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Gamification - Workforce Management

How to Power Up Your Staff with Gamification

11 min read
Author Business Systems UK
Date Oct 30, 2014
Category Workforce Management

CONTACT CENTRE GUIDE BLOG: 7/9 – How to Power up Staff with Gamification recently published ‘The Contact Centre Guide’ which was sponsored by Business Systems. For those short on time, we created a series of blogs covering the highlights from each chapter. Our 7th blog is around Gamification.

With thanks to Scott Buchanan from NICE Systems who provided the original article.

The issue of employee engagement is a growing source of tension for service organisations. As customers increasingly resolve their most basic problems themselves, they contact companies with only their most complex issues. Increasingly gamification is being used to try and address issues around employee engagement by using the application of game mechanics to influence behaviours and activities. This is with the purpose of measuring and motivating people and is a great place to start driving employee engagement because it speaks to three dimensions of how an employee interacts with their work and their colleagues: through commitment, competition and collaboration.

To effectively handle more complex customer issues, organisations need more skilled agents. This normally requires formal training sessions that take people away from their desks and cost the company valuable staff hours. Gamification offers an alternative. Instead of scheduling training sessions, it encourages organisations to create a ‘Product X Guru’ badge. To earn the badge, as an example, employees must: (a) review product documentation; (b) score 80% or higher on the product knowledge quiz; and (c) earn customer satisfaction scores of 9 (out of 10) or higher on five consecutive ‘Product X’ calls.

Upon completion, that badge will sit proudly on the employee’s profile page for all co-workers to see. Rather than be pulled away from their desks for anywhere between two to twenty hours of classroom training, employees can progress against gamification objectives using pockets of free time during the day.

The majority (88%) of organisations run contests on whiteboards and by email, but more than two-thirds of them do so less than once a month, according to a performance management benchmarking study of 120 organisations NICE conducted in 2013. Gamification provides an alternative to these existing programmes, but rather than running contests once per month, organisations can engage their people in multiple quests and contests simultaneously.

Research has found that 65% of employees would work harder if they were better recognised, according to a 2011 Globoforce Mood Tracker report.

Gamification can be a powerful driver of collaboration. Identify your top performers and encourage them to publish their best practices in a central library for others to view, maybe even with badges for top-rated content. For example, the employee who won a recent sales competition can document and share their approach to cross-selling.

Gamification also allows employees to seek out one another. If a new hire is working towards earning a ‘bundle selling’ badge and is stumped by one objective, gamification makes it easy to identify colleagues who have already earned the distinction and solicit their advice.

Bottom-line Business Impact
Gamification is not just entertainment; it is a powerful way to measure and motivate your people. In our experience, companies see real business impact across this progression, including:
• On-Boarding: Organisations that create simple, modular training levels lead new hires through the right progression of documents, activities and benchmarks.

• Engagement: Gamification is a powerful way to combat disengaged employees and further engage your best performers.

• Employees work hard to earn badges, and when they are well recognised (and decorated) they stay longer on the job.

Getting Gamification Right
Gartner has predicted that by 2014, 80% of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives primarily due to poor design. So, let’s focus on better structuring the design of a gamification programme.
Here are three elements you’ll want to consider:

1. Business objectives
– Run in silent mode to collect baseline data.
Before you ‘turn on’ gamification, gather information about how often people complete training to add skills, follow processes and perform on key metrics. Now you are in a better position to identify where you want to improve results, and how to measure impact.

– Set expectations for programme rhythm.
Agree on how often you’ll meet with stakeholders to revisit your objectives, revise challenges and/or add pursuits. This will help ensure your programme stays fresh across time.

Outcome: Three to five defined success metrics with clear milestones.

2. Rewards and recognition
– Points (e.g. frequent flyer miles). Not nearly as straight forward as you might think, points come in many forms. They can expire or last a lifetime. They can be instantaneous or unlocked at intervals. Regardless, they are readily understood and easily tracked.

– Level (e.g. karate belts). Employees start at the most basic level (white belt) and as they add skills or complete objectives they advance to more expert levels (black belt).

– Badge (e.g. Girl Guides). Employees collect badges in a digital trophy case based on the pursuits they complete and/or the contests they win. This trophy case becomes a source of status that motivates people to continue to grow and seek new challenges.

– Surprise and delight (e.g. Easter eggs). These are hidden rewards that ‘pop up’ when least expected. Link a bonus badge for meeting adherence goals for an entire month. Easter eggs keep gamification fun and offer a creative outlet.

Outcome: Rewards and recognition system.

3. Communication of result
– Trophy case: Allow people to showcase their earned points or badges for all to see. Attach it to a social media-style profile page with personal details.

– Leader boards: Don’t be limited to the number of names that can fit on a whiteboard in the break room. Present a complete leader board so every employee knows where they stand relative to their peers.

– Activity feeds: when levels are unlocked, skills added or Easter eggs discovered, surface that information in a Facebook-style activity feed so all teammates are notified. This can stoke healthy competition and collaboration to support people’s achievements.

Outcome: One single source of truth for gamification results.

Gamification isn’t about fun and entertainment. It connects with people’s need for intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. More engaged employees deliver a better customer experience at lower cost – all of which is perfectly measurable. You now have what you need to build a compelling business case and early adopters will benefit from attracting talent, speeding up new hire training and retaining top performers. It’s time for you to get in the game too.

Read the ‘Contact Centre Guide Blog 1/9 – The changing contact centre – and what you can do about it’ here.