A gamified system that is designed for supporting collaboration also motivates interaction on a daily basis.

We understand. You’re thinking: ‘Gamification is too new. We prefer to use tried-and-true team building methods’.

Guess what? You may already be using gamification in your team building exercises. In fact, ‘team building’ and ‘gamification’ are not mutually exclusive terms. Gamification is simply a new way of recognizing participation, performance, and achievement, making repetitive tasks more appealing and improving collaboration and communication. Both gamification and team building are aligned with goals and building effective working relationships; but a gamified system that is designed for supporting collaboration also motivates interaction on a daily basis by applying the elements of computer games and fun.

Motivate employees who have repetitive tasks

By using gamification applications, management can motivate employees who have repetitive tasks (as we all do) by engaging them in game-like tasks with tangible rewards that offer positive reinforcement for a job well done. Where instant messaging once freed employees from the confines of their cubicles and allowed them to socialize without taking long breaks around the water cooler, gamification in the workplace motivates employees to finish monotonous tasks in a fun way; it also serves as a constant urge in much the same way as FarmVille or Candy Crush urges us back to the game to check on progress, beat previous achievements, and receive rewards, all the while actually improving corporate collaboration and communication.

The relationship between team building and gamification

In terms of team building, which has always been built around group collaboration and cooperation, participants were once required to develop strategy in order to achieve a goal by participating in games that required some form physical exertion, which wasn’t always possible for all team members. Gamification can build upon these team building efforts and provide real-time results and through the course of a workday without packing the sales teams off for a day of tug-of-war. So instead of lost productivity and resentment of team building, say on a weekend, gamification can build on these tried and tested methods and achieve greater results and success.

Making the switch to gamification strategy for team building is relatively easy, provided you know what your goals are and what you want to measure. Ask ‘what problems do we need to address?’ and ‘which practices do we want to boost?’. Identify your company’s values so that employees’ achievement aims align with what your business wants to achieve. Teams should have clear benchmarks and criteria, with clear objectives, and managers should assign individual roles that align with each team member’s particular strong suits.

Define the purpose to achieve

Finally, make sure you define the activities that you want your team members to perform more often, and then group them into domains (areas of improvement). Examples of domains include:

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Meetings
  • Sales Goals/Reporting

According to Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter, authors of For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business, the application of the classic Points, Badges, Leaderboards (PBL) elements of gaming is an effective way to help teams achieve business objectives. Consider using a point system where employees are recognized for mileposts such as achieving goals, filling out a work profile, voting on activities, or interacting with teammates.

Recognition of achievement and employee motivation

Badges or awards can be awarded for accumulating those points and are a good way to recognize employees who go above and beyond. While these are internal tools that won’t mean much on an individual’s resume or CV, they do hold value for a team. Leaderboards can rank team contributions, support of co-workers and feedback received and given, which makes for healthy competition and makes it easier for managers to run contests among teams.

Recognition of achievement is essential for employee motivation. Recognition through social goals, such as having colleagues track and recognize each other for a job well done, is a trend that allows the team to be proactive in resolving conflicts, and it's a great way for managers to look at a team's work and offer praise or useful feedback when necessary. In fact, a peer-review mechanic is useful in that it boosts self-organization and trust, as well as self-regulation. Employees won’t feel constrained to a manager or game administrator’s acceptance, the team members know best what their teammates are doing, and players will tend to establish their own standards for accepting or rejecting the activities. The overarching theme in all of this, of course, is fun that is ultimately rewarded.

Photo: Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash