It has already been proven in industry and in government, that adding Workplace Games, also called Gamification, to your business will both motivate and unite your business towards maximizing new opportunities. In an interview, Tom Kalil, (Deputy Director for Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology) made the point that NASA’s use of Gamification had a Return on Investment 5 to 10 times higher than the costs associated with the rewards that the game generated. He shared insights where DARPA and the DOE used prizes and challenges to reward and incentivize. He provided examples of various government organizations as using Gamification successfully that included NASA, DOE and DARPA.
To begin the process of adding Workplace Games to your business you should start by performing an assessment of your business strategy, vision and goals. This will help your company update and align your business priorities so that the game directly supports your business and the necessary activities that can best be rewarded through the game. There are different ways to setting up but we believe that you should keep it simple and directly aligned to your business. We setup many of our games using a Project Management format that initiates the game in much the same way any project should be started. Simply stated, projectize your game so that you follow the same steps in starting your game as you would properly start and manage a new project. Follow the example of others who have already added games to their business to avoid mistakes.
There are many innovative examples where games were used to motivate and unite businesses for success if you look for them. Diverse companies, large and small, public and private, have used Workplace Games to motivate and unite their stakeholders across a wide range of industries that includes: NASA, DARPA, DOE, UPS, Deloitte, Bunchball Inc., Warner brothers, Comcast, Adobe and others. Industries have included the health and insurance industry, science and technology, law enforcement and many others. Don’t start over when it isn’t required; lessons learned and best practices save time, money and other resources.
Knowing your key competitive factors and comparing them with your peer and competitions may be a good way to look for differentiators. Your own strategies, tactics and the use of best practices are then aligned with your company’s existing processes into the game. Look for goals, schedule, desired wins, past business results and so on for possible reward milestones and corrections or changes to your current processes. The best milestones are deliverables of various maturity and specific events in a schedule where activities are completed to move onto the next activity. These deliverables and schedule milestones, when recognized and rewarded for timely completion encourages repeatable best practices in your business. These can be tailored to your specific needs and desires.
One important recommendation is that you remember you should keep the game straightforward and aligned to your vision. Make the game a public competition based on measurable results that align to the desired results that move your business forward. Avoid meaningless rewards as this distracts from the real purpose of the game. This purpose should be aligned to taking advantage of opportunities, new innovations and improving products and services of your business. Expect measurable improvements in innovation and business efficiency. Critical success factors and key performance indicators are good examples for identifying most reward and recognition points where improving the quality, direction and innovative quickness is the focus for both your business and the game. It is most important that the game aligns to your business so that the business and your business results are the clear focus of the game. If the game does not align to the purpose of your business, it will be hard to gain support for playing the game.
The actual steps in setting up the game are associated with initiating the game, planning out how the game will be run and what platforms or tools are needed to implement the game. The preferred tools are cloud, mobile, social media and analysis based tools that leverage Leaderboards or similar score boards where public viewing of awards, progress and innovation are occurring in real time. The need for real time recognition speaks for itself if you desire innovative improvements to your business and the realization of opportunities as fast as possible. Prior to rolling out the game, we recommend that an impact test be done of the features, functions and operation of the game to mitigate risks that may be unknown to your business and it’s operations prior to testing. This should involve key stakeholders and subordinates within your company at the level you feel will result in recommendations and forward thinking. You will receive many improvements and recommendations from these stakeholders during this initial testing, but set a deadline to implement the best of these recommendations and then proceed to roll out the game after ensuring the game passes testing. The game will improve as the business improves. Business communication and collaboration improves as recommendations are implemented into the game.
Using Workplace Games and the resulting rewards will encourage your companies to self-motivated towards innovation and improvement. This motivation and self-improvement in turn results in individual and organizational behaviors that are based on self-leadership, knowledge, communication, individual experiences and best practices. These powerful organizational and individual attributes then result in product and service differentiation, value and efficiency that save time and other resources.
Once the game is rolled out, expect questions. A Frequently Asked Questions list prepared during planning and implementation should be shared on the game. The game will promote workplace collaboration and the building of unity by engaging workers in team-building activities that mirror their jobs and the necessary communication between business entities required to excel in the business. Your aim is to bolster the development of relationships in your workplace and to amp up efficiency. Game activities should be tailored to meet this aim. This will promote the development of your teams while increasing efficiencies between entities of the business.
Lack of communication is one of the major concerns we hear in our consulting business and we agree that this hinders workplace efficiency. The game’s public rewards are geared towards efficiency, deliverables, innovation and so on and will help correct communication issues. Cooperation of meeting objectives is necessary to excel and is promptly rewarded in the form of team or individual rewards. This process improves, unifies and motivates the stakeholders in the game. Expect and reward communication between entities for completing activities, using innovation to find new markets or solve problems or by maximizing opportunities and efficiencies.
Start the game by dividing your employees into teams that are mirrored in the business. The game facilitates the business. In all likelihood, messages between entities or the lack of cooperation between the entities will deliver an important lesson every time collaboration expedites or delays an activity and the impacts are shown in the game by performance changes or met and unmet objectives. Lessons are learned that are associated with your business for both winning and losing, for being the best or not in the game.
Turn some of the completion of the game into daily tasks as well as your more strategic goals. Use relay style races or similar activities where workers must complete tasks on a daily or weekly basis if possible. Divide your workforce into teams, preferably that meet a business need, and allow them to move through this race, completing the tasks as fast as possible while still producing quality results that exceed expectations.
A benefit of the game is that the efficiency of activities that produce the best results will become the best practice of your business. This increased efficiency will in turn build employee knowledge of your best practices and processes. Important procedures within your workplace will quickly become more efficient as the importance of more quickly completing job-related tasks rises and becomes the individuals and teams who do this become known.
Have fun with your gamification and remember to always reward and recognize for the results you are looking for and watch the improvements and innovation begin to roll out of your business. I am excited to hear about your business, your game and most importantly, your results!