“I walked 6km to get here tonight,” I mentioned to my friend, proudly.
“Oh god! Not you too!”
Yes, that’s right, me too. I have been bitten by the Pokémon bug. If you’ve been hiding in a cave for the last month, you may not have heard about the latest craze. People across the world are walking around, head buried in their phones, catching computer generated animals.
While to some, this may seem like a bizarre waste of time, there are lots of anecdotal reports about how this new game is helping people walk more. People who seldom leave the house are getting more exercise, meeting people, and having fun.
Now, while this may not have been the aim when developing the game, it did make me think about how gamification and rewards can help achieve objectives. And how this could be applied in a business context.
The key to gamification is fundamentally about engagement – your employees need to want to take part. However, it’s not enough to just award points and badges. Any gamification strategy needs player objectives that are aligned with business objectives.
Matt Kapko from CIO.com highlights an interesting case study from DirecTV – employees were only rewarded for visible changes in behaviour (such as publicly sharing learnings from failed projects). Gartner has also developed an interesting white paper looking at the future of gamification in business.
However, technological advances aside, I believe any form of employee engagement needs to have four things at its core.
The key to employee engagement:
- An understanding of the bigger picture – how does the project link to business objectives and the wider business/team strategy
- Communication – employees need to understand what’s in it for them, where they fit into the overall objectives, and there needs to be a feedback loop
- Reward and returns – if you reach an important milestone, celebrate it. If a particular team has excelled, reward them. There needs to be a sense of progress to the campaign.
- Evaluation and flexibility – as I’ve said before, there is little point in carrying out a communications campaign if you don’t know what you want to achieve (and can’t prove that you’ve achieved it). Have metrics in place. Measure success and be prepared to change strategy if required.
What do you think? What are your golden rules for effective employee engagement? Is gamification the way of the future or just a fad? Get in touch and let me know.
And now, I’m off for a little walk – gotta catch them all!
Beaumont is a communications agency based in Lausanne, Switzerland. We work with clients all around the world to change the way they talk about themselves – helping them create engaging stories that motivate action.