Make work a game

A few times every year, I predictably find myself searching for a certain video that makes me smile.

It’s of a set of sad stairs next to an escalator that are ignored until a team converts them to a life-sized piano keyboard, which predictably draws a crowd.

Fun is marketable

People like fun things, they learn and participate more when something is fun. This weekend at swimming lessons for my 3 year old, I watched as the group leaned how to float on their backs by looking for monkeys in the rafters, and learned to kick by sitting in a chair and splashing an alligator on the wall.

In a professional environment, we often forget that learning and creating accomplishments can be fun, and instead use games solely for breaks in a training session, or as a team building exercise once a year.

Gamification is a trend that has been catching on for years without enough of a push – a killer use – for it to catch on to a wider audience. We have seen the best implementation in mobile where apps can integrate with GPS, photos, and a real-time camera to turn activities to games, such as with the Foursquare app. I believe we are nearing the crossroads where technology and need will propel gamification concepts to a wider audiences. The market and workforce are changing, they are asking to be engaged on their terms.

Gamification is about taking an existing process and implementing game design to encourage loyalty, participation, and completion of tasks in employees or customers.

Focus on fun, not sales

My first experience with using games in the workplace was in a role at a cell phone dealership in 2003, we were not being aggressive enough with selling a certain product and to create incentive I went out and bought a basketball toy to create a program that rewarded sales. I put together a prize board to win gift cards for certain challenges and in the first year we saw $15k in profit from additional sales in this product.

Since then, I have slowly integrated more game mechanics in how I accomplish deliverables, when I was in a facilitator role I weaved a points system through my training material based on accomplishments over a 2 week span and found higher participation from a broader core group  than when I didn’t use these tactics.

Those who are running only metrics to challenge others need to re-evaluate their processes and determine how to make accomplishing the goal enjoyable, fun is an input that will greatly increase the metrics being output.

Make work a game.

Tim Rhodes

Tim works proudly with TD Bank Group, he is the creator and curator of this project (500 Lessons). Having just moved across the country to Toronto, he is looking for new community volunteering opportunities!

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The opinions and articles shared on this site by Tim are entirely his own unless otherwise credited, and are not representative of TD's views, position, strategies, or opinions.

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