(Image credit: Pierre de Coubertin.)
It’s almost game time! This can mean a lot in regard to employee productivity, especially with the Summer Olympics about to kickoff. The events typically broadcast at all hours of the day, and may interfere with work as some employees might try to watch the games from their computers in the office (or remote stations). While management may see the Olympics as a distraction that affects productivity, it’s worth considering another angle. What if companies used the events to motivate employees through a gamification system? Gamification can turn this potential distraction into a positive for your company.
What is Gamification?
Gamification provides a system to incent employees to meet productivity goals so they can earn rewards, such as time to watch the Olympics, or extra time out of the office. This solution incorporates game-like scenarios in a business environment, and is a way to engage employees and help them improve their skills, increase learning and optimize performance.
An organization can create achievable, role-specific goals and then use a gamification platform to communicate the goals and present interactive challenges for employees that are tied to their daily tasks. These challenges can involve creative game narratives such as racecar driving, city building or scavenger hunts. For example, in an insurance call center, gamification solutions can track a number of key performance indicators (KPIs), such as number of calls handled, average time to answer, etc., against individual targets. Employees can see where they stand against their personal goals or past performance, as well as against best-in-class benchmarks, earning rewards for achievement of goals. Also, depending on your corporate culture, the challenges could be presented as peer-to-peer or team-to-team competitions, although some organizations may focus on individual (personal best) competitions where employees try to improve upon their previous scores or performance.
In the workplace, gamification can benefit both employees and their companies. Employees benefit from getting instant feedback and recognition for their efforts, and companies benefit from the data produced from gamification platforms. Employees also feel more engaged with a gamification platform that keeps them constantly motivated, which ultimately makes employees feel more loyal to their employers. This data provides a higher level of transparency and allows management to be more objective when assessing employee performance by reducing gray areas in evaluations.
Go for the Gold at Work
During the Olympics, companies have an option to deploy a gamification system that contains a scenario in which employees can earn free time to watch the Games during work hours—if they achieve their goals. For example, those working in the claims processing department at an insurance company could have a game-like scenario to reach goals for average processing time, accuracy and claims closed. This could be particularly appealing to millennials, who desire regular feedback, want recognition for their contributions and also want challenges and opportunities to succeed.
Today, more than one-in-three American workers are millennials (adults age 18-34 in 2015). Engaging the millennial population is important in the insurance business. It’s often perceived that the industry is “old school” in its practices and, as a result, has a more difficult time attracting younger workers. Gamification could be a way to draw more millennials to the insurance industry and retain them longer by improving employee engagement.
In another example, let’s say an insurance carrier is seeing an increase in glass claims. While this number continues to climb, headcounts unfortunately remain the same—meaning that employees must each take on a little more work to maintain service levels. On average, the staff processes seven claims a day. Using gamification, you can set a stretch goal of nine claims processed per day. The staff can track their progress in real-time, and get instant notification for achieving their goal…while also earning a reward of some free time to watch the Olympics. Even if only half of the staff achieves the new goal, you could increase overall production by 750 claims per week, while also improving turnaround times and customer satisfaction.
Get in the Game
In all, gamification is designed to improve employee engagement, because the “engaged employee” is more productive, provides better customer service and shows benefits to the bottom line. Set in a game narrative, making progress toward goals is a more engaging way to challenge employees.
Through higher engagement and improved employee performance, gamification could help enable carriers to keep productivity levels from dropping during the Olympics—and possibly even increase production levels. So before you tell the IT department to block streaming video at your company to prevent Olympic viewing during company time, look into a gamification platform and let the games begin!