Gamification in Business: Strategy, Benefits, and Examples

Milthon Lujan Monja

Gamification in Business: A Tool to Increase Your Sales. Photo: Unsplash
Gamification in Business: A Tool to Increase Your Sales. Photo: Unsplash

In today’s dynamic business landscape, organizations are constantly seeking innovative strategies to engage their employees, motivate their customers, and optimize their operations. Gamification, the application of game-like mechanics to non-game contexts, has emerged as a powerful tool to achieve these goals.

You likely face a challenge when trying to engage your employees in learning or training processes, or when you want to provide information about a new product or service to your customers. One answer to this challenge is to integrate gamification into your business processes.

Gamification exists in a wide range of industries, including retail, media, consumer goods, and healthcare (Wünderlich et al., 2020), and is used as a means to educate or train employees, create customer engagement with brands and companies, and even promote behavioral changes in people to achieve specific goals (Bawa, 2023).

In this article, we aim to give you a general overview of gamification for companies so that you can understand its potential applications in the business world.

Gamification in Companies

As described by Miciula and Miluniec (2019), gamification has become a new trend in business because it allows the use of game mechanisms to motivate employees, customers, suppliers, and other important partners; and the implementation of gamification can be a valuable strategy for organizations seeking to improve their performance and achieve specific business objectives (Bawa, 2023).

Georgiev (2021) reports the following results from a gamification study conducted in 2018:

  • 95% of employees enjoy using game-inspired elements in their work.
  • Gamification participants score 14% higher on skill-based assessments.
  • 72% of employees say gamification inspires them to work harder.
  • From a marketing perspective, the use of gamification can increase newly registered business users by 600%.

Today, gamification can be used in many fields such as marketing, online and personal sales, professional training, personal development and health, education, finance, sports, entertainment and leisure, production, government programs, and more.

What is Gamification in Business?

Games have the fantastic ability to capture people’s attention for a long time; they also allow for building relationships, gaining recognition, and developing creativity (Yadav et al., 2020). In this regard, Kim (2020) notes that gamification refers to the use of technology to promote and induce user motivation by leveraging various game features.

On the other hand, Pereira et al. (2018) highlight that gamification refers to the use of gamification mechanisms to create an experience and influence behaviors and emotions in contexts traditionally not associated with gaming. In the business world, gamification is defined as the application of game design mechanics, elements, and principles to various business processes (Yadav et al., 2020).

Gamification takes the essence of games (fun, play, transparency, design, and challenge) and applies it to real-world objectives. According to Narayan (?), in a business, gamification is oriented towards designing solutions for office tasks and training for marketing or direct interaction with customers.

Furthermore, gamification has three characteristics, describes Kim (2020): fun, playful interaction, and playful design. Fun is linked to the lived experience. Playful interaction refers to objects, tools, and contexts that lead to a unique experience. Playful design means creating and designing a playful experience.

In summary, gamification for companies involves incorporating game design elements such as points, badges, leaderboards, and challenges into business processes to motivate and engage users. By leveraging the innate human desire to play and win, gamification can drive positive behavior change, improve productivity, and foster a more positive and engaging work environment.

Benefits of Gamification for Companies

Gamification is an emerging trend, and an increasing number of companies are applying this technique to gain competitiveness and influence their customers. Sharma et al. (2024) highlight that gamification in companies can be used to improve management strategies and customer experience. Among the benefits of gamification for companies are:

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a) Value Generation: Gamification increases business value through elements such as training, cost optimization, performance improvement, and employee engagement.

b) Training: Gamification can make training and onboarding more effective by making them more interactive and engaging. This can lead to faster learning, better retention of information, and a smoother transition for new employees.

c) Employee Motivation: Gamification can make work more fun and rewarding, resulting in greater employee engagement and motivation. This can translate into improved productivity, reduced turnover, and a more positive work culture.

d) Real-Time Analytics: User behavior can be tracked and analyzed in real time. This information can be used to create new strategies.

e) Driving Innovation Processes: A gamification strategy can allow managers to explore innovation opportunities for products or services through the information they can gather from their employees or customers. Abril et al. (2024) report that gamification can help organizations achieve desired outcomes through appropriate interventions and mechanisms, considering the innovation context and the appropriate participants.

f) Increased Customer Engagement and Loyalty: Gamification can be used to create more engaging customer experiences, leading to greater participation, loyalty, and advocacy. For example, loyalty programs that reward customers for their purchases can encourage repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.

g) Improved Sales and Performance: Gamification can be used to incentivize employees to reach sales and performance goals. This can lead to increased revenue, better customer satisfaction, and a greater competitive advantage.

Applications of Gamification in Companies: Improving Training and Engagement

Gamification applications have become increasingly popular tools for companies of all sizes to improve training and engagement. These applications provide an easy-to-use, interactive platform for delivering training content, tracking progress, and rewarding achievements.

Gamification applications can be used to:

  • Create interactive training modules that incorporate game-like elements such as quizzes, puzzles, and simulations.
  • Track employee progress and provide real-time feedback.
  • Award points, badges, and rewards for completing training modules and reaching milestones.
  • Create leaderboards to foster healthy competition and motivation.

How to Develop a Gamification Strategy in Business

A gamification strategy is a comprehensive effort that seeks proactive user participation and action by applying game mechanisms and elements to other fields (Kim, 2020). However, gamification without proper planning and design can lead to failure. Narayan (?) reports that about 85% of gamification strategy initiatives fail, with the main reason being game design.

Implementing gamification for companies can be a complex process, but it can be worth the effort if done correctly. Jacobides et al. (2024) highlight that gamification can help achieve one or more of three distinct strategic objectives; however, for gamification to be effective, companies must choose the design elements that fit their goals and the appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success.

Here is a step-by-step guide to implementing gamification in companies:

  1. Define Your Gamification GoalsWhat do you want to achieve with gamification? Greater employee engagement? Improved customer loyalty? Increased sales? Once you know your goals, you can choose the appropriate gamification elements and strategies to achieve them.
  2. Select the Right Gamification ElementsThere are a variety of gamification elements you can use, such as points, badges, leaderboards, and challenges. The best elements for your business will depend on your specific goals and audience.
  3. Design a Gamification SystemOnce you have selected your gamification elements, you need to design a gamification system. This involves creating the rules and mechanics of your gamification program.
  4. Launch and Measure Your Gamification ProgramOnce you have designed your gamification system, you should launch your program and start tracking its performance. This will help you identify any areas that need improvement.
  5. Make Necessary AdjustmentsGamification is an ongoing process, and you will need to make adjustments to your program as needed. This is based on the data you collect from your analytics and user feedback.
  6. Keep Your Gamification Program UpdatedTo keep your users engaged, you need to keep your gamification program updated. This means adding new challenges, rewards, and content regularly.

Elements of Gamification in Companies

Miciula and Miluniec (2019) cite that the most well-known elements for gamification in companies include, among others:

  • Tasks and challenges for participants
  • A bar or other form of presentation of a person’s progress to complete a task or move to the next level
  • Badges for achievements: tasks or challenges completed
  • Levels of difficulty/development: reaching the first task is very simple, and as participants’ experience increases, the difficulty of the task also increases
  • Individual and group competition
  • Cooperation among participants to achieve a common goal
  • Scoring (individual and group)
  • A communication system between participants
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Examples of Gamification in Companies

There are many successful examples of gamification in companies that have incorporated game mechanics such as leaderboards, badges, and progress bars to provide real-time feedback and increase engagement.

Here are some examples:

Use of Mobile Applications

Kim (2020) reports that companies are adopting mobile learning applications to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their businesses. The researcher reported a study conducted in South Korea where the results showed that gamification elements such as challenge, engagement, and usability affect the intention to use social learning mobile platforms.

AstraZeneca

According to Lawrence (2018), the international pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca explored the voluntary use of a game-based learning system for 500 sales agents to learn about a new drug.

The goals were to focus agents on the new project, create an effective team-building tool, generate buzz prior to the drug launch, and be able to verify training results in real time.

The game called “Go to Jupiter” had usage rates of 97%, and 95% of users completed each teaching session. The gamification strategy proved to be an effective team training tool that educated, focused, and energized the sales force.

L’Oréal’s Retail Journey

L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, needed to find a better solution to train and communicate with their Beauty Advisors in the Asia Pacific region. This was challenging due to the fact that they spoke six different languages.

The company commissioned the development of a gamified mobile application. The app served as a training platform and knowledge-sharing tool. In other words, it allowed Beauty Consultants worldwide to learn, connect, and engage with each other.

Cisco

Cisco had to invest in a social media training program for its employees and suppliers to improve their social media skills.

The company introduced three levels of certification for the social media training program: specialist, strategist, and master, as well as four sublevels for human resources, external communications, sales, and internal partners.

BMW Dealer Network

Miciula and Miluniec (2019) describe the recruitment process of the BMW Dealer Network, which is based on gamification mechanisms.

BMW approaches its recruitment games ambitiously and gives candidates a real look at the company. The video game allows candidates to solve specific tasks faced by BMW employees while getting to know the company’s culture, values, and mission.

Thanks to this, candidates have the opportunity to get a realistic idea of their future job; at the same time, the recruitment officer has the data to evaluate the candidates.

Technicolor Brasil

Pereira et al. (2018) described the case of Technicolor Brasil in implementing a gamification process for training their employees as a strategy for engaging them with the company.

The approach allowed users to engage with aspects such as game narrative, reflection, and continuous competition, which is directly linked to recognition in the industrial organization.

According to the researchers, the developed system contributed to: (i) process control areas; (ii) systematization of activities; (iii) standardization of routines and work instructions; (iv) control of document versions; (v) improvements in learning processes; (vi) identification of future training needs; (vii) mapping employees’ skills and capabilities to meet company needs.

Other Examples of Gamification for Companies

Companies of all sizes and industries use gamification to achieve a wide range of goals. Here are some examples:

  • Salesforce: Salesforce, a cloud-based CRM platform, uses gamification to motivate its sales team. The company has a leaderboard that tracks sales performance, and employees who achieve certain milestones are rewarded with badges and prizes.
  • Duolingo: Duolingo, a language learning app, uses gamification to make learning fun and engaging. Users earn points for completing lessons and can level up and unlock new features as they progress.
  • Starbucks: Starbucks uses gamification to foster customer loyalty. The company’s Starbucks Rewards program allows customers to earn stars for their purchases, which can be redeemed for free drinks and food.

Gamification Platforms for Businesses: Enhancing Gamification Strategies

Gamification platforms provide companies with the tools and infrastructure they need to create, manage, and measure their gamification programs. These platforms offer a variety of features, such as:

  • Gamification Design Tools: These tools allow companies to create customized gamification experiences, including points, badges, leaderboards, and challenges.
  • User Management: Gamification platforms enable companies to manage user accounts, track progress, and award rewards.
  • Analytics and Reporting: These platforms provide companies with data on the performance of their gamification programs so they can make necessary adjustments.
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Choosing the Right Gamification Platform for Your Business

When choosing a gamification platform for your business, it is important to consider your specific needs and objectives. Some factors to consider include:

  • The size and complexity of your gamification program
  • Your budget
  • The features and functionalities you need
  • The platform’s ease of use
  • The provider’s reputation and customer support

Leading Gamification Platforms for Businesses

Here are some leading gamification platforms for businesses:

  • Bunchball Nitro: Bunchball Nitro is a cloud-based gamification platform that offers a wide range of features, including gamification design tools, user management, analytics and reporting, and social integration.
  • Spinify: Spinify is another popular cloud-based gamification platform that offers various features, including gamification design tools, user management, analytics and reporting, and mobile support.

Conclusion

Gamification in businesses has become one of the main trends for enhancing employee engagement within a company, as well as customer engagement with products or services.

Despite its benefits, the implementation of gamification must be accompanied by a strategy with clear objectives and expected results.

Don’t forget to check our references section where you can find links to documents that can help you learn more about gamification.

References

Abril, C., Gimenez-Fernandez, E. M., & Camacho-Miñano, M. (2024). Using gamification to overcome innovation process challenges: A literature review and future agenda. Technovation, 133, 103020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.technovation.2024.103020

ALVARIA. GUIDE TO GAMIFICATION GREATNESS: 10 Best Practices for Keeping Employee Engagement Fresh. 20 p.

Bawa, S. S. (2023). Implement gamification to improve enterprise performance. International Journal of Intelligent Systems and Applications in Engineering, 11(2), 784-788.

Georgiev, D. 2021. Top Gamification Statistics of 2020: Next Level Gaming. Review42.

Jacobides, M. G., Ma, M. D., Trantopoulos, K., & Vassalos, V. (2024). The Business Value of Gamification. California Management Review, 66(2), 91-107. https://doi.org/10.1177/00081256231218469

Kim, Sehoon. (2020). How a company’s gamification strategy influences corporate learning: A study based on gamified MSLP (Mobile social learning platform). Telematics and Informatics. 57. 10.1016/j.tele.2020.101505.

Lawrence D. 2018. Using Gamification to Train Millennials. EHS Today.

Miciula, Ireneusz & Miluniec, Agnieszka. (2019). GAMIFICATION 3.0 FOR EMPLOYEES INVOLVEMENT IN THE COMPANY. 10878-10884. 10.21125/iceri.2019.2670.

Narayan S. ? The Power of Games: How to Generate a Successful Gamification Strategy. Happiest Minds Technologies. 13 p.

Pereira M., M. Oliveira, A. Vieira, R. Lima, L. Paes. 2018. The gamification as a tool to increase employee skills through interactives work instructions training. Procedia Computer Science 138: 630–637.

Sharma, W., Lim, W. M., Kumar, S., Verma, A., & Kumra, R. (2024). Game on! A state-of-the-art overview of doing business with gamification. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 198, 122988. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2023.122988

Wünderlich, N. V., Gustafsson, A., Hamari, J., Parvinen, P., & Haff, A. (2020). The great game of business: Advancing knowledge on gamification in business contexts. Journal of Business Research, 106, 273-276. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.10.062

Yadav S., G. Pegu, N. Tanweer, R. Lakra, R. Bharti. 2020. Exploring the concept of Gamification for better Employee Engagement in Hybrid Work Environment. JNU/ABVSME-WP No. 02/2020. 17 p.

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