From playing softball with the company team to a simple round of solitaire on the computer, people love the interactivity and goals set up by games.  The recent success of Pokémon Go has shown that a simple goal can motivate an entire group of people to get up and walk around their neighborhood, even if those same people are infamous for their sedentary lifestyles. Gaming has the incredible power of getting people to do things they would not normally do. A lot of companies realize this benefit and have created some activities within their company to get their sales force motivated. Gamification of the workplace gets everyone to see a goal and reward giving them a simple reason to try a little harder than they otherwise would. Because of this, gamification can also be used for your non-sales departments to get productivity up to a whole new level.

The Reason

In a successful game, progression is an important component. When players take part in a game, they want to feel like their actions meant something. In baseball, hitting a home run is an amazing feeling, but there is a reason beyond the action itself. The home run signifies an increase in a team’s points. This outcome is the progression that gives meaning to the action performed. This sense of progression has developed many successes. The recent example of Pokémon Go’s gamification phenomenon spreading to everyday life shows the importance of progression. The main hook of the game is the idea of collecting and leveling up your characters. Every action you perform in the game gives you points that fill a bar, which when full grants the play a higher level. Walking a certain distance, catching Pokémon and battling them gives the player experience points that move the needle a little forward at a time. The satisfaction of filling the bar, watching their collection grow and getting to the next level helps give the player a sense of accomplishment, even if the actions are quite minimal. Pokémon Go is not the first game to do so and its many addicting properties come from honing characteristics that help make the player feel accomplished.  

The Game

This progression characteristic comes from Role-Playing Games that were introduced to the mainstream audience by the 1974 tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons. In the Dungeons & Dragons game, players were given quests to complete with the characters they chose. They took on the role of these characters and explored, scavenged and battled through their world to complete their quest. Each action gave them points to help level up their characters. This formula has been followed many times since 1974 and has created many successful games. This makes it the best choice to create a new game for your non-sales departments.

The game you create should incentivize each action an employee performs in their regular workday. These actions should have point values attached to them when the action is completed. The more difficult and time consuming an action is, the more points it should be worth. All the actions that an employee usually performs can have a new incentive when they earn some type of points. Completing an assignment, logging documents printed, returning phone calls and other little tasks will have meaning that creates motivation to do more in less time. If your employees hate performing and tracking certain necessary tasks, giving the task could give the employees a reason to actually perform the action. Employees will go out of their way and spend an extra minute performing a task because they will now perceive that there is a justification for it. Taking the important tasks that the employees feel are redundant or are a nuisance and giving them a reason to perform it will automatically create a more productive force because the overall game has created a fun way to get this work done. Also, tasks can highlight both individual goals and team goals that can help motivate teamwork as well as individual value to the company.  

After giving the tasks value and outlining how many points are necessary to complete a level, your workforce needs a reward system where they feel they accomplished something. Rewards do not have to be monetary but they should be something your workforce wants. These could be reaching a productivity goal for a department gets them to decide where the catered lunch is from, doubling output for an individual could get them an extra half-day of vacation time or giving the most productive employee a gift card are all viable solutions. Competitions could help make employees excel in their positions while team goals can make employees work together to help struggling employees raise their performance.

The Outcome

By implementing this sort of gamification in your non-sales departments, the company can increase the performance of these subdivisions. They will enjoy the accumulation of points that makes them feel that every small action performed was for a reason. It will give them a better feeling of accomplishing something at the end of the day than they currently feel. They will want to perform better and help their co-workers perform better so they achieve the rewards with every level they reach. This keeps your employees happy and working hard while you receive the benefit of a company getting more things done faster and better in a shorter amount of time.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.