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Gamification is no stranger to the technology industry. Young tech startups often implement a series of incentives and rewards structures in an effort to motivate employees while keeping them engaged. Organizations outside of the tech world have embraced these practices, including Weight Watchers with its points system and the Boy Scouts with merit badges, for example.
For some time, it seemed that sales and other organizational facets were capable of adopting gamification, but a creative spin on the ideology has it infiltrating enterprise resource planning and employee management software. Although ERP provides a number of important services to a company, it’s not often the most exciting aspect of a business. Canadian airline WestJet is looking to liven up its enterprise management infrastructure by adding gamification practices and developed a program that rewards employees who are prompt about expense reporting, PC World recently said. The company will soon introduce gaming elements to the existing ERP systems, focusing on expense reporting since it would likely bring as many people into the experiment as possible.
The project focuses on four distinct behaviors, PC World said:
Implementing employee incentives may be a unique way to drive a healthy competitive atmosphere within the office, as employees look to be rewarded for their hard work.
The overall concept is said to tap into the left and right sides of the brain, which are associated with logical thinking, and emotion and creativity, respectively, PC World added. A number of badges will be easily attainable to avoid alienating employees, and the company plans to add more as the project matures. A spectrum of prizes will be available to participating employees, such as gift cards for lower-end accomplishments, while workers can accumulate points and enter themselves into a lottery for vacations and flights.
Chances are, many industry executives are frowning on the idea of spicing up their business models. They may note that old-school techniques have worked for years, so why change now? Yet, a recent Gallup Poll found that a mere 13 percent of employees are engaged in their work, meaning the majority of workers lack motivation and drive to reach organizational goals. A startling statistic may have spurred what could be an industry-changing ideology that focuses on reversing Gallup’s findings and increasing commitment, stimulation and creativity in the office.
WestJet’s idea to incentivize its business management solutions may be novel in that by making things more fun, it could actually increase worker productivity. Plus, as Forbes notes, digital employee engagement models scale to nearly any number of employees at a low incremental cost, so adding a new participant wouldn’t be expensive for a business.
If or when a company decides to explore the implementation of gamification into its own success model, it’s important to know that lightening the mood within the office doesn’t necessarily equate to lowered productivity.
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