Employers think a lot about how to engage and retain their employees. In our 2015 Employee Engagement Report, we found that only one in three employees feel valued at work. That leaves a large number of people dissatisfied or unhappy with their current work situation. How can this be? For many, a lack of appreciation and recognition was a key factor in their dissatisfaction.
Recognition and appreciation are crucial to keeping employees engaged and from jumping ship when another offer comes their way. Adopting certain gamification techniques can have a positive impact on your own employee recognition programs.
Here are five things to consider when adopting your own gamification strategies:
1. What do you or your employees want to achieve?
Have specific goals in mind and offer a selection of rewards that not only encourages changes in behavior but also allows employees the opportunity to choose their own reward. Try to come up with some unique ideas everyone might enjoy, like have a casual day, a free lunch, or an off-site day where teams can work at cafés, libraries, or any place with Wi-Fi. Maybe there’s a goal or task you both are interested in achieving. Ask them.
2. How are you rewarding your employees?
Everyone likes rewards, but rewards don’t necessarily need to be monetary. Giving flowers or a card that everyone signs can be just as meaningful as a free lunch. Have your employees come up with ideas, pick from those, and reward often. Just like any good gaming experience, small accomplishments are rewarded as well as the big ones. Rewarding small achievements motivates people to keep going and to try new things.
3. Are you challenging your employees to become more engaged?
A great way to challenge and engage your employees is to have content-rich training and professional development programs where employees must fulfill the requirements of one level before moving on to the next. As employees move through the content, badges can be awarded and bonuses unlocked to encourage engagement and growth.
It’s a good idea to make the first few badges easy to obtain but then become progressively harder as you go along.
4. Are you using social media?
It’s a social world, so give people the opportunity to share their accomplishments. Leaderboards and newsfeeds are especially effective. People can see the accomplishments of their peers, congratulate them and even feel motivated to take on new challenges themselves.
A word of caution: Avoid words like compete or competition, which can result in negative or even unethical consequences. The goal is to get everyone engaged and to work together, not to pit them against one another.
5. How are you measuring change?
It’s good idea to have a set of data before and after gamifying to see if the strategy is working. If it’s not, you’ll know sooner rather than later and be able to make changes early on. But don’t just rely on numbers. If it’s not working, go to the source. Ask your employees directly what changes could be made to improve the recognition program.
So where should you begin? Make your program personal, relevant, and timely to your employees. These ideas may seem simple and straightforward, but it’s often the small ideas that create big changes. Remember it pays well to recognize your employees.