Gamification in Business: The Secret Sauce

Gamification works by integrating game mechanics into a non-gaming situation to enhance motivation, participation, and engagement within learners. Gamification in business is an important tool being used by modern-day entrepreneurs and corporates for achieving organizational goals. 

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As a tool, gamification is equally effective for large global enterprises as well as small businesses. 

The purpose here is to make learning fun and engaging. The use of game design elements like badges, points, game rules, visuals, feedback, etc encourages the players to participate and learn. 

How Gamification Works?

Gamification works by encouraging the employees to engage in the desired learning/training modules while enjoying the game and its challenges. 

Smart business owners of the modern world understand how human psychology works and make use of the potential of games to increase customer engagement. It is also an effective tool to influence consumer behavior. 

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Carefully designed games that focus on targeted consumer groups and include important elements like rewards (using attractive schemes like discount coupons, promotional giveaways) for purchases, rewards or points for positive behavior (like using a brand’s products regularly) are excellent tools for marketing and business growth. 

So what are game mechanics and how are they useful for a business house?

Gamification mechanics

The components of a game that are used to attract and engage the customers/ learners are known as game mechanics. These include the key set of rules that are required to be followed for an effective and fun gameplay. 

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Following game mechanics are commonly used by business enterprises to level up their growth:

  • Points– Within a business house, these are used to motivate the employees to drive higher sales numbers or to show positive learning of the desired goals. Corporates also use points/ badges and rewards to create enthusiasm within the consumers and clients to create brand awareness and drive sales. 
  • Feedback– Prompt feedbacks are a valuable means to channelize the employees in the right direction. 
  • Challenges- Interesting challenges and quests that trigger the curiosity of the employees or even the customers to create increased engagement and motivation to achieve more. 
  • Goals- Games are carefully designed to include the organizational objectives and provide training/ learnings of the employees on the pre-planned modules. For consumers, the goals could be related to creating brand awareness or promote a product. 
  • Game levels- Games should have levels that gradually increase in their difficulty levels. It is important to remember that games are neither to simple to create boredom, nor too complex to drive the consumers away. 
  • Social Media Integration– The modern world resides on social media. Integrating game elements with social media create enthusiasm within the players to participate and achieve better results. 

Various other game mechanics like urgency, competition, transparency, and competition are included to get the desired results. 

Thinking about using gamification techniques to expand your business or boost your sales figures?

You need to start by understanding the key principles that drive gamification.

Gamification principles

Gamification is intended to influence employee/customer behavior and increase meaningful engagement: 

Top game designers layout the following as the key gamification principles:

1. Good narrative

2. Engaging challenges

3. Planned levels

4. Rewards/Badges

5. Resilience building

6. Confidence boosting

7. Feedbacks

8. Accessibility

9. Aesthetics

10. Long term learning

Read our detailed article on 10 Effective Gamification Principles for Learner Engagement.

Technologies in games keep getting updates and easier for users. Gamification app designers are now using the latest techniques to build gamification platforms without the need for strict coding work. 

How does gamification impact business results?

All business owners like to see their employees working at their maximum potential. Driving business performances and achieving annual sales targets are the main goals od an organization. 

Productive and motivates workers are the main tools to achieve this target. It is hence important to motivate the employees while keeping them engaged and presenting training/work modules in a way that does not add to their work pressures. 

Wondering how gamification helps achieve business goals?

Gamification works on the following aspects to target the organizational goals and boost business results:

Engaging the employees

The achievement of organizational goals is directly linked to the levels of employee engagement. Workers who feel connected to the organization help increase the overall productivity and lead to customer satisfaction. 

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Gamification is an excellent means to create engagement and entwine it within the culture of an organization from scratch. Gamified platforms help the employees to understand and track their learnings, progress, strengths, and weaknesses. This further helps the workers to move in a direction that helps them progress and achieve their annual goals. 

The visibility and transparency of the goals, progress, rewards, and benchmarks create determination within the employees to work harder. 

What better way of turning mundane work activities into pure fun!

Syncing with organizational goals

Most business groups revolve around the key objective of achieving higher sales. Gamification works by influencing employee behavior which further helps in increasing the number of leads, client meetings and finally sales conversions. 

Additionally, gamification process takes into account the client/customer behavior to promote engagement and brand loyalty. 

Gamification, essentially, is a bridge between employees and organizational objectives. The ability to leverage motivation through rewards, badges and feedbacks inspires the employees to strive for more. 

Progressing

Irrespective of whether an organization is an established business brand or a growing entrepreneurship, the workforce needs to constantly adapt to various changes. These include new and evolving technologies, market changes, changes in customer behaviors, locational changes, etc. 

Employees need to be motivated and willing to be a part of the change and adapt to them rapidly in order to succeed as a group. 

Gamification makes the progression process easier and enjoyable for employees. Workers can learn about new products, new technologies, etc while engaging in fun and competitive games. Additionally, the technique also helps them be connected with their managers and work as a team. 

Develop a learning culture

A well developed learning culture includes everyone. Right from the senior team members to the fresh trainees. Each team member plays a significant role in contributing to the organizational learning culture. 

Developing a learning culture that’s strong, yet, informal is extremely important. 

As a business manager, how do you encourage learning and knowledge sharing at all organizational levels?

Gamification tools like leaderboards are a great way for employees to feel connected to each other’s progress and support each other’s growth. When your colleagues can see your achievements, it gives them the motivation to reach their personal goals too!

Additionally, games can involve each worker creating, adding and sharing content that they find useful for sharing with others. 

Peer feedback is another strong motivational factor for workers at all levels and helps them grow as a community. 

Further, gamification platforms help employees stay up to date about new products, technologies, etc. 

Gamified learning typically includes learning materials, computerized simulations, engaging puzzles, and quizzes. 

More advanced techniques like microlearning gamification generate even higher ROI. Small learning nuggets and short activities that generate meaningful rewards help keep the employees engaged and looking for more. 

Employees stay motivated for completing more and more tasks and are able to relate the knowledge acquired into their work skills. 

Retaining talent

Talent retention is a serious concern and priority for all business owners. The inability to retain top employees leads to loss of experience, knowledge, and intellectual property. This further affects sales and profits. 

However, research proves that a good percentage of employees like to stay with an organization where they have more access to training and learning opportunities. Gamified learning opportunities are loved by employees and that’s no surprise. After all, if learning is teamed with fun, rewards, and recognition, jobs automatically become more satisfactory. 

Manage the skills gap

While there is no dearth of workers and employees willing to get onboard a business group, getting the desired skills is not always easy. With technology changes, new and emerging fields and subfields, skills required for a job change every few years. This creates a skill gap within the workforce that needs to be filled in before it starts affecting the business growth. 

Gamification can help provide personalized, one to one training to the employees to fulfill their specific learning needs. 

Training content can be specifically categorized and assigned to the employees as needed. 

Key strategies for gamification in business

Work scenarios have changed significantly in the past few decades. They don’t just limit to long hours of sitting on the desk or going for boring training. Companies around the globe are shifting to more flexible and enjoyable work scenarios to generate higher productivity.

Organizations are now turning towards gamification strategies as an answer to their business growth issues. The use of game mechanics like badges, levels, leaderboards and feedback help improve employee engagement and increase sales. 

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So what are the gamification strategies that super successful business owners (teamed with game designers) use to drive their business growth?

Following are the top five gamification strategies that are sure to hit the mark when it comes to driving sales growth.

We’re revealing the gamification secret sauce recipe here. 

Read on!

1. Identify business objectives

Various top brand names are now leveraging gamification to achieve their business objectives. When business objectives are recognized, it then becomes necessary for game designers to sit and work with business owners to plan an appropriate gamification plan. 

Gamification for business should align with the goals and targets set for the growth plan. 

2. Make it player-centric

Various leading gamification brands like Nike, M&M, Quirky, etc agree that it is crucial to make it player-centric. It is hence important to identify the player’s personal objectives in addition to the business objectives of the organization. 

Successful gamification apps are hence designed to encourage the players to work towards the business goals as well as their own personal learning goals. 

3. Target your audience

Targetting the right set of audiences and personalizing the gamification for each set of learners is important. Irrespective of whether the game is designed for workers or customers, the need for it to be aligned with their behavioral patterns is important. 

Gamification in business
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Choosing your audience, understanding their learning needs, behavior, interests, etc is hence important before working on a game design for business growth. 

4. Meaningful incentives

One common gamification mistake is to believe that users will always be attracted to the rewards, points and badges that the game design offers. 

This, however, is not true. 

 It is important to ensure that the badges, rewards, and points are meaningful. Learners should feel encouraged to work their way through the game to achieve a badge. Additionally, badges and rewards should not just recognize the achievement of targets but celebrate the efforts put in by the users. 

5. Target brand loyalty

Many companies make the mistake of focussing only on sales generation when planning a game design. Successful game designs, however, should always target brand loyalty and brand promotion in addition to sales and marketing. 

A surge in brand loyalty and awareness is directly linked to business growth. Motivating the employees and the customers to meaningfully engage with the brand name should be one of the most important goals of gamification in business. 

Gamification and small businesses

Gamification is an effective tool that delivers measurable results. It is equally effective for small businesses in terms of increasing engagement, productivity and sales. 

Small businesses benefit significantly from increased social media engagements. The use of gamification techniques to promote a newly launched product, or create brand awareness is unmatched. 

Traditional techniques like promotional events, promotional giveaways, etc are now being coupled with gamification to encourage customer participation. 

Gamification, if managed effectively can be one of the most effective tools for business growth and establishment for new/ small business ventures. However, it is important to remember that games also create high expectations. Incentives that are not well chosen may completely off-set worker/customer expectations. Ensure that the motivations and rewards match the user expectations. 

Gamification examples in the business world

The business world has various interesting and successful gamification examples that can be followed. Some of these include Starbucks – My Starbucks Rewards, The Samsung Nation, Nike+, The US Army, M&M’s Eye-Spy Pretzel, Autodesk, etc. 

For details, please read our article on Top 12 Gamification Examples That Received Instant Success

Leading game design organizations in Malaysia are now holding annual workshops to impart training on the application of gamification in work environments. Check out some of these interesting workshops planned for the year!

Conclusion/Final thoughts:

The benefits of using gamification in business are many. It can solve a wide range of business objectives like creating a positive company culture, marketing and sales, product understanding and launch, project management, recruitment, employee benefit schemes, training, etc. 

However, for a gamification process to be successful, it needs to be carefully designed, managed and executed. The information provided within the game needs to be well integrated with the organizational goals to improve business growth. 

Check out our website for more information!

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