Community Building with Enterprise Gamification – Yay or Nay?

By Breanna Banford, Social Marketing Specialist, Xerox Enterprise Business Group

Recently, I attended a Citrix webinar presented by Charlene Li, founder of Altimeter Group and coauthor of Groundswell, discussing The Future of Work: A Social and Mobile Revolution. One of the things that struck me during the presentation was Li’s explanation of gamification in business. She explained how social dynamics and social recognition drive behavior change. People want to be noticed for their efforts by their peers and executives. By integrating rewards, benefits, recognition, competition and fun into employee programs or tools, gamification works as a mechanism to motivate employee behavior and collaboration.

Personalization vs. Customized services with gamification in the enterprisePrior to the webinar, I read a few articles about gamification’s emergence into the market for various industries, but Li’s discussion hit home for me and I thought, “Wow, this could be a game changer.” For instance, Gartner said by 2015, more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes. It made me wonder, will gamification be the next big thing to shake up the workplace?

The topic was woven into a recent Xerox Dreaming Session discussion about the ideal workplace. There was a debate over the pros and cons of gamification in the enterprise. The millennials and emerging leaders believed it offered new opportunities to engage colleagues, ignite recognition for work well done and inspire new projects with the core of its benefit being personalization. On the other hand, one of the social scientists in the group described it as behavior modification similar to “Pavlov’s dog” psychology experiment. Some of the seasoned technologists and executives said it would standardize our processes and limit creativity as we try to reach a goal set by a program.

Clearly, the jury is still out on gamification. How will it fit into the ideal workplace? Can we bring the best aspects forward to match the perceptions of the different generations working together?

Both parties agreed that we need to build an infrastructure with tools that let us work how and where we need to – we should be better than we are at the routine things. Still, there is a fear that the technology that exists is broken or ineffective. I think if organizations implement gamification appropriately focusing on team building or if we’re able to make our technology “smarter” it will have a positive impact on the future of employee collaboration.

Would you like to see elements of gamification added to your job? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  1. I think gamification can be a great tool within enterprise systems. However, it is often implemented to check a box (gamification, we got that!) or with good intentions, but half the necessary time/budget for determining what is actually valuable and should be measured. A system that rewards clicks will merely result in a whole lot of clicks (or no clicks and disengaged users).

    Done right, gamification can be a great tool to become involved and stay involved. But organizations need to go big or go home — doing it halfway benefits nobody.

  2. Breanna Banford (Xerox employee) July 20, 2012 -

    Thanks for your input, Kate! I agree – it doesn’t benefit anyone if you aren’t fully committed. That goes the same for any new venture in an emerging social space. I think the key is to be sure there’s a strategy built first. Ask, what’s the purpose – does it really benefit your company? That way you avoid what you said as “oh, we checked off that box. Next.”

  3. Chris Wood (Xerox employee) July 23, 2012 -

    There’s a clear link between engaged and engaging customer facing employees and customer satisfaction. If gamification can drive the right employee behaviour, the result will be satisfied and loyal customers

    • Breanna Banford July 23, 2012 -

      That’s a great point, Chris. Thanks for sharing!

  4. margo valens July 25, 2012 -

    fascinating topic .. so many new words and catchphrases out there. well done.

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