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Infusing_Work_With_Play_Leading_On_Purpose_Newsletter_Karmen_Zabron_1-4e1852d8 Infusing Work with Play: How Gamification Shifts the Perspective of Work from Standard to Stimulating

Infusing Work with Play: How Gamification Shifts the Perspective of Work from Standard to Stimulating

27 September 2023

In this week's blog post, we have a special guest who contributed this article on the topic of gamifying the workplace. Last blog post we introduced you to our Yellow Camo Crew member Karmen Zabron. Karmen is a certified game master. She has taken her knowledge in the area of gaming and combined that with her unrelenting passion for people to become a workplace gamification expert. Karmen helps organizations create people-first cultures by infusing connection and gamification into traditional HR and Operational methodologies.

Keep reading to discover the five reasons you should utilize gamification techniques in your organization!


Quick! Think of your favorite game to play.

Now, what if you woke up tomorrow and someone offered you a job opportunity to play that game all day and get paid for it? Most people probably would take that offer in a heartbeat, right? And why? Well, because games are fun, and interesting, and more engaging in ways that work, well, typically isn’t.

But what if – and hear me out – your work could be just as fun as playing a game? How much more job satisfaction would you have if your work gave you the same satisfaction as when playing your favorite game?

You can…. Through the infusion of gamification into HR and Operational processes.

Now, I’m not talking about implementing games to make routine tasks more fun, or incorporating points, badges, and leaderboards to “motivate” employees to achieve business results.

What I mean is, it’s time we shift our perspective from traditional HR/Ops to those of a Game Master: to think of our companies like a game and our employees like the players.

Gamification is incorporating typical game elements to drive game-like player behavior in a non-game context. And the application of this perspective is not just something HR and Operations professionals should consider implementing as part of their HR strategies… It's imperative that we make the shift. (You can learn more about it at our free webinar on November 1st by clicking here!)

Game Design 4 Work

Need some convincing? While I could spend all day sharing the benefits, here are 5 reasons why you should move from your traditional HR and Operational methodologies to an approach using gamification techniques:

  1. Our traditional methodologies aren’t capturing and sustaining employee engagement. In fact, a recent Gallup study showed that only 23% of our workforce is engaged in what they do each day. That leaves 77% of our teams either not engaged or actively disengaged, which costs US employers $450 to $500 billion annually, or an average of $3,400 per $10,000 in annual salary. Solution: Gamification and gaming psychology taps into our natural inclination for challenge, mastery, and achievement. When you apply the same techniques to your HR practices that game designers use to engage players, your team will experience a sense of accomplishment and personal growth, leading to increased job satisfaction, engagement, and retention.
  2. Traditional HR and Operational methodologies usually prevent the employee from seeing and understanding the whole picture with regard to the business. Without the employee’s ability to see the big picture and how their roles contribute to the overall success of the organization, trust and communication among teams begins to break down, companies begin to operate in silos, and hierarchical structures become an “Us vs. Them” mentality. Solution: By utilizing gamification’s narrative-based approach to both new hire orientation and performance management, individual and team goals show employees the big picture – how the company is going to win the game. Gamification also offers a more engaging and fun way of tracking your progress, which allows employees a greater ability to visualize their journey, monitor their achievements, and set additional goals.
  3. Many traditional HR and Operational methodologies prioritize output over employee wellbeing. Businesses will set ambitious goals to stay competitive, pushing for higher output in an effort to stay ahead of the competition, or operate on tight budgets to maximize output and generate revenue quickly. When key performance indicators focus solely on output metrics, it’s not uncommon for employees to feel pressured to meet those goals even if it means sacrificing their well-being to do so. Solution: Gamification principles allow designers to balance productivity with well-being by setting achievable goals, incorporating breaks, and encouraging healthy competition. Using an approach that considers both the physical and mental health of employees can lead to greater job satisfaction, increased productivity, and reduced turnover. Ultimately, businesses who utilize gamification methodologies to prioritize both output and wellbeing will be more likely to achieve sustainable success in the long-term.
  4. Traditional HR and Operational methodologies generally rely on one-size-fits-all solutions. Again, I get the reasons why we’ve done this. But creating Operational and HR solutions without considering the unique strengths and potential of each employee and team leads to underutilized talent, perpetuates biases, or worse – could hinder diversity and inclusion efforts. Solution: Successful use of gamification combines a wide array of strategies from motivational psychology, player types, behavioral economics, neurobiology, game dynamics, and game design that focus on one central theme – How can I help the player best achieve their goals? Just as each employee is different and has their own personal and career goals, gamification is inherently flexible, scalable, and can be tailored to the strengths of both the individual AND the organization as it grows.
  5. Traditional HR and Operational methodologies can be slow and inefficient, leading to wasted time and resources, and delayed or inaccurate data reporting. Solution: Gamification uses elements that monitor player actions and feedback mechanisms to give real-time responses to guide player behavior. When implemented successfully, gamification methodologies offer robust data analytics, giving real-time insights into performance, engagement, and areas of improvement. This data empowers you to make informed decisions that optimize your HR and Operational strategies, resulting in greater efficiency and effectiveness.

Shifting your perspective from traditional methodologies to strategies that infuse gamification is not just a change in approach, it’s a transformation that can revolutionize your corporate environment. By embracing gamification now, HR and Operations professionals are future-proofing their organizations and more effectively preparing them to adapt and thrive in a world where employee engagement and innovation are paramount.

If you’re a player that likes more information, you can find more information in this article.

Want to learn more about incorporating gamification into your organization’s HR and Operational processes? Join us on November 1st for our free webinar “Culture Cheat Code #19: The Parameters of Game Play” where we teach you how to implement gamification and game design frameworks into your people processes and organizational cultures. Click here to register today!

 We have upped our leadership game, now up yours!

Dr. Troy Hall, Karmen Zabron, and Ben-Jamin Toy are hosting a 3-part series on the elements of Cohesive Leadership at the new Cohesion Culture™ and On Purpose Adventures HQ located at The Harbor Entrepreneur Center.

Who is this Series For?

  • New People/Project Managers: If you're just starting your leadership journey, this series will provide you with essential skills and insights.
  • Aspiring Leaders: If you're eyeing that next promotion, these sessions will equip you with the tools to stand out.

Our sessions are packed with Culture Cheat Codes, proven strategies, and actionable tips that will empower you to lead more effectively and create a cohesive team environment. Whether you attend one or all three sessions, you'll gain valuable insights and skills that will make a difference in your leadership journey. Plus, if you book all three sessions upfront, you'll not only save money but also have the flexibility to transfer your registration to a colleague or friend if you can't make it to one of the dates.

  1. Conflict Resolution on October 5th
  2. Collaboration on November 2nd
  3. Creative Thinking on December 7th

Ready to embark on this transformative leadership journey? Click here to learn more and register!