It’s all about the game, then the marbles will follow naturally

What is gamification?

Gamification is the principle in which you use game elements and game techniques in a non-game environment (everyday work). An employee is stimulated or challenged while working. This is done, for example, by the:

  • Receiving immediate feedback
  • Get recognition in the form of points, badges or next level
  • Collaborate with or provide assistance to colleagues
  • Facing challenges as an individual, team or as an entire organization

Gamification aims at, what we also want in organizations: to incite the individual strength and energy of employees (players) to contribute from within themselves to, for example, quality, continuous improvement or innovation. Where your employees’ behavior determines results, gamification is a valuable tool.

Our experience with gamification

The authors of this white paper, in addition to being Gwynt consultants, are also avid cyclists: on the road and in the virtual world.

Renunciation is suddenly fun

In the winter, cycling is at a standstill. For those who want to stay fit, challenge themselves or stay level headed, there is a wonderful solution: Zwift.

Zwift is a virtual program that allows you to race on your cycling bike in your living room using a bike trainer, some sensors and a computer screen. Zwift makes traditional exercise more fun by adding some cool elements:

  • Zwift features a number of courses, including one where you virtually cycle across London
  • You can ride your own ride, or you can join a group. The leader of the group sets the pace and determines the route
  • While cycling, there are intermediate sprints, you can win the polka dot jersey and you can chat with other cyclists, who are all over the world in their own living rooms, liking them or giving them a little nudge.
  • Zwift controls the resistance on your bike trainer, tracks your maximum and average speed, and urges you as you ride to “close the gap” between you and your predecessor

Where indoor training used to be boring, Zwift has transformed indoor training into entertaining, motivating, accessible and social (“fitness entertainment”).

For consumers, several apps such as Zwift exist. Apps that make exercising, studying or sharing knowledge fun, stimulating and energizing. The question we ask is what can business learn from the game industry? How can we make work more fun and challenging? So does this really work in a work environment? We are convinced that it does. We have experienced this ourselves in practice. We discuss this in more detail in the next case study.

Nothing less than a TOP shopping experience

Together with Coop, Gwynt set up SHOWTIME. Maarten Ebben Director of Store Operation Coop explains the purpose of the program: “SHOWTIME is all about wanting to win, from a 7 to a 9. Together we make it a great show and offer our customers a TOP shopping experience.”

Still daily, the SHOWTIME team directs, manages and develops the program; this will continue in 2017. Over the past year, the program has led to a flow of enthusiasm, provided energy, creative initiatives, excellent execution on the store floor and accelerated team development. In addition, it also led to better operating results. The strength of the program is that it is close to the employee. SHOWTIME is composed of a number of core elements:

  • 3 themes with challenges focused on the customer, the store game and the store team/employee
  • Ambassadors (boosters) appointed to promote SHOWTIME locally
  • Teams and staff earn points with weekly mission/action assignments
  • Top teams and individuals are highlighted and receive Hero certificates
  • National (private) Facebook group set up to share and celebrate successes

Gamification for you?

We believe that the core of continuous improvement and successful change lies in actively engaging and moving individual employees in a fun way. The employee plays a crucial role in making an organization thrive: the employee who, from their own drives and beliefs, takes action and pursues personal goals. The organization must then only ensure that those personal goals also contribute to the organizational goals. The use of game elements can mean the following in this:

  • Create win-win for company and employee
  • Bringing ‘fun’ to improvement and development
  • Giving (a framework of) free choices to employees
  • Starting from the strength of the individual
  • Mobilize and activate employees through challenges

6 Steps away from your game

How can we put gamification principles into practice? Below we briefly address this and introduce how you can quickly make meters in 6 steps.

  1. Identify what obstacles or challenges exist (why & what?)
  2. Determine the degree of improvement you want: what processes do you want to optimize (goal?)
  3. Determine who should do it: map the players on the playing field (who?)
  4. Know what resonates with the players, what binds and differentiates them, and determine what transformation of teams and human behavior is necessary to achieve the stated goal and overcome obstacles (how?)
  5. Describe game elements that fit real-life situations and can trigger the desired behavior (“game plan”)
  6. Invent, create, build and improve the game step by step (“play to progress”):
    • What is a player going to experience in a game, is it about winning individually or collectively and how does a player grow in the game
    • Challenge and provide achievable action tasks, inspire with examples and “microlearning,” and keep it simple
    • Share and celebrate successes and leverage social media
    • Make it a show by putting employees in the spotlight: reward desired behavior, award certificates, for example
    • Measure the performance of improvement and develop the game as it goes along: from the very first prototype, test what works and what doesn’t?

The article “How STOER is your organization?” offers further depth to these questions.

Get started together with Gwynt

We are happy to help you get started in two days:

  • With your people we do a STOER-assessment and game-storm to get the change question and the power to change in focus.
  • Then we jointly concretize the playing field and desired behaviors
  • Finally, to create and visualize the game plan with your team

After two days, you will have a:

  • Concrete game plan, tailored to your organization and your employees
  • New approach where your use gamification as an engine for change

Make work fun and challenging. Make it a game, a show. Our belief is that this will create a flow of enthusiasm and improve organizational performance. The marbles will then naturally follow! We wish you much success and, above all, fun in applying gamification principles and experimenting.