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Gamification: Is It Effective For Boosting Employee’s Productivity?
As an employee, would you like to have some entertainment in your workplace? Maybe you’d like to have some fun, play games, amuse yourself somehow? Would it make you like your workplace more and think nicer of your boss? Would you work harder in case of having all of these at work?
And you, as a manager, do you think that some entertainment in the office might help to boost employees’ productivity?
I tried to find answers to all these questions. Read below!
What Is Gamification?
First of all, all the mentioned above (and not only that) is so called Gamification. Gamification became a hot topic among all kinds of businesses in recent years.
Here is some definition of Gamification:
Gamification is an application of special game tools to a working process among employees. It is intended for engaging employees, changing behaviors and developing skills.
In business fields gamification is pretty much the way of entertaining and motivating employees by different methods. These methods might involve: games during working hours, skill-developing courses, physical training areas, different achievements with prizes and rewards, relax rooms, offering free beverages and food, making parties or pit stop days, setting up the points, badges, levels, leaderboards and challenges.
And that is what exactly Google, Globallogic and other famous enterprises do.
What Makes Employees Want to Stay at Work?
Globallogic is a worldwide enterprise with its offices located all around the world. When having an interview with one of the employees from Globallogic, I found out that on his opinion there is completely no one, from head managers to office-cleaners, who wouldn’t like to come to work. But why is it so?
Globallogic offers to its employees facilities like tea/coffee, snacks, segways, gyms, all is free to use. There are many of different skill developing courses, which are free to use as well.
Here is what one of employees says:
When I come to work, I feel like at home and sometimes I don’t want to leave. Any time I can take one of segways and go for cup of coffee with some snacks. Every week managers make pitstop days on the roof, where we can lay on the comfortable chairs while somebody is making BBQ, women stay around chocolate fountain with fruits and everybody is just having fun before getting to work...
...That’s perfect for me and that motivates me a lot to say thank you to our management by means of doing my job as great as possible. When I have time I can go and play PS4 or some board games with my coworkers in the conference room all made of LEGO. We are not tied with a time, but we are supposed to do the work in time. The way we are doing our job is under our control. And in case we face any troubles, managers are always ready to help.— Andrew Kulikov (IT developer in Globallogic)
Sounds like a fairy tale story, doesn’t it? This employee is happy to have a lot of entertainment at work and he says that all that makes him feel like home. Does it help with getting better work results? That is another question. At least we can see that it makes Globallogic employees feel good about it. Let’s see what I’ve found about Google gamification tools.
Google is one of the biggest enterprises in the whole world that operated around 70 offices in more than 40 countries and had more than 48000 employees, as of September 2013 only; now these numbers are much bigger.
According to “The Google office” YouTube videos here are many game tools in Google.
“Googlers”, as Google employees call themselves, are happy to work at Google. They find it the best place ever.
Google really takes care of us.— Google employee
And that must be very important. So, what exactly is in there that makes employees not going home and just love their job? The answer is pretty simple:
We want to keep our employees happy.— Google Head Manager
Let’s see how the company makes employees happy and satisfied.
Google offices are fully equipped with the newest technologies. Just imagine, in one of the Google’s offices there are 18 different cafes, where all the meals are free and cooked by Google’s own grown organic food. Several fully loaded gyms with personal trainers and massages are free to use as well. In case employees feel nervous, not comfortable, exhausted or whatever, then they may use one of the relax rooms, which involves sleeping pots with sleepy music in there. Doctor’s office, laundry, even shoe repair are also in Google. You won’t believe, but the company provides even cars for employees to go out in case they got bored in the office. And it is also for free, you don’t have to fuel the car with a gas, the only thing you should do – bring the car back whenever you are done and special service person will charge the car, as all the cars are equipped with electric engines.
According to the information that Google provides to the public, people can see that Google not only has plenty of entertainments in its offices, but also even has its own cities for employees. So, when looking at Google, gamification seems to be really good working tool.
Is Gamification “Good” or “Bad”?
Really, is it “good” or “bad” to implement different game tools in your company and allow your employees playing games during working hours? Will it boost employees’ productivity or may be do the opposite? There are lots of discussions and there are different opinions, of course. I tried to find out, whether Gamification is useful for boosting employees’ productivity or not. And according to recent surveys and experience of companies working under gamification systems (like Globallogic and Google), I am ready to say that it is of course more “good” then “bad”. Because the results of “gamified” companies are much better that it used to be before, according to the information given below. There are practically no disadvantages, but it is also important to remember that gamification systems should be professionally built by specific methods in order not to make it worse and not to lose the money, as implementing of gamification is pretty expensive. And the cost of such systems depends on its methods and size of companies.
Plenty of companies (from enterprises to small companies) find gamification pretty useful, money saving and productivity increasing.
According to resent surveys, it was found that “78% of workers are utilizing games-based motivation at work and nearly all (91%) say these systems improve their work experience by increasing engagement, awareness and productivity.” Among all the companies that implemented gamification, there are also such popular worldwide enterprises, as: Microsoft, U.S. Army, Cisco, Deloitte, Engine Yard, Google, Nike, Verizon, USA Network, Bell Media, Globallogic and many others. So, yes, it is really popular to date.
There are also a lot of books on this topic, as game tools became one of the hottest ways of increasing productivity in the workplace.
Gamification can improve employee productivity and morale.— Joselin Linder, a co-author of the book The Gamification Revolution
Other researchers also claim that motivation is a very important for ensuring productivity; unmotivated employees usually get bored when dealing with monotonous routines; and employees that have lack of motivation may not have the enthusiasm for completing challenging tasks. Research workers claim that any tasks at work can be “gamified” to make them more interesting.
A player has the choice to play a game or not. A learner has a choice to learn or not. As learning professionals, we can create an environment conducive to learning, but we can’t force someone to learn... Gamification, too, requires fluency in psychological concepts, including motivation, behavior, and personality. When creating training of any kind, whether including gamification or not, concepts of learning theory and educational psychology must be incorporated.— Gabe Zichermann, the author of a book The Gamification Revolution
Gamification is a booming trend for today. And, as it was mentioned before, game tools really work if to use them right. People are such that they can’t work all the time without having a break, they should find something good and fun to reveal in work. So, yes, it looks like employees sometimes do need some kind of entertainment during working hours in order to bring good results to the company.
When employees feel good and comfortable while working, then productivity level increases and the employer is happy.
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By Maryna Shynkaruk, Analytical Writer, NesterSoft Inc.