Football is over, March Madness is still weeks away but there are still great games being played in Corporate America like never before and they are not just in the board room! You may not even be aware of the “Gamification” trend that is driving customer loyalty programs, engaging students at all grade levels and finding its way into corporate training programs.
Gamification is the application of gaming concepts to non-gaming activities. Gabe Zichermann, author of gamification books, chair of the annual Gamification Summit, and primary contributor to the Gamification Blog has spent the better part of the last three years studying all sorts of companies and how they can incorporate gaming in everything from customer loyalty programs to classroom settings.
What you say – no more boring training classes? Well it may not be able to turn every program into fun but it can certainly be applied to most. Companies are using games to motivate employees and change behaviors. Zichermann sites a few great examples: Target created a game to give employees feedback on their performance. The game works by displaying a grade on a cashier’s register after each customer transaction. The register’s grade informs the cashier if he or she is working fast enough, based upon the types of items sold.” According to Zichermann, corporate giant Google “created an HR game motivating employees to spend less than the allotted per diem amount per business trip. Employees who meet the challenge may allocate the saved funds toward a future trip (to book a nicer hotel, for instance), donate to charity or receive cash back at the end of the year.”
Many online games have appeal across generations like Farmville and Angry Birds. People of all ages like to have a little more fun in their day. Studies have shown improved retention, increased interaction and team building as a result of gaming types of training. Zichermann alludes to the fact that the success of gamification lies in the three F’s: Feedback, Friends and Fun.
“Feedback is the process of giving users information on how they’re doing. This feedback is almost always designed as part of the gamified system you’ve built, but ideally should speak to their larger-scale journey to mastery. That is – good feedback will help the user see themselves as part of a bigger picture struggle/effort to get where they want to go.”
“Friends make up the social context for our gamified system. Today, incorporating and leveraging the power of the social graph is relatively trivial – but creating meaningful interactions that feed a game-like system is not. Users want the opportunity to engage with and make new friends in almost every context, and bringing sociability to a gamified experience serves all player types.”
“Fun, lastly, is the most elusive of the three Fs. It means vastly different things to different people, and only works as an objective if we can segment our audience and understand their needs/desires.And concludes: “If we put the three Fs of gamification together, there’s no telling how much we can achieve in terms of behavior change and engagement. After all, the vast majority of our day to day lives (and certainly our user-system interactions) are banal and devoid of feedback, friends or fun.”
Is your company receiving an “F’ for their training programs? If fun is not first at your company then plant the seed with the powers that be let them know it is time for them to “Get their game faces on!!”
Author: Karen Hall