Gamify Rewards & Recognition

Updated: Feb 7

Rewards & Recognition is a program related to Employee Engagement. Gamification is the application of game design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. The purpose of Gamification is to motivate participation, engagement and loyalty.

With this Gamifying Rewards & Recognition seems to be a straight success as Rewards & Recognition (R&R) end goal is retention of employees in a motivated manner – make them more loyal to the organization. Studies have indicated that integrating gaming elements into development offerings can increase productivity, employee engagement and retention and promote innovation.

With this we now need to see how the concept of Gamification can be implemented in R&R programs. While we are not looking at an exact implementation road map in this article, I am trying to bring about certain concepts around Gamification and how that can aid an already effective R&R to scale up and make it more efficient.

Gamification cannot be ignored by leaders1 due to the following reasons:

• Gamification Improves Knowledge – It is proven that playing games enable logical problem solving as human brain is built for game play – Are we not pushed to playing games in our childhood?

• Gamification gives employees the power to actively gauge their performance – Gaming causes an immediate cause & effect and also offers feedback to employee and facilitates retention of knowledge gained as part of the gaming

• Gamification boosts achievement across the board – Facilitates employees showcase their achievements / successes by displaying in social media and / or their work desks

• Gamification builds engagement and promotes emotional connection with others – facilitates social interactions and bondings in work place ensuring better coordination

• Gamification emphasizes Learning & Development –encouragement of innovation among employees is better seen with gamification as the organization can introduce fun in learning and motivate innovation

lists some examples

The demographics of the workplace are changing. As more Gen Y and Millennials enter the workforce, using gaming elements, social networking tools, and advanced communication techniques are far more effective in engaging employees and providing opportunities to leverage tech-savvy talent that might otherwise go un-tapped or under-utilized.

Gamification, a recognition process should not stop with recognizing the victory but should start focusing on recognizing effective execution of day to day tasks. One of the clients that I consult covered tasks like regular attendance, coming to meetings on time, finishing meeting on times also as part of recognition aspects and introduced badges like Mr.Attendance, TimeMachine etc that would be given to the people – more than one could get it too. Additionally as part of the corporate intranet, these recognitions were listed.

One of the most important aspect of gamification is to provide large scale recognition by publishing the information – while intranet is a good start, one can also introduce leaderboards and have the top 5 listed down on various categories – this motivates everyone to keep a watch on it and target coming into the leaderboard one day or the other. The success of gamification is in participation and it is important that we facilitate participation by bringing in the competition factor too.

The best place to start gamification is the R&R program but over a period of time it gets incorporated into every aspect of the organization like recruitment, learning and development, performance management etc. The reason for this is gamification improves transparency and brings in a culture of “I Perform, I get Recognized” and the concept of being biased is totally eradicated.

Gamification must be well planned and well understood before implementation. Some points to keep in mind as part of implementing gamification are:

• Be clear on the goals of the organization towards gamification

• Understand company culture and introduce rewards that will motivate employees

• Work backwards – focus on the behaviours that the company wants to nurture and behaviours that the company wants to do away with and identify the activities that would trigger them and implement gamification on those activities.

• Rewards system must be modified on a periodic basis to ensure the interest levels are high at all times within the organization

• Rewards must be earned and should not be made available at the drop of a hat

• Game systems must enhance the work and the work culture and not exploit the employees

To promote gamification within the organization, one must consider the following at minimum:

• Senior management buy in matters and most importantly their buy in must be seen by employees – in one of my engagements, we had a technical discussion forum wherein we brought in gamification for contribution and introduced awards every quarter and the highlight was the CTO of the organization was also contributing on a regular basis and in certain cases spoke to employees who contribution was different from the normal and that gave a different perspective in making themselves engaged

• Rules of the game must be clear in black and white with no room for ambiguities

• Introduce feedback systems and when the systems of reward is modified based on that credit the person who shared the idea

• Communication on the Gamification process and regular communication on the reward and / or the leaderboard related information must be crystal clear and well timed – a clear communication plan must exist

by: Bhanu Kumar


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