Enterprise Gamification: Engaging the Millennials

Millennials are achievement-driven. They are exposed to myriad of online gaming environments where being in the game is all about fierce competition, deep collaboration and building a reputation. In any game, you have a clearly defined mission; you compete or collaborate to compete and your position depends solely on your achievements. This environment is exhilarating and engaging to the point of addiction. A well-designed game provides instant feedback in a transparent manner.  More importantly, the game touches the deep human desires including achievement, acceptance, visibility, fairness and meritocracy. Gamification is about adopting and applying these essential social elements of games into core company practices to make the practices more engaging much like games are.

A “well-gamified process” will create a near game-like engagement for employees and customers.  It creates opportunities for employees to accomplish regular small wins and earn healthy reputation among peers in a fun environment, which is essential for deep engagement.

Listed below are some key building blocks of enterprise gamification:

  • Score is essential for games. A simple point scheme or a counting scheme will provide a way to keep score of accomplishments.
  • Levels show the depth of mastery one has achieved pertaining to a certain skill or a process. Levels provide a way to establish a sense of progress.
  • Badges are the way to build ones digital reputation. Badges symbolize skills, accomplishments or contributions and act as an intrinsic reward for the achievement.
  • Leaderboards provide visibility and ranking. They drive competition, thereby improving overall performance and help build reputation.

With Gartner predicting that over half of organizations will gamify innovation by 2015, enterprises are aiming at adopting the much sought-after technique. Need proof? Google has rebranded its app store from “Google Marketplace” to “Google Play,” and other organizations will surely follow. Companies are looking forward to the boundless opportunities that will result from making work more enjoyable and more fun but still goal-oriented. What will result is an energized and motivated workforce, enhanced user experience elements and the ability to better meet customer expectations. These and other benefits of this promising technology are all set to transform the way businesses run today.

Continuous appreciation, praise, recognition and visibility are the essence of any engagement. A future-ready enterprise will be gamified at the core and will tap into these deep human desires to unleash the full potential of its talent.

Good luck as you embark on your enterprise gamification journey!

Madu Ratnayake

Chief Information Officer & Head of Business Process Excellence, Virtusa. Madu is responsible for Virtusa’s digital business strategy where he focuses on pioneering social enablement of core business processes to transform the way Virtusans work, learn, share and connect with each other and with clients. He heads the IT, Enterprise Applications, and Quality & Process groups at Virtusa. Madu also heads Virtusa Sri Lanka operations. Madu is the Chairman of Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) and Sarvodaya Fusion, the ICT4D arm of Sarvodaya, the largest NGO in Sri Lanka; and Co-chairman of the National Council on ICT and Space Technology for The Coordinating Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI) in Sri Lanka. He is also a member of the advisory board for ICT at the Export Development Board (EDB) and represents the IT industry on the boards of several leading universities. He is a Charted Engineer, Certified Gamification Master and holds an MBA and a First Class Honors Degree in Software Engineering.

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  • Nalaka Jayasena October 2, 2012

    This is indeed a refreshing trend.

    What would be really cool to have one day, is an gamified HR software system where the practice of meritocracy is firmly built in, without being subject to individual interpretation!

  • Shanaka October 9, 2012

    Very interesting concept. Being a Hardcore gamer my self I believe this concept will unleash the full potential of the employees. Popular games like World of Warcraft (WoW) has a larger set of data and more precise KPIs of the players’ skills, achievements, and progress through the system than any company on their own employees. So Gamification will be far more effective than ordinary Performance Reviews in a company.

  • Yasith Abeynayaka November 16, 2012

    Few months ago, I introduced “Gamified” knowledge management system to my largely millennial team. I used Badge base recognition system when somebody exhibit considerable contribution to the project knowledge in a particular area. For an example, if somebody understands and solved 10 certain type of customer complains (Lead to Cash order failure to be more precise) they get a bronze level badge named under that category. When the count reach 25 it convert into silver and so on. For easier management I used self-nomination eligibility criteria. Sadly I haven’t got any nominations for badges yet.

    I haven’t got a chance to do a full analysis into why my gamification project failed. But based on basic observations it can be the size of my team is too small to create such competitive environment. Or it can be the fact that my age-wise millennial team is not really a millennial team in behavioral aspect. Or it can be external factors or lack of recognition to the rewards I planned.

    Have anyone done any formal research into the size and other group dynamics for successful gamification project?

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