Gamification of the Workplace

Topics: Video game, Massively multiplayer online game, Employment Pages: 5 (1805 words) Published: February 7, 2013
Executive Memorandum

To: Miree, Professor at AUBG
From: Georgi Ivanov
Date: November 16, 2011
Topic: Gamification in the Workplace

The paper examines a new trend in workplace design called “gamification”. Gamification is defined as using concepts derived from video games and applying them in businesses to enhance motivation, raise productivity and lower turnover. The areas of effect discussed are motivation, cooperation, productivity and employee happiness. The text looks at which characteristics of video games make them so engaging and translates them into examples from the workplace. It presents real examples of companies that have implemented similar techniques.

Gamification in the Workplace: A New Way to Think About Work

Georgi Ivanov

American University in Bulgaria

The workforce of today is composed of young, talented and creative people, who despite their potential are less loyal and are always on the lookout for the job that better suits their qualification. As managers continue to search for ways to attract, motivate and keep them they ask themselves what makes this generation different from the previous. One of the things that separate us from other generations of workforce, video game addiction, has become increasingly relevant in the last decade. The college graduates that enter the labor market have played them since kids and consider them a hobby. The older generations learn about them as because of the app store which is a platform for easily accessible casual games. There is something in video games that makes people play them and create them and that something has made the video game industry the fastest growing entertainment industry today. With millions of people playing video games and investing money in their hobby, many companies implement video game concepts in an effort to make work more engaging, raise productivity and motivation and lower turnover. The process is known as “gamification”. To understand why managers would look to video and computer games of all things to improve the work life of their employees we have to understand what makes a video game so appealing to the modern employee and what part of that appeal is relevant to their productivity and satisfaction on their job. We know that some games have bigger audiences than prime time television shows, which means that these people prefer to do something, to be involved, than just sitting there and taking it in. In his book The Game of Work: How to Enjoy Work As Much As Play (1984) Charles Conrad leans on the fact that people will often work harder or even pay money to improve their performance outside of work. He outlines five principles that would transfer part of this to the business environment and empower employees – better scorekeeping, clearly defined goals, frequent feedback, better scorekeeping and consistent coaching. When the book was issued video games were not the object of the author’s discussion, however the concepts are present in today’s most popular video games. It is common have a score number in a corner of the screen showing how you are doing and every action you take changes that score. Taking this one step further is a ladder system that shows your score in comparison to other people’s score. With the popularity of video games today it is evident that people are respond very well to such a system. Through extension, if people are willing to devote so much time and energy into improving their game scores so they can climb the ladder and win intangible rewards, then, if they knew where they stood among their colleagues, they would be more motivated to do better. In her WSJ article Latest Game Theory: Mixing work and play (2011), Rachel Silverman gives a couple of examples of successful “gamification” of tasks. Live Ops Inc. runs a virtual call center. The company awards employees with virtual badges and points for keeping calls short and closing sales with leader boards that allow...
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