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The Hidden Benefits of Gamification

The Hidden Benefits of Gamification

Aaron Moncreiff

02/13/2019

The motivational benefits of gamification are obvious: by creating a comprehensive structure of rewards and challenges, a gamification platform can encourage employee engagement and recognize achievements. Workers respond to incentives.

But gamification can also bring hidden benefits to your organization. A gamification platform like Bunchball Nitro is capable of doing more than incentivizing peak performance—by revealing hidden preferences and illuminating collaborative networks, the platform can make your business more agile, resilient and effective. The way workers respond to gamification will illustrate your organization's strengths, providing the vital insights that can help clarify your strategic vision.

It’s How You Play the Game

Everyone knows it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. But traditional workplace competitions like sales bonuses don’t give employees much autonomy in how they pursue their rewards. As a result, the information flow only moves in one direction—workers can clearly see what management values, but leadership may remain blind to important facts on the ground.

A comprehensive gamification platform changes the playing field. By offering a constellation of incentives and tracking performance along multiple axes, gamification opens new flows of information, pushing insights from the bottom up. How your workforce chooses to pursue goals can tell you a lot about what’s really going on in the workplace. You’ll see which incentives generate the strongest response and identify which clusters of achievement are linked to your office’s highest performers.

Revealed Preferences

Gamification also gives employees the power to reveal preferences that they might otherwise be reluctant to voice. Pointing out minor, recurring issues in a traditional 360 review session can be seen as complaining; many employees feel uncomfortable “rocking the boat”. The dynamic nature of a gamified workplace resolves that issue—the boat is already constantly in motion, and every choice a worker makes is a chance to demonstrate their preferences. By offering multiple avenues for professional achievement, the platform allows employees to act on their convictions.

For example, if the workforce feels their professional development goals are being neglected, gamification will empower them to pursue the training and education opportunities they have been missing. By tracking hundreds of independent decisions in real time, the platform can help reveal hidden preferences, showing management which programs are truly valued, and which are secretly viewed as a waste of time.

The platform can also identify organizational bottlenecks that no single individual may be aware of. By looking at the aggregation of performance data, leadership will be able to identify the points at which employees’ progress commonly stalls. Identifying the minor—but persistent—delays that plague your organization will help you streamline processes and improve efficiency, as well as boosting morale. 

Illuminating Back Channels

Your official organizational chart is just an outline. Gamification can provide a more nuanced view of the connections in your workplace, illuminating the hidden networks that make things happen. The platform’s impact on teamwork is a fundamental feature. By incentivizing cooperation and tying an individual’s success to the entire team’s performance, gamification can encourage collaboration and move beyond the winner-take-all structure of traditional incentives. The platform can also allow workers to recognize the colleagues that have made important contributions to their efforts.

In a gamified workplace, hidden patterns will emerge. Management will be able to use the platform’s insights to identify the company’s most influential points of contact and predict which employees will be most effectively paired together. Encouraging the partnerships that produce results can help ensure that teams are staffed with complementary skill sets. And gamification can provide a way to track cross-disciplinary collaboration at every stage, highlighting the areas where departments are most effectively working together.

Laying the Groundwork

Ultimately, gamification can help lay the groundwork for transforming your business into a nimble organization. Adapting to change is difficult because employees naturally want to defend their turf—rapidly shifting priorities can create misaligned incentives and leave teams working at cross-purposes. Gamification not only provides direct control over incentive structures, allowing you to communicate priorities across portfolios, but the platform will also help inform your organizational decisions and reassure employees that they will be valued in their new roles.

A gamification platform can help your organization embrace complexity and deploy resources in time to take advantage of new opportunities. The platform provides greater transparency as you fine-tune reward structures, encouraging buy-in from employees at all levels. Gamification can also cultivate trust throughout the organization—when employees are used to having their cross-disciplinary efforts recognized and rewarded, they will be less cautious navigating the shifting roles and ad-hoc structures of a nimble business environment.

Pushing Information Upwards

The obvious benefit of gamification is that it allows management to quantify and encourage a broad array of constructive activity, from professional development to inter-departmental collaboration. But the information that flows the other way—the insights you gain when observing how workers respond to changing incentives—can be just as valuable.

Gamification creates a flow of information from the bottom up. You’ll see which challenges people are eager to take on, and which partnerships they look forward to joining. You’ll also know which tasks are put off for last, and which barriers require the strongest incentives to overcome.

Bunchball’s Nitro platform can help you know your workforce and better understand their perspectives. By revealing the hidden preferences of the workforce and showcasing the back-channel partnerships that make your business hum, gamification can help you make the changes to optimize your organization

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