Are we about to see a Gamification explosion?

Are we about to see a Gamification explosion?

Some really big organizations are tapping into what Gamification has to offer.  We’re not just talking about moves made to draw in customers; Gamification is actively being used to engage employees as well.

In addition to mammoth companies like Samsung, there are a number of very large businesses who are tapping into the power of their employees through Gamification. However, it’s not just large organizations with a tech focus that are applying this new approach; for example, governments (state and federal) are also jumping in and applying Gamification practices in order to boost productivity. It makes sense; after all, with the increase in terms of technical capabilities which are now available (cloud computing, big data, etc…) it’s much easier to deploy/set-up a program than ever before. While it might startle some to hear that governments are approaching their duties in a business-like fashion, it’s actually quite refreshing to know that they’re putting forth an effort to not only remove some burdens from taxpayers/citizens, but also ensuring that they’re working on becoming more efficient.

Even banks and financial institutions are jumping in with gamified offers. For instance, some credit unions are actively seeking to embolden savers by offering prizes and giveaways based on how much capital their clients are able to store away. This kind of approach not only provides a net benefit to the entire establishment, but it also helps to bring more customers through the door. Moreover, more savings and deposits in any bank means that its customers are better protected over the long-term as well and the organization itself remains solvent.    

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The Forrester Research group (which is a leading IT research and analysis organization) has also recently found new ways to approach Gamification, this time with their Blog postings. In this case, the goal is to read a number of postings in order to gain access to a gift card offer; all-in-all it’s a brilliant way to attract new audiences in the short term (and because we’re talking about an activity that cannot be completed in one sitting, they’ll likely keep on coming back).   

Small businesses are also jumping into the fray with their own Gamification projects which are mostly being deployed through social media. Virtually any sized business can engage customers through Facebook (or other sites) these days; whether it’s to simply comment and/or get involved. Gamification can also be more easily established via social media, which is great for those that don’t have an extensive background in programming or IT. There are great examples of dentists, general practitioners, and plastic surgeons (on Facebook) who are using Gamification techniques in this manner to not only engage customers with weekly questionnaires, but to also draw them in with special prizes and offers.

How does Gamification actually help in the workplace, you ask?  Well, it’s certainly no secret that “psychological factors” play an enormous role when it comes to employee productivity. The challenge lies in maintaining a certain balance in the workplace (yield vs. fun). Anyone who has worked at an organization that employs a great number of individuals in an office setting will tell you that it’s not easy to keep everyone focused and moving in the right direction on a day-to-day basis. Gamification allows one to remove the negative associations with “work”, replacing them with a looser form of interoffice camaraderie and competition.

Likewise, if there are additional incentives at stake there will always be certain employees who will go above and beyond the call of duty in order to “win” or come out on top. This approach should also motivate those on the lower end of the spectrum who are perhaps not as easily swayed. Over time, the idea of achieving more or winning the contest might become so important that it actually takes precedence over the concept of “work”. In other words, your employees might actually begin to enjoy what they’re doing and who they are working with because there is a certain level of positive reinforcement present with clear incentives.

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In many ways, Gamification has entered the picture at a time when the IT and technology sectors are literally exploding with potential. Given that there are a number of in-house Gamification apps/services on the market right now which can help virtually any business to boost employee morale and motivations, one can accurately state that there’s never been a better time to begin thinking about implementing a program. Likewise, with technologies like cloud computing available and pricing for those services falling with each passing day, it’s becoming extremely easy to execute a Gamification solution.

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