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Gamification for Employee Engagement and Motivation

Aug 28, 2019

Gamification is a tool to boost employee engagement and worksite culture. Here's what it is and how to do it! Making things fun is an important part of health and life. 

What do customer loyalty cards, fitness challenges, and Mario Kart have in common?

They’re all games! 

Not convinced? Think about a coffee shop stamp card. Most of us will go out of our way to rack up stamps and earn a free drink. Suddenly our morning coffee is more than a caffeine hit – it’s a chance to win! 

Starbucks does a great job of turning purchases into a game. In their customer loyalty program, users can level up from ‘Welcome Level,’ to ‘Green Level,’ to ‘Gold Level,’ where you win a customized gold card – and Father and son playing video games on the couchfeel the exclusivity that comes with it.  

Leveling up and achieving ‘gold status’ with a personalized card stimulates our brains to feel accomplished – like part of an exclusive club. We gain a sense of satisfaction that motivates us to keep doing a certain behavior – in Starbucks’ case, buying coffee. No wonder the trend of gamification has caught on! 

Another example is the fitness app Strava. Users track workouts, see progress over time, and compete with themselves – and others! The shareable stats in the app let us compete with, or show off to, our friends. And when we see our progress, we get an automatic motivation to do better. It’s basic psychology at work - people love challenging themselves and pushing past previous records.  

How does it work?

The addition of simple gaming elements into any desired behavior is called gamification. And it’s becoming a hot topic. Since the term came about in 2011, Google searches for gamification have skyrocketed.   

Gamification is the process of making any task into a game.

This can include applying game elements and principles into almost any non-game activity. Gamification is making a splash the fitness world with wearables like FitBit and apps like Strava. Have you ever done a step-counting challenge? Then you’ve done gamified fitness! It’s simple: take any desired behavior and make it fun. The result is that engagement and motivation goes way up when a behavior is gamified. 

Elements of Gamification 

There are lots of things that make up a game. Applying these elements into a non-game context is gamification. In other words, the elements of gamification make tasks more fun and engaging!  

All of these elements are included in CoreHealth's workplace wellness challenges.

Here are some basic, and effective, gamification techniques:

Badges 

  • Like the gold star in elementary school, it’s amazing what we will do to earn a badge. They distinguish our progress, make us feel accomplished, and are fun to collect.
CoreHealth Around the World Challenge: Passport Stamps
Levels
  • It’s human nature to want to improve and level up. With clearly laid out levels, users stay engaged and motivated to reach the next level. Levels also break up a large task and make it more manageable.

Competition 

  • Friendly competition can do wonders for motivation. Either with yourself or against others, when people sense a challenge, they often feel compelled to perform. 

Teams

  • Teams take competition to the next level. They can apply a little helpful peer pressure when team mates encourage each other, not to mention increased camaraderie! 

Leaderboards

  • These enhance competition by showcasing who is doing what. These can backfire if they end up discouraging people, but can also increase motivation to see your name at the top of the board. Use carefully. 

Maps

  • Maps clearly lay out where the user needs to go. This adds a sense of challenge and clarity that motivates us to move forward. CoreHealth's Around the World Map with Progress Tracking

Progress Bars

  • Like maps, progress bars let us see how far we’ve come, and how far we have left to go. Without these, users might feel lost and lose interest.  

Randomization

  • The element of surprise and suspense keeps people engaged and curious. 

Time pressure

  • Have you ever seen a sale that ends in 48 hours? It’s being gamified! There’s nothing like a little time pressure, or a cutoff, to motivate people to act. CoreHealth Around the World Challenge

Scarcity/Exclusivity 

  • A rare badge or hard-to-reach level is all the more enticing. If something is harder to achieve, people might work harder to get it - and feel a sense of achievement and exclusivity when they do! For example, the personalized Starbucks gold card mentioned earlier motivates people to buy coffee and join the gold club. 

Exploration

  • Part of the appeal of video games is the chance to escape. Games help us leave our daily life and explore an alternate reality.  

Easter Eggs

  • Surprise rewards keep people interested. Sometimes, the harder they are to find, the harder people work for them!

Employee Engagement

Add any of these gamification techniques to your workplace to see engagement and motivation increase. Lots of employers want a healthier, more social workplace. Changing workplace culture with gamification is easy when you set up a challenge, say an activity or step-counting challenge, and even divide employees into teams. You instantly get a sense of camaraderie and healthy competition. Fitness is suddenly a fun Team of business people collaborate holding up jigsaw puzzle pieces as a solution to a problemgame! 

As soon as fitness is fun and engaging, employees are motivated to be physically active, and if there are teams, to work together with their team mates. Add in rewards like badges or levels and you’ve got a viable plan for improved culture and health.

Check out CoreHealth’s ready-to-go activity challenges, complete with maps, levels, badges, competition, leaderboards – the works.  

Of course simple activity challenges are just an introduction to a full health and wellness program to boost worksite culture, improve health outcomes, and if applicable, lower insurance rates. But it’s a great place to start.  

Are you ready to gamify positive culture and improved health in your workplace? Team up with CoreHealth and let’s get started! 

On your mark, get set, GO!   Start Your Adventure and See a Demo

About CoreHealth Technologies

CoreHealth Technologies Inc. is a leading all-in-one corporate wellness platform trusted by wellness providers to power their health and wellbeing programs for 3+ million employees worldwide. At CoreHealth, we believe that developing the best employee wellness programs is all about giving providers the right code, design and access to best-in-class innovations. With the most customization, integrations and reliability of any software in its class, CoreHealth’s powerful platform lets users focus on growing great wellness companies. For more information, visit the CoreHealth website or visit our YouTube Channel.

Laura Neuffer

Written by Laura Neuffer

Laura Neuffer, M.S., has 9 years of experience in corporate wellness.

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