Using Gamification to Actively Engage Employees and Increase Profitability

Gold Stars

Have you ever passed a team member doing their job and was not completely satisfied with their performance? In these moments, many of us might think how nice it would be to have the time to tutor our team members on a regular basis. Yet with so much on our plates, there is barely time to get everything done – let alone teach others about our culture, customer service, compliance and even what is happening on our floor so that our team members can be of greater value to our guests.

We all know the consequences we face with a single negative interaction between a frontline team member and a guest. These instances occur more frequently than we care to admit. And we know they can cause major ramifications to our P&L, so creating deeper levels of engaging education across your entire team becomes a critical mission.

Welcome to one of the more prevalent challenges we all face on a daily basis. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. And yes, there is a solution.

Let’s take a look at this national crisis …

According to the 2017 Gallop “State of the American Workplace,” only 33% of Americans are engaged at work, while a staggering 51% are not. Even worse, 16% of workers are actively disengaged, which means that these employees are actually undermining organizations from within.

So why are companies “investing” almost $100 BILLION every year to increase true employee engagement, even though they are only achieving 33% engagement levels? It becomes evident when you look at the stats below for employees that are actively engaged:

  • 41% LOWER Absenteeism
  • 59% LOWER Turnover
  • 17% HIGHER Productivity
  • 20% HIGHER Sales
  • 70% FEWER Safety Incidents
  • 40% FEWER Quality Defects
  • 21% HIGHER Profitability

Now that we’ve firmly established the why for improved employee engagement; let’s look at the how.

Using gamification to actively engage your employees

It easy to see why over 40% of Global 1000 companies have embraced gamification over less productive, “boring” programs. Gamification is proven to increase consistent employee engagement and produce a direct uplift to their bottom line. And it works for every demographic – both old and young. And when we talk about gamified marketing, it’s not just a single game but a fully integrated learning system where employees can log in online, visit and participate on a daily basis, and see an ongoing record of their performance.

Let’s look at the basics. As an employee, do you really want to relive your school days by having to complete a reading assignment? And even if you had an employee that did take the time to read your employee handbook, newsletters or intranet, do you require of them to provide a book report to determine if they truly understood the material?

So, is gamification the answer? It most certainly can be. A properly structured gamified edutainment program (educating in an entertaining way) provides your employees with a fun and rewarding way to learn. Remember the star you got on your grammar school papers? Although our approach is much more sophisticated, it’s built on this same foundation by providing instant feedback, gratification, and rewards.

This is how it can be structured:

First, we work with our clients to produce short videos or engaging content featuring any number of people, topics, and departments. Don’t get overwhelmed and worry. You don’t have to have acting experience or be a polished writer. It’s actually very easy to do with our We Design, You Approve, We Deploy approach that, with your direction, produces most of the content needed and guides you through the process. These videos or brief “helpful hints” can feature any number of topics including:

  • Corporate/Tribal History & Culture
  • Key Employee Recognition
  • Employee Wellness
  • Business Agenda and Major Announcements
  • Infrastructure Changes
  • Customer Service Requirements and Improvement Tips
  • HR and Other Compliance, including Onboarding
  • Community Relations

Then the rewarding fun begins with our many “earn and reward” activities including:

  • Photo recall
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Quizzes
  • Trivia and fun facts
  • Memory match
  • Word search and many others

These activities “test” your employee’s comprehension of the curriculum. We even have one client who is considering making participation and scoring at a certain level part of each employee’s review.

Why is this process being embraced by so many corporations around the world?

It starts with incentive psychology, as employees are rewarded for their participation in real-time through leveling up, leaderboards and badges. Other rewards are only limited by the imagination – such as community partner discounts, special events with the GM, and extra premium items from property promotions. It’s simple – the more they participate, the more they “earn” and are rewarded. This approach provides numerous benefits which are so critical to the modern workforce such as instant feedback, recognition, and gratification that are a “badge of honor” shared proudly with family and friends.

You can even extend it to the floor where “way to go” recognition codes can be given out by managers to deserving employees. The employee then enters the code into our system and is provided a special reward. We can even incorporate a “team member spotlight” section to highlight above and beyond performances. These are just a few of the many elements that can be included in a full gamified system.

When you seriously consider the tangible bottom-line results that are to be gained, it’s now incumbent upon our industry to embrace this “engagement through gamification” methodology like over 400 industry-leading companies.

Jerry Epstein