How to level up your HR efforts by gamifying employee activities.

Once upon a time, gamification was considered a novelty in the field of human resources. Of course, that’s changed over the last few years. If you’re an HR professional that needs to engage employees, then you know incorporating elements of game design into company platforms and digital portals is a reliable strategy in your toolkit. And your organization wouldn’t be the only one using it.

Today, multinationals use gamification for recruitment and safety training, consulting firms have gamified onboarding processes, and tech companies boost employee learning and development with gamified programs.

And one major aspect of human resources that’s perfect for gamification is employee activities.

Why employee activities matter

Whether you’re organizing volunteer outings, running company sports teams, or hosting workplace parties, providing activities that don’t directly involve career or work have tremendous value. Such “extracurriculars” raise employee morale and create an environment that fosters employee engagement. According to the consultant group The HR Monks, they’re also ideal for breaking monotony, sparking fresh outlooks, increasing people’s self-esteem, and strengthening bonds within teams. 

The benefits of gamifying employee activities

HR departments that don’t gamify employee activities likely see them as secondary to learning and development programs or onboarding processes for new hires. But just as gamification those efforts have holistic advantages across the HR spectrum, gamifying employee activities can reap unique rewards.        

  • It boosts employee engagement. Gamification is well-known for driving user engagement and increasing participation. It’s designed to keep people coming back. Gamifying your employee activities can raise the level of participation and increase the number of positive interactions with employees.
  • It provides crucial metrics. Unlike onboarding or compliance training, most non-work-related employee activities aren’t mandatory. You can roughly gauge success with attendance numbers, but you won’t get much insight. A gamified platform, however, offers data and analytics from the users’ gameplay that you can assess to measure employee engagement.  

5 key steps for successfully applying gamification to employee activities

No matter what gamification road map or methodology you use, there are several steps that we at Pointagram have found are essential when you gamify employee activities.

- Start with “why”

The first step for any gamifying effort is to figure out the “why”. In this case, it’s the outcome you want to achieve by gamifying your employee activities, like a lower turnover or a happier workplace. When you have a clear purpose, it informs everything you do and becomes invaluable guidance for the nuts and bolts decisions of gamification, such as level scaling and progression systems.

- Define roles

Defining user roles usually means designating who’s an admin and who isn’t. But there’s more to it than that for gamification, especially in the workplace. Employees can be organized by department and there are other categories you can use as the basis for awarding different amounts of points. For example, you could set any user listed as a remote worker to receive more points than they otherwise would for in-person participation.

- Specify the activities

Vagueness saps the energy out of any gamification effort. It’s important you specify the different employee activities you’re gamifying and clearly communicate their assigned point value from the start. It’s a good idea to have a walkthrough showing how employees earn points for something like playing in a company ping-pong tournament (along with a full breakdown of activities) that they can refer to later.

- Set up a clear structure of points and awards

Points and awards are the heart and soul of any gamification setup. If users don’t understand how they earn points and awards, they’re less likely to participate. The point system also needs an obvious outcome of points for users’ actions, such as an employee receiving 5 points for attending an event. You should also have prominent awards based on completion and improvement, like a profile badge for when an employee attends three consecutive events. Level awards, as in distinctions for employees that earned a certain number of points, are great to demonstrate progression, while leaderboards that showcase ranking by points boost motivation and engagement rates. 

- Implement a system for redeeming rewards

A crucial step for ensuring your gamification effort connects with employees is to tie it to something of real-world value. In Pointagram, for example, employees can earn a coin whenever they receive a certain number of points for participating in activities. They can then redeem their coins at a digital rewards store, which is completely customized. An available reward can be a gift card, a day-off, or anything else you think your company’s employees desire. 

Not quite ready to press start? Contact us at Pointagram!  We’ll answer all your questions about how to gamify employee activities.

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Empowering leaders to motivate and engage their teams for success through gamification