In chapter 1 and chapter 2, we discussed the state of employee communication today and how digital strategies such as leaderboards are creating unique opportunities for communication. In this chapter, we’ll take a look at another digital strategy that’s gaining popularity in workplaces: gamification.
Gamification is a relatively new concept in the business world.
The concept involves applying game-like elements to a business process or strategy, with the goal of increased engagement from those who use it. It sounds out-of-the-box at first, but the results are unquestionable—A survey conducted by TalentLMS found 79 percent of participants agreed they would feel more productive and motivated if their learning environment was more like a game.
The strategy works because of our innate love for achievement, linear progression, and input/reward systems. As a result, many businesses have begun implementing gamification into the workplace, and the benefits of doing so are becoming abundantly clear.
Gamification in the Workplace
Research has been done on the effects of gaming elements on worker behavior. The researchers found that common gamification elements, like points, levels, or leaderboards were effective at promoting specific user behaviors in non-game contexts. And plenty of businesses are taking advantage—70 percent of Forbes Global 2000 companies are using gamification to boost staff engagement, revenue, and employee retention.
For example, plant engineering company Siemens Industry launched the gaming platform “Plantville” as way to drive brand awareness and educate consumers on plant management operations. Rather than simply providing instructional documents and videos (that would likely go unnoticed as they gathered dust), Plantville offered an immersive and interactive way for Siemens to reach its audience.
By applying a narrative to its processes, users could place themselves in the role of a plant manager and learn while in a fun setting. Leaderboards provided a sense of competition and achievement that accelerated the platform’s usage. Each gaming element supported Siemens in its goals while simultaneously offering a unique experience for each user.
Of course, gamifying workflows can’t be done behind closed doors. Gamification works best when the gaming elements are clear, visible, and distinct for all members of the organization. Elements like leaderboards, for example, have little meaning if nobody can see them. This brings us to another critical aspect of gamification—having the tools to display your game.
Combining Gamification and Digital Signage
Digital signage lets businesses communicate elements of gamification in visually striking and engaging ways that would be hard to visualize otherwise. Gamification relies on three tenants to be successful, all of which can be influenced by a clever digital signage strategy:
Motivation—Motivation drives behavior. Gamification can only succeed when external motivators (like points or badges) and internal motivators (like the sense of accomplishment we feel after completing a task) are balanced.
- Including digital signage: Digital screens are the perfect way to enhance motivation. With public leaderboards showcasing each employee’s progress, users will be externally motivated to achieve more and not appear as the “weak link.” For internal motivation, digital progress readouts offer an excellent barometer for work performance—the harder they work, the higher they’ll reach. This simple input/reward system can greatly enhance self-efficacy and internal confidence about goal achievement.
Meaning—Gamification only works when employees actually care about the rewards on offer. Points might work fine for some, but others may find them meaningless. A better solution is to tie rewards into real-world results: charity donations, pay bonuses, or other incentives that inspire motivation.
- Including digital signage: Digital signage excels at visual representation. What better way to showcase the value of gamification rewards than regular updates on the rewards of each goal? Digital screens tied to computer networks are ideal for showcasing charts, graphs, and gauges that complement real-world results. This may include graphs of total money donated to charities or charts of cumulative bonus income distributed to “winning” employees.
Momentum—After engaging, gamified systems need to keep users engaged. The difficulty of each task must be proportionate to the reward, lest users get bored by challenges that are easy or frustrated by challenges that are too hard.
- Including digital signage: Though digital signage can’t directly influence the difficulty of challenges, it has shown remarkable efficacy at grabbing and keeping user attention. Regularly updated leaderboards and goal breakdowns will help keep users engaged in the gamified system and give them something to check each day when they clock into work. This habitual reinforcement is a necessary part of keeping workers invested in an initiative.
Gamification and Digital Signage Displays
With the synergy between gamification and digital signage established, let’s review a few more ways that digital screens can support game-like elements.
As mentioned above, digital signage is a great way to visually display goal progress. There’s a reason why fundraisers and charities like to show donation progress with line graphs and charts—visual representations help reinforce goals in people’s minds and help solidify the value of their contributions. These two factors greatly enhance involvement in user participation towards goals. According to the above report by TalentLMS, the two most preferred gamification strategies were progress based: level progression (30 percent) and a point/scoring system (27 percent).
Aside from just monitoring progress, digital signage can effectively show trends throughout your gamification process. When workers underperform one week, use digital displays to compare that week’s performance to previous data. Knowing which areas are trending upward successfully and which need attention is a critical part of group-wide success with gamification practices.
Celebrating achievements is the cornerstone of gamification. Employees work hard to reach milestones, and should be acknowledged for their efforts accordingly. Digital screens are great for this purpose. When a worker exceeds expectations or sets an exemplary performance, put their name in lights and give them a slide on your visual content display. Digital signage is ideal for promotion—including promoting your workers when they deserve it. This will intensify the feelings of success that workers already have, and motivate them to keep up the pace in the future.
Digital Signage Success
Digital signage has proven itself as an effective way to grab user attention, advertise, and support internal communication. Now, gamification can be added to the list.
Gamification and digital signage are two concepts that support each other in execution. Digital signage excels at visually representing data in convenient formats. Gamification involves engaging workers with different styles of initiatives and gathering data on their success. Like the two wings of an airplane, gamification and digital signage work well together to achieve an organization’s overall goals. Combining the two strategies provides a business with a system of user engagement and constant visual feedback that contributes to stronger employee motivation, cooperation, and productivity across the board.