Engage! Gamification for the Enterprise

via Molly Kittle @MolKittle, Vice President of Digital Strategy, Bunchball

As we move from the old enterprise model [that relies on centralized control] to a more collaborative and social model [that encourages a social intranet as the driving force for information dissemination & communication] it’s more important than ever that we recognize and empower the people who drive conversations and engagement.

The smart enterprise is focused on increased efficacy:  Onboarding.  Adoption.  Enablement.  Retention.  How do we help our employees learn to use and get the most out of the tools we’ve invested in?  It’s a big problem.  It’s estimated that disengaged employees are costing businesses 300 billion dollars a year in lost productivity. (Gallup – http://gmj.gallup.com/content/12157/power-praise-recognition.aspx and http://www.gallup.com/consulting/52/employee-engagement.aspx).

My job is to help our clients map their business goals to the appropriate motivational tools.  Over the years we’ve seen that integrating tactics from game-play into a social intranet has a direct impact on motivating employees – and there are several specific characteristics of games that deserve a strategic place within the enterprise: Performance, Achievement, & Social Interaction.


  • Real-time-feedback – The immediate delivery of positive or corrective feedback solidifies learnings or provides an opportunity for adjustment.  Surface a notification that an employee is on track or has just been successful.
  • Transparency – Show your employees where they stand in relation to company goals and others in the organization.  You can do this with leaderboards, newsfeeds, progress bars, badges and other techniques.
  • Goal-setting – Break large goals down into achievable steps on a path toward long term success.


  • Badges – Universally understood symbols that indicate mastery of skills and accomplishment.  Display them on a profile and they can act as a visual checklist or a point of pride and status.
  • Levels – A shorthand way of indicating long-term, sustained achievement and status.  An employee’s current Level Icon should be closely tied to their profile photo, name or other identity items and is most effective when used to unlock special privileges or abilities.
  • Mastery – The drive to master new skills and feel competent is an essential human motivator. (see self determination theory and this blog about the dopamine response) For example, onboarding employees shouldn’t be about reading instructions, it should revolve around “teaching by doing” – coached along by a system that provides step-by-step guidance, until they feel they have sufficient mastery to venture off on their own.



  • Competition – Employees and organizations often involve competitive situations.  There is an opportunity to move beyond competing for a position or a raise and foster competition around enablement (top performers/first to complete training).
  • Collaboration – Introduce Groups and Teams Team provide an opportunity to connect and bond with others “like” you, (even if the only similarity is that you’re on the same team), and work together as a cohesive unit to accomplish goals and compete with other teams.
  • Connection – We are spending more of our work lives online and the line between personal and professional continues to blur.  Encouraging employees to share their work success with their social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) deepens their pride in accomplishment while it’s broadcast to a broader audience.

These game mechanics are tools that the socially aware enterprise can use to facilitate and direct employees during all phases of their lifecycle; from onboarding to adoption to enablement to ongoing performance and job satisfaction, which translate into retention…

How do you think some of these concepts could work in your organization?

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