With remote working taking center stage in current times, how to ensure that the remote workforce is engaged and productive is a serious concern for most business managements. This concern arises from the fact that an office place has monitorable, written, and tacit rules that compel office goers to follow predictive patterns that are geared towards productive work. Supervisory control, team and peer pressure, rules, and regulations ensure that workers contribute to goals on expected lines.
Such an environment does not exist in an off-location situation. Numerous distractions, absence of visible controls, lesser number of restrictions, minuscule social interaction, etc. create a sense of indifference and ennui towards work and targets. Therefore, businesses are genuinely concerned about remote workers' continued engagement and explore multiple technology-based interventions that make remote working interesting and compelling.
One such strategy is gamification which can be successfully applied for remote workforce engagement. It also finds ready acceptance amongst employees as virtual games and similar digital experiences have become a part and parcel of daily living, more so when there are restrictions in participation in real-life sports and events.
Gamification is the process by which a variety of gaming elements and mechanics (from video games and the sports world) like badges, scores, trophies, rewards, competition, and collaboration are introduced in work and business contexts. The gaming elements work at molding remote workers' behavioral changes bringing in greater enthusiasm and energy towards work.
They act as motivators that make learning and processing of business information easier and long-lasting. Rewards and wins encourage consistent participation, teamwork, communication, interaction, goal achievement, involvement, and recognition, all of which are levers for incentivizing and creating engaged and productive employees. It is reported that gamification can improve worker's engagement by nearly 50%. This is a considerable upside, especially in a remote working environment, and admirably addresses the concerns of business managers.
A well-thought-out gamification strategy can make remote workers deeply engaged and enthused with their work. Some functional areas where this can be applied for better outcomes in this direction are:
Team Building : Remote workers miss teamwork and collaboration. Working in isolation is not conducive to idea sharing, give and take, and collective goal achievement. Though standard technological tools that enable easy collaboration exists, the element of gamification within these tools brings a fun dimension to the exercise. Workers get drawn and are happy contributors. Healthy competition amongst teams, the team wins, leader board positions, etc. create a culture of association and partnerships that add to productivity.
Shorter Learning Curve : a gamified presentation of information and material increases user interest. Learning concepts and acquiring job knowledge becomes less onerous, more interesting. Absorption, recall, and retention possibilities get heightened with gamification features in training.
Reward and Recognition System : Rewards and recognition are a great way of motivating and encouraging workers. In absence of social interaction, remote workers crave attention. Gamification helps businesses overcome this challenge. Individual and team win on gamified tasks, contributions, participation, project completion successes can be celebrated through scores, points, badges, medals, certificates, virtual trophies, and even shopping coupons for company merchandise. It can also be used as a tool to measure performance. Ranks and positions on leadership boards, visible to all, will act as triggers for improvement. Rewards and recognition in gamified workflows incentivize workers and keeps them engaged. It is preferred that rewards are closely connected with the business so that enterprise purposes are reinforced.
For gamification to have a meaningful impact, it needs proper planning and execution. Off-the-shelf solutions with little connection to the corporate culture and job purpose are likely to give poor results. Well-designed, customized gamification applications integrated with other tools of communication, collaboration, and learning are the better option for engaging remote workers.
Listed below are 5 key points that should not be lost sight of while designing gamification processes for remote workers engagement:
Dovetail with enterprise goals : the objective of gamification is to increase engagement and productivity and help employees work towards achieving business targets in a motivated and delightful way.
Define expectations : results that are sought to be achieved i. e. a dedicated remote worker workforce should be clear while designing. It must sit seamlessly with the workflows and not appear to be a frivolous side activity.
Provide excellent user experience (UX) : easy to understand rules, graphics with identifiable icons, imagery, branding, and convenience of participation, etc. need to be at the center of any gamification.
Transparent outcomes : no worker should feel that he is being taken for a ride. Goals and processes must be communicated. Rewards, incentives, and benefits, scoring, and leadership boards must exude honesty and promises must be delivered. Tracking and declaring results will help employees understand where they stand, and areas to improve upon, and managers will be able to see how business objectives are being achieved and provide support to those workers whose performance is not up to the mark. Gamification may be counterproductive if there are shortcomings in this regard.
Incorporate appealing elements : in the ultimate analysis gamification is a fun way of worker participation and competing healthily. It should not end being another compulsive chore to be undertaken during working hours. The leisure activity aspect with the tacit underlying of goals achievement is a must. Getting employee feedback will help in forming up an effective design that appeals to the workers.
There are a large number of companies that have successfully applied gamification mechanics to various aspects of their business with positive results. Some notable successful examples from the business world are:
Deloitte : used gamification elements in their Deloitte Leadership Academy for motivating employees to sign up and complete training courses and saw a 37% increase in users returning to the site each week.
Salesforce : saw increased usage of and engagement with its CRM system by its sales representatives through its "Big Game Hunter" program.
Target : used a gamified system for enhancing internal communication and providing real-time feedback back to its cashiers which boosted employee engagement.
The above examples illustrate how a properly implemented gamification strategy can enhance performance, communication, and employee engagement.
Gyrus can make your gamification plans a result-oriented reality. Gyrus Systems was selected as a 2019 Gamification Watch list Company by Training Industry. We have skilled and experienced teams that use the latest gamification technologies to produce tailor-made products that integrate well with your business objectives. Needless to add, the fun quotient for your employees is a given!