Gamification is nothing new. From digging for prizes buried deep inside Cracker Jack boxes to accruing frequent-flyer miles to earning mayoral status on the mobile app Foursquare, the concept of applying gaming techniques to engage and motivate people to participate in everyday tasks has been a marketing tactic in companies’ arsenals for years. However, in recent years, major corporations have been utilizing gameplay to engage employees within their very own organizations, often within the C-suite. 

One excellent example of this is the C-Suite Collective, a network I co-founded that connects business executives with each other and provides growth, development, and networking opportunities for its members. Within the collective, we use gamification to help build a sense of community. Members can complete missions, collect badges, earn points, and win prizes. It’s a great way to get business leaders involved and excited about being part of the C-Suite Collective.

“Everyone who is in the C-Suite is competitive; we like to be the best,” says Thomas White, co-Founder and CEO of the C-Suite Network. “A way to tap into this basic C-Suite nature is to use gamification to increase engagement. This group will rise to the challenge. In the C-Suite Network, we utilize gamification to encourage C-Suite leaders to connect with peers and get the greatest value out of our network. In the end, everyone wins."

Another example of a company involved in gamification is IBM, which created a simulation game for IT and business professionals called INNOV8. Through gameplay, participants can better understand how Business Process Management (BPM) affects a business as a whole. To tap into participants’ competitive nature, INNOV8 publishes a global scoreboard online, similar to the leaderboards found on PAC-MAN and other arcade games from our youth. (Plus, who doesn’t like bragging rights?) As participants engage in the game, their ratings either increase or decrease depending on how well they’re doing. 

And C-suites aren’t the only areas of a business using gamification to engage its employees. For example, Salesforce uses a program called Big Game Hunter to increase sales people’s engagement and usage of its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Sales people start out as “chicken hunters” and work their way up to a higher status as they progress through the program.

If your company isn’t already involved in gamification, there are a few basic principles that are important to understand. They include:

  1. Having a measurable goal. For instance, every time an employee accomplishes a specific task, be it bringing on a new client or selling a certain amount of goods, award him or her for completing this goal. Awards came be anything from badges to bonuses.
  2. Measure changes. By using data tracking, you can see in real-time how your employees are doing. Make this information available for your employees too, so they can see their status and that of their colleagues, and makes for friendly competition.
  3. Use social media. This gives your employees the opportunity to share their accomplishments with other team members. Examples of this are leaderboards posted on your company’s intranet or Facebook page.

In a day and age where 70 percent of U.S. workers say that they hate their jobs and are completely disengaged in their work (according to one Gallup poll) it makes sense that companies are striving to get their employees excited about their jobs. And gamification is one logical way to do so.

Now, tell me, how is your company using gamifiation to engage its employees?

HayzlettJeffrey Hayzlett is a leading business expert, cited in Forbes, SUCCESS, Mashable, Marketing Week and Chief Executive, among many others. Follow him on Twitter: @JeffreyHayzlett





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