There’s no doubt that in today’s rapid-paced world, companies are constantly investing in and installing new technologies to improve business processes, reduce costs, and improve productivity. Businesses all over the world often find it challenging to promote user adoption and engagement of new technology. This disengagement flows through every aspect of work, especially prevalent when implementing new software, and costs the U.S. economy quite a bit. A Gallup Poll shows that 70 percent of American workers are disengaged in the workplace, and their active disengagement costs the country’s economy approximately $450 billion to $550 billion per year.
To attack this issue, companies often invest resources into change management, but change management is an imprecise science, or perhaps even more of an art. Without really defining a method and strategy to hone in on user engagement and adoption, companies are often faced with having spent a lot of money, time and resources into implementing a new software system to only have a handful of workers using it to its fullest potential.
A recent trend in corporate America and in forward-looking technology developers is gamification. Companies are often using gamification principles to solve issues such as change management, user engagement, and digital technology adoption.
What is Gamification?
To define gamification, it’s simpler to start with clarifying what gamification isn’t. It isn’t just slapping some bells and whistles on an existing product to make it more interesting. And it isn’t about turning a company’s entire digital property into a game. It isn’t even just games created for a business purpose, or about creating something new.
Rather, gamification is about amplifying the effect of an existing, core experience by applying the motivational techniques that make games so engaging. In its absolute simplest sense, gamification is the use of game mechanics to engage audiences, solve problems and introduce fun and novelty into mundane tasks. Gamification incentivizes behaviors that are closely aligned to a company’s goals, generating actions and creating value-added data.
Through gamification, companies have been able to experience higher-value interactions with customers, employees and partners, stronger collaboration, better ROI, deeper loyalty, greater customer satisfaction, and overall business performance improvement.
Gamification is one of the fastest growing technology trends in the world. Companies such as SalesForce, Target, LinkedIn, Nike, and more than 350 nationally-recognized enterprises have invested in gamification, with many reporting significant results. According to M2 Research, by 2018, companies are expected to spend approximately $5.5 billion on gamification. Some forecasters predict that most industries will include some sort of gamification to their online properties by 2020.
Why Does Gamification Work?
Using gamification not only addresses user engagement, but it also helps a company to become a magnet for best-of-breed talent. According to a recent poll by Gallup, millennials are the last engaged generation; and with this group poised to make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, it makes sense that savvy employers want them to be engaged so that they are able to drive innovation, growth, and revenue.
As a business tactic, gamification is useful because people at all levels want to participate in a “game.” Some of the biggest barriers in software rollouts are in the areas of change management, compliance, and user experience. It’s human nature to dislike change, so finding a way for workers to truly adopt a new technology is always a challenge. Gamification helps to resolve this issue by making it more about the workers’ interests than about corporate needs. Gamification helps to answer the question, “What’s In It for Me?” (WIIFM) immediately, and not only increases adoption of technology, but leads to increased users satisfaction because workers:
Learn the basic principles of using the technology quickly
Upgrade their competence in certain areas
Form significant behavior usage patterns
Get involved in system engagement
“Gamification leverages the techniques that game designers have used for years – goal setting, real-time feedback, transparency, competition, teams, etcetera – to motivate and engage customers and employees.” ~Rajat Paharia, Founder and Chief Product Officer of Bunchball
“Gamification is not a project…it’s a program that gets invested in for the long-term. Those that understand that see the most impactful and meaningful results.” ~Kris Duggan, Founder of Badgeville