Data-Driven Gamification As a Driver of Employee Engagement

Every employee has his or her unique preferences and learning style, and they all come into a company with differing levels of expertise. When it comes to gamification technologies in employee engagement, employees want multiple difficulty levels and explorable content in their training materials. Besides that, many prefer gamification that includes real time feedback on performance. Research shows that employees are also motivated by different things, including:

  •      Achievement
  •      Power
  •      A feeling of belonging
  •      A sense of competence

Imagine how much more effective gamification could be with a system that can learn and adjust to these differences on an individual level and be customized to appeal to different motivations? Machine learning makes this possible.

Machine learning is a kind of data science that relies on programming – algorithms and logic – to find patterns in the data and then uses models to make predictions based on those patterns. As the patterns change, the predictions change. As applied to eLearning, the pattern changes based on the data provided by the individual user, resulting in a new prediction. The more data the individual provides, the smarter the application becomes and the better able it is to provide a customized experience.  

Organizations are already using machine learning to attract and retain talent. But, its use in combination with gamification for the purposes of increasing employee engagement and improving talent development is still evolving. We think it holds great promise.

In his study on gamification for the Business Information Review, Stephen Dale wrote, “At its core, gamification is about engaging people on an emotional level and motivating them to achieve their goals. One way to motivate people is to present them with compelling and personalized challenges; encourage them as they progress through levels, and get them emotionally engaged to achieve their very best.”

Smart gamification that incorporates machine learning can create a personalized experience for employees that will not only keep them more engaged but offer the opportunity for continuous learning and to effectively change their behaviors when needed.

The best example of how machine learning combined with gamification is working to change behaviors can be found on the wrists of millions of people today. Wearable devices like the Fitbit and others that track health and fitness metrics such as exercise, sleep, and diet are changing human behavior every day.

Accenture reports that 77 percent of U.S. consumers wearing such devices as well as 85 percent of doctors agree that they are helping patients more fully engage in their health. The study showed that 78 percent of healthcare consumers wear or are willing to wear technology to track their lifestyle and/or vital signs. And, of those who were asked by a doctor to wear such technology, more than three-quarters of them followed their doctor’s recommendations.

In the case of mobile health apps, recent research suggests that because they capture information on various types of health behaviors, they provide a more accurate representation of a person’s daily life. This allows doctors to deliver care that is more tailored to the individual and specific to his or her needs.

Just as doctors can use the data from mobile health apps to help patients change their behavior in positive ways, businesses can adopt smart technologies that incorporate machine learning and predictive analytics to improve performance in a number of ways including:

  • Identifying performance patterns and action triggers
  • Automatically delivering right training to right people at the right time
  • Allowing employees to self-manage and auto-correct performance
  • Providing actionable information to supervisors

Machine learning with gamification makes employee engagement systems smarter – and that’s smart business!

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