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Motivating Young Workers with Gamification

Motivating Young Workers with Gamification

Aaron Moncreiff


Motivating today’s younger workforce has been a point of contention for most enterprise companies; how do they motivate and engage the easily distracted generation?

Managers often blame technology for creating a workplace culture of constant distraction, and it always seems that the youngest cohort of workers is the most susceptible to goofing off. It’s true that smartphones and the internet have placed distractions closer at hand—once upon a time, bored workers had to get up and walk all the way to the water cooler if they wanted to ignore the tasks on their desks. But blaming easy access to cat videos and online shopping completely misses the point: workplace distractions have always been with us, and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

Instead of trying to limit workers’ distractions—a sisyphean task that grows more difficult every day—employers should focus on cultivating engagement, recognizing diligence, and rewarding goal-focused behavior among their staff members. Gamification can help.

Understanding the Needs of Young Workers

To understand how a gamification platform like Bunchball Nitro can motivate younger employees, we should examine the needs they are tempted to fill with technological distractions:

  • Connection: social networks [like Facebook] provide an escape from the isolation of a desk job—younger workers long for the casual interaction and personal engagement that is missing from the cubicle.
  • Validation: For a lot of young people, posting a photo [like on Instagram] is about more than mere vanity. They’re seeking encouragement and validation from their friends. They need to be reassured that their activities have value and feel that they are appreciated by their peers.
  • Cooperation: Young people seek out like-minded communities [like on Pinterest], finding new friends who share their interests. These communities become a valuable resource that younger workers turn to for inspiration and advice on achieving their goals.

Finding It Inside

Instead of looking outside the workplace to fill these needs, the Bunchball Nitro platform creates a channel for employees to find fulfillment while staying engaged with their jobs.

  • Connection: Gamification fosters personal networks and connectivity by creating natural teams among your workforce and promoting team-based accountability. The desire not to let the team down can be a powerful motivator, but it only works when employees view themselves as being on a team that is working towards shared goals. Bunchball Nitro lets you better define your performance targets, as well as empowering employees with detailed stats that let them track their contributions to the group. This natural accountability structure will help keep younger employees on-task and engaged with their work.
  • Validation is one of gamification’s most potent motivators. Employees will naturally want to build up their status within the platform by racking up achievements and earning a top spot in the rankings. Bunchball Nitro lets you move past badges and leaderboards by creating a customized and interlocking set of goals that will reward your employees for bursts of short-term productivity while recognizing their sustained efforts towards long-term professional development projects. Bunchball’s incremental rewards system provides constant affirmation for your workers—it lets them know that their professional development goals are your goals, too.
  • Cooperation Gamification isn’t entirely about competition and rising to the top of the rankings. The Nitro platform lets young workers find their own affinity groups, locating the colleagues who will serve as their mentors and help them achieve their goals. The platform encourages teamwork on a broad spectrum—an employee will find multiple opportunities to join cooperative groups that are focused on more than achieving the company’s immediate targets. They will be able to connect with colleagues who share their interests and values, helping make the rich connections that are so often missing from traditional offices.

Engaging young people in an era of constant distraction can be tough, but a gamification platform will give you a chance to compete with the distractions. Bunchball is working to create products that improve workplace fulfillment and keep staff members focused on productivity in the broadest sense.

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