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Best Mobile Gamification Practices For Employee Engagement
Everybody likes playing games these days. Games are fun and exciting, but they can also have an enormous value to businesses. At the same time, mobile phones have become an essential part of both our private time and our workplaces. Many people play mobile games with their family, friends, and even coworkers. The Era of Mobile Gamification has begun.
Why would games have a positive impact on your business?
Let’s look at some statistics:
- A whopping 63% of employees claim that making routine activities similar to playing a game would make these routine tasks more fun and more rewarding;
- More than 50% of employees say that adding a bit of competition to their work tasks would make them work more efficiently and increase the accuracy of their work;
- Almost 80% of global 2000 organizations will use at least one gamified product by the end of 2017 to boost their workforce engagement;
- According to research from the University of Colorado, simulations and games resulted in a 9% increase in retention rate and helped employees to retain 11% more in terms of factual knowledge.
Are you still unconvinced about the value of gaming for employee training? Let’s have a look at the list of possible areas where gamification can be applied in an organization:
- Onboarding of new employees;
- Continuous training of employees;
- Product development;
- Keeping teams engaged in their work;
- Improving customer service;
- Development of a corporate culture; and
- More successful collaboration between HR and other departments.
The factors mentioned above partially explain companies’ growing interest in gamification as a training strategy, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. The training world doesn’t rest on its laurels. Let’s consider one question: why are businesses using gamification as a training strategy more and more?
Statistics show that 70% of business transformation activities fail because of a deficiency of engagement. Market conditions, the appearance of new competitors, changing technology, and consumer needs require businesses to adapt constantly. However, unmotivated employees don’t strive to adapt to changes. Material incentives are not enough nowadays, so keeping employees interested and motivated is taking center stage.
According to Gallup’s research, which takes into consideration the segmentation of generations of employees, only 28.9% of millennials are engaged at work. Basically, the millennials are the most disengaged generation. These poor results are explained by the absence of opportunities for millennials to do their best at work by sharing their ideas and shaping projects. In this case, gamification is becoming a natural fit for routine work tasks. Let’s not forget that by 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce.
If you are thinking about implementing mobile gamification in your company to improve employee engagement, here are several principles that you should base gamification on.
The first thing to consider is consent. You will not achieve your desired outcome unless your employees are willing to give gamification a try. This should not be a problem as millennials are a “mobile” generation. They have grown up with games and mobile phones, and are more likely to enjoy training carried out by using a game app on their cell phones.
To get the most out of gamification, make sure that your mobile app includes the following:
- Relevance to the company’s vision. A mobile app should reflect what your company believes in and your corporate culture;
- Focus on business results. A game or an app is not the actual priority, meaning that employees should stay focused on learning and skills development. Badges, leaderboards, progress bars, peer feedback and all other gamification tools should be secondary to their daily activities;
- Progress bars. They will help your employees to see what they have achieved within the program that you have developed;
- Timing. Tell the employees how long they have to complete each task or each section of the training. This will help them to hone their ability to make decisions within short timeframes and to meet deadlines;
- Push notifications. These are handy reminders of unfinished tasks or training modules to keep employees engaged and on track;
- Social features. Feedback, rewards, peer recognition and assistance are very important for motivating existing employees and for helping new employees to navigate their way through new tasks and the corporate culture.
One extensive study lists the gaming strategies that learners like most, among which are progressing from one level to higher levels (30%), earning points and scores (27%), receiving real-time feedback (26%). The least preferred strategies that might affect an overall gamified experience include various types of competitions with fellow colleagues (13%), rewards like virtual gifts (11%) and virtual currencies (2%).
The companies that have followed these general guidelines have achieved very impressive results. Of course, you are not limited by the above-mentioned principles. A wide range of variations can be used. So let’s consider the ways that gamification has been successfully implemented by a range of companies.
Deloitte set up a training schedule for its senior executives to complete a leadership training program. To encourage them to do the training faster and more effectively, Deloitte included several elements of gamification in the training course such as badges, status symbols, and leaderboards. The result was not slow to arrive. The number of daily visits to Deloitte’s online Leadership Academy increased by 47%. Also, it took 50% less time for employees to complete the course.
Google had trouble getting employees to upload their travel expenses in a timely fashion, so the company found a gamified solution for that. Employees were offered a Travel Expense game. According to the rules, if costs were less than allowed, the employees could decide how to use the remaining money. They could get the difference as cash, spend more on a future trip, or donate to a cause. Google’s gamification of its travel expense process translated into 100% compliance within six months of its launch.
Microsoft was faced with language localization issues. Having one team wasn’t enough to ensure that a lot of translations were accurate. So Microsoft introduced an app that allowed others to view screens and check for any translation errors. The company provided poor translations on purpose to make sure that their employees really paid attention. As a result, 500,000 screens were checked by 4,500 people. Local Microsoft offices competed against each other. Microsoft Japan even took a day off to play the game, consequently taking first place on the leaderboard.
SAP was looking for an efficient way to train its sales representatives, who needed to learn a lot of details about their product line to be able to answer all kinds of customer inquiries. SAP introduced an application called “Road Warrior”, a simulation game with the objective of engaging the employees in interactions with customers. Employees who gave correct answers were awarded various badges, accumulated points, and obtained places on the leaderboard. By the end of the simulation, the sales representatives were better prepared and more enthusiastic about real customer interactions. This facilitated a major growth in sales.
Judging by the statistics and the successful examples of implementing gamification training strategies, can we expect gamification training strategies to stand their ground? Nothing is 100% certain, but the fact is that companies need their employees to be well trained, enthusiastic and engaged. Using gamification as a training and motivation strategy unlocks many possibilities:
- Whether it’s one office in a company, its headquarters, or a global chain of overseas offices, the company can reach and engage every employee simply with one tap on a mobile app;
- Companies spend fewer resources by using a gamified app to increase employee motivation and productivity compared to using physical rewards and material incentives;
- Employees’ achievements and experiences can be easily seen by team managers and HR, which helps them to better understand the talent available in their company;
- The practical skills employees learn last much longer due to high learner engagement;
- The apps provide instant feedback, giving the employee and the company a better understanding of possible problems employees might face during onboarding or ongoing training.
So don’t let the phrase, “just a mobile app” deceive you. Use mobile gamification to better train your workforce, help you to reach your business goals, strengthen your company culture and align your teams with the company vision.
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