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Gamification is heavily promoted as a way to improve motivation, but why?

This article considers the business potential of Gamification.



In essence, Gamification is the psychological manipulation of people to achieve desired goals through reward. Where salary provides the reason for showing up at the office, Gamification focuses on rewarding specific performance. However, be aware that motivation is specific to individuals. For example, some like to accumulate points for prizes whilst others like to see themselves high up on the Leader Board.


Training through reinforcement

We all remember positive and negative reinforcement from our childhood;

That’s a great test score, you can choose a movie to see on Saturday

Eat your veg or you’ll get no dessert.

Rewarding good behaviour and punishing bad behaviour is known as Classical conditioning or Behaviourism. Reward increases behaviour, punishment decreases it. Negative reinforcement though, is likely to be demotivating so Gamification only considers positive approaches.




The Theory of Gaming Motivation

Tekofsky’s 2012 paper Player Modelling in Video Games put forward eleven different needs that can be fulfilled by gaming, grouped by the sense of reward they offer.



Copyright Shoshannah Tekofsky



Leader boards are all about the winner, but that’s the catch, not everyone can be a winner and if it is never going to be you, this form of motivation fails.



A public clap on the back is a very powerful motivator for many of us



Badges and tokens can make a significant contribution to job satisfaction. Collecting awards shows you have completed milestones and is enough to drive many of us on; I give you activity tracker watches.


Go team!

There is clear evidence that a team environment yields great results. Continental Airlines famously implemented a simple collective bonus scheme to great effect.  Why team bonuses are more effective




Goals, Metrics and Rewards


If you are going to travel the Gamification road you need to be clear about what it is you are trying to achieve. What process or procedure do you seek to incentivise staff to improve? This would commonly be sales related but can often include, for example, attendance or customer satisfaction scores.



How will you measure what has been achieved? Tools could include sales reports, quality scores or phone system reporting. Metrics are vital and should be based on start and end points. Before implementing Gamification we were selling 2,300 units of X per month. Post implementation we are selling ?? units of X per month. Some things are difficult to measure, for example how happy are you?  However, you can put a price on staff turnover and you can compare pre and post-implementation hiring costs.



What is the business willing to put forward as reward? Rewards might include; cash, time, prizes and recognition

With these items in place, deploying Gamification should be relatively straightforward.


Return on Investment

How do you work out the potential return of Gamification?

In its simplest form you need to decide what metric (M) is expected to rise resulting in an increased output worth (W) through an investment of (I). So long as (W) exceeds (I) the project will turn a profit. Cost of investment would include the project manger’s time, staff training and the cost of the rewards.



You need to measure performance as accurately as possible and a good CRM solution, such as bxp software (we provide Gamification solutions to eir, Fexco and One 4 All) should integrate with your existing tools to measure almost any aspect of your operation. System generated data is vital because it saves time and reduces the possibility of human error or influence to nil.


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