Should Work Be Fun? Really? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for a complete recap of this week’s events and resources? Read the #TChat Recap: Fun Times! Work, Games and Culture.)

Work and fun — do they fit together? Or should we save good times for vacation and weekends?

Traditionalists might say that work is serious business. However, one of the most creative and productive minds of the Industrial Age seemed to think otherwise:

“I never did a day’s work in my life; it was all fun.”
-Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

Learn more about Thomas Edison

It’s impossible not to admire Edison’s enthusiasm. But these days, with global employee engagement stubbornly stuck at 30% or less, companies everywhere are looking for ways to inject more of that spirit into their organizational cultures.

That’s why the principles of gaming are gaining appeal as a way to improve workforce commitment, development and performance.

But how can we create environments where work is naturally more engaging and enjoyable, without losing sight of business objectives?

That’s the topic we’ll explore this week at #TChat Events, with two innovators in workplace culture development:

•  Dan Benoni, Co-Founder & Product Director at Officevibe, a social employee engagement platform
•  Mario Coculuzzi, Eastern Canada Regional Director at Microsoft.

Dan and I spoke briefly in a G+ Hangout, where he suggested that successful approaches don’t focus on the work, itself, but instead focus on three essential human factors:

Also to help us prepare for the discussion, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, wrote a related article at Read “5 Fresh Trends to Fuse Fun and Work.”

This topic promises to be great fun — and helpful, too. So please plan to join us this week to share your ideas and opinions about why and how game-oriented tools and techniques make sense in the world of work.

#TChat Events: Should Work Be Fun, Really?


Listen to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Oct 23 — 6:30 pmET / 3:30 pmPT

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Dan Benoni and Mario Coculuzzi about why and how “fun” can be an effective way to improve employee energy, drive and focus. Follow the action LIVE online this Tuesday afternoon!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Oct 23 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream for an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: How often do you see healthy company cultures? Examples?
Q2: Why is engagement key to creating/maintaining a vibrant culture?
Q3: Can “fun” team challenges and other activities really help?
Q4: How can leaders improve employee well-being and retention?
Q5: How can HR drive adoption of recognition and engagement platforms?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Game On! Playing To Business Strengths #TChat Recap

This week, the TalentCulture community took a fascinating look at gamification in the workplace. And in my opinion, everyone earned badges and gold stars, as we shared collective knowledge at #TChat events.

Our two expert guests are masters at explaining the connection between business gamification and big data. These smart senior executives brought key concepts to life with practical ideas and real-world examples:

Guy Halfteck, Founder and CEO of Knack, a company that integrates games into the hiring process to help companies define desired talent characteristics and improve recruiting outcomes.

Mark Howorth, COO at Panavision, who previously served as Partner and Sr. Director of Global Recruiting at Bain & Company. He has seen the power of gamification at work, as three of his #TChat Twitter comments revealed:

(Editor’s Note: For full highlights from the #TChat Twitter event, see the Storify slideshow at the end of this post)

Gamification: What’s In A Name?

“Gamification” is a controversial term, but the concept it simple. It’s about employing game theory and mechanics in business environments to drive problem solving, boost workforce and customer engagement, capture better organizational insights, accelerate responsiveness, improve learning and increase ROI. Last year, Gartner predicted that by 2015, more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will integrate gamification.

Gartner identified four ways that gamification drives engagement:

• Accelerated feedback cycles. In the real world, feedback loops are slow (annual performance appraisals) with long periods between milestones. Gamification increases the velocity of feedback loops to maintain engagement.

• Clear goals and rules of play. In the real world, where goals are fuzzy and rules selectively applied, gamification provides clear goals and well-defined rules of play to ensure players feel empowered to achieve.

• A compelling narrative. While real-world activities are rarely compelling, gamification builds a narrative that engages players to participate.

• Tasks that are challenging but achievable. While there is no shortage of challenges in the real world, they tend to be large and long-term. Gamification provides many short-term, achievable goals to sustain engagement.

Gamification: What Makes It Tick?

Gamification is serious business. As Accenture explained in a detailed report early this year, companies are striving to understand what makes games so appealing (a shared sense of purpose, challenge and reward). They are decoding gaming mechanisms (personalization, rankings and leaderboards), and applying these mechanics in imaginative ways across business functions. Accenture identified seven essential elements:

Status: Because gamers are motivated by recognition of others in their social circles, game-based business solutions must make it possible to enhance players’ reputations.

Milestones: Levels are everything in gaming, and enabling participants to perceive progress through incremental accomplishments is vital to sustaining interest.

Competition: This is a major motivator that maintains engagement.

Rankings: Visually displaying progress and rankings help participants benchmark their performance to their own goals and others’ performance. Rankings tap into natural human competitiveness, and motivate participants to continue, so they can improve their position.

Social connectedness: Successful gamification initiatives create a strong sense of community.

Immersion reality: With visually rich graphics and animation, digital environments can help immerse participants in their virtual reality.

Personalization: The ability to customize promotes a sense of control and ownership.

In their book, “For The Win: How Gamification Can Transform Your Business,” Wharton professor and gamification expert, Kevin Werbach and New York Law School professor Dan Hunter, take a deep dive into gamification.

In this informative video, they explain how gamification helps people “find the fun in the things you have to do.” They make it easy to understand gamification, with examples of successful companies that are applying these techniques, and advice to help organizations avoid common pitfalls. We hope you find this, along with the collected resource links and #TChat Twitter highlights slideshow below a helpful resource for game-based initiatives in which you may be involved!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Games + Big Data + Talent Management = Trifecta!

SUN 9/15:


Watch the Hangout now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed the topic in a post that featured a brief G+ Hangout videos with Guy Halfteck. Read the Preview:
“Games and Data and Talent — Oh My!”

MON 9/16: Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro outlined 5 compelling reasons for businesses to integrate gaming into workflows, learning and management processes. Read: “5 Ways Leaders Win At Gamification Technology.”

WED 9/18:


Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Guy Halfteck and Mark Howorth about how games are emerging as a highly effective, reliable way to select, recruit and retain employees. Listen to the radio show recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, I joined Guy, Mark, Meghan, Kevin on the #TChat Twitter stream for a dynamic and enlightening discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. For highlights from the conversation, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Games People Play: Ultimate Way To Measure Talent?

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Guy Halfteck and Mark Howorth for adding your voices to this week’s discussion. Your insights and passion for the business benefits of gaming strategies have captivated us all.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about gamification? 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 tackle another important “world of work” topic — Transparency vs. Privacy in the Workplace with HR/Employment lawyer, Mary E. Wright. So save the date (September 18) for another rockin #TChat double header. And keep an eye out for details in the next few days.

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: Graeme Lawton via Flickr