Employee Engagement, gamification and incentive programs

June 6, 2014 Deb Broderson

employee engagementIt is known all too well that disengaged employees cost your company business.  But what is seldom realized (or not realized, until it’s too late) is the cost that an organization absorbs when incentive programs are not well-utilized by the pool of potential participants.  These lost opportunities impact profitability levels as well as the ability to retain talent.

Employee Engagement & Incentive Programs

While many ingredients go into the recipe of employee engagement, the dominating ingredient that cannot be overlooked is the psychological component.  A psychological analysis of employee engagement shows that engagement comes first and performance is the result. The challenge then lies for the employer to maintain and sustain engagement.  Without fail,  companies that don’t communicate and promote their engagement/incentive programs and also encourage the use of game mechanics will suffer from lost opportunities to increase effectiveness.

Engagement is not an overnight success and is difficult to preserve once it is achieved. Enterprise engagement is about the ability to proactively involve all of the people critical to an organization’s success. Every member of the organization contributes to a company’s triumph; however the examination of an organizations hierarchical order will show that some are more impactful than others. Enterprise engagement works to breakdown traditional management silos so to ensure long term engagement and satisfaction amongst the members of the organization are achieved. In doing this the company’s culture and values are known, lived and appreciated by employees, vendors and customers alike.

Game Mechanics

The turn of the century brought about to organizations and the workforce alike the concept of games. After all, if games work to motivate children towards positive behavior than why wouldn’t they produce the same impact on adults? Stemming from the theory of andragogy , adult learners are engaged to learn desired behaviors and drive desired outcomes. Gamifying is used to invoke desired behaviors, or outcomes.  According to Gartner,

“Gamification has emerged as a significant trend in recent years. Gamification uses game mechanics and game design techniques in non-gaming context – it’s a powerful tool to engage employees, customers and the public to change behaviors, develop skills and drive innovation.”

Independent field research from Perks and HR.com probed the responsiveness of games in the workplace, defining them as programs that encourage participation, recognition, and interactive contributions.  Over 81 percent of respondent would prefer that their employer include even more engagement and incentive programs.

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