Top 10 Gamification mistakes made in the workplace

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Gamification within business has seen strong, exponential growth in the last decade. Many companies have implemented gamification efforts amongst their teams in hopes of increasing productivity and team building. But with all the potential benefits of gamification, many companies fail to succeed. This isn’t due to failed implementation, but more so poorly designed strategies and failed execution. 

The below are the top 10 mistakes that any business owner or executive can avoid when implementing a gamification platform in the day to day operations of your team. 

Top 10 Gamification mistakes made in the workplace

1. Only focus on contests and leaderboards
2. Team lacks commitment and motivation
3. Lack of commitment from management
4. The rewards are all similar
5. Gamification platform not integrated with other in house platforms
6. Limited user customisations
7. Gamifying only one are of business
8. Lack of teamwork and celebrating each other's wins. 
9. Assuming Gamification is a quick fix
10. Using Gamification to fix a broken product or business model

1) Only focus on contests and leaderboards

There are many common myths about gamification,  and the truth is that it is so much more than contests, points, and badges. It can also help build a healthy culture of positive reinforcement, motivation, increased employee engagement, and teamwork. 

There will always be top performers on your team that will aim to win consistently, but observe and be cautious that the rewards aren’t only going to the top 10%. This could discourage the rest. If the challenge and winners are the same, try increasing the challenge or even focussing on a different KPI, allowing others to claim the top performer of the day.

2) Team lacks commitment and motivation

Implementing gamification mechanics effectively with your team isn’t as easy as pressing a start button, announcing a challenge, and monitoring results. Your team must be willing to participate, and then learn how to use the chosen platform. 

Managers must also learn how to monitor results and data, and then continuingly monitor and implement effective contests, and observe how they improve team performance. They must not only learn how to create video games, gamified learning experiences and launch challenges, but constantly innovate and bring in new ones, monitoring which work best.

3) Lack of commitments

Lack of commitment from management is a large reason why 80% of gamification projects fail in the short term. Once the software is implemented, rolling out the process and maintaining hype needs to become a priority.  Along with consistency, the technology and gamification strategies need to reward the right behaviour as well as provide value.

Set goals and learning objectives, and monitor them regularly.

4) The rewards are all similar

There’s a balance to be found between making specific reward structures too easy or too difficult, and it’s important to find it! Reach out to your software provider for advice as they might have some great case studies. Look at how other companies have successfully implemented game mechanics in their day to day, and take a page out of their book. 

Managers should also use both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Be sure to not just focus on Intrinsic rewards, like badges, points and leaderboards, but also be mindful that Extrinsic rewards should be present as well, as they generally have a large payoff for driving success and excitement.

5) Gamification platform not integrated with other in house platforms

Ask your team to look into ways to integrate the data from your tech stack. Whether it is gamifying your CRM, call centre platform, or anything else, allow data to help build actionable goals within your platform. For example, using Archy Learning in your training processes to create gamified learning pathways for your team.

The collaborated data will allow you to learn and analyse your team’s performance, and look for growth opportunities. The best way to go about this is to ask your gamification tech provider. 

6) Limited user customisations

Allow your team to have some control. Allow for customisation options that make the experience fun and unique for the users experience, such as creating their own avatars, and customising their interface. Create a fun, encouraging atmosphere, where your team members celebrate each other’s wins and successes. These small changes are budget-friendly, yet create a unique experience that each team member can call their own. 

 7) Gamifying only one area of business

It is of great benefit to gamify more than one area of your business. Examples of different areas include employee onboarding, knowledge testing and team activities. As a manager you can practice highlighting different achievements. It can be used as a motivational tool to display your top team players during onboarding new employees to help inspire them long term.

8) Lack of teamwork and celebrating each other’s wins

Creating a fun environment where your employees and teams celebrate each other's successes. Sending high fives, and cheering, and fun messages will help create a positive atmosphere instead of simply competition. Having a healthy yet competitive and fun culture is important.

9) Assuming gamification is a quick fix

It’s very easy to think that gamification technology and gamified engagement practices will be a quick fix for all projects. It’s true, gamification can go a long way and be incredibly successful in improving sales and training processes, as well as team management and behaviour.  A manager must identify what behaviours they are trying to drive, and what overall value they will provide to the team and organisation. These goals can be simple, such as just having fun, but they must provide real value. 

10) Using Gamification to fix a broken product or business model

Gamification solutions alone will not fix a broken product, service, or business model. Ensuring your product offering is strong and is in a market that is ready for it. No more needs to be said on this one, but be confident in what you are offering, and make sure it is ready to scale.

Effective gamification can really help correct your team's behaviour as well as boost productivity, engagement and motivation. But before you begin the implementation and make the investment, make sure you ask- “what are my main KPI’s? 

What do I want to improve, and do I have my higher-ups support, as well as my teams? Don’t be afraid to ask your gamification providers for best practices and case studies, and good luck on your gamified journey!

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