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Considering their long-standing ability to engage and motivate people, it is no wonder leading organizations are looking to games for increasing employee engagement, aligning employees with company goals, driving adoption of desirable behaviors and increasing the efficacy of corporate training programs.

Gamification has become a bit of a buzzword in the past few years and is used interchangeably with different meanings and derived perceptions, I'd like, in this piece, to lay the basics of what enterprise gamification really is and what it's actually good for.

What Is Gamification?

As Karl Kapp, professor of Instructional Technology at Bloomsburg University, puts it, "Gamification is using game-based mechanics, aesthetics and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems". Following this definition, the idea behind gamification in the workplace is not playing games at work  but taking useful elements from games to get desired results from your clients and employees.

How Does Gamification work?

Understanding what keeps us engaged in games is key for implementing game mechanics with your workforce. Gamification guru Yu-Kai Chu suggests 8 core drives leading human decisions and activities which games commonly tap into. These include the desires for accomplishment (e.g. winning coins or passing levels), social influence (e.g. brag buttons or foursquare badges), an epic sense of meaning (e.g. a compelling game narrative) and loss avoidance (i.e. the fear of losing your achieved game status).
By understanding these drives and using the relevant game mechanics to channel them, one can take mundane tasks, such as answering calls in a service center or learning about a new product line, and make them much more interesting, yielding better business results via a more engaged workforce.

Another important aspect of gamification is understanding your "player's" personas and building the game to cater for their personality, focusing on the drives that appeal to them. Leading gamification consultant Andrzej Marczewski describes 6 player personas, each one with a different set of motivations.

Player PersonasPlayers – Motivated mainly by rewards and the game itself and less by the goals behind it. They will try to pass levels and get more and more points.
Achievers – Want to be masters and leaders and are inspired by challenges as a means of self-improvement.
Socializers – They are in it for their friends. Their motivation in the game is to socialize and interact to feel part of a community.
Philanthropists – Their motivation is an altruistic sense of purpose. Their goal in the game is to be better to the company and their peers and they don’t expect any reward.
Free Spirits – Their source of motivation is the potential of being self-sufficient and the ability to explore and create.
Disruptors – These will look for ways of breaking the status quo and gaming the system. Their motivation is stirring things up and detracting other users

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Gamification is the concept of applying game elements to real life contexts like business or education, with the aim of creating behavioral change, enhancing motivation and performance of individuals. Even though there is a rising trend in popularity and an increase in deployment, many attempts however fail their objectives. The field is still missing theoretical foundations, valid research and best practices. It is dominated by misconceptions, poor design of practical approaches and controversial opinions amongst experts. Nevertheless, motivational theories like the self-determination theory or the concept of flow can serve as valuable foundations for understanding how game elements can influence human motivation. Taking them as a theoretical basis and thoughtfully considering their implications for the design of a gamified process can thus lead to higher success of applications.

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In this thesis a gamification framework was built based upon the existing body of literature on gamification to more easily describe the processes in how a gamified experience is developed. We interviewed different international gamification companies that are currently working with gamification to test if the theoretically developed framework had practical relevance. The results from the empirical findings indicated that the framework had practical relevance and indeed represents the processes in how the companies work with gamification in real world scenarios. However, some of the companies do not utilize the different parts integrated in the framework the same way as they are described in the thesis.

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Patience is a rare commodity these days, as we live in an age of instant gratification. At GamEffective, we've decided not to try and combat this trend, but incorporate it in to the way organizations work, to their benefit. We do this by providing feedback on performance, which has a great impact on employee motivation and performance.

We're big believers in real time gamification and in the possibility of being able to know how well you're doing your job at all times. We have worked long and hard so that our platform will be able to integrate in to any existing platforms or systems that different organization may be working with. Our platform is constantly pulling different relevant information from all the systems that an organization uses, creating a real-time picture of the state of performance. From the get-go, our idea was that showing employees how they are performing in real time would allow them to adjust their performance accordingly, creating a win for all parties involved. We've actually seen some great results with this, but we've also come to find that the situation is not always as simple as it may look from the outside.
When KPI's just need more time

 

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Nowadays, managers face serious tasks, problems and challenges that require a fully engaged workforce. However, it has been found that only thirty percent of employees around the world are engaged in their job. Gamification –defined as the use of game elements and game-design techniques in non-game contexts- can increase engagement by fostering employees’ intrinsic motivation. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to identify the key determinants for internal gamification to successfully enhance employee engagement. Following a Ground Theory approach, five semi-structured interviews with gamification experts were analyzed and coded into categories. Five categories of key determinants that contribute to a successful gamification design emerged: clear objectives, user-centred approach, context alignment, evolving design and intrinsic motivation. These key determinants were subsequently assessed by comparing them with the current body of literature on gamification, resulting in a concise and coherent framework of managerial implications. In addition, this approach allowed to identify discrepancies between researchers and entrepreneurs regarding their knowledge on gamification.

 

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