February 13, 2013 12:02 PM
Driving engagement and a social business: it's child's play with gamification
Gamification is the use of game mechanics to encourage and reward certain behaviours. Some simple common examples include earning points to drive customer loyalty (think of airlines and hotels) or progress statuses, which show customers where they are in the process, when they will be done, and the current return or amount owed. Increasingly, though, these gamification principles are being used by organisations to drive employee retention and desired behaviours internally.
My personal experience of gamification at Bluewolf has helped me to understand how it can be used to engage employees. Bluewolf is a global business consulting firm, so our people are our brand. It is therefore important that we retain our subject matter experts. We also recognised an opportunity to establish our experts as industry thought leaders through increased social media participation. Gamification is helping us achieve both of these objectives.
At Bluewolf, we worked with gamification specialist Bunchball to launch and roll out the #GoingSocial campaign internally. #GoingSocial incentivises our team to use social media to collaborate, and to build their reputations and influence - both internally and externally. Using Bunchball’s Nitro for Salesforce platform, we can gain points for posting on our own blog and contributing knowledge and sharing links on our internal social collaboration platform (salesforce.com’s Chatter). Additional points are awarded when other people click these links.
We also receive points for increasing our social media influence.
As we reach different levels of points, we can exchange them for rewards in Bluewolf’s “store”. Rewards range from Bluewolf-branded merchandise, like caps and sweatshirts, to lunches with the CEO, and even flights and accommodation. The results speak for themselves. Since we launched #GoingSocial early last year, we have seen a 153 percent increase in traffic to the Bluewolf Blog and a 57 percent increase in activity on our internal social collaboration platform.
Gamification encourages employees to follow the correct processes, collaborate more with colleagues, and keep track of goals and milestones. And a more engaged employee delivers better service to customers and is more productive - in fact, engaged employees close 33 percent more deals.
While it is a new term in the tech industry, gamification is not a new concept. Humans have always been motivated by competition, status and reputation, achievement and self-expression. What is new is the availability of technologies and social networks permitting us to reach a much wider audience. Companies like salesforce.com offer plug-ins where organisations can use badges, points, rankings, and leader boards to drive user adoption of the organisations’ business processes within the application.
Below are a few examples of how gamification can benefit your organisation.
Advantages of Gamification:
- Games can facilitate a sense of accomplishment. Showing people where they came from, where they are, and where they are going gives purpose. It’s a proven fact that having goals, clear targets, and seeing a job done well drives engagement.
- Games can facilitate healthy competition among sales people who are driven by being at the top of a leader board.
- Games drive more attempts to be successful. Statistically, gamers lose 80% of the time, but still return to complete a challenge presented.
- Implementing a gamification strategy can be fun for employees and consumers. When done well, it shows colleagues and customers that the organisation cares about their engagement. A good tip is to use various employees in the organisation and customer focus groups to help design the game to ensure it will be relevant and motivating.
By Vera Loftis, UK managing director, Bluewolf