A lot has been written about gamification and how it is shaping the future for organisations as they learn to incorporate new techniques to inspire and motivate their teams and deliver results.
This blog is different because although it does give some background and theory, it also tells you HOW gamification is used in different organisations today and HOW we use it at Sales Activator.
What is Gamification?
Everyone is talking about it. What does it mean? Who is it for? And why do it?
I have been using gamification in Learning and Development for several years and everyday it inspires me because I see first hand the impact it has on people and organisations I work with and also the results they get from using gamification as part of their on going coaching and development.
Simply put, it’s the concept of applying game mechanics in learning, to engage and motivate ‘players’ to achieve their goals – and the value for the organisation and employee is very compelling indeed.
Who is it for?
Gamification – a blog for everyone! Gamification of learning is for everyone from all walks of life, no matter their age, and all businesses regardless of size or sector. We are not just talking about on-line gaming here!
There are some misconceptions around gaming with some believing it’s just for young men on consoles, but did you know that women over the age of 45 are far more likely to game on their tablets?
We must also remember that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be made up of millennials or Generation Y and this generation has been brought up online in the digital world and we must cater for their learning styles.
Where did Gamification come from?
Gamification has gained in popularity since it’s term was first introduced in 2003 by Nick Pelling, a British born computer programmer and inventor and by 2013 over 70% of Forbes Global 2000 surveyed said they planned to use gamification for the purpose of marketing and customer retention.
So, we’re in good company and it’s not a gimmick but how does it work?
There is a psychology behind gamification because it does use a number of psychological concepts, especially regarding motivation, behaviour and personality. According to Gabe Zichermann, a well-celebrated gamification guru, the phenomenon can be explained as ‘if you can make something more fun, and include notions of play, you can get people to do things they otherwise might not want to do’. This is because gaming leverages people’s natural desire for competition, achievement, status and much more.
Gamification is simply a means of tapping into the psychology of gaming, if you can apply gamification to learning and development then you encourage people to ‘own’ their development, move outside of their comfort zone, share best practice, learn new skills and reinforce what they know.
Gaming for Learning and Development
Within the arena of learning and development, gaming positively highlights skills and capability gaps to individuals and their managers and because the environment of gamified learning is non threatening, players actually have fun and don’t feel threatened or exposed for not knowing something.
You can use gaming to encourage learning and increase knowledge quickly and easily. By creating an environment that is competitive, but non-threatening, you tap into people’s natural desire for learning, competition and status. I certainly believe it is ‘now’ and relevant as more Leaders look to leverage gamification strategy to help differentiate their sales, service teams and organisation from their competitors.
The games you have played
You have all played games whether it be Monopoly, Trivial Pursuits, Chess or competitive sports, or, games via your mobile devices. They all have one thing in common which keeps drawing you back to it and that’s the desire to better your score, improve your technique, beat your friends, and earn more points. Repetitive play encourages you to adapt your style and technique, learn from your past mistakes, try a different tactic and overall improve your performance.
So, why should we limit all this wonderfulness to social games, how about leveraging some of this in the business world to drive performance and improve results and do it whilst we are enjoying ourselves. If we have fun whilst we learn we are more likely to embed the new information into our subconscious and retrieve it at a later date when we need it.
Early gamification strategies use rewards for players who accomplish desired tasks or competition to engage players. Types of rewards include points, achievement badges or levels, the filling of a progress bar, or providing the user with virtual currency. Personally I use a big piece of flip chart paper when playing the Sales Activator Selling Game as I know it drives competition when teams can see each others score and of course the winning team receives a prize – always have a prize, people like to be rewarded!
So, making the rewards for accomplishing tasks visible to other players or providing leader boards are great ways of encouraging players to compete and it is this healthy competition that drives learning, often the participant is not consciously aware they are learning because they are having too much fun!
Fear of gaming
The hardest part about “selling” a learning game or gamification idea inside your organisation is often just getting the initial buy-in because we can all be skeptical and fear what we don’t know or fully understand. Perhaps you need to see yourself in the company of others who have successfully used gamification
eBay are HUGE gamification advocates.
They have gamification built into their core DNA and have used it heavily to drive business. The two prominent game mechanics they implement are auction and status.
eBay implemented one of the first point systems that enables users to show their status on the site. The competitive bidding system, buyer-seller feedback, and power of seller statuses have turned eBay into a completely gamified platform.
Nintendo’s Wii Fit – bringing fun to exercise!
KMFM says …”The Sales Activator game is so versatile and it’s a great way to add some spontaneous development to the sales day! We are still in the early stages of using the game and every manager is committed to utilising this resource to the fullest. Basically you don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Within the game, there’s great coaching cards for every situation and it makes us all stop to think about what we do and identify different ways of doing things to get positive results. It’s highly interactive and gets very competitive, within 10 minutes you can have a re-energised team of people just by picking up a game card!”
Recruitment Genius says… “The Sales Activator Game gave everyone the opportunity to reflect on ‘best practice’, along with the confidence and skills to continue developing. The net outcome is a better net profit because we have a more effective sales team”
Neuroscientists are discovering more and more about the ways in which humans react to interactive design elements. They say such elements can cause feel-good chemical reactions, alter human responses to stimuli—increasing reaction times, for instance—and in certain situations can improve learning, participation, and motivation.
So, would you like to increase high value interactions with your customers, employees and partners to drive more sales? Perhaps you want to build stronger collaboration, better ROI, deeper loyalty, higher customer satisfaction and much more. If so, this is my gift to you because gamification is exciting and it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun!!
Sales Activator are a leading performance improvement company and their product is all about gamification. Built on research and steeped in theory the gaming tools Sales Activator offer are transforming performance at businesses such as Microsoft, AXA and Parseq who have enjoyed at least 15% increase in their performance and their revenues, whilst not losing productivity.
If you have gaming on your mind and you would like to talk it through in more depth, then get in touch on email@example.com