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Using Gamification to Boost Staff Morale

In addition to helping business owners solve problems around customer engagement and retention, gamification can enhance staff relations. Employers can leverage gamified techniques like leaderboards, points and badges to incentivize high-quality work, improve client interactions and reward team accomplishments.

"Gamification can improve employee productivity and morale," says Gabe Zichermann, co-author of the book The Gamification Revolution. "In the past employee recognition was often cheesy or costly, like hanging a photo of the Employee of the Month on the wall at McDonald's. Gamified platforms like PropsToYou and [Salesforce's] change all that. Now when someone does something worth rewarding, a superior or subordinate can pull out their phone and recognize them for a job well done."

Gamified programs can be especially effective in building relationships with Millennial staffers, Zichermann adds.

"They were brought up on games, and that changes the way their brains work. They need more immediate, positive reinforcement," he says. "The Millennial generation is the most technologically and socially literate ever, so there are big benefits to managing them well."

In addition to launching a customer-retention program in association with loyalty platform provider Perkville, North Carolina-based chain O2 Fitness has introduced staff challenges to drive membership across its 11 gym locations. "We're pitting the different clubs against each other to see which can get the most people to join," explains Shanna Kane, vice president of marketing. "The winner gets O2 Fitness 'Club Bucks' to buy new equipment or spend on a party for members--whatever they want to do. We're creating healthy competition between clubs. We love changing things up and keeping it fresh."

This story appears in the September 2013 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

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