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Image Credit: <www.greenbookblog.org

Image Credit: <www.greenbookblog.org>

That post title is a mouthful, so first things first: What is gamification? Distilled into one sentence, it’s the use of game mechanics to improve task performance and facilitate learning by leveraging the human desire for competition/achievement/self-expression etc. To really get a richer understanding of the topic I would encourage you to read the wiki here.

Associating rewards with difficult tasks is critical to creating optimal learning and development outcomes. Image Credit: <technorati.com

Associating rewards with difficult tasks is critical to creating optimal learning and development outcomes. Image Credit: <technorati.com>

With that said, as a compensation professional, huge education proponent, and advocate of following one’s passion(s) I am fascinated by gamification as a concept. 

From a workplace compensation standpoint, gamification is at core a form of intrinsic reward. Properly implemented into a company’s compensation strategy, gamification provides recognition and remuneration for reaching milestones, performance measurement, constant feedback etc. Maybe more importantly, gamification can make otherwise mundane tasks engaging, in the process contributing to the creation of a happier workforce. This can in turn lead to all sorts of benefits across an organization (for example higher workforce productivity and improved retention). Additionally, from a learning and development vantage point gamification can potentially improve workforce training outcomes by associating rewards with otherwise banal tasks.

…To this point I suppose one problem I have with gamification is that (I believe) in principle people should follow their passions: If you need to have core material relevant to your profession gameified in order to engage with it then you should probably be in another profession

…Conversely, not every job or task is innately enjoyable; furthermore not everyone is willing to put in the time and effort often required to harness their 1. The true price of not working hard to cultivate one’s passion(s) into skill(s) with compensable value is a lifetime of boredom.passions into something with compensable value. 1 In these instances organizations must make the choice to find a way to make uninteresting work more engaging, or else deal with middling productivity and high turnover. Faced with these options engagement (and perhaps in the same vein gamification) is the obvious answer; but the challenge of identifying undesirable jobs and then implementing an effective gamification strategy across an affected workforce or enterprise can potentially become so time consuming and costly as to be prohibitive.

As such, an organization looking to implement a gamification strategy across any segment of its employee population needs to have a clearly defined understanding of what it is trying to accomplish – and how it will measure success (effective data tracking and useful metrics are key here).

I want to think on this some more, but wanted to share my thoughts on the subject this morning.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Best,

Rory

If you have questions about something you’ve read here (or simply want to connect) you can reach me at any of the following addresses: 

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