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How can enterprise gamification boost productivity?

I've heard enterprise gamification is a way to drive and incent the right kind of behavior. How can I use it to get results from my own employees?

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That's right, it's for incentivizing the right behavior, but gamification also is used to help drive productivity, skills development, efficiency, knowledge management and possibly more. The first step in building a successful gamification regime is to determine which behaviors you want to enhance or extinguish (yes, you can do this). Then you have to instrument your solution by determining the kind of reward system or reward economy you need to set up. A successful gamification program isn't simply a way to award points or meaningless badges. In an employee setting, gamification should be a method of giving status to people as well as tangible rewards. So here are some examples. If you want to encourage people to develop product knowledge, then set up a ranking system tied to job descriptions -- i.e., you need to be a product specialist level xx before you can market the product. Make awards contingent on something greater than survival or seniority -- no five-year badges, please. Perhaps you can monitor the number of service calls successfully completed or customer feedback scores and award something to people who have met or exceeded such benchmarks. 

Also, remember that when you set up a gamification system you are building a little economy that issues and consumes the script or "Monopoly money" you issue. If people collect points but never use them, the rewards won't be very valuable. In airline frequent flier programs if you use your points you lose your status. That shouldn't happen because you want to let people know they are valuable to you as employees or customers for their past performance and loyalty. The points can be used up but, once earned, the status should remain. 

This was first published in January 2013

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