Gamification is a method by which an ordinary task or something that already exists can be taken and have game mechanics integrated into it in an effort to increase engagement with said task.
This could be anything, a website, an app, or even an educational setting such as a classroom.
In more recent years, however, gamification has seen a surge in popularity as a system that can be employed in the workplace. Now, this isn’t a new way of using gamification because people have been using it since before there was even a term for it, but it certainly has evolved over time.
Today, we are going to be discussing what gamification is, how it works, and how it can benefit your company culture immensely.
Gamification, and well, games in general work because of a chemical in the brain known as dopamine. This chemical is a neurotransmitter that is activated anytime you reach a specific goal or achieving something. It is this chemical that makes us feel good about making those positive choices.
When we are given a task and then rewarded or otherwise acknowledged for completing it successfully, our brains release a bit of this dopamine to let us know we have done well with our task. This is nature’s positive reinforcement.
When we do something good and are rewarded for it, it makes us want to do it again to get another reward.
Social media is a great example of gamification and what it looks like so let’s take Facebook for instance…
Now, at its core, this social media giant is essentially just a website where you can easily and quickly talk to just about anyone across the globe. While that alone is certainly an impressive concept all in its own right, it takes more than just the ability to talk in real-time and share pictures of your kids with grandma.
What drives the massive engagement on Facebook is actually nothing more than a clever mix of social interaction and gamification. All those likes, shares and comments are the gamification elements hard at work that keep you checking your phone numerous times throughout the day to see how many thumbs up or heart emojis you received on your latest post.
But it’s not just social media that uses gamification with great success. Another example would be an app like the language learning platform Duolingo. This app helps people all around the world learn new languages and to date, it has amassed a huge user-base. To the tune of about 300 million active users!
The success behind the app was driven from the fact that it employs things like badges, an in-app currency that can be earned and used, and a thriving section of the app called clubs where users can interact with one another.
When users pass a lesson module they earn a badge and experience points that they can track, and when they pass a certain number of modules, they earn in-app currency that can be used to buy special perks in the app. But the clubs section is where these elements really start to shine. Clubs are made up of groups of people who are learning the same language, and people can interact with one another while competing for a top spot on the clubs leaderboard.
There are many, many other industries that are using gamification elements with great success, with more adopting this system every day.
Gamification being used in social media and learning apps is great and all, but how does gamification benefit a physical industry such as the logistics space, or any other for that matter?
Well, there are two main benefits to gamifying your workspace…
First and foremost, gamification is great for helping warehouse employees learn to work together as a team to achieve a goal. By setting up “group challenges” that offer special rewards for the completion of the task, you can get your employees to build trust amongst themselves, learn better interpersonal skills, and learn how to work cohesively as one unit to reap some reward.
Set a goal that requires the participation of a few different roles in the chain, give them a time limit in which to reach the goal, and provide a way for them to monitor their teams progress.
The reward for reaching the goal could be anything from a free lunch for the winning team, tickets to events outside of work (another great way for employees to keep bonding even outside of the typical workday), or other small rewards.
As a word of caution, we recommend keeping the rewards inexpensive, yet attractive. Try to avoid offering just straight cash as a prize as this can tend to cause feelings of favoritism.
Sometimes, your employees just want to be recognized for all their hard work. By creating a bit of competition for them with celebratory praise and recognition in front of their co-workers at the end if they do well you motivate them to continue doing good work.
You make them feel valued by publicly acknowledging their accomplishment. An easy way to implement something like this is to create a leaderboard on a dry-erase board somewhere in the warehouse. This way, everyone knows they are competing and can watch their progress as they try their hardest to get their score up past their co-workers.
Simply being acknowledged can be one of the most empowering feelings in the world and gamification makes it easy to achieve.
Gamifying your warehouse or entire logistics operation can greatly improve the happiness and efficiency of your workers by leaps and bounds.
When you give people an incentive to do good, they will strive to do their best. Paychecks are no longer good enough, you have to give your employees a true sense of purpose, community, and recognition. If you can pull that off, you will have a work culture in which your employees not only perform better, but they want to do it consistently because it makes them feel good.