How Enterprise Gamification is Transforming Workplace Experiences

Tetiana Prokofieva
DESIGN PROGRAM LEAD
Yevheniia Sydorova
UX PRACTICE LEADER
Daria Iaskova
COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

For the past decade, enterprise workplaces have undergone a slew of changes—a massive switch to hybrid work, digital transformation acceleration, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) embracement. All of them are called to improve workplace experiences as 80% of US employees report feeling stressed at work and 64% claim they are not engaged in doing their day-to-day tasks. 

As a result, enterprises face productivity gaps, risk losing part of their revenues, and sacrifice their positive employer image. This could and should be changed.

Enterprise gamification appears as a way to improve employee engagement, eliminate digital friction, help workers acquire new skills, and stimulate creativity—all by letting them play and have fun. 

What is enterprise gamification? 

Gamification is a compelling tool to achieve enterprise goals by infusing elements of game design and mechanics into work processes. It leverages the principles of motivation, engagement, and competition to drive employee performance, foster collaboration, and enhance productivity. 

Through gamified experiences, employees are encouraged to tackle challenges, earn rewards, and achieve targets, while staying aligned with the organization's broader objectives. 

Why do we like games in real life? Because while playing, we let our inner child out to have fun and relax. Focused on the process, we are not afraid to make mistakes. Just like that, enterprise gamification allows companies to create a fear-free environment, where employees will make brave decisions, make mistakes, innovate, and ideate with ease.

 

Gamification is not a groundbreaker. Back in 2012, Gartner already reported 70% of global companies with the largest market share using gamification in their operations. More than ten years later, gamification continues to demonstrate its efficacy. 

So, why did enterprise gamification become so popular and what makes it stay on the cutting edge till now? 

The reasons are many, but their nature is mostly psycho-sociological. 

  • Games are natural to today’s employees. As computer games gained popularity during the 1980s and 1990s, they found a loyal and enthusiastic consumer base in millennials. Now millennials represent 38.6% of the US workforce, reflecting the highest share among all age groups. 
  • Gamification brings emotional connection. Successful gamification evokes emotions such as excitement, anticipation, and pride, forging an emotional connection with the workplace and the tasks at hand. 
  • Gamification is a call to employee motivation. It brings a sense of achievement and triggers the psychological need for competence, autonomy, and relatedness, making employees more engaged and driven to perform better.
With enterprise gamification, IT workforce can achieve more. To exemplify, let’s look at achievements and leaderboards – typical gaming mechanisms. The reason why they still work out is purely psychological: people are motivated as long as they can foresee a result – then the whole way looks feasible and they are ready to move on.

The role and applications of gamification in business

Today, gamification is adopted in a number of industries. It makes part of consumer experiences in education, e-commerce, banking, sports, and wellness. 

Applied to the digital workplace, gamification is widely used in people operations, sales, and marketing activities. While it primarily targets employees, in the end, it’s businesses that benefit from its adoption. What is more, gamification allows keeping employees engaged at every stage of interaction with a digital workplace—from onboarding to productizing.

Corporate onboarding: connecting employees to corporate culture

Gamified training makes 8 out of 10 employees feel motivated as they start working. TalentLMS 

Gamification is extensively used to enhance the onboarding experience, making it engaging, enjoyable, and effective. This is especially important for enterprises, where introduction to corporate culture is an important component of employee onboarding.

Some examples of gamification enterprise companies often use during onboarding include:

  • Onboarding quests. Offering newcomers a series of interactive tasks and challenges to introduce them to company culture, policies, and key information.
  • Interactive training modules. Using gamified e-learning modules with quizzes and interactive scenarios to make training more engaging and effective. 
  • Social onboarding. Integrating gamification elements to facilitate social interaction among new hires and current employees, promoting networking and team bonding.
  • Virtual tours. Offering virtual tours allows new hires to explore their workplace and company premises. Enhanced with metaverse experiences, virtual tours allow enterprises to build a sense of presence with employees working remotely.
  • Progress tracking and achievements system. By providing employees with visual progress tracking of their onboarding journey, and highlighting completed tasks and upcoming milestones, companies create a sense of accomplishment throughout the onboarding process.

Boosting productivity: improving employee engagement

Gamified work experiences improve employee engagement by 60%. ServiceNow

Introducing an enterprise gamification system enhances employee productivity in a number of ways. It promotes a fair competition spirit, allows to set goals and track progress in a fun, engaging way, stimulates employees to self-develop, and harnesses an open feedback culture.

  • Performance-based rewards encourage employees to earn points, badges, or virtual currency for achieving targets and exceeding expectations.
  • Goal-setting and progress tracking allow employees to set objectives and track their progress in real-time, providing a clear sense of direction and accomplishment.
  • Leaderboards and competitions allow managers to recognize and celebrate top performers and motivate others to improve their productivity.
  • Team challenges and collaboration encourage employees to work together to solve problems and achieve shared goals, improving team spirit and motivation.
  • Continuous feedback loops promote ongoing feedback and communication between employees and managers, facilitating a culture of continuous improvement and employee engagement.

Fostering collaboration and teamwork: strengthening mutual efforts 

87% of workers say that gamification makes them feel more socially connected. TalentLMS

Enterprise gamification helps to bring employees together around shared goals and challenges, fostering social connections within the workplace. By integrating game elements into various aspects of the employee experience, gamification creates a fun and interactive environment that encourages collaboration and communication among team members.

  • Gamified team challenges that require collaboration among team members encourage employees to work together and pool their strengths and expertise.
  • Virtual team-building activities and games help employees bond, build trust, and strengthen their working relationships.
  • Gamified brainstorming sessions and platforms for ideation allow employees to contribute ideas, vote on solutions, and collaborate in a playful and engaging manner.
  • Gamified project management helps to manage and track progress on team projects, encouraging employees to collaborate effectively and complete tasks in a timely manner.
  • Leaderboards with teams encourage healthy competition and collaboration among teams.
  • Team recognition programs, where teams receive virtual trophies, badges, or special privileges for successful collaboration reinforce a competitive spirit and encourage a supportive and connected work culture. 

Embracing innovation: accelerating company-wide changes adoption

AstraZeneca implemented gamification to train their sales staff on a project involving a new range of medicines and achieved astonishing results: 95% of participants successfully completed the training module. Entrepreneur

Enterprise gamification can play a vital role in accelerating company-wide change adoption by engaging employees and making the transition more enjoyable and rewarding. Here are some examples:

  • Transforming mandatory training into quiz-based games that lead employees through different stages of change adoption and make learning more enjoyable and memorable.
  • Using game-like simulations that educate employees about the changes and provide interactive scenarios to apply new knowledge in a risk-free environment.
  • Introducing gamified progress tracking of company-wide changes to showcase collective achievements and keep employees engaged and motivated.
  • Developing a scoring system to let employees earn points for completing training modules and redeem them for various rewards.
  • Introducing gamified feedback mechanisms to gather employee opinions on the changes and provide instant feedback on their concerns.

Unleashing creativity: embracing easy failure to let ideas take off

The fear of failure is the most dominant among other fears, affecting approximately 31% of US adults. Linkagoal  

Sometimes, the work environment can oppress employees. They share responsibility and often have little room for creativity, as they are simply afraid of failing in front of colleagues and managers. On the contrary, while playing, work loses a bit of importance and a space for relaxation and creativity appears. This is why adding gamified experiences is so important, especially applied to ideation and productizing.

  • Gamified challenges or contests prompt employees to come up with creative solutions or contribute new ideas to the organization.
  • Brainstorming games or game-like elements and mechanics employed during brainstorming sessions encourage participation and out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Idea incubators or innovation labs offer resources and support for employees to develop and refine their creative projects.
  • Fail-fast challengesand hackathon events encourage employees to quickly prototype and test their ideas, fostering a culture of experimentation and learning from failures.
  • Gamified feedback and evaluation allow employees to provide constructive feedback on creative ideas and foster an iterative approach to innovation.
  • Recognition for learning from failure, which is rewarding employees for their willingness to try new approaches, even if they don't succeed, emphasizes the value of learning from failures.

Deservedly, gamified experiences score 5 out of 5 applied to boosting enterprise productivity and engaging employees. But what does it take to implement a gamification strategy in practice?

How to implement gamification?

The implementation of gamified mechanisms requires the collaboration of multiple teams, including software engineers and designers. But the most important thing to keep in mind is psychology – you need to match employee needs with channels of influence and think of fair and relevant rewards. Otherwise, all the efforts could be in vain.

While gamified mechanisms are not rocket science, implementing them in enterprise workplaces doesn’t boil down to introducing a set of bright UX components like rewards and badges.

Approaching gamification, businesses should, first of all, think of tapping into employees' intrinsic motivation, such as a sense of accomplishment, autonomy, and mastery. Then employees will feel internally driven to participate and are more likely to engage and enjoy the gamification experience. Let’s see how it works applied to the development of a rewards module.

Employees’ psychological and social needs
Reward mechanics

Self-affirmation

Get reward for completion

Authority

Display user’s rewards to others

Self-development

Display next level rewards

Achievement

Get rewards for completing milestones

Affiliation

Get team rewards

Pro-sociality

Share rewards with colleagues

Another important step is deciding on fair rewards that would be relevant to employees’ motivation. This means they create a deeper emotional connection and a sense of appreciation and acknowledgment of their efforts and contributions.

The next step would be to collect feedback about the mechanics used and the experience employees are getting with them and iteratively improve the enterprise gamification system accordingly.

Working with market leaders, including Fortune 500 companies, we at Trinetix developed a systematic discovery-first approach to enterprise gamification. By keeping employee needs and competencies first, it allows companies to move towards their goals, achieve impressive operational results, and adopt innovation
If you aim to boost your teams’ productivity and create a highly efficient enterprise workplace where everybody’s engaged and motivated, consider adding some fun – let’s chat about introducing gamification experiences that move.

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