In our modern, efficiency-obsessed economy, the idea of a secret system that can make your employees more loyal, effective, and efficient seems too good to be true - but it actually is a real thing. They key is to tap into the elements of what we do for fun and bring those mechanics into the day-to-day workplace. Basically, you make work into a game through the process of gamification.

"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl

Gamification can be explained as the process of adding game mechanics to non-game situations. Basically, you make things more enjoyable—like a game—tapping into the concepts of fun and competition that we not only associate with games, but also find easier to engage with. When used in an employee advocacy setting, this strategy helps engage people and encourages their problem-solving ability. On the client side, this can be used to help promote brand awareness and loyalty.

How gamification can benefit your organization

Although many smaller companies are making use of this trending concept, gamification is not only for startups or small companies. Take the viewpoint of UBS, a company with tens of thousands of employees, and hundreds of billions of dollars in assets:

"Gamification unlocks a new category of incentives for organizations to use in encouraging and celebrating preferred employee behaviors." - Richie Etwaru, Director of Social Enterprise at UBS.

The idea of making tasks more fun by turning them into a game isn’t anything new, but the concept has gained traction over the past few years, thanks in part to social media. Location apps like Foursquare have turned “getting out on the town” into a competition. LinkedIn has also harnessed gamification with their profile strength indicator. Not only does this widget serve as an easy indicator for people with incomplete profiles, it challenges our reluctance to leave things incomplete. The concept of gamification has become a standard strategy, and surprisingly mainstream in the business world.

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Game mechanics can be added to many different activities, but is particularly suited to straightforward tasks with specific and measurable outcomes. One such task is employee advocacy.  

Harnessing the power of gamification in your own organization can have an amazing impact on your employee advocacy efforts. Encouraging staff with game mechanics prompts them to share more, and go further in amplifying your content message. If each employee is a beacon that can repeat and amplify your marketing message, gamification helps you turn the volume up. 

How to introduce gamification into your company

Although gamification can be applied to many tasks, it is not a magic wand that you should be waving throughout your entire organization, hoping to make everything fun. Some activities are not flexible enough to be meshed with game mechanics. Employee advocacy however, is particularly well suited to introducing game mechanics because the two things are mutually compatible; further engaging employees in their jobs, creating an easy-to-understand environment where employees comprehend their responsibilities and easily see the benefits of their actions, all while making work seem less like work.

Here are six tips on how to introduce gamification into business tasks (such as employee advocacy):

  • Clearly identify your business objectives. What do you want your employees to do? Games come with simple rules, instructions, and goals. If a game is missing any of these items, it becomes incredibly frustrating to play.
  • Design for players. While you want reap positive business results, you need to design the gamification principles so they are relevant to your “players”. If you can design things so that the player objectives and business objectives overlap, you have hit the right spot in your planning.
  • Be transparent on where everyone stands. One goal of gamification is to introduce an element of competition into tasks. You cannot compete if you do not know where you stand…adding an extra element—knowing where everyone stands, and where you stand relative to everyone else, can be a compelling incentive. Keep in mind, for transparency to be effective, you will need to answer questions and respond to feedback from your employees in a timely manner.
  • Reward player efforts. This might come in the form of stars, badges, or something else entirely. It doesn’t need to be a tangible object (but it can be). However you do it, your system needs to have a way to reward people for participation, and continue rewarding people for new accomplishments.
  • Set your team up to experience growth. Use points...use levels…use something else, but have a mechanic where people grow within the community and receive recognition for their continued efforts over time. *Star Tip—while badges show recognition for a single effort, levels show efforts over time.
  • Community makes the game. Think about it, any game is more enjoyable when it is played with other players who are taking part. A community of participants provides context for the individual efforts of individuals in your employee advocacy program.

If you build the game mechanics for your employee advocacy program properly, you create a system that provides positive feedback, growth, and rewards for your participants. Those also happen to be the things that promote engagement among your employees, helping them become more productive, improve employee retention, and generally make work more fun.

When we said gamification could benefit your business, we weren’t kidding. The only limitation is your imagination on how to apply it.

Learn more about employee advocacy in our eBook below. 

Getting Started With Employee Advocacy