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“Engagification”of the Enterprise – Gamification and Employee Engagement

by Elise Olding  |  November 14, 2012  |  12 Comments

I had the pleasure of crafting one of Gartner’s top predicts for 2013:

By 2015, 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. (Gartner’s Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users, 2013 and Beyond: Balancing Economics, Risk, Opportunity and Innovation)

Why do we need to consider gamification in our workplace transformation efforts? According to John Kotter, 70% of business transformation efforts fail. Add to that the impact of 71% of American workers who are not engaged or actively disengaged from their work (according to Gallup), and less likely to be productive. This paints a dismal picture for business change and transformation efforts as organizations are clearly not addressing the fundamentals needed for success. Technology, the program plan and/or a lack of vision are not the root issues; it’s the lack of engagement and buy-in from employees who need to embrace new ways of working. When transforming business operations, organizations will need to cement behavior changes and engagement as part of the work activities.

Gamification can help organizations make the workplace more engaging and productive. The same incentives that inspire game players to strive for the next level in a computer game can also inspire your employees to reach for a higher level of performance and engagement — if they are properly applied. Gamification hype is rampant, and the uses inside the enterprise are still emerging. My recent research found only a handful of effective implementations that demonstrated measurable, increased employee engagement. Gartner expects to see that continue over the next few years as lessons are learned and effective techniques are honed.

In presenting this topic at Gartner Summits and Symposiums around the world this year, the reception has been surprisingly positive. The number of organizations exploring the use of gamification for employee engagement continues to grow. During each conference there are a handful of attendees (some from very large organizations) that share with me their forays into using gamification to increase engagement.   

Here are a few tips when applying gamification within the enterprise:

  • Strive for collaboration. Gamification is often associated with competition, but it is great tool for enhancing business collaboration and maximizing business outcomes.
  • Define your transformation objectives, metrics and desired outcomes. Then consider what kind of behaviors you want to reinforce and apply the appropriate gamification techniques.
  • Understand what works in a particular culture. Not everyone is motivated by the same techniques. Even within a single organization, there can be many different cultures — some competitive and some more collaborative, some assertive and some more passive. Each group will have its own motivations.
  • Plan for iterations and “upping the game” to avoid fatigue, foster continued engagement and promote continuous improvement.

There has been some negative reaction to the term gamification – most recently at the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona – so I’ve been trying out “engagification.” So far, there has been positive reception. It seems to get at the root of the challenge – which is employee engagement.

What’s your reaction to using the term engagification? Please, please comment!  

Check out the upcoming webinar presented by Daryl Plummer : Top Technology Predictions for 2013 and Beyond 

Follow me on Twitter:  @eliseolding

Category: bpm-strategic-planning  employee-engagement  engagification  gamification  gartner  organizational-change  

Tags: employee-engagement  engagification  gamification  

Elise Olding
Research Director
7 years at Gartner
32 years IT industry

Elise Olding is a Research Director covering the complex challenges of organizational change and business transformation from a people perspective. Her areas of focus include organizational change, communications strategies and emerging trends in employee engagement from a hands-on practitioner view. Ms. Olding provides research on a worldwide basis, advising clients on best practices to achieve sustainable change and business transformation. She is a member of Gartner's Business Process and Transformation team. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on “Engagification”of the Enterprise – Gamification and Employee Engagement

  1. In truth, I have no idea what either of these terms mean. It seems to me, it’s yet another theory about employee engagement looking for an article, and no doubt eventually a market.

    Let’s keep it simple. Please?

  2. Elise Olding says:

    Thanks Peter, would love to hear more about why you think this.

  3. Hi Elise

    Not sure whether engagification works or not, but do agree with separating it from gamification. The latter has too much technology meaning that takes us away from the basics of understanding what motivates people, and then using that as the reward structure for the behaviours we desire. The key will be the use of multiple and flexible reward systems so that they apply to people as individuals. Money, badges, Pizza, and time off are all motivators, but each of us will prefer one or other as a motivator depending on what else is going on in our lives.

    So whatever the word a combination of these is what we need to achieve

  4. Elise Olding says:

    Thanks Mark, appreciate the insights.

  5. […] ‘Gamification’ will be a key feature in enterprise transformation and employee engagement, predicts Elise Olding, research director at Gartner. Gamification is the use of technologies and techniques that inspire video game players to motivate enterprise staff, such as feedback, measurement and incentives. Gartner predicts that by 2015, 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification techniques as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. A full 70 percent of enterprise transformations fail, primarily from lack of employee buy-in, Olding wrote in a blog. Gamification can help organizations make the workplace more engaging and productive, she noted. Read more […]

  6. Ryan Scott says:

    Well its certainly interesting but I haven’t heard anyone using it yet.

    It seems like ‘engagification’ is just a funny way of using the verb form of ‘engage’

    Gamification means a lot and can be applied to a lot of different fields. For example, Causecast has applied gamification to corporate philanthropy via employee engagement in nonprofit fundraising:

  7. Jeff Spencer says:

    I like your term Engagifcation, Gamification has a negative connotation when you talk with potential customers, once you explain it they are usually ok, but it always has to be explained and put into context.

  8. […] game can also inspire your employees to reach for a higher level of performance and engagement,” writes Elise Olding, Gartner’s business process management research director. Gartner predicts that by 2015, about 40 […]

  9. […] game can also inspire your employees to reach for a higher level of performance and engagement,” writes Elise Olding, Gartner’s business process management research director. Gartner predicts that by 2015, about 40 […]

  10. […] be an essential element for brands and retailers to drive customer marketing and loyalty. By 2015, 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use Gamification as the primary mechanism to transform busines… and 50% by 2017 will use it for Learning & recruitment processes. Spending on Gamification is […]

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