For most of civilized history, "work" and "fun" have remained entirely separate concepts. People work to earn money and get things accomplished, and then have fun to recover from all that work. But in recent years, companies have realized that combining work with fun results in happier, more productive employees who are less likely to seek greener employment pastures--and, in some cases, are more likely to improve.
Enter gamification. Defined by top business research and analysis firm Gartner Group as "the concept of employing game mechanics to non-game activities" such as training, recruitment, and health and wellness, this strategy for making work fun is taking off in the corporate world. In fact, Gartner forecasts that over 70 percent of the top 2,000 global organizations will use at least one application of gamification by 2014.
Companies that already use gamification
At the Deloitte Leadership Academy, a prestigious digital training program for senior executives, this strategy has been introduced through a partnership with the gamification company Badgeville. Participants in the program can "level up" as they undergo training, and earn badges and rewards in the process that can be shared through social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn.
The academy has already seen success in the form of increased participation, higher engagement, and greater retention. Gamified executives leave the Deloitte program fired up and committed to workplace improvement.
Many other companies have introduced gamification as a way to stimulate, engage, and improve employee performance. These include:
The next logical step for social HR
It should come as no surprise that gamification is an effective strategy for human resource departments. Since 2008, the number of people in the United States who play video games has risen by 241 percent, a growth fueled by popular online and mobile apps like Farmville and Angry Birds.
By incorporating the elements of game play into the workplace, companies fuel the natural competitive drive of their employees. Games allow people to feel more engaged, and offer a sense of immediate accomplishment that provides motivation to continue succeeding. With professional structuring and integration, gamification has the potential to improve workplaces exponentially, in terms of both employee satisfaction and productivity.
As social media becomes more pivotal in the business world, smart companies will embrace gamification and introduce more play into the work environment.
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