with integrating gamification for business.

Providing a new level of office excitement

It’s impossible to force motivation and engagement in the workplace. Even before the pandemic, only one-third of employees felt engaged at work, so it’s clear that now more than ever, businesses need to be innovating their practices to drive a sustainable and engaged workforce. Disengagement, coupled with lack of motivation, can result in a range of issues, including poor productivity and an inability to overcome challenges. Beyond this, disengaged employees can also extend this behaviour to the treatment of clients and customers, consequently affecting business revenue and growth. 

The solution: games. Game-based learning, when played with your colleagues, works both in-person and remotely because it recognises employees’ innate human traits, taps into them and meets them where they are. 

Think the office Christmas party is the event of the year? Think again. By incorporating games into your work meetings, you’ll create a new sense of workforce buzz. Employees will be on a mission to outdo each other, while also excitedly taking on the CEO during quizzes to achieve champion status.

Creating a feeling of belonging and strengthen the workplace culture

As humans, play is one of the first languages we learn and master, and it’s also one of the first ways we interact to make friends. Leaning on play at work makes learning, meeting and connecting a natural process that employees are intrinsically motivated to join. 

There’s a reason nearly 2.5 billion people globally play games on their smart devices or computers. Not only do games provide a sense of competition; they also create a sense of connectedness and community, which, in an era of social distancing and lockdowns, has become more important than ever before. By facilitating play at work, you’ll make it easier for employees to actively participate, which increases the likelihood that they will.

Games at work can be played in a group setting and are often anonymised so employees can participate without feeling embarrassed or nervous, whether it’s gamifying your onboarding or training program, overhauling your quarterly business update or helping coworkers mingle and get to know each other. 

Offering tools for professional development and growth 

Unlike technology, employees are not operating systems that you can simply program to upgrade. Instead, learning and reskilling the workforce is critical to both the success of your business but also contributes to employee satisfaction. Professional growth is not just for the emerging workforce comprised of millennials and Gen Zers, and approximately 7 in 10 workers identify “growth and development opportunities” as important to them in a job.

The average “half-life” of skills acquired in the workplace is now a mere five years, so businesses should look to be facilitating regular upskilling sessions to retain their competitive edge in the market. However, with many employees now feeling time poor due to their day-to-day duties, professional development is often put on a backburner. 

It’s possible to work around this limitation though by creating on-demand, micro-learning moments during the workday to streamline professional development. This could include embedded digital training sessions and creating interactive, social learning experiences with games. Research also suggests that game-based learning could help with retention, with 94 percent of employees reporting they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development.

For many businesses, overhauling old practices and building an effective engagement strategy can feel overwhelming. However, with the trend of remote work showing no sign of slowing down, there’s never been a better time for business leaders to rethink the way we connect and learn at work. 

Businesses who incorporate games into the workforce will deliver an enhanced employee experience, contributing to higher engagement and productivity, which in turn will strengthen the business and workplace culture. The companies that win tomorrow will be the companies that invested in their employees today.

James Micklethwait is VP of Kahoot! at Work

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