If you were asked to identify the ways in which gamification could be used in your company, you would probably think of an application for customers.
Maybe you would think of an application that could be used for cross selling and upselling on your e-commerce site.
Of course, you are right, but it is not the only possibility.
In order to use gamification correctly, a corporation should be able to make the most of game logic, in order to improve the employees’ experience in the work environment.
This concept, which is defined Employee Experience, encompasses all forms of contact which take place between the company and the employee.
Thanks to a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) system, gamification can act as a guide for employees who need to achieve corporate goals.
KPIs are set by managers, and can be adjusted from time to time, according to the needs of the moment.
Everything is designed to be involving but not consuming, in terms of money, time and attention.
But how can gamification make the lives of its employees easier?
Here are some of the possible benefits:
- opportunities to carry out a variety of processes in the form of games
- internal corporate interactions will be easier and faster
- employees will be able to keep track of their objectives
- setting learning and performance objectives will be easier;
- there will be constant interaction among colleagues, which will increase competitiveness;
- feedback will be given in real time; employees will know the areas in which they are doing well and those in which they need to improve.
Employee Experience: if you know it, you love it!
In order to understand the benefits resulting from gamification and Employee Experience, let’s start to analyse it in detail.
Among various definitions, is the one given by Gallup:
“By Employee Experience, we mean the journey that the employee has undertaken within the company.
It involves every aspect: from the most important achievement and the interpersonal relationships to the use of technology and the workplace.
It is the whole framework where the company attracts, involves and makes employees grow.”
The different phases of the Employee Experience according to Gallup
Each member of staff goes through 7 different stages of the corporate structure.
For each stage, Gallup posed a question which should be considered by a company:
- Attract– Which aspect of our corporate culture do we highlight to attract the best talents?
- Hire – Is the staff recruitment process effective in choosing the best candidates?
- Onboard – Does the employee affirm the reasons that led to his/her appointment in the company?
- Engage – Do employees show enthusiasm for their job on a daily basis?
- Perform – Is the assessment of the results fair and detailed?
- Develop – Do we offer flexible and customised career paths?
- Depart – Why do the most talented leave? Is their departure seen as a positive event?
Each of these stages is essential in making the experience of employees a positive one.
If you fail in just one of these stages, you will push your employee away, and he/she will develop a negative opinion about your company. So that they will certainly join your competitors.
You certainly don’t want that to happen, do you? Especially if you think of it applying to the best candidates and your employees.
And yet, despite the negative consequences it has for the company’s future, the subject isn’t given the necessary importance.
As a matter of fact, according to Deloitte’s report Global Human Capital Trends 2017, 80% of executives don’t recognise the importance of the employee experience, and about 60% of companies are not designed according to their employees’ needs.
“Talent today wants a custom rewards experience
that reflects how they live, work, and communicate – not a one-size-fits-all
approach rooted in the past.”
A company that wants to develop a well-designed Employee Experience should take into account the most important aspects, not only for its own benefit, but also for that of its employees.
Moreover, employees need to be seen as individuals, and not just as workers.
The employee’s point of view is valuable for the company, and if you don’t pay enough attention to it, then the consequence will be negative for the whole organisation.
“Customers do not come first. Employees come first.
If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the customers.”
Sir Richard Branson
Employee Experience: a balance between personal and work dimension
Let’s analyse both sides of the argument.
Expansion in the market, increasing turnover, the effectiveness of different processes and technologies, reductions in costs: for most companies these are essential elements for success.
On the other hand, employees believe that a fair paycheck, having their rights recognised (maternity and sick leave, paid leave) and the possibility of fringe benefits are the most important factors. Not surprisingly, more and more workers appreciate it when corporate values are shared, and this can result in a positive work environment, goodwill towards management and effective team building.
These elements are sufficient in making employees spend a signigicant part of their lives working to achieve the company’s goals.
Gtmhub, an OKRs management platform, in its article entitled Enhancing employee experience with Objectives and Key results (OKRs), explained the importance for businesses of connecting emotionally to their employees. In this way, they can create an Employee Experience which will constitute added value for everyone.
The first part analyses how difficult it is to engage the worker. The figures in this section are from the research carried out by Gallup, The Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis.
According to their statistics, 87% of employees worldwide don’t feel engaged in their company.
They feel they have little support in their workplace, and believe that it doesn’t match their life goals.
This level of dissatisfaction represents a huge damage for corporates: each year it results in a loss of between 390 and 477 billion euros!
In order to understand the causes of the crisis in working engagement, Gtmhub analysed the current working situation.
They attempted to identify the causes of the changes taking place in the workplace.
The change in the employee-employer relationship
In the past this relationship could be defined as a simple agreement: an exchange between work hours and pay, regulated by a contract.
Now the reality is different: working rhythms are frenetic, complex and challenging.
Today, pay and benefits are not enough to satisfy workers’ expectations.
Motivations have changed and traditional incentives are now just a starting point. They don’t encourage employees to do their best nor to feel that the commitment, time and energy which they dedicate to the company are justified.
So, are companies still able to increase employee engagement?
What is the right way to engage with the current changes?
Employers must take into account the intrinsic psychological motivators and the factors that matter in the life to the employee.
The new generation expects a job to be something in which they feel deeply involved and therefore motivating.
If the employee feels she is an active part of the company, they will then support its growth and goals.
The importance of the human factor for the future work
By carefully observing the path of the employee within the company, we can see that there is a common factor to all the stages: the human factor.
Whether it is the worker himself, human resource personnel, managers or colleagues, they are the people who make up the company, who perform all the work.
Work, like everything else, is subject to change. It changes over time, together with its stakeholders and its modalities.
Just think of the 20th century and the digital revolution; it was the beginning of a change that one couldn’t even imagine a few years before.
Computers, smartphones and cloud technologies have changed our reality, including our working life.
What about today?
The digital transformation of companies starts with employees
The protagonist is undoubtedly the digital transformation: the reality has been modified by the increase in digitalisation, by the pressing need for increased productivity and by the affirmation of the generation of “digital natives”.
Will companies be able to adapt to this fast-moving change? Will they be able to integrate the working life of their employees with the private life?
Of course, they will have to deal with it.
The results of the IDC FutureScape provide the European view of IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation 2019 Predictions, undertaken by IDC Europe, are clear:
for the period 2018-2022, Western European companies will invest about 1.14 billion euros in innovation accelerators. These include augmented reality and virtual reality (AR / VR), the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and robotics.
In addition, they will invest about € 1.31 billion in third party technology platforms.
IDC Europe argue that European companies will change the way they work, through new commercial ecosystems and new sources of income.
“While the Digital Revolution consisted in making technology affordable to individuals,
Digital Transformation is about revolutionary impact that technology will have on mass society,
improving our lives in ways never imagined before. ”
Also, the 21st century has seen a change in the concept of a career, alongside the changes taking place in the working system.
Deloitte addressed the topic in its research Global Human Capital Trends 2018, defining the modern career as a series of developing experiences, each one offering new opportunities to acquire skills, perspectives and viewpoints.
The distancing from the classic scheme of the ascent to power, which is typical of past generations, is evident. The focus on status and earnings has given way to the pursuit of personal growth and know-how.
Companies of the future will have to be able to master the speed of change, without losing its orientation, whilst giving the right importance to their staff. In fact, the future of work is human.
The three assets that will change the way you work in the future
Forbes identify the human as the common denominator in the three main aspects of tomorrow’s working environment:
- human (and artificial) intelligence,
- human connections,
- human purposes.
Human (and artificial) intelligence
The first aspect concerns the combined use of human intelligence and artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial systems will be able to apply critical thinking, which is typically human, on a large scale, in order to make even the most repetitive jobs automatic.
Companies will have more time available for their employees, whose tasks can be set according to specific objectives.
The possibility of using artificial intelligence for the most trivial activities makes it possible to concentrate human intelligence on tasks that require creativity and innovation. For the moment, at least, these tasks require flesh and blood people and are not replaceable.
AI will also influence the working structure itself: the work will be increasingly carried out by teams of people created ad hoc to complete a specific project. Once finished, the components will be redistributed according to new needs. This will provide feedback to employees, in a constant, timely and proactive manner.
In the coming years, AI will be an integral part of the working environment, which will be implemented in new services and devices.
The trend is already visible in big businesses such as Apple, Amazon and Google, who are committed to creating products that can use artificial intelligence in an increasingly more evolved and precise way.
The Global Shapers Survey 2017 (#shapersurvey) report, issued by the World Economic Forum, based on interviews with more than 31,000 under 30s from 186 countries around the world, confirmed this perception.
In fact, more than a third of the interviewed Millenials said that AI will be the next big technological trend.
According to Forbes, the second aspect impacting upon work in the future will be human connections.
The creation of communities will become increasingly widespread, so that it will lead to the creation of teams without geographical or generational limits.
Corporate knowledge will no longer be enclosed in tight compartments but shared and accessible to all.
The tools shared by communities will contribute to increasing the level of democratic know-how.
In addition, companies will use workspaces which will be designed to facilitate interpersonal relationships between employees. For example, Google Cafès are intended to make employees of different teams and departments get to know each other.
“Walk in the shoes of your employees and get more impact from your projects”
What is the goal, then? It is the exponential growth of workers’ skills and achievements of the company.
The third aspect concerns the organisation of the working environment according to a common goal, shared by all members of the company.
All members of the working communities will know their role, their motivations and how they will be useful within the company’s general framework.
Each member will be able to carry out his/her tasks in the way they deem best for achieving the set goals. The company itself will promote flexibility, and put people and their talents at its center.
Value elements for the Employee Experience
Assuming that a company is human-centered, what psychological elements should be taken into account when building an Employee Experience that motivates employees?
A valid model which identifies the elements is provided by the pyramid of the value elements published by Bain & Company in 2015.
When it comes to pyramids, one can not help but think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1943).
This was the models starting point, in which the elements are arranged so that the most important values are at the base of the pyramid. But there are some significant differences: importantly, there is no interdependence between the elements. The most complex factors can exist even when the basic elements are missing. The result is greater transversality and flexibility of implementation.
In the Bain & Company model, the values are divided into four main categories:
- Life changing
- Social impact
Within each category there are several elements to be used as levers for the Employee Experience. These elements act upon different areas of sensitivity in relation to the employee. Each will be more or less effective depending on their receptivity.
Susan Peters, head of the HR team at General Electric, underlined the importance of creating an Employee Experience for your company.
Today more than ever, human resources must be able to put themselves in the shoes of their colleagues, know the environment in which they work, and understand the tools and technologies they use.
The greater the knowledge they have of their employees, the greater the ability they have in selecting the right motivation levers to use.
The results of the research The Active Job Seeker Dilemma Study, carried out by WorkplaceTrends, confirm how important the issue is for companies.
The 83% of the human resources managers interviewed recognised the importance of the Employee Experience for the success of their organisation.
Their investments are directed towards training (56%), improvement of the work environment (51%) and rewards (47%).
As a matter of fact, major global companies, such as Google, Facebook and IBM are giving more importance to the Employee Experience. So, any company that wants to keep up with the times and get the best from their employees will have to do the same.