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Gamification for business

What is Gamification?

 

Let’s dive together into the world of corporate gaming. Discover the objectives, the benefits and how to use gamification in your company to improve your employees’ and/or customers’ engagement. Use games to innovate and build loyalty among your target audience!

On this page we will explore the following topics:

  1. Definition of gamification
  2. Main objectives of gamification
  3. Gamification and its uses in the workplace
  4. Play mechanics to use
  5. Player profiles
  6. Player’s journey

 

What is gamification? Definition of gamification in business

Today, gamification is defined as the use of gaming mechanics for non-play purposes. Quite simply, gamification is implementing game mechanics in various fields: human resources, marketing, customer relations, health, travel industry…

The word gamification appeared in 2011 in the United Kingdom. The Oxford dictionary defines it as “the incorporation of game mechanics in domains, areas or platforms that are not game-related.”

However, the term “gamification” does not have a single definition. Thus, it is necessary to agree on what is meant by this notion. In this guide to gamification, we use the term gamification in its broadest sense. It includes both the use of gaming with a serious purpose (“the serious game”) and the use of its many mechanics – still with a different purpose than entertainment.

 

What are the main objectives of gamification in business?

There can be numerous goals with gamification, mais they can be summarised in two ideas:

Involvement and User Experience.

Whatever the field in which gamification is used (whether it is to personalize an individual’s relationship with a brand, to create excitement around a project or to increase clients’ or employee’s commitment to a company), the user is involved in the proposed universe through a dynamic and engaging experience. Thus, the game is not an end in itself: its objective is to push the user to feel involved and adopt strategic objectives.

Here at Collock, we listed 6 main goals of gamification: 

    1 – (Re)putting the human being at the center of the company

    By choosing to implement gamification, companies opt for a user-centered approach, and therefore focus on human experience. The user is at the center of the gamification project and the company seeks to offer a more qualitative experience.

    2 – Conveying a message in a more fun and participatory format

    With gamification, it is possible to convey the company’s culture and values to employees and/or customers. It acts as an internal communication tool for employees to share their values and help employees appropriate them.

    3 – Boosting motivation, involvement and performance

    In the majority of cases, gamification has a positive psychological effect on motivation and pleasure. This effect results in increased motivation and participation and has a positive impact on performance.

    4 – Building and strenghtening loyalty and sense of belonging

    A company can opt for gamification to encourage its employees or customers to become more engaged and involved. For example, by offering loyalty programs to its customers, the company can increase customer loyalty.

    5- Supporting change

    The use of gamification can help a company to guide its employees through a change. Thus, in the context of a reorganization or a new strategy, the game’s mechanisms can be used to present new features, allow employees to take ownership of them through missions or quizzes, etc.

    6 – Helping the user adopt a new behavior

    Gamification can help users change their habits about using a service or product. For example, connected bracelets help the user have a less sedentary lifestyle and to be more active. For example, a connected bracelet can help individuals reach their daily step goal and fight against sedentary lifestyle.

    🔎Gamification and the use of games in the workplace 

    Tell me and I forget.

    Teach me and I remember.

    Involve me and I learn..
    Benjamin Franklin

    Over the last few years, gamification in companies has gradually developed to become a core business. The adoption of gaming methods collected in the company is used for different practices such as for HR and business needs or in the event industry. Thus, serious games are used in companies and are seen as a declination of games for professionals.

    Gamification: a tool for the future for companies

    According to B.J. Fogg, an experimental psychologist at Stanford University, for gamification to be effective and generate behavioral change in employees, 3 elements must be achieved at the same time:

    Motivation

    Ability

    Trigger element

    La motivation

    La capacité

    Un élément déclencheur

    Thanks to gamification in the workplace, employees will be motivated by the desire to win something and complete a challenge. Also, how they will have to perform the assigned task will be voluntarily facilitated. The trigger will thus encourage the user to complete the task he started.

    Applying gamification in the enterprise offers many advantages. Organizations that decide to implement these techniques benefit from the following advantages.

    Strengthening team spirit and well-being at work

    Playing with colleagues creates an informal time that allows everyone to escape from their daily tasks. It is important for team members to share something other than their work, and playing is a good way to share convivial moments. In addition, gaming is also a way to get to know your colleagues better.

    Improving cooperation and teamwork

    Some games like cooperative games involve teamwork to win. This type of game allows for increased collaboration during and after play breaks. After playing with their colleagues, employees will be more comfortable with teamwork, the distribution of missions, communication… Much more than just exchanges, cooperation games remind employees of the importance and crucial role of teamwork and team spirit, while taking into account each person’s skills.

    Increasing motivation, productivity and performance

    Thanks to the system of rewards and levels, which stimulate player motivation, it improves the productivity of an entire organization. By implementing playful techniques, employee motivation and satisfaction increase, as does performance. Playfulness also aims at the efficiency of the employee, to carry out a mission in the best possible way. It’s no secret: the more motivated you are, the more productive and efficient you are.

    Stimulating creativity

    Creativity is a soft skill highly valued by companies to ensure their development and sustainability. The game stimulates employees’ creative minds and skills. Playing makes the process of creating ideas more innovative. Employees feel more involved, which gives even more meaning to their work.

    Encouraging individual involvement

    Gaming mechanisms promote individual involvement and commitment. In the context of in-company training, the application of gaming techniques promotes the participation, involvement and commitment of each learner.

    Introducing new, innovative dynamics

    Gamification allows the subject of innovation to be introduced into the organization. The implementation of a gamified project will allow to anchor a culture of innovation but also to help people to think “outside the box”.

    Developping soft skills or behavioral competencies

    Thanks to gamification, it is possible to focus on improving or developing soft skills. Gaming is useful for growing behavioural skills such as leadership, stress management, communication skills, adaptability, negotiation skills, etc.

    Improving training proficiency

    Gamification can be used for in-company training since it promotes learning. The learner in a gamified course tends to have more fun but also to better retain the messages conveyed thanks to the more interactive and experimental format.

    Implementing a feedback culture

    The use of badges and rewards allows to give feedback on a completed mission and to evaluate the progress of a project. An employee is then rewarded for his or her work, without having to wait for a weekly meeting or the annual interview. This type of gamification emphasizes recognition and activates the employee’s intrinsic motivation.

    Deploying a more results-oriented mindset

    A real challenge for managers is to keep their team motivated over the long term. With tools to challenge performance in real time, employees (and not only sales teams) will be able to self-manage and stay motivated over the long term. In this case, the visualization of results is essential and must be easily accessible. In addition, by creating rankings, the company can maintain the competitive spirit, which will encourage employees to outperform.

    Obviously, gamification is not the miracle recipe for working more efficiently and feeling better at work. Gamification must be part of a project with clear objectives and an action plan thought out beforehand. Gaming for gaming’s sake is not a solution and should not be considered the last resort for what does not work. On the contrary, gamification must be part of a coherent and effective strategy, based on a reflection on the commitment, motivation and efficiency of users.

    Game mechanisms to use in gamification

    There are a multitude of play mechanisms. We propose you to discover the most used mechanics.

    > A point system for gratification.
    This allows users to see their improvements, and not their weak points, which is more rewarding. The points are used to measure the player’s performance.

    > Rewards (for winners) for recognition.
    They are earned against points earned and offer benefits or open up additional levels. 

    > Levels for user status.
    The level reflects the user’s experience. The higher the level, the more rewards and benefits are available. For even more motivation, the user can see the following rewards and actions to take to reach the next level/status.

    > Challenges, individual or collective, for the realization.
    They are often in the form of friendly competitions and should make the players want to collect as many points as possible.

    > Badges for creativity.
    This indicates that a higher level has been reached, which reinforces the sense of belonging to the gaming and the motivation to continue.

    > Rankings and progress bars for the competition.
    Quickly viewing the progress allows the user to see where they are in the game.

    > A feedback system (or feedback loop)
    To have real-time visibility of its progress. This allows to follow up and recognize the actions carried out by the user.

    > A social dimension for altruism.
    Belonging to a community allows you to federate users and build their loyalty over the long term.

    > An avatar for customization.
    By creating an avatar at the beginning of a game, the user creates a character that he or she will embody throughout the game.

    How to make the different types of players cohabit in a corporate game?

    Corporate gaming helps reveal talents and ideas. It takes employees out of their daily routine and offers them playful challenges that are more conducive to creating value than the more rigid framework of the traditional company. In order to release these energies, the manager must be aware that he is dealing with a wide variety of profiles who do not have the same needs and expectations.

    Players / participants’ profiles

    In a company as in a game, the motivations are multiple and differ according to the interlocutors. Richard Bartle, a British researcher, became known for his work on multiplayer dungeon games (“Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who suit MUDs”, Richard Bartle (1996)). Through a series of interviews with players of this type of game, he has sought to analyze their motivations. He has derived a typology that is still used today in game design. He classifies the players of this type of games into 4 categories.

    The socializer,

    who will seek fulfillment in the collective experience he will live in the game through encounters and interactions.

    The achiever,

    who seeks to understand the game and accomplish all the challenges it presents

    The killer,

    looking for the domination of the other players in a sharp competitive spirit.

    The explorer

    wishing to clear the universe in which it evolves with a thirst for discovery and understanding.

    The socializer,

    who will seek fulfillment in the collective experience he will live in the game through encounters and interactions.

    The achiever,

    who seeks to understand the game and accomplish all the challenges it presents

    The killer,

    looking for the domination of the other players in a sharp competitive spirit.

    The explorer

    wishing to clear the universe in which it evolves with a thirst for discovery and understanding.

    The manager, a key figure in the face of this diversity

    The company is rich in its diversity and its profiles with their incompatibilities and complementarities. The role of the manager is becoming increasingly central to enable its teams to perform by using this diversity to good effect. As such, the game in the company can be a catalyst to teach different personalities to think and communicate together. For example, the manager can integrate the game into his processes to reinforce the adhesion of his employees, improve team cohesion… to finally tend towards efficiency.

    The player’s journey

    The player’s path is a crucial element for the success of a game, and especially how each game allows the player to embark on a well-oiled mechanic. This is the principle of the player’s course. Several theories exist to present this path, including Kevin Werbach’s For the Win, which breaks down the game into several key moments:

    This second phase of the player’s journey is a classic phase that can be found in any game (board game, video game, life-size game). It consists in explaining the universe and the rules of the game. This phase can be tedious and game designers try to make it more fluid, using :

    – A demonstration tutorial
    – A guided level of play to explain the fundamentals of the game
    – Illustrated rules of the game

    This phase can be reached more or less quickly depending on the wishes of the Game Designer. A small table game (e.g. Jungle Speed, Timeline, etc…) can be mastered in two parts because it is based on simple and unifying mechanics. Some games push the limits of this phase by offering a constantly evolving gameplay that will delight Explorers profiles or new rewards for Achievers.

    1

    Identification

    2

    Onboarding

    3

    Scaffholding

    4

    Mastery

    5

    Addiction or end

    This first phase is essential and takes place in the first moments of the game. The goal is to engage the player as quickly as possible. To do this, it is necessary to call upon a known reference frame or to propose a founding action that will project the participant into the desired state of mind. The objective can be multiple:


    Federate the players around a team: Find a team name, a recognizable sign, a battle cry,…
    To make the player understand the universe in which he evolves: To propose a cinematic introduction to a video game.
    Marking the passage into the game world: Putting on a piece of costume, changing scenery, etc.

    In the player’s journey, the scaffolding phase is the moment when the player is going to confront what he has retained in onboarding with reality. Very concretely, it is a more or less long experimentation phase where the player will gain control over the game by testing different tactics and strategies. This phase can be long if the gameplay is complex, as in a board game where the game mechanics are multiple. It can also be accompanied by the game designer by proposing levels of difficulty to the players. The objective is to materialize a constant progression of the player, giving him the impression of mastering the game more and more.

    Once control is achieved, 2 behaviors are generally observed. If gaming provides the motivations the gambler expects, and they continue to satisfy him, he will fall into addiction. If, on the other hand, the mechanics become too repetitive or monotonous, the player will become bored with it. The whole challenge is therefore to maintain the flow of the game in order to maintain the player’s interest by taking into account all player profiles.

    1

    Identification

    This first phase is essential and takes place in the first moments of the game. The goal is to engage the player as quickly as possible. To do this, it is necessary to call upon a known reference frame or to propose a founding action that will project the participant into the desired state of mind. The objective can be multiple:

    Federate the players around a team: Find a team name, a recognizable sign, a battle cry,…
    To make the player understand the universe in which he evolves: To propose a cinematic introduction to a video game.
    Marking the passage into the game world: Putting on a piece of costume, changing scenery, etc.

    2

    Onboarding

    This second phase of the player’s journey is a classic phase that can be found in any game (board game, video game, life-size game). It consists in explaining the universe and the rules of the game. This phase can be tedious and game designers try to make it more fluid, using a demonstration tutorial, a guided level of play to explain the fundamentals of the game, or illustrated rules of the game

    3

    Scaffholding

    In the player’s journey, the scaffolding phase is the moment when the player is going to confront what he has retained in onboarding with reality. Very concretely, it is a more or less long experimentation phase where the player will gain control over the game by testing different tactics and strategies. This phase can be long if the gameplay is complex, as in a board game where the game mechanics are multiple. It can also be accompanied by the game designer by proposing levels of difficulty to the players. The objective is to materialize a constant progression of the player, giving him the impression of mastering the game more and more.

    4

    Mastery

    This phase can be reached more or less quickly depending on the wishes of the Game Designer. A small table game (e.g. Jungle Speed, Timeline, etc…) can be mastered in two parts because it is based on simple and unifying mechanics. Some games push the limits of this phase by offering a constantly evolving gameplay that will delight Explorers profiles or new rewards for Achievers.

    5

    Addiction or End

    Once control is achieved, 2 behaviors are generally observed. If gaming provides the motivations the gambler expects, and they continue to satisfy him, he will fall into addiction. If, on the other hand, the mechanics become too repetitive or monotonous, the player will become bored with it. The whole challenge is therefore to maintain the flow of the game in order to maintain the player’s interest by taking into account all player profiles.