It’s no secret that people are motivated by reward, so why have we lost sight of this in so many workplaces? In this opinion piece, John Palfreyman, CEO, ipSCAPE explores how gamification, with the help of current technology, can improve employee engagement and productivity in the workplace.
Whether it is stars on a chart during primary school, or even just recognition when we let another person into our lane in crowded traffic, the fact remains that people are motivated by reward and far more interested in positive reinforcement than negative.
So why have we lost sight of this in the workplace? Why have we lost that sense of excitement that comes with achieving a new personal best, or being congratulated by our team mates for an impressive try on the rugby field?
Perhaps the difficulty in tracking staff’s work and achievements holds the answer to these questions. With so many employees, it can be hard to keep an eye on all staff and equally celebrate their work without bias.
Except, with current technology, it’s actually not hard to do this at all. All you need is a contact centre solution that provides by-the-minute results, a few wallboards, and dedication to recognising your employees.
The concept I’m talking about is gamification. Hinging on our human desire for reward, gamification is the process of applying game-like mechanics to the activities we perform at work.
Introducing gamification to your workplace is proven to improve staff engagement and productivity. Studies by TalentLMS have shown that “89 per cent of those surveyed stated that a point system would boost their engagement” and that a further “62 per cent stated that they would be motivated to learn if leaderboards were involved and they had the opportunity to compete with other colleagues.”
Let’s take a look at how this could impact the performance of one of the most important parts of any business: the contact centre.
For a section of business so focused on providing customer satisfaction, it is astounding that this sector provides so little staff satisfaction for service agents. Low wages, long hours and little opportunity for upward mobility combine to leave contact centres with one of the highest staff turnover rates, with most call centres replacing 26 per cent of their staff annually.
When you factor in that it takes around $4,000 to hire each new worker, and a further $4,800 to train them, it becomes clear that staff retention is just as important as customer retention.
Gamification provides companies the opportunity to combat this issue, in a process that can be implemented in three easy steps.
- Collect Real-Time Analytics.
In order for service agents to engage in game-like reward system, your company must first create grounds for them to compete and improve on.
Any good omni-channel solution will provide by-the-minute analytics of your service agents’ performance. Factors such as customer satisfaction, average call time, number of sales and number of solutions are all measurable and quantitative. Analytics of these factors not only allow management to track the performance of employees, but also allow employees to see where they need to improve and where they are hitting the mark.
These analytics can be used to create a points system and areas for your service agents to compete in. These analytics can be turned into graphs or other visual mediums in order to easily convey service quality information.
- Display Information on Wallboards
The analytics provided by your communication channel now must be displayed for all your service agents to see clearly. This can be easily achieved through the use of electronic wallboards around the office. These wallboards allow you to publically display the performance of your service agents, encouraging improvement and even a bit of healthy competition.
The public display of real time analytics may also encourage better performance from your low achievers, as they will not want to be seen to publically let down the team. Also, it recognises and displays the success of those who are performing well, tapping into our reward-orientated mentality.
- Reward Success and Improvement
Perhaps the most important step of gamification is ensuring that there is incentive to perform well, beyond the obvious motivation to do well at our jobs.
Introduce a system of reward based on the statistics collected through your communication channel, and ensure that not only the highest achievers are rewarded, but also those who have improved the most. Encourage collaboration between your staff to achieve the best performances as a team, perhaps with a ‘best mentor’ reward for those high achievers who help others improve.
The rewards don’t have to be big: they can be anything from a simple announcement congratulating the winners of the week, to a bigger prize such as a dinner voucher for a nearby restaurant for long-term success. The most important thing is tapping into your staff’s desire for positive reinforcement, and pushing them to perform through recognition and a sense that they are valued.
Gamification is just one way to encourage productivity in your staff. Ultimately, the rule is that happy staff are productive staff. A little recognition and acknowledgement can go a long way in improving staff satisfaction and ensuring they feel valued.