How Gamification is Taking Incentive Programs to a New Level
The global gamification market is expected to grow from an estimated $1.6 billion in 2015 to $22.9 billion in 2022, a CAGR of 41.8%. ¹ Gamification is an effective, proven and creative way to encourage engagement, build loyalty and drive business performance and results in employee incentive programs. Why? People are not only motivated by tangible rewards, what really drives motivation and behavior today is a sense of recognition. Incentive programs are addressing this by adding gamification to their strategy, which actively recognizes achievement while adding an element of fun to increase participation and engagement rates.
What is gamification?
Gamification is the application of game thinking and game mechanics (including features like points, levels, badges and other incentives) to non-game contexts to affect behavior in a positive way.
How is gamification used in incentive programs?
From our earliest years, we are naturally predisposed to learn and develop through games. Gamification helps us learn and retain knowledge more readily, increases participation rates and makes the entire process fun. In fact, in an extensive gamification survey from TalentLMS of corporate learners and university students, 79% of the participants said that they would be more productive and motivated if their learning environment was more game-like. ² More and more organizations are using gaming techniques, like puzzles, quizzes, arcade style games and missions, in their incentive programs to increase sales through deeper brand and product knowledge, greater engagement and increased loyalty.
What are the key components and best practices for successfully integrating gamification into incentive programs?
We know that games satisfy a basic human desire for achievement. Key gamification components that recognize and reward achievement, including points, milestones, badges, leader boards and team rankings, encourage users to keep playing, reinforcing positive behaviour, spurring healthy competition and driving multiple interactions.
To successfully integrate gamification into your incentive programs, the following best practices should be followed:
- Assess/know your audience
- Keep it simple
- Encourage healthy competition
- Measure participation
- Encourage multiple interactions
- Track progress
- Keep it fresh
- Incorporate a meaningful prize/reward strategy
Every client audience has a unique demographic and dynamic, and what might resonate with one channel partner or sales team might not work for another. It’s about knowing your audience. Games should be kept simple to ensure a good balance between learning and fun. Encourage healthy competition, measure participation, track individual and team progress and respond to any gaps in learning. And remember to keep games fresh by introducing new elements which will keep users interested and encourage long-term engagement. Finally, ensure that rewards, whether physical prizes, virtual rewards or simple recognition, are meaningful and motivating to your users.
What are the tangible and intangible benefits of adding gamification to an incentive program?
Games are no longer just for fun. A recent study by the University of Colorado reported that adults participating in gamified eLearning experiences scored 11% higher in factual knowledge and 9% higher in retention rate. ³ From a channel perspective, the more knowledgeable and confident a rep is in a product’s features, benefits and strengths against the competition, the more they will promote that product.
Gamification is a powerful and effective tool that has a multitude of intangible benefits, including increasing product knowledge, building loyalty and enabling real time progress monitoring and feedback. It also delivers the very tangible benefits of higher sales revenue, better employee data, cost savings through more efficient use of training resources and productivity gain.
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² .Talent LMS: Gamification Survey Results, http://www.talentlms.com/blog/gamification-survey-results/, May 2014
³ .Gamification, Games, and Learning: What Managers and Practitioners Need to Know, http://www.elearningguild.com/insights/index.cfm?id=168, August 2013