Video games aren't just a wave of the future; they're the current reality for millions of players who take to their consoles and PCs every day.
Games are undoubtedly one of the more addictive elements of modern life, and their use in the workplace is growing.
Research suggests that the
gamification market will be worth approx. $3 billion in the next few years.
Gamified competition in the enterprise workplace
gamification is certainly becoming a hot new business theme in modern corporate development these days. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It has been demonstrably effective in sales, where gaming mechanics are used to promote a "competitive interest" in engaging customers and closing deals. Now, management is exploring other business functions which might benefit from gamification techniques.
The allure is easy to understand. Companies around the world are suffering from falling employee engagement, while at the same time having to come to terms with the financial restraints enforced by the global recession. Anything that both makes work fun
and provides non-monetary incentives is an enticing proposition, and the potential for increased productivity only makes it more attractive.
There are numerous
examples of gamification in the workplace that are achieving real results. At Target for instance, they have made the checkout process more like a game. Each time a cashier checks someone out, they're playing a game - a red light tells them they're too slow in scanning an item, green says they're bang-on. A real time score is then provided to reflect their performance.
A well designed game makes sure everyone is having fun, even in competition
In the corporate environment, motivation can be viewed as the process of engaging employees and encouraging them toward progress and achievement, to foster cooperation and collaboration and, by doing so, to improve themselves and the company they work for.
Though game mechanics can be used to motivate employees and promote the behaviors that the company wants to see, each initiative should be well thought-out and designed with the most effective elements. Arbitrary use of game elements modeled on competition may be useful for short term sales initiatives, but may be disruptive and anti-productive in the long term.
Instead of taking the
zero-sum approach to try and motivate top performers, we should consider strategies which bring individual strengths together to produce a more effective corporate team. That formula will usually outperform the individualistic paradigm. It will help preserve and improve a positive corporate culture, support and encourage the development of talent and skills, and increase competitive strength where it really matters –the marketplace.
The key characteristics of adaptive competition have much in common with
John R. Wooden's oft-quoted definition of success:
"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable".