In 2012, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, Gartner Inc., predicted that 80%1 of gamified applications would fail to meet business objectives by 2014. Gamification may have been considered a trendy new business strategy, filled with reasons to fail, but it’s continuing to thrive.
In fact, the global gamification market is expected to grow from an estimated $1.6 billion in 2015 to $22.9 billion in 2022, a CAGR of 41.8%.2 By leveraging gamification in business programs, organizations are building unprecedented engagement with employees, channel partners and ultimately, customers. It’s not a perfect science, but there are best practices to follow to ensure that you are using gamification the right way. Here are some of the pitfalls to avoid in gamification initiatives in your business:
1. Balance Fun & Function
The primary focus of any gamification exercise is to engage the participant with points, rewards, leader boards and so on. However, the underlying platform must be meaningful to your business objectives. The trick is to find the balance between fun and function, taking into account policies, visions and objectives, and presenting them in an appealing design that will engage the participant and produce the results you want.
2. Lots of Bling but No Backbone
Your gamification platform may have all the bells and whistles, but unless there are some tangible rewards, such as virtual gifts, career advancement, financial benefits, leisure incentives or peer recognition, your participants will quickly lose interest. Management needs to illustrate the tangible benefits of participating in the gamified program to keep the participants actively engaged.
3. Keep it Fresh or Flounder
Unless you actively keep your gamification exercises fresh and exciting, your program could quickly become boring and stale, resulting in loss of interest and the eventual demise of your incentive efforts. Constantly adding enhancements and upgrades to your program can maintain and even increase participation, resulting in engaged and eager participants.
4. Same Goals – Different Targets
Gamification is all about motivating people to achieve a certain goal. However, individual participants will produce different results and at a different rate. This may be due to the position they hold or the sector they are active in. It is important to compare apples to apples and keep the playing field as fair as possible. Leader boards that illustrate personal bests, team scores and overall results are a great way to keep everyone motivated.
5. Role Model Required
In order for a gamification program to succeed senior management must not only be on board they should be role models. For any progressive initiative to flourish there must be a champion for the cause, preferably with the endorsement and support from senior management but still in touch with the everyday user – someone they can look up to yet still relate with.
6. Too Much Too Soon
Change is difficult for everyone. Trying to introduce a new initiative too quickly could result in a stonewall effect. Introduce components to your gamification program in small modules at a time. Not only will this help participants grasp and embrace the concept, it will also help you keep it fresh for longer. The end result is an ongoing interest in the project and continued growth in your success.
7. Too Little Too Late
Just as introducing too many new ideas from the outset can be fatal to your gamification program, not reacting to floundering interest in your program can be just as detrimental. Once the initial fervor for the game has worn off, it is imperative to monitor user enthusiasm and to react with innovative solutions to waning interest.
In our world of employee engagement solutions, sales incentives and channel partner loyalty programs, gamification works – and for good reason. Gamification makes tasks or lessons more fun, which drives engagement and inspires achievement. But for gamification to be truly effective in any business, it must motivate, have momentum and meaning, and most importantly, be rewarding.
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