How Does Gamification Drive Engagement
December 10, 2022
Games are a guilty pleasure that keeps us engaged and entertained. They are an inviting, interactive experience that provides a daily dose of escapism. Whenever you’ve had a long day at work or looking for a way to pass the time, you may feel inclined to play a game on your tv or mobile device. While playing, you may feel like your stress or boredom has disappeared.
What if we told you that you could get the same benefit by applying game elements and mechanics to the workplace and other everyday activities? When you turn mundane tasks into a game, you enhance user engagement and keep your team entertained from 9-5. Your employees will no longer zone out halfway through the day or constantly be combating feelings of burnout near the end of the year.
This is what we call gamification.
Gamification not only increases user engagement, but it’s also a tool that can improve performance, increase productivity, motivate users, and help you reach your business goals.
We’re here to walk you through how gamification works to increase engagement so you can use gamification properties in and outside of the workplace.
Let’s take a closer look.
What is gamification?
Gamification is when you incorporate game mechanics into non-game processes and tasks. Game mechanics include challenges, incentives, and rewards.
Businesses can apply gaming elements and rules to all workplace processes, activities, and programs for their employees and customers. Applying game elements to real-world activities can keep individuals engaged and motivate them to keep “playing.”
Every day your team members clock in, they press the start button on their gaming devices. They’ll be engaged with the tasks at hand and have an opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the experience that actually works.
The Science Behind Gamification
There’s a scientific reason why game mechanics are so successful in the workplace. It’s the same reason you enjoy downloading games onto your phone, using fitness apps to track your progress, and even downloading apps to learn a new language. Not only are these gamified apps fun and entertaining, but they also tap into a different part of your brain. Every time you log in to that app or get ready to start a gamified experience, your brain gets rewarded and releases happy-feeling hormones in your body.
In some ways, games are like a drug. They unlock a neurotransmitter called dopamine. When you sit down and start playing a video game, dopamine is released. This is a feel-good feeling that keeps you coming back for more. Every time you feel stressed out from work or bored on the weekend, your brain knows that you can get that extra boost with a game. All the different levels, rewards, point systems, and achievements incorporated into the experience will give you an extra hit of dopamine.
Studies suggest that games can also release serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin in your body.
Why is all this important? This feeling can be replicated through gamification. You can get this same feel-good feeling from just about anything you want, as long as you add the right game mechanics.
Are we saying you can turn the 9-5 workday into an experience that helps your team release dopamine? Yes, we are!
Gamification uses that familiar gaming experience to create fulfilling experiences for your brain. That feel-good feeling that comes over you when you finally beat that level you’ve spent countless hours trying to get past can be replicated through leaderboard scores and point systems.
Why employee engagement is important
Engagement is an integral part of every workplace experience. If your team isn’t engaged, it can negatively impact your company culture and the workplace for everyone. Even if you think your team members are fully engaged and enjoy working with your company, you may be surprised at how unengaged they actually feel.
If only 36% of your employees are engaged, it could negatively impact your bottom line and keep your team from reaching its goals. If your team isn’t motivated when they clock in for work and are only waiting for the day to end, who will connect with new customers? Who’s going to boost revenue numbers? Will your sales team’s success hinge on your top performer? If your employees are disengaged, their motivation levels will deplete, and they’ll start looking for new opportunities.
Don’t forget about customer engagement
The same rules of gamification and engagement apply to your customers and how engaged they are with your company. Let’s say you have a SaaS subscription service. Customers pay you monthly to get complete access to your product.
Every month, you should take some time to look at their engagement levels. When was the last time they logged into their account? Are they using your product every day, week, or month? This data will provide the insight you can use to create a gamification strategy for customers.
Once you know their engagement levels, you’ll want to find new ways to keep your customers engaged with that subscription, or they may not renew every month. If they only used your product once or twice – what’s the point?
Keeping your customers engaged with your business will ensure you have a sustainable business model that thrives on user engagement.
Consider applying the same rules of gamification to their user experience. Set up a customer loyalty reward that rewards them for logging in to their account. You can create a referral program so they can get rewarded every time they refer someone.
Get creative! It could improve your churn rates and create a worthwhile engaging experience for your customers.
Ways to increase user engagement in the workplace
It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is: Employee engagement should be a top priority. Before we jump into how gamification can enhance employee engagement, you’ll want to take a step back and consider what you’re already doing.
It’s time to go to basics and ensure you have a strong foundation designed to improve employee productivity and keeps everyone motivated.
As a business owner or leader, there are ways to help your team build meaningful connections with their coworkers and feel recognized for their contributions.
Here are the basic fundamentals of engagement.
Provide the right tools and resources
The support you receive at work is vital to your success. If your team feels supported and has the resources they need to succeed, they are less likely to look for new opportunities or fall behind on their goals.
Coaching and employee training
These sessions ensure your team is on the right path to reach its goals. These are great opportunities to check in with your team to see where their head is at and to see if there is anything you can do to provide guidance and provide your team with real-time feedback. Trainings are also a great tool that helps them develop professionally and gain new skills.
Recognition creates a winning company culture. With rewards and incentives, your business can reinforce excellent performance and keep them engaged.
Prioritize work-life balance
If your team is burnt out and stressed, it will likely impact their productivity levels. Reminding your team members of the importance of taking time to recharge and reset will positively impact their workplace experience.
If your team feels appreciated for everything they do, they’ll repeat positive behavior. Sending them a message when they close a big deal, congratulating them on reaching their goals, and sending weekly check-ins are great ways to help your team feel appreciated. Without those small check-ins and moments of recognition, they may feel like no one notices their hard work and dedication.
How gamification increases employee engagement
Now that you understand the basic fundamental necessities to create an engaged workplace, it’s time to think about how gamification drives engagement. You may already prioritize company culture and recognize your employees for their achievements. But there comes a time when you need to consider whether it’s actually improving employee engagement. Is your team part of the 36%? Are you seeing improvements in profitability and productivity?
To increase user engagement, you need to walk the walk and talk the talk. With gamification, you can increase user engagement and take all the engagement fundamentals you already use to the next level.
Here’s how you can enhance the workplace with game design elements.
Inspire friendly competitiveness
Friendly competition has the power to motivate users to go the extra mile. If everyone is siloed and focused on only what they’re doing, they may never feel motivated to do more.
With the help of gamification, you can turn every workday task into a game. Every time your team clocks in for work, they’ll feel like they are stepping into a game and need to meet their quota before their coworkers. This will create an engaging experience and turn their daily lives into fun experiences.
With a progress bar or a leaderboard, you can keep your team on task and help motivate them to “play the game” during coaching sessions and 1:1 meetings.
Did you know our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text? Visuals keep our brains engaged. They push us to pay attention and focus on the essential details of the task. With game elements and interactive tools, you can connect with your brain’s natural abilities and help your team effectively analyze situations.
During coaching and training sessions, you can easily use data to help track their progress and improve their work ethic. Anytime you feel like an employee is falling behind or needs extra support, you’ll have tools readily available to help your team nurture their strengths and help them improve. With this data-backed guidance, users create their own success and opportunities in the workplace.
They feel in control
Whether it’s a reward program for your clients or a leaderboard for your employees: Gamification puts them in the driver’s seat. They get to decide how much effort they want to put into the moment. They get to plan out their day with the incentives in mind.
When implementing gamification, you can provide comprehensive statistics of their progress and help them create a road map that will get them a few steps closer to their success.
Would you rather work at a desk from 9-5 or play video games? Would you rather read a book for class or sit in on an interactive learning experience with enticing visuals, compelling discussions, and hands-on activities? We bet you picked the latter.
Gamification increases user engagement by taking a simple idea and turning it into an interactive tool. Instead of clocking in for your 9-5 and working through your list of mundane tasks, you’d look at the leaderboard for the week, develop a plan to move up the ladder, and feel motivated. The user’s interactions fuel their productivity levels and give them instant gratification.
Every week when you meet with your team during an all-hands call, you can engage with them about the current leaderboard and reward users for outperforming the week before.
Rewards positive behavior
Rewards, incentives, and recognition are all tools that can drive user engagement and inspire individuals to succeed. Gamification allows you to recognize your team for all of their hard work. You can reward them for accomplishments, send reminders when they are close to reaching their goals, and give them something to look forward to.
The positive reinforcement will also help increase productivity and motivate them to go the extra mile with their weekly sales activities. If your team exceeds expectations, you can reward them with points, badges, and other external rewards.
Keeps your team entertained
The 9-5 corporate day can get… boring. With the right gamification principles, you can ensure your team is engaged and entertained throughout the workweek. Instead of clocking in, responding to emails, and doing the bare minimum, they’ll check in on the leaderboard. Gamification turns every day into a new experience for the individual. This will keep them on their toes and enhance user engagement across the board.
How to apply gamification to the workplace
There are several ways to utilize game dynamics in the workplace. You can choose one or three: The choice is yours. Before implementing, consider your target audience and how adding these elements will improve employee productivity.
Leaderboards are a great interactive tool that sales managers can use to inspire friendly competition and hold them accountable to their sales quotas. Each individual will be able to visualize their success and find a path that will lead them to their goals. They know how many more sales they need to book and prospecting calls to prioritize if they want to be a top performer.
Every week, your team will come in, view the leaderboard, and know precisely how they should structure their day to meet their goals.
Employee Training Programs
Let’s be honest: Most employee training programs don’t keep your team’s attention. Between the countless papers they need to sign and the boring training they need to go through, none of the aspects are truly designed to keep users engage. However, they typically contain meaningful information everyone needs to know about if they want to succeed with that company.
With a gamified system, you can ensure all training materials resonate with your new hires and have a clear understanding of their role with the company.
When using gamification to increase engagement, you can personalize your coaching style for each team member using a performance grid. During the individual coaching sessions, you can help the individual visualize their success and find a clear path towards success.
The gaming elements will help you learn more about your team’s strengths and weaknesses, pushing them to be better versions of themselves.
Badges are a game element that rewards your team for meeting milestones and accomplishments. Image the look on their face and the excitement in their eyes when they receive a badge for exceeding their quota or going the extra mile with their sales activities. These are small tokens of appreciation that have the power to increase user engagement.
Without progress bars, it can be challenging for your team to keep track of their progress. These interactive gaming elements improve business operations and give your team the tools they need to stay on the right path toward success.
While a leaderboard may spark unspoken competition between coworkers, you can create real competition! Competitions increase user engagement and are a great way to inspire some good ol’ fashion fun.
Consider using the TVs in your office to show real-time stats on the leaderboard. Announce the top three leaders daily in the Slack channel, and continue inspiring them to see the bigger picture.
Pro Tip: It’s not a competition without an incentive! Consider raising the stakes for a month or a quarter and watch the gamification boost user interactions.
That’s only to name a few ways gamification works in the workplace. Once you implement gamified elements, you can transform business operations and build a thriving workplace culture.
Gamification is everywhere. You just might not know it. It’s an invaluable tool that’s used across different industries for user engagement and to create customer experiences.
Let’s look at a few real-life examples of how gamification increases user engagement.
Fitbit and Fitness Apps
A great example of how gamification can be used to drive user engagement is fitness apps. Fitness apps use gamification to turn fitness into a fun and interactive experience. Every day, an individual can watch their progress bar in real-time, knowing what they need to reach their goal weight.
These gamified mobile apps turn healthy habits into an interactive game that holds users accountable for different exercise routines, weight training goals, and calorie count.
Fitbit is a popular app that pushes individuals to meet their unique goals. They keep users engaged by:
- Offering Challenges: Users can take their love for working out and walking to the next level with challenges and games.
- Progress Dashboard: Users can quickly review how many steps, miles, calories, and active miles they’ve reached for the day.
- Badges: For every milestone a user reaches, Fitbit will congratulate them.
- Sending alerts: If they’re close to reaching their goal for the day, Fitbit will remind them to start moving their legs!
With these unique game elements these apps, individuals will always be engaged with their fitness journey. Every app alert, milestone, and accomplishment will remind them to keep pushing themselves forward.
Starbucks Reward Program
Starbucks has gamified the reward program and found an innovative way to turn buying coffee into a game for its target audience. For every $1 you spend, you receive one star. You receive special offers, discounts, and free items when you receive enough stars.
Here’s how they use gamification to improve customer engagement:
- Progress bar: Coffee drinks can see just how many new stars they need until they unlock their next reward.
- Offer Incentives: Whether users receive the gold level or it’s their birthday: There’s an incentive for every accomplishment.
- The Starbucks Gold Card: Individuals need to earn 300 stars within 12 months to gain gold status. Then, their stars increase to 2 stars per $1. This incentives purchasers to continue to make a purchase quickly and efficiently.
Their mobile continues to engage customers by sending reminders and notifications to their phones.
Reward programs like these are tools that keep customers engaged using simple game mechanics and incentivizing positive behavior. Every time the individual gets to the checkout, they debate ordering that extra cup of coffee that week: The reward program is in the back of their mind. They know they will get something in return if they move forward with the order.
Customer reward and loyalty programs are also great add-ins for customer retention. When planned accordingly, you can slowly increase your customer lifetime value and keep customers coming back for more thorough the power of gamification.
Duolingo is an app that inspires users to take on the challenge of learning a new language. Every day they are rewarded for logging into the mobile app. This reward keeps them returning to complete a daily task and inspires them to continue the journey.
Duolingo has found a way to make learning a new language a fun experience. They use over four different game elements to improve user engagement and keep the app users engaged and entertained. These include:
- Leaderboards: Users can see exactly where they stand compared to other individuals learning that language.
- Progress bars: There’s a progress bar for each topic. The progress bar slowly decreases if you leave a unit for too long. This adds a sense of urgency and inspires individuals to remain consistent with their practices.
- Experience points: Each new lesson, quiz, and task rewards them with points. The more they play, the more they win.
- Streaks: Individuals build streaks by logging in at least once a day. If they accidentally skip a day, the streak starts.
All of these game elements add to the experience of this gamified app. Every component is strategic and has a purpose. Every day, users are inspired to take ownership of their learning journey, and the game elements are there to push them one step closer to their accomplishments.
Gamification volunteering is a popular way to encourage users to give back to their community. With game mechanics, you can reward volunteers when they complete a project, give back to a charity, or accept different tasks.
Gamifying the give-back experience will ensure users interact with their community and go the extra mile for the ones that need it most.
Gamification and student engagement go hand and hand. Implementing game mechanics into the e-learning experience ensures the information resonates with the classroom. If students don’t pay attention, they may not retain any information they receive during class.
Teachers and professors can use gamification with the following:
- Challenges: Improve student engagement through mini-games and friendly competition
- Feedback: Feedback helps students make adjustments and grow as individuals. It also helps them become more aware of what they can improve on and give them a clear path toward success.
- Collaboration: Team building and engagement increase productivity and motivate students to share new ideas and think outside the box
Gamify the workplace
Gamification is an invaluable tool that every workforce can benefit from. By prioritizing fun and innovative ways to engage with your employees and push them closer to their goals.
As a business, you have a unique opportunity to use game elements to keep your team engaged and inspire them. to do more in the workplace. You can get creative with the gamification elements, try out different ideas, and look for new ways to motivate employees to strive for more in the workplace.
We understand it’s not always easy to come to the table with innovative ways to add game elements to the workday.
At Spinify, we’ve created an easy-to-use solution so you can easily incorporate game elements in the workplace and increase user engagement. Our easy-to-use solution is there to help your team visualize the sales data to motivate them to compete for the top slot. We make it easy to recognize top performers and inspire users to connect and engage throughout the experience.Ready to adopt gamification? Book a demo today to get started.
Put those insights into practice.
Set your team up for success by improving their performance through gamification.
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