Performance management what is it and why through Gamification can it yield extraordinary results? Learn how managers and employees can be incentivized to perform out of the ordinary through a motivational framework capable of creating total engagement if not outright addiction.

The constantly evolving world of work requires new perspectives and innovative approaches to maximize productivity. Two seemingly distant concepts, such as Performance Management and Gamification, can surprisingly converge into one winning synergy.

This article will explore the logic behind combining these two activities and how they can effectively change the productivity paradigm.

Performance management, traditionally associated with the evaluation of individual performance in an organization, focuses on the goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of employees.

Performance management should therefore be understood as a systematic approach to managing and enhancing employee performance. This process allows us to evaluate various aspects of their work, including the cost and quality of their contribution. It is geared toward achieving predefined goals, measuring how each employee aligns with these goals.

The ultimate goal is to inform strategic decisions regarding theimprovement, development and recognition of the talent and value contributed by each individual to the organization.

At the same time, Gamification, through the application of game elements in non-game contexts, aims to increase interest. This will cascade to increase people’s participation and motivation.

However, despite the apparent differences, there is a subtle but powerful connection between Performance Management and Gamification.

In this article we will address the following topics:

The rationale behind the combination of Performance Management and Gamification is based on a shift in perspective and paradigm, enabling employees to make the most of their potential, improve the work experience and achieve amazing results.

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In the past, performance management focused mainly on evaluating results, often through formal and structured processes that could cause stress and demotivation.

However, by embracing Gamification, you can turn the performance appraisal process into an engaging, fun and rewarding experience, creating an environment in which employees are motivated to perform at their best.

Gamification opens up new possibilities in the way performance is measured and evaluated. Through the use of badges, points, leaderboards and challenges, it is possible to turn the whole process into a stimulating game that rewards achievement and encourages individual and collective growth.

CTA Case study Mercedes Trivellato S.p.A. incentive and performance management project in sales and after market, interview with Ettore Galzignato After sales Director

This not only makes performance management more engaging, but also more transparent, promoting a culture of feedback and continuous improvement.

In addition, Gamification Fosters cooperation and positive competition among employees. Through the creation of teams or groups, achieving goals can be turned into a collective challenge, in which cooperation and synergy play a key role.

This dynamic encourages interaction among team members, stimulates creativity and innovation, and increases the overall productivity of the organization.

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What is performance management

Performance management is a process by which organizations assess, monitor and improve the performance of their employees. It is based on a series of activities aimed at setting goals, measuring results, providing feedback and support, and identifying opportunities for development and recognition.

Evaluation metrics used in performance management vary from organization to organization, but listed below are some of the common metrics used today:

  • Objectives and Key Results (OKR): This metric focuses on the achievement of specific objectives and key results agreed upon between the employee and his or her supervisor. OKRs clearly and measurably define what the employee is expected to achieve during a specific time period.
  • Skills and abilities: This metric assesses the employee’s technical skills, abilities and knowledge. May include assessments of role-specific skills, such as problem solving skills, effective communication, leadership and collaboration.
  • Feedback from colleagues and customers: Feedback from colleagues and customers can provide an objective assessment of the employee’s performance. This feedback can be collected through surveys, interviews, or informal evaluations and helps to provide a more complete picture of the employee’s performance.
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs): These are quantitative measures that reflect the achievement of the organization’s or department’s goals. For example, a KPI could be the number of completed sales, customer service response time, or error reduction.
  • Behavior ratings: This metric assesses the employee’s behavior in the workplace, such as punctuality, work ethic, ability to work in a team, and adaptability to change. These assessments focus on corporate culture and alignment with the organization’s values.

It is important to note that evaluation metrics may vary by industry, type of work and the organization’s goal. Some organizations may adopt more traditional evaluation systems, while others may experiment with more innovative and continuous feedback-oriented approaches.

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What are the typical obstacles of performance management projects

Implementing a performance management project can present several obstacles that must be addressed to ensure its success. Listed below are some of the main obstacles that might arise during the implementation of a performance management system:

    • Resistance to change: Implementing a new performance management system requires a change in existing practices and habits. Employees may be initially reluctant to adopt new processes and tools, especially if they are familiar with a previous system. Resistance to change may result in limited adherence to the new system and lower participation.
    • Lack of leadership support: Leadership support and commitment are essential to the success of a performance management project. If managers or supervisors do not actively support the new system or provide the necessary resources, there may be a lack of direction and incentives for employees to fully engage in the process.
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    • Lack of communication and training: Clear communication and adequate training are critical to ensure that employees understand the new performance management system and the expectations and benefits associated with it. Lack of effective communication or training can lead to poor understanding of the evaluation process and criteria, causing confusion and frustration among employees.
    • Lack of clear and measurable goals: Goals in performance management must be clear, measurable and aligned with the strategic goals of the organization. If goals are not well defined or if an adequate monitoring system is lacking, there may be a lack of clarity about expectations and desired performance.
    • Subjective evaluations and bias: If performance evaluations are subjective or influenced by personal bias, a perception of unfairness may be created among employees. It is important to ensure that evaluations are based on objective criteria and that there is a fair and impartial evaluation of all performance.

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    • Absenceof continuous feedback: Regular and timely feedback is an essential element in performance management. If employees do not receive constructive feedback on their performance or if the feedback is too sporadic, there may be a lack of guidance and opportunities for improvement.
    • Lack of a bottom up process of sharing: One of the biggest problems is the “de-facto” imposition of the performance management project, result? Boycott! Instead, a performance management project conducted through a co-design and assessment process offers several significant advantages. This approach actively involves employees in the decision-making process, allowing them to actively participate in goal explication and pre-approval in the plan prior to their communication. This creates co-parenting in the project and inevitably generates a high level of acceptance and sharing among the participants.

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Addressing these obstacles requires a holistic approach and careful change management. It is important to engage employees, provide appropriate support and resources, and create a culture of open and transparent feedback. Implementing an effective performance management system requires time, effort and constant monitoring to ensure its long-term success.

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What is gamification

Gamification is the application of game elements in nongame contexts in order to motivate, engage and inspire people to achieve certain goals.

Thus, let us say that Gamification is the “ludicization” of processes in areas outside the game that are deliberately shaped and loaded with values and symbols in order to appear to the user as much like a game as possible.

Thus using game mechanics such as badges, points, leaderboards, challenges and rewards, gamification transforms an ordinary work activity into an engaging and rewarding experience.

An example of a strategy based on gamification?

An example of successful gamification could bethe development of a training course that combines challenges and quizzes with a points system and a ranking that certifies its successful learning by users. Employees in this way would be able to develop their knowledge through this system, competing with their peers on the level of expertise acquired.

This later could then be linked with the respective performance achieved in the very training areas previously qualified in the first part of the activity.

The entire experience cycle in this way could be related thus creating a cause and effect cycle of ROI (return on investment) in relation to activities done, badges acquired and goals achieved.

This for example is a classic case of a gamification strategy implementation in the workplace.

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In the case of a sales network, gamification can be used to relate learning new sales skills to achieving sales goals. Here is an example of how this might work:

  • Goal setting: The sales network sets specific goals to be achieved, such as a certain sales value or a minimum number of customers acquired.
  • Creation of merit badges: Merit badges linked to different goals are defined. For example, badges could be created for reaching a certain minimum number of customers, exceeding a minimum order value, or achieving certain sales results.
  • Learning and training: Salespeople participate in learning and training sessions on new sales processes and techniques. During these courses, the skills acquired and their level of practical application are evaluated.
  • Performance Monitoring: A performance monitoring system is implemented that takes into account both sales results and the level of learning and application of newly acquired skills. This can be done through specific key performance indicators (KPIs).

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  • Awarding merit badges: Salespeople are rewarded with merit badges based on achievement of business goals and application of skills learned. For example, a salesperson might receive a badge for exceeding the minimum number of customers acquired or for achieving a significant revenue value.
  • Leaderboards and competition: A leaderboard is created in which vendors can compare their performance and compete for the best results. This stimulates positive competition and fosters commitment to achieving goals.

The effect of gamification in this case is to link the learning of new sales skills to the achievement of sales goals. Merit badges act as tangible incentives for salespeople, recognizing their commitment and performance. In this way, gamification motivates salespeople to engage in learning and applying new sales skills, thereby stimulating the achievement of sales goals and improving the overall performance of the sales network.

CTA Case study Mercedes Trivellato S.p.A. incentive and performance management project in sales and after market, interview with Tatiana Carminetti

What benefits gamification brings to performance management projects

Gamification applied to a performance management process offers several significant advantages over traditional control actions. Here is a list of the main benefits of gamification in the context of performance management:

  • Increased engagement and motivation: Gamification creates an engaging and motivating experience for employees. The introduction of game elements such as badges, points and leaderboards stimulates interest, enthusiasm and active participation. Employees feel involved in the performance management process and are motivated to give their best to achieve goals.
  • Improved work experience: Gamification transforms the performance appraisal process into a fun and rewarding experience. Employees no longer see appraisal as an onerous task, but as an opportunity to grow, earn recognition, and advance in their career path. This helps to improve the overall work experience and create a more positive and stimulating environment.

Gamification enables a shift from “push to pull” employee management

  • Continuous feedback and guidance: Gamification encourages continuous and timely feedback. Through the use of badges, points and challenges, employees receive constant feedback on their performance and goals achieved. This feedback provides clear guidance and helps employees understand areas where they can improve, encouraging their professional development.
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  • Promoting continuous improvement: Gamification promotes a culture of continuous improvement. Employees are encouraged to exceed their previous achievements, seek new challenges and develop their skills. The ability to earn badges or level up creates a sense of progression and stimulates the desire to always achieve better results.
  • Fosters collaboration and positive competition: Gamification encourages collaboration among employees. Through assigning team badges or organizing group challenges, cooperation and knowledge sharing is promoted With a kind of “competitive camaraderie.” At the same time, gamification can also stimulate positive competition among employees, pushing them to give their best to achieve common goals and improve overall team performance.
  • Transparency and clear goals: Gamification makes the performance management process more transparent. Employees have a clear view of goals, evaluation criteria, and associated rewards. This fosters a greater understanding of expectations and creates a more equitable and meritocratic work environment.

In summary,gamification applied to performance management creates a paradigm shift from traditional control actions. It transforms the performance appraisal process into an engaging, motivating and continuously rewarding experience.

This new approach pushes employees to actively engage, improve their skills, and achieve ambitious goals instead of aiming for a “carrot or worse by frightening or demotivating them by making them feel under control .

Gamification essentially transforms the Performance Management “of yesteryear “done by analytics and processes (here is an article discussing it not more than a year ago that confirms the “old-fashioned” view) into a much more powerful process, capable thanks to an immersive experience of creating continuous feedback, always aimed at improvement and growth, capable of bringing much more significant results for this very reason.

CTA Case study Mercedes Trivellato S.p.A. incentive and performance management project in sales and after market, interview withLuca Crisà

The advantages of platforms next-generation for performance management, incentive and employee experience.

Next-generation platforms take a holistic approach that puts the employee at the center, enabling them to comfortably manage their daily “work journey.” This approach differs from the traditional emphasis on managers and business processes, focusing instead on the needs and direct involvement of employees.

Is it the holistic approach that makes the difference?

A key aspect of the holistic approach is to reduce the number of separate applications needed for different daily activities of employees.

According to Salesforce, the average number of applications used by an employee is 8.4, a number that can be excessive and make it difficult to have a convenient and consistent operational interface. Next-generation platforms aim to simplify this landscape by providing a unified interface that allows employees to manage all phases of their employment journey.

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These platforms offer a wide range of features that cover the entire employee experience. They begin by providing basic training to acquire the necessary skills, thus supporting professional growth and development.

Next, the platforms enable employees to prepare a business canvas or sprint by providing tools and resources to plan and organize business activities effectively.

In addition to the preparation and execution of work activities, these platforms also manage incentive and performance management. Employees can monitor their progress toward goals, receive timely feedback, and have access to key data and metrics to evaluate their performance.

In addition, incentive tools are provided to reward and recognize achievements, thus stimulating employee motivation and commitment.

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The holistic approach of next-generation platforms aims to simplify and unify the employee experience, eliminating the need to use a series of separate applications.

This enables employees to have a more convenient, consistent, and user-friendly operational interface, thereby improving efficiency and the overall workplace experience.

In conclusion, next-generation platforms offer a holistic approach to putting the employee at the center, enabling them to manage their entire employment journey in an integrated way.

From training and task planning to performance management and incentives, these platforms offer a comprehensive experience focused on the individual needs of employees.

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The new role of managers: how software platforms and new technologies transform responsibilities

With the advent of new technologies, will HR, Sales and Operations managers really be able to continue to manage their work as they are doing today?

Evidently not! a paradigm shift has already taken place by now.

New technologies are inevitably impacting all jobs, and management jobs in particular will increasingly have to review their processes in the face of increasingly high-performance technologies.

Does the technology change? Jobs and responsibilities change!

Specifically we are talking about HR, employee experience and performance management platforms and software.

It is now clear that these platforms will increasingly enable managers to operate at a much higher level than they are already doing today, providing them with advanced tools for managing sales, operations, and human resources.

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How will new technologies change the manager’s job?

With the help of next-generation platforms, sales managers will then be able to track sales performance, analyze data in real time, and make informed decisions to improve results–all autonomously and independently of the IT department.

They will then be able to manage sales teams more efficiently, identifying areas for improvement and providing customized coaching to team members, all in a “cause/effect” improvement loop that to date with traditional systems is not even conceivable.

In the same way, operations managers will be able to leverage platforms to optimize operational processes, monitor performance, and identify potential inefficiencies, just as HR managers will be supported by advanced HR management tools that will totally eliminate operational work and flow rundowns.

HR managers will be able to manage employee performance, learning levels, provide customized training and development, automate onboarding processes…in essence all levels of management will get to work much more on the strategy and quality of design than on the operational side.

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Is it clear what happened? everything has already changed!

But let’s try to understand exactly how and what exactly is happening.

We are in a time of change similar to what happened in the 2000s with the introduction of PCs for graphics development.

At that time, the availability of powerful and easy-to-use PCs enabled companies to bring functions such as graphics and marketing into their organizations, radically transforming the way these activities were handled. (before, one went to the printer to understand or to a graphic design agency with the time and cost we can all imagine).

The definition process was usually very fast, “one way” or in the worst case ended with a couple of steps between the graphic design studio and the client and then went directly into production. Pretty limiting, no?

Then came PCs that could be easily managed in-house, and with the availability of new technology that was finally accessible also came new skills and trades.

Similarly, in the coming years, We will see a progressive change in the way companies manage their processes. This is because of significantly more “usable” technology.

Thanks to this new accessibility of new digital platforms, the way is opening for wider and wider adoption of process management.

To wit, managers will be able to start designing their own processes in a “drag and drop” type mode, schedule and see the impact of their work directly on the supported teams.

To all this must be added innovations such as AI and the use of Gamification that will be further instrumental in accelerating adoption.


Managers essentially will increasingly be able to take direct ownership of processes and shape them according to specific needs. Management at your fingertips by department or area of responsibility.

This will bemade possible through the use of convenient scheduling (no queuing) and control dashboards, which will provide an intuitive and clear real-time view of current processes and activities.

Dashboards will enable managers to monitor employee performance, track results and key metrics, identify any critical issues, and make informed decisions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes…which they can redesign and optimize at will from cycle to cycle.

This management process is referred to as data-driven, and it has clear advantages over previous management models based on perceptions.

This more direct and personalized way of managing processes will lead to greater agility, awareness and inevitably accountability at all levels of the organization.

CTA read article HR analytics and data driven management

Managers essentially will increasingly be able to take direct ownership of processes and shape them according to specific needs. Management at your fingertips by department or area of responsibility.

Managers as mentioned then will be able to assess the “cause and effect” relationship of their actions more and more quickly, toadapt processes quickly to changing needs, and to respond in an increasingly timely manner.

In conclusion, the new market shift ahead will be very similar to the one described earlier, which occurred in the 2000s with the introduction of PCs in graphics in businesses.

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Process management and information sharing across departments and teams will allow silos-type barriers to be broken down, and just as “in the age of PCs for graphics,” this will foster a different depth of expertise among managers as well as a more integrated and collaborative corporate culture .

A new role for managers of the future, greater interoperability, different skills, greater vision

Companies in essence will have the opportunity to take the management of processes directly into their own hands, increasingly relativizing the intervention of external technical partners .

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