An intuitive way to make work-related activities more fun is by gamifying the assignments. The underlying psychology behind the success of gamification is simple: it taps into reward based mechanics where you fulfill certain actions in exchange for instant gratification. This releases a dose of ‘pleasure’ chemicals in the brains such as serotonin and dopamine to stimulate powerful human emotions.

Dopamine and serotonin are able to trigger happiness, excitement, and curiosity. All of these positive emotions lead to a higher loyalty, increased productivity levels, and higher sales.

So Why Does Gamification Work?

Gamification is when employers integrate video game mechanics into the regular flow of work, and it helps employees achieve milestones quicker. For instance, if you submit 10 assignments in 5 hours, you get a free drink. While this seems to be a more rudimentary form of reward generation,  it does work.

It’s like completing a level, every time you finish a challenge, you get rewarded with points.  The better your performance, the higher your points, which improves your ranking on the leaderboard.

Put simply, employees would not want to miss out on their hard earned drink, and not because it’s free either. But because earning the drink requires plenty of competition between their coworkers, before one of them ultimately gets rewarded. This provides high motivational levels.

A 2015 poll conducted by Gallup found that only 31.5 percent of employees in the US were engaged with their jobs. This is in stark contrast to Badgeville, one of the market leaders when it comes to gamifying the workplace, which was able to boost its own productivity levels by about 90 percent by introducing gamification.

Because the brain releases pleasure chemicals almost instantly, it provides an incentive to employees to modify their behaviors to reach newer milestones and accomplish more difficult goals. It can also improve team-based assignments.

When employees realize that sharing more information and collaboration will result in them receiving a reward, it will motivate them to work as a team instead of going solo. This fosters fraternity and bonding between employees, all of which will help them accomplish more ambitious tasks as a single cohesive unit.

How to Gamify Your Workplace

You can design projects like levels in video games. Each action is a milestone, and as you reach the next milestone, you unlock the next ‘level’.  Participants get rewarded with badges whenever they accomplish their tasks. As employees achieve a new badge, they start a new task – it’s a cycle that feeds itself.

Good Design Is the Key to Success

According to estimates by Gartner, over 80% of workplace applications are unable to meet gamification goals because of unoptimized design choices.  This defeats the purpose of gamification, which is to increase instances of instant reward based mechanics.  There are several applications that drive engagement and productivity.

It is important to be generous with benefits in order to provide real meaning to rewards. Otherwise, the employees won’t feel the need to engage with the gamification system.

Want to gamify your workplace, but don’t know where to start? JS Benefits Group lets you integrate powerful gamification apps into your existing workflow infrastructure for efficient results. Click here to contact our consultants.