Everything You Need to Know About Workplace Gamification

Apr 20, 2022 5:00:00 AM

If you’ve been looking into boosting employee engagement in your workplace in the past few years, you have probably come across “gamification” in your search results. Workplace gamification is a new tool businesses are using to encourage employee productivity and promote job satisfaction. Gamification is being applied to almost anything, including team building, process development, production, employee onboarding, and even recruitment. 

And people are seeing some pretty impressive results when adding gamification to their processes. According to a survey by TalentLMS:

proliant-gamification-stat-callout-1-1What is gamification in the workplace?

Gamification refers to applying elements of game playing to various other activities. Gamification has been used as a marketing technique to encourage online audiences to take specific actions, and you have probably run into this quite a lot when shopping online or even in your inbox. In a similar way, gamification in the workplace encourages employees to take certain actions that increase engagement and productivity.

Gamification helps employees engage in a number of ways, including: 

  • Learning new processes with progress badges 
  • Completing tasks through competition with others
  • Team building by working together to solve a puzzle

How does workplace gamification work?

Gamification is based on psychology and taps into what people really want to get out of their work experiences in order to drive engagement and increase productivity. People are driven to compete, improve, and outdo, especially when there is an instant reward. By implementing certain game design elements (points, badges, leaderboards, performance graphs, stories, avatars, teammates), employees are incentivized, in a way, to engage with their work or tasks. 

According to an article from Computers in Human Behavior, “enriching the environment” in the workplace with game elements changes the workplace environment and affects “motivational and psychological” experiences. Research suggests that gamification addresses things that people need from their experience at work: 

  • Everyone wants to feel competent at work. 
  • Offering autonomy (opportunities for decision-making) makes the work more meaningful. 
  • Social relatedness helps employees feel like they belong and encourages loyalty. 

By addressing these basic needs, gamification increases workplace motivation, which improves engagement and productivity. 

How does workplace gamification benefit businesses?

As of 2021, 70% of Global 2000 companies were using gamification in some way because it improves employee engagement, profitability, and productivity. Workplace gamification offers many benefits for employees that help boost these results, including: 

  • Immediate feedback
  • Clear goals
  • Recognition
  • Job satisfaction

Studies show that engagement increases 60% with gamification, and companies that have more engaged employees see some significant results:proliant-gamification-stat-bar-callout

How do you implement gamification in the workplace?

Google once used a mysterious billboard game with a complex math problem in its recruitment efforts. Cisco has used gamification for social media training. You can use gamification for just about anything, but it works best when you are working with results that are easy to measure. 

Here are steps you can take to implement gamification in your workplace: 

  1. Explain the benefits of gamification to employees. What is the purpose of the game you are putting in place? How will it promote corporate, team, or individual success?
  2. Communicate the goals, tasks, or outputs for employees. 
  3. Establish criteria for good performance, win conditions, and other rules.
  4. Provide rewards for progress or completion (badges, points, leaderboards, progress charts). 
  5. Give detailed feedback as goals are reached. 

The most important thing is to be clear on all aspects of how you will be implementing gamification in your workplace. Companies have experienced some major failures trying to use gamification to motivate their employees because of a lack of clarity and consideration.

What gamification mistakes should companies avoid?

Around 80% of workplace gamification efforts fail because of “poor planning and design and a lack of creativity and meaning.”

For example, in 2008, Disneyland Resort Hotels in Anaheim, CA, started using an electronic leaderboard with red, yellow, and green lights to track the performance of their laundry staff. In the end, workers felt so much pressure to keep up that they skipped bathroom breaks, calling the game “the electronic whip.” 

The problem was that the company didn’t design the game with the employees in mind. For a gamification solution to be successful, it has to provide a sense of purpose for employees, encourage growth, and take into account the unique attributes of each employee. 

Gamification in Your Workplace

If you take into account the unique attributes, goals, and needs of your employees, you can create a gamification solution that will improve engagement for your business. The results can be pretty amazing, which is why gamification has become a staple for building strong company culture and increasing employee retention. 

It can be challenging for management teams, owners, and other decision-makers to implement gamification when they are already juggling so many processes. However, if you have the right HR and payroll solutions in place, you can streamline your processes and use tools for gamification all in one place. Here are a few ways great HR and payroll solutions can help you implement gamification elements in your workplace.

  • Customizable learning management systems allow you to modify lessons to fit into your game plan. 
  • Streamlined processes for data management give teams more time for culture development and growth. 
  • Options for easy online employee management allow managers to give updates on progress, badges earned, or other gamification elements.


Proliant makes it easy to update processes and implement new tools like gamification. If you’d like to learn more about Proliant’s robust HR and payroll solutions, check out our solutions page.

About Proliant

Proliant puts the human in human resources. We provide a fully integrated, cloud-based HCM solution that simplifies payroll and HR processes. The company serves small to large clients in multiple industries in all 50 states and is committed to providing the highest quality customer service in the industry.

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