Data produced by gamified IT solutions can help HR analyse team engagement and optimize employee productivity.

Some of the most important and impactful decisions that a firm can make are accurate people management decisions. We know that high employee engagement is necessary to keeping an organisation running smoothly; and when the employee is happy, the feeling of satisfaction they receive from that engagement drives loyalty, which naturally drives productivity. In turn, productivity drives value, value drives customer satisfaction and loyalty, which results in profitability and growth.

Management insights based on data

Tracking employee productivity, especially in terms of team building, is one of the happy by-products of gamification of business systems. When game developers like those at Zynga and Blizzard launch their game platforms, they immediately have access to huge amounts of data that, when filtered and compiled, can give them an overview of the gamers’ experience on a large scale. They can use this data, along with player feedback, to identify bugs in the system and tweak the parts of the game experience that need it.

Companies can utilize advanced gamification systems in the same way, to provide valuable team management insights based on data generated by the gamified solution. This data then gives managers an overview of how effective the employees are, both individually and as teams. This, in part, will

'bring the same level of rigor to people decisions that we do to engineering decisions' according to Laszlo Bock.

Companies need to apply this rigor, assuring lean management from HR up to the C-suite

Benefits of tracking employee actions

Some of the benefits of tracking employee actions in a gamified system include those where managers can:

  • Quickly identify weaknesses and places where additional training may be needed
  • Learn why some groups perform better than others by segmenting employees into similar performance groups
  • Managers can pair top performers with rising stars to foster mentorships
  • Mentors and mentees can proactively solve issues

Gathering data is based on actions, which generate event logs that can serve as a footprint for teams. At the surface level, that data produces a picture that allows us to measure and quantify how gamification empowers the teams. On deeper level, data can provide insight into team dynamics and reliably indicate attrition risk for individuals, map strong and trustful relationships, and also reveal conflicts among team members.

Taken a few steps further, gamification can even glean data from customers through rewards programs. Rajat Paharia, the founder and CPO at Bunchball, a gamification application company, says

‘With every action they take, customers are raising their hands and telling you something about their interests, their activity, and even how they brush their teeth. Smart companies can use this activity data to motivate customers to engage, contribute, participate, share, purchase, and be more loyal.’

Targeting a purpose is the key, says Paharia,

‘After defining a specific business objective, companies create gamified experiences that leverage the big data generated by their user base and motivate those users in ways that drive their business.’

Examples of how organisations can use gamification data include optimizing engagement, which reduces absenteeism. According to Karen Hsu,

'A peer-to-peer study that compared teams with a gamification engagement strategy to those that don’t use gamification found that gamified workplaces have a 24% higher attendance rate'.

Once that higher level of engagement is reached, the data gleaned from that can be used to track performance against objectives in order to detect areas needing improvement.

Data can also be used to look at individual and team performance data, enabling HR to foster recognition of good work, which results in loyalty. Data can also target skills gaps and areas for improvement or diversity, as well as allow teams to recognize one another for reaching common goals.

Positive impact on employee engagement

Finally, how HR and management present data has an impact on employee engagement. Entertaining charts that give data-driven feedback about progress can foster deeper employee engagement. The use of icons: badges, banners, emoticons, in charts and leaderboards can encourage as well as offer incentive to learn new skill sets, thus creating potential lifelong learners that other employees can emulate. One simple application in the workplace had remote employees register an emoticon (smiley/frowny face) upon clocking in and out. The data that application generated allowed team managers gauge how remote employees were doing on a daily basis. Even small actions such as this ultimately build trust among management, fellow employees, and team members.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash