"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." - Albert Schweitzer
The saying by Albert Schweitzer has never been more real in the modern world. For a business to be successful, it needs the emotional investment of its workers. Most times, the only way to get workers invested in the success of the organisation is to have them be happy about their role in the company. The happier an employee, the more productive they are and the higher the chances of them wanting to remain with the company for the long run.

How to make employees enjoy their work

One method employers are utilising to make the work environment more enjoyable to staff is through gamification. According to John Hopkins University, gamification is the application or integration of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts to motivate loyalty, engagement, participation, and productivity. The whole system of gamification taps into the employees need for instant feedback, rewards, work satisfaction and gratification.

Gamification in the real world

Now, it is important to note that the whole gamification process is not about turning the workplace into a game. Gamification apps utilise game mechanics and motivational tactics to introduce competition to the work environment and foster behaviour in employees to achieve essential business goals. When Pokémon Go was first launched in 2016, it became a global phenomenon.

The popular location-based augmented-reality game was downloaded more than 760 million times with millions of active users in 2018. Although Pokémon Go may only be a game, it has had a significant impact on the lifestyle of individuals. People are now encouraged to explore and exercise. If the Pokémon Go system were applied in the workplace, the same theories of rewards for achieving certain milestones could improve employee engagement and productivity.

The Game-like experience

Hungarian-American psychologist Csikszentmihalyi said the integration of play and work characterises a state called “flow.” Flow is the state of mind in which an individual performing an activity is fully involved in a feeling of complete focus, total involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the action. So, how can the flow state be made more accessible for employees to achieve? The answer is simple – Implementation!

The key to the successful gamification of work processes is in how employers implement them. The following are ways to apply it:

  • Identify the goals you want to achieve in the workplace through gamification
  • Forecast the behavioural or skill changes needed
  • Design the gamification system based on user experience
  • Explain the purpose of the gamification to employees
  • Tailor the game elements to the workflow of the organisation and the employees

Applying gamification to work processes

In the workplace, the following operations can be gamified:

  • Recruitment and Interviews
  • Employee training and seminars
  • Reporting and Customer Outreach

The whole gamification process does not need an elaborate setup. By applying some of the methods below, you can gain a lot regarding employee satisfaction.

  • The use of levels to signify the achievement of a milestone
  • A point or score system that when accumulated earns rewards for the employee
  • Leaderboards showing rankings of employees according to set standards
  • Badges indicating special accomplishments

However, note that application of the above methods will be more successful if management can set up a game that fosters both competitive and cooperative relationships amongst colleagues simultaneously.

Why does gamification work?

When done right, gamification offers benefits such as a fun workplace, real-time feedback, objectivity, and transparency. But, the primary advantage is in the change it brings about in employee behaviour. Gamification impacts the behaviour of employees by:

  • Serving as a call to action
  • Giving them a sense of control
  • Providing a sense of competition
  • Motivating them to gain rewards and recognition

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