Social media platforms and gamification can be used in tandem to get tangible business results and enhancing workforce ethos.
“No one can whistle a symphony; it takes a whole orchestra to play it,” – this popular adage on teamwork, attributed to Halford E. Luccock, a professor at the Yale Divinity School, can aptly be used in the context of social collaboration. True to this thought, unless everyone gets engaged, the orchestra on the social platform falls silent, and the members would be left whistling on their own world of silos, with little innovation or improved performance. Organizations making the transformation into social enterprises are already reaping the benefits and measuring the results. And this is where Gamification – the application of game design thinking to solve any business problem – has a role to play.
Social Collaboration via Gamification
To begin with, just as social collaboration is not about technology, but about connecting people, gamification too is not about games. When incorporated into the social platform, it helps enterprise achieve higher levels of engagement, change behaviors, and stimulate innovation.
J Maan, in his research paper ‘Social Business Collaboration through Gamification’ observes several advantages of gamifying social collaboration in the enterprise. According to him, “Social collaboration and gamification can help companies see the real business value. For instance, by incorporating gamification into social collaboration platforms, companies can foster greater employee engagement, deepen customer relationships, drive operational efficiencies, and optimize their workforce. At a more advanced level, it stimulates innovation and creates a more skilled and adaptive workforce, which is crucial for the success of an organization.”
The Real Business Value
There are several real world examples of gamification leading to a measurable business impact, even though gamifying social engagement is an area that requires a much greater level of attention.
Companies such as Cisco have already made a mark in this field. A few years ago, Cisco made an investment in a global social media training program for its employees and contractors to build and leverage their social media skillset. But with over 46 courses as part of the program, it was challenging to figure out where to start. The tech major applied gamification technique and introduced three levels of certification for the social media training program across its HR, external communications, sales and internal partner teams. The mixed team challenge spurred a healthy dose of competition and collaboration into earning social media certifications. The outcome? Since gamifying its social media training program, more than 650 Cisco employees have been certified with over 13,000 courses taken.
Likewise, Deloitte had built a leadership training curriculum for senior executives, but had trouble encouraging executives to start and complete the program. With a gamified Solution, Deloitte turned to Badgeville to introduce gamified elements like badges, leaderboards and status symbols that measured how many executives were participating and completing courses.The average time to complete the training curriculum dropped by 50% percent, and the program has seen a nearly 50% jump in the number of users that return to the site daily.
“Gamified solutions in social collaboration can help managers better understand employee skills and motivations. This helps them assign new tasks and responsibilities to those best suited for the job, thereby reducing the growing risks of diminished productivity, employee attrition, and at the same time creating a value chain that meets ROI requirements,” says Ravi Venugopal, Founder-CEO of Giggso, a US-based social collaboration company.
He gives an example of how gamification can enhance social collaboration at the conferences. For conference organizers, a gamified solution can provide insights into attendee interests and other influencing areas such as sessions, keynotes and participants, among other ideas.
Despite the momentum, researchers at the University of Duiseburg-Essen (Germany), argue in their paper titled: ‘Gamify Employee Collaboration in Social Collaboration’ that the current gamification solutions primarily focus on rewarding quantitative improvement of work activities, neglecting qualitative performance. Subsequently, current solutions ignore risks that can lower the employees’ motivation and work performance in the long run.
Nonetheless, others believe, by combining social business tools and game design techniques, organizations can create an aspirational workplace where employees get a sense of self direction. Jim Harter, Chief Scientist, Workplace Management and Wellbeing, at Gallup Research, observes in the State of the Global Workplace report that two-thirds (66%) of employees are ‘not engaged’ at work. The economic consequences of this global “norm” are approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity.
In this context, Harter believes, social media platforms and gamification can be used in tandem to get tangible business results and enhancing workforce ethos. A company where the workforce connects to the brand image can guarantee greater success.