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How to Make Gamification Fun for Everyone at Work Gamification can unlock your company's potential across all employees, job titles and departments.

By Rajat Paharia

This story originally appeared on Salesforce

Gamification is now a familiar – and proven – approach to enhance sales effectiveness. But that doesn't mean gamification is only for sales. At its core, gamification is a data-driven motivation strategy you can use to improve the performance of your organization across the board. That means gamification can unlock your company's potential across all employees, all job titles and all departments.

Here's what makes gamification such a universally powerful business tool:

Everyone has the same intrinsic motivators

Gamification leverages basic human intrinsic motivators, factors that inspire us to initiate an activity for its own sake, because it is interesting and satisfying in itself. The five most important intrinsic motivators – Autonomy ("I control"), Mastery ("I improve"), Purpose ("I make a difference"), Progress ("I achieve") and Social Interaction ("I connect with others") – are common to everyone, and behavioral research has shown that satisfying them can make anyone's work more productive and more pleasing.

Related: Why Your Business Should Get in on the Gamification Trend

Business performance depends on factors common across all departments

Just as humans share common intrinsic motivators, business departments share common goals to improve performance. For example, all managers intuitively understand the value of engaged employees and how engagement contributes to employee satisfaction, performance and loyalty. Likewise, they know that collaboration, knowledge-sharing and continual learning are "good medicine" to keep workplace engagement robust.

But connecting the dots isn't easy. With gamification, employees can be motivated and rewarded for behaviors that are meaningful to their productivity and the company's business success – regardless of where those employees work. A well-designed gamification platform starts by inspiring active participation geared to specific business goals. Then it monitors results, measures the business impacts and supports perpetual learning and improvements that fuel even greater satisfaction and engagement.

Gamification is data-driven

Simply put, gamification is a strategy that uses data to motivate performance. Gamification platforms capture the data that employees generate as they interact with systems across your organization and put it to work to create engaging experiences that drive performance, business results and competitive advantage. With gamification, you can use that data to build a 360-degree view of all your employees and take advantage of opportunities to motivate them everywhere they work.

Our partners and customers provide the proof

Since gamification is data-driven, adaptable to different business goals and based on satisfying fundamental human needs and desires, it has applications well beyond the sales environment. Bunchball's 350+ customers span every industry you can imagine, and our gamification platform is helping them improve business results in a variety of different ways. For example, gamification is being used to:

Related: Gamification Tapped by Some Employers to Recruit Candidates

Improve IT Service Management (ITSM)

IT support managers are using gamification to cultivate a collaborative, self-service environment, one that can increase the knowledge base of help desk teams, reduce call volumes and cut time to resolution. For example, they are driving performance against key performance metrics, such as tickets closed, call time reduction, CSAT score improvement and knowledge articles created. They're also using Nitro for Remedyforce to inspire IT teams to take advantage of Remedyforce's Chatter or Self-Service features to submit tickets and respond to surveys.

Boost call center employee performance and satisfaction

Gamification helped Allied Global make real, measurable improvements to its call center KPIs. Allied used gamification to reduce employee turnover, improve workflow create a winning feeling among call center agents – all of which helps the company deliver the best quality service in an efficient and effective manner.

Promote retention and results among hourly employees

RMH Franchise Corporation, which operates more than 130 Applebee's restaurants throughout the United States, has made impressive strides with Bee Block,a gamified website for hourly employees.When logged in, employees can manage their profiles, review their own data and participate in automated challenges broadcast in real-time via "Bee TVs" placed strategically throughout restaurant workstations.

Bee Block enables RMH to tap into the motivations of its hourly workforce, and early results show improvements in employee engagement and a 20 percent reduction in turnover – that's striking, considering the average turnover for hourly-employed restaurant workers is 125 percent! Ultimately, one of RMH's goals is to transform its wait staff and bartenders from "order-takers" to sellers – a change that could have a big impact on revenue overall.

Increase adoption and use of learning management tools

Sun Life Financial, a financial services company providing financial planning, life insurance, health insurance, investments and more, created a gamified online education platform called money UP. This learning management tool inspires financial literacy by breaking down workplace retirement and savings information into a series of missions that are progressively challenging, yet attainable.

In the first six months after launch, Sun Life customers who implemented money UP saw that 33 percent of their employees who finished Level 1 increased their retirement contributions and/or added a new product. Of those who added a new product, 88 percent also added new assets to their plans. The latest results show that participants who've taken action have increased contributions, on average, by an impressive 74 percent.

Related: Your Answer to Lackluster Customer and Employee Engagement: Add Fun.

Furthermore, money UP is engaging Millennials, a demographic notorious for lack of engagement with workplace retirement plans. Over the first six months, Millennials have not only been among the highest proportion of players in money UP; they've also been the most active, comprising 33 percent of all players and 44 percent of employees who increased contributions or added product.

Enhance workforce optimization initiatives

In the latest Magic Quadrant for Customer Engagement Center Workforce Optimization, Gartner describes why gamification now has elevated importance: "Finally, as the capabilities within WFO solutions begin to overlap with those of the adjacent CRM and CCI markets, an increased emphasis is being placed on the core agent life cycle in the Magic Quadrant. Thus, aspects such as recruitment, training and empowerment (for example, via gamification) are all of elevated importance."

Inspire leaders to share, collaborate and innovate

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is using gamified social networks powered by Jive to inspire collaboration and co-creation with its global community of customers, partners and employees – including executives. Gamification motivates constructive conversation in these social communities and has helped generate valuable intellectual capital. While frequently touted for "Gen Y" and employees with less seniority, gamification has been proven to have impact among competitive senior leaders as well.

…and that's just a start! Done right, gamification has applications throughout the enterprise and can impact employees from all generations, departments, tenures and educational backgrounds. Why? Because a well-designed gamification platform follows our simple formula: Motivation + Big Data + Gamification = True Loyalty. Don't think of gamification as a one-trick pony with a series of out-of-the-box badges for the sales team. When you dig a little deeper, you'll see gamification for all that it is: a thoughtful, strategic and customizable tool that yields real business results.

Related: This Company Thinks It's Unlocked the Secret to Employee Engagement and Productivity

Rajat Paharia

Founder and Chief Product Officer at Bunchball,

Rajat Paharia is the founder and Chief Product Officer at Bunchball, the leader in gamification and creators of the award-winning application Nitro for Salesforce.

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