Gamification: Turning Work Into Play

Gamification in the workplace is still in the early adoption phase, but we've talked about it before on our blog. As gamificiation in the consumer field is taking off, more people are talking about how it can be incorporated in the workplace.

According to research, only 10% of employees report an understanding of their company's mission statement. Couple that with the increase in the amount of time and money people spend playing online games, and one can begin to question whether or not leaders can apply gaming techniques in the workplace to create more engaged employees.

This chart, which was created by Socialcast and featured on their blog, tries to compare the relationship between disengaged employees and the increase of online games. With the explosive success of the billion dollar online gaming industry, it's no wonder why employers would be interested in incorporating gaming techniques at work.



One particular takeaway from this chart is the comparison and similarities between the gaming world and the job world. From aiming to higher levels to receiving rewards, the two have similar underlying mechanics.

Do you think gamification in the workplace is a feasible idea? In what ways do you think employers could utilize it? Or, as Socialcast put it, is there something to be learned from this phenomenon that leaders can apply to their organizations to create more engaged employees? Sound off in the comments section. We'd love to hear your opinions.

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How "Daily Deals for Businesses" Can Boost Engagement

As consumers, we're well aware of the massive eruption of daily deal sites on the Internet. Companies like Groupon, Living Social and Scoutmob offer discounts on everything from food, merchandise, services and activities. Now, daily deal sites are emerging that cater to a new crowd. Instead of offering deals to consumers, these new sites search for deals that cater to business markets.

Market Share was recently featured in a Fast Company article. As a new type of daily deal site, they offer things like team-building activities, flower delivery and even in-office massages. While it's only available in New York right now, they have plans to open in more cities by the end of the year.

This new type of spontaneous reward offering allows employers a convenient, hassle-free way to reward, engage and motivate employees. Without having to research, employers are able to purchase great experiences, products and merchandise for their employees.

While these type of rewards shouldn't replace an incentive program, they can be beneficial as a spontaneous addition. What do you all think? Are they a good idea? Will they rise in popularity?

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Engagement Down in the Ad Agency World

You hear about ad agencies being a place full of creatives and creative workspaces for some organizations. A recent article from Advertising Age suggests that employee engagement within many agencies is actually down.

In an article published March 8th a bottom line statement noted that agencies in general don't do a good job of communicating, training or motivating employees. As Andrew Bennet stated within that article:

"We are a people-focused industry but we don't embrace that with our employees."

The ad world is an industry almost famous for its turnover rate. Though these organizations push the fact that talent is the number one asset, it seems to be a mentality not held well for many agencies. In a 4A's and Arnold survey, 90% of the employees within those agencies felt that they had to train themselves in what they do from day-to-day. They didn't feel motivated or very engaged by their upper management.

"The average Starbucks barista gets more training than the average communications employee," Benett said.

Employee turnover is a costly business endeavor. No matter what industry you are in, employee communication is a crucial part of business success. In the article, Bennet is quoted as saying how revenue is taking a priority over people for many agencies in the biz.

If you put the people first, the revenue will follow suit. Not having to front the costly recruiting and re-training will cut costs significantly for any organization. Engagement is a crucial component for a company bottom line.

What do you all think?

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Could Fung Shui Improve Engagement?

Sometimes the things that seem the most irrelevant that make the biggest impacts.

It all started when Program Manager Supervisor Charlene Reavey moved into her new office here at Hinda. Her first impression of the layout didn't exactly fit what she liked.

The new open space"It felt cramped," Reavey said. "It didn't encourage open communication. The room felt like me sitting behind a desk while anyone who was in there listened to me."

Her office layout wasn't uncommon from many offices out there. You walked into the room and there sat the desk, parallel to the door facing. Not too bad honestly but Reavey wanted to change things up.

"I felt closed in and cluttered...I feel like your environment can have a direct reflection on your productivity," Reavey explained about the change. "I wanted the feeling of the room to be a more open and encourage mroe collaborative thinking than to just simply be an office."

Creative stuff. Eventually, Reavey shifted her desk around to a more open look. After several weeks with the change, Reavey could tell a huge difference.

"It completely opened things up to encourage more team-based collaborative work. It helps open up not only myself but the other people coming into the room. Most people like it better...they feel it's more conversational."

One of our own inside Hinda found that a little thing such as re-arranging the furniture in her office could make her employees feel even more comfortable, make her more approachable, and ultimately improve engagement with those she worked with. It wasn't a dramatic change, but just subtle enough to make significant improvements.

What do you think? Could the fung shui of an office improve employee engagement?

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Employee Engagement Helps Brand Ambassadorship

Surprisingly, most people don't associate employee engagement as part of a marketing tactic. According to an article from Advertising Age a couple of months ago, incorporating the internal workforce as part of brand marketing strategy is a growing trend. The recession decreased most of the population's trust in Corporate America and tapping into employees to spread your brand message is becoming a crucial part of marketing.

How are companies doing it? By empowering their employee base.

One way companies tap into employees as brand ambassadors is through making them social media evangelists. Southwest Airlines is one of the best examples of this. Their blog, Nuts About Southwest, is employee run with over thirty different contributors. In addition to the company blog, Southwest taps into their intranet to gain feedback from their employees in regards to topics like "most frequent customer complaints" to "what do they love most about Southwest." They also field out advertisements on that intranet to gauge feedback from their employee base.

In addition to social media ambassadors, all employees are ultimately real-life ambassadors. They represent your company on the front lines and outside the office when talking to friends. How they talk about your company and brand in regards to treatment and engagement will eventually reflect on your company. Utilizing clear communication with your employees on your overall strategy, taking in feedback and even using some recognition and rewards in that process can have a positive effect on your brand.

How are you all engaging employees for marketing purposes?

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Could You Gamify the Workplace?

Not too terribly long ago I ran across this article from Fast Company about how video games are infiltrating every aspect of our lives. The article covers everything from wellness to education. What really caught my eye was the way some corporations are using video game elements into their employee's everyday lives.

Most of the examples come from technology companies. The article first talks about IBM employees. When they have conferences, instead of spending a lot of money on travel and hotels, each employee has a virtual avatar that represents them in an online conference. The employees use these characters (that are slowly being able to look very similar to the employee) as methods of engagement with other employees across different offices...and continents. This video-game like environment helps make these events more engaging while cutting overall costs simultaneously. 

A second example came from Sun Microsystems. The company has actually developed video games as part of their employee training. Using titles like Dawn of the Shadow Specters and  Rise of the Shadow Specters, employees engage in a fictional world whose inhabitants reflect the same values as the company. Not only does this make training more engaging, it communicates company values in a fun way.

Not every company will have the resources like the two named tech giants to create a corporate video games. Very few do. Even still, there is a takeaway for everyone.

You don't have to have video game developers at your fingertips to make everyday work more engaging. Using the same basic game mechanics used in video games, there are ways to make work more engaging and fun. Using the same sort of points-style system games do, rewarding points is one way to start.

"Level Up" Your Engagement

Even "leveling up" could be applied to a company recognition program. There is a big emphasis on "badges" when it comes to loyalty programs and location-based services. The same concept could be applied inside the office. For reaching certain milestones, point-wise or some other clearly communicated metric, an employee could earn some sort of badge or "level-up" style of recognition. Zappos uses this concept inside their offices using license plates. A rookie Zappos employee is presented with a paper copy of a license plate with their name on it. After their tenure continues and they mature in the company, they eventually get normal metal license plates. From there on out, the employee receives stickers for however many years they've been there.

The above Zappos example is used in a "Years of Service" program but the concept could be applied in other styles of programs. There's a lot we could all learn from simple game mechanics.

What do you all think? Will work eventually be gamified?


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