This Month Only! >> $20 off and a FREE SHRM tote with your membership and code TOTE2018!
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Companies worldwide are adopting gamification—the use of video games—into their core business strategies to drive engagement among employees, customers and partners. Inward Strategic Consulting, an employee brand engagement consulting firm, has worked with some of the world’s largest brands, including Wal-Mart and HP, and has discovered some unexpected drawbacks along the way.
The following is a list of the top five pitfalls that plague gamification programs:
Understanding and strategically planning around the question “What’s in it for me?” are essential to gamification success. Companies make the mistake of creating programs that initially get lots of attention, but in the end they lose their audience because there is no intrinsic motivation to keep playing. Find out what motivates your audience and your game, and its intended results will win every time.
Failing to Plan
Gamification requires well-thought-out strategic design and execution.
Many companies err in thinking that they can easily add a game to their current strategy. However, superficial gamification can lead to superficial engagement and a disappointing return on investment. When and how rewards happen and how they aggregate are components that must be carefully considered and well-integrated into the overall strategy.
Failing to Obtain Senior Leaders’ Approval
Gamification can be scary for some people, especially executives who look at lost productivity as lost profit. Making sure leaders understand the difference between gamification and gaming will help clear up the confusion. Gamification isn’t necessarily a game; rather, it’s the concept of using game dynamics (competition, rewards, status, etc.) and mechanics (points, leaderboards, badges, etc.) in the business world to engage users, drive participation, influence behavior and solve business problems. Games, on the other hand, are purely entertaining without having a specific purpose. If your top execs understand this, they will be more apt to buy in to your gamification strategy.
Ignoring Social Sharing
Gamification has little power if users can’t share their experience and accomplishments with others. Creating a program that has a social aspect is imperative to driving motivation and success. Even something as simple as a Facebook share or Twitter post can help drive engagement.
Games can quickly become stale and monotonous unless businesses make a concerted and conscious effort to manage, update and keep them alive. As with most things in life, people get used to processes and this “new” game can quickly become the “norm.” Creating a variable rewards structure and planting randomized fun mysteries throughout the user experience will help avoid the potential for boredom.
Regardless of the industry, avoiding these pitfalls will help create meaningful gamification programs that won’t be flavor-of-the-month company initiatives but will help drive engagement and provide long-lasting business results.
Whitney Cook is an account manager at
Inward Strategic Consulting, an employee brand engagement consulting firm. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
CA Resources at Your Fingertips
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies