“When a player feels ownership, she innately wants to make what she owns better and own even more. If you feel ownership over your job, you will work harder.”
– Gamification Pioneer, Yu-Kai Chou
There’s no denying that work is serious business. When companies fail, everyone loses.
However, that doesn’t mean work can’t be enjoyable. And with employee engagement at an all-time low, adding game dynamics to an organizational culture could be a winning move.
That was the premise for this week’s #TChat Events, featuring two innovators in workplace engagement:
(Editor’s Note: See the #TChat Twitter highlights slideshow and resource links at the end of this post.)
How Does Gamification Make A Difference?
When determining how to improve employee engagement, one solution obviously doesn’t fit all environments. Each organization has distinctive cultural attributes that should be a natural basis for change. The challenge starts with understanding the particular motivators that are meaningful and appropriate for your employees. The smartest approaches apply three simple strategies, as one of our community members noted:
A2. Like culture, you can't fake engagement. Both require listening, learning & leadership. #TChat
— RecruitingBlogs (@RecruitingBlogs) October 23, 2013
Once you’re confident about relevant drivers, consider the type of gaming techniques that can shape those dynamics. There are multiple options — but all are designed to enhance human factors, so work “flows” more naturally. At its best, gamification makes work feel more comfortable, enjoyable, fun. It helps individuals and teams attain business goals faster and more effectively — while helping everyone feel more challenged and rewarded as they contribute to overall organizational success. According to another participant:
A4: To see an engaged leader is a magical treat. This person is the rally point; approachable, embracing. #TChat
— Felix P. Nater, CSC (@FelixNater) October 23, 2013
Games Don’t Cure-All
#TChat-ters agreed that, if the fundamentals are missing, no amount of gamification or other “engagement” devices can compensate. For example, employees deserve the same level of respect, regardless of their title or position. They also need clear, consistent communication — not only about what they’re expected do (objectives), but also about why their work matters to the organization (purpose). These basics can have a powerful impact:
Continuous Commitment Counts
Another important point: Engagement doesn’t stop when a hiring contract is signed. Instead, employees should feel like they’re being recruited on an ongoing basis. How?
“Engaging” organizations encourage employees to develop and challenge themselves and others. Mistakes are leveraged as learning opportunities. And gaming dynamics are woven into the workplace fabric as a way to support and reinforce these cultural strengths.
Leaders can help gamification efforts succeed, by treating employees as a team and yet knowing what makes each individual tick. Moreover, leaders must embrace game concepts, themselves. The more vulnerable and open leaders are willing to be — the more they share stories about their own failures and learning experiences — the more likely employees will engage.
Engagement is the fruit of ongoing relationships and healthy workplace cultures. Gamification merely turns up the volume — but can do so in a big way.
#TChat Week-In-Review: Should Work Be Fun? Really?
#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured a brief G+ Hangout video with one of our guests, Dan Benoni. Read the Preview: “Should Work Be Fun? Really?”
Related Post: Industrial Psychologist and LinkedIn Influencer, Dr. Marla Gottschalk, explored the role of Positive Psychology in driving workforce performance. Read: “Where’s Your Inner HERO? Positivity at Work…”
Related Webinar Announcement: We invited the entire world of work community to join Meghan M. Biro and Virgin Pulse President David Coppins at a very special webinar on November 7. Join us at “Empowering Employees in 3D.”
#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Dan Benoni and Mario Coculuzzi about how gamification can help transform today’s world of work. Listen to the radio recording now!
#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and guests joined the entire community on the #TChat Twitter stream as moderator Cyndy Trivella led us through a fun, freewheeling conversation about 5 related questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:
#TChat Insights: Fun In The Workplace
Closing Notes & What’s Ahead
GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Dan Benoni and Mario Coculuzzi for helping us explore the role of game dynamics in cultivating workplace culture. Your insights and enthusiasm captured our community’s attention and imagination!
NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about fun at work? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.
WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we dive into another emerging trend — how mobile tools are transforming the recruiting process — with guests Jessica Miller-Merrell and Rayanne Thorn. So save the date (October 30) for a double #TChat treat!
Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.
See you on the stream!
(Image Credit: Stock.xchng)