Social Business Software
It's a Game, It's Fun… It's Work?
What do gamers and your employees have in common? A lot more than you think
By: Joel Dubinsky
Oct. 20, 2011 04:00 AM
Be honest. What comes to mind when you picture a gamer? To speak on behalf of many of us, the typical stereotype is of a socially awkward man who never grew up that lives in his parents' basement whose social interactions are primarily online with other gamers via his handsome avatar.
Right? It turns out that we're wrong. Today's gamers include millions of Americans of all ages and backgrounds. In fact, nearly three-quarters (72%) of all American households play computer or video games (Entertainment Software Association). And the number is skyrocketing thanks to the popularity of games on mobile devices and social networks: Ten years ago there were between 150 million to 200 million gamers. Now, there are over one billion gamers globally.
Why should you care? The reality is that your workforce is likely made up of a bunch of gamers. Your employees are spending their free time and money playing games. What if there was a way for you to tap into this interest AND improve your business?
Enter gamification. Gamification is taking what's fun and addicting about video games and applying it to every day tasks to make them more engaging. With the huge popularity of social games on Facebook and applications such as FourSquare, businesses are also now beginning to experiment with gamification to not only capture the attention of consumers, but to engage and motivate their own employees.
The numbers are pointing towards gamification being the next big thing for IT. Gartner predicts that by 2014, more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application.
What does this look like? There are countless ways that games can be applied to work environments to increase employee engagement, change behavior, and ultimately impact the bottom line. Consider how games could improve project management, programming, employee training, customer service or sales effectiveness.
An easy example to visualize is the call center, notorious for focusing employees on performing mundane, repetitive tasks that oftentimes involve an unhappy customer on the other end. There is little camaraderie or collaboration. Creating energy in a call center has always been a challenge. You can give extra incentives for certain key performance indicators, but oftentimes those incentives result in only a temporary upswing in agent motivation and performance.
What if we looked at the entire idea of incentives differently? What if the call center became a game and the operators were the players? With the average age of a call center worker being 23, the adoption of new technology and a gaming culture is a natural fit. Here's how a call center can be gamified:
The game provides a fun alternative for leadership, encourages peer-to-peer recognition and becomes a long-term solution to increase call center productivity.
Beyond modifying the agent's attitude, the additional upside is the impact this will have on the centers KPI's (key performance indicators). A gamifed agent will be inspired to increase his or her number of calls per hour, decrease average handle time and increase community involvement.
Sound far-fetched? Check out companies like Bunchball, Badgeville and Bigdoor Media. They are already doing this for businesses you know.
It sounds like work could be starting to become a lot more fun. What business processes or tasks in your organization could be improved by gamification?
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