Article

13.12.2016

How gamification can increase motivation

Not only relationships, but also companies may struggle to stand the test of time. It may be possible to rekindle the flame between employees and their jobs thanks to games and 'gamification'. But how does it work?

30% of Americans say they feel motivated about doing their job, according to a Gallup poll. In other words: the remaining 70% do not. However, it would be a mistake to think that levels of motivation should be measured at the time of recruitment.

For Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of recruitment company LaSalle Network, "motivation is a variable that must be constantly monitored throughout a person's career."

He explains this as follows: "The performance of an employee is generally optimal in their first year, this being down to a combination of the challenges they face and the learning they do." It is only later that the problem arises:

"This is what is referred to as the 'sophomore slump', which takes effect after one or two years. It is at this point that the passion starts to dwindle.' And it is here that 'gamification' comes into play".

What is it we are talking about exactly?

Historically, work and play were always considered  polar opposites. The concept of play made its entry into the world of work in the 1990s, in the form of a wave of extreme sports. At that time, a trend arose whereby company managers took their employees along to friendly rafting competitions. Today, games have penetrated all areas of society. There are now 500 million 'gamers' worldwide, and gaming has become a ubiquitous phenomenon, including among senior executives, 61% of whom allegedly play games during their breaks.

Many of the fields of application of games are now relevant to the world of work and are more broadly accepted, for example training and learning via quizzes and serious games. Usually, such games take the form of individual or group challenges, simulation games, team games or construction challenges using Lego or Kapla (wood).

Gamification may also manifest itself in the form of a working environment in which games are present. Following in the footsteps of start-ups, recreational areas, games consoles or pool tables and even gyms are being installed for use by employees. The objective is to encourage bonding, solidarity and personal connections between colleagues.

And where does work fit in to all of this?

Company managers are certainly justified in asking whether increasing the amount of leisure spaces might diminish productivity. But that is not the case. Simply feeling more relaxed does not cause employees to forget their priorities. Games are above all a way of fostering working relationships and team spirit. They act as a natural stimulant.

However, although motivation is certainly something to be prioritised in your company, trying to turn everything into a game does have its limits, in particular in marketing and sales departments where playfulness may turn into fierce competition that could lead to rifts within teams. Some also believe that under the pretext of 'play' it is sometimes possible to promote 'a vision of an economic system based on accumulation, efficiency and productivity, giving rise to the question of whether gamification used in a market context is perhaps transforming the very concept of gaming.'

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