Gamification Basics

By May 11, 2020 No Comments
Snowfly Gamification Basics

Last week I wrote What Is Gamification for Incentive, Performance, and Engagement Software? My big takeaway is that many companies say they want gamification, but don’t know there’s more to a few simple gamification features to keep employees engaged. No one wants to buy a software solution that gets unused three months later. I actually witnessed this recently, where a company put in a peer recognition system with some elements of gamification but within a month or two executives and HR was begging employees to use the system.

I’d consider that a fail. Read that article for some of my thoughts on that. At Snowfly we’ve seen customers stick with us much longer than industry average, and their employees continue use our system. Why?

Because we know that gamification goes way beyond leaderboards and badges. When looking for a employee performance gamification system make sure you look beyond the flash and sizzle of basic gamification features that every gamification system should have. Ask hard questions, such as how long do your customers stay with you, what is their employee engagement rate over time, and of course, could you talk to references.

Having said that, here are five basic gamification features you should see in just about any gamification offering.


Badges are cute little images employees can earn by doing things, and can be applied in a variety of ways. You can award someone a badge to show, for example, a black belt, green belt, yellow belt, etc. Or you can create a badge for employee of the month, or a badge for salesperson of the day, or 100% attendance, or whatever. Any way you give a designation to someone, whether it is temporary or permanent.

Snowfly Gamification BadgesBadges are a great way to show accomplishments and progress. They are also a great way to add some color and splash in the user experience. Badges can be completely customizable, so you can use generic looking badges or you can create your own. Want something with your branding and colors? No problem.


Levels are similar to badges in that you can “level up.” In the example with black belts and yellow belts, those are just levels. Badges show what level you are on, but levels fundamental to gamification.

Snowfly Gamification LevelsThe idea is that you can progress. Maybe, with just a little bit of work, or a few hours of training, or some accomplishments, you can get to the next level. Make sure it’s not impossible, or too much of a challenge, to get to the next level. We (humans) need to feel like we can make progress instead of feeling like it’s impossible to get to the next level. Generally, impossible means we (humans) just give up.


Leaderboards are a way for your employees to have a friendly competition with one another. The premise of leaderboards is that you can see how you are doing compared to your peers and colleagues. In a sales setting, for example, a leaderboard might show who the top salesperson is, and how far away you are from being the top salesperson.

Snowfly Leaderboards ScoresAgain, the focus is on friendly competition. #2 or #3 might really want to move up. How else would they know this than an accurate leaderboard? There are a few things to consider to make leaderboards effective… if you do it wrong you might introduce some unhealthy competition and problems into your culture. Reach out to us if you want to talk about your leaderboard strategy.


Allow users to get points for doing something. Did they complete a task or win a challenge? Ten points for Gryffindor! Didn’t think about how Harry Potter was really a big gamification model, did you? Every time someone did something right, they had a chance to earn points. The points were randomly given for random acts, keeping an element of surprise in the game.

Snowfly Gamification PointsYour employees might get points for filling out an HR form, coming to a mandatory meeting, or something else that is easy to monitor. They might get points from management who “catches them in the act.” The might even get points from peers who want to recognize them for doing something great.

Points are an easy way for them to feel appreciated, and feel like they are making some kind of progress.

Ready to talk gamification?

Snowfly uses principles of gamification to improve employee performance, employee satisfaction, culture, and to achieve organizational objectives. While we love gamification, we use it as a vehicle to get to your objectives, instead of having gamification be the objective.

Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone that. It happens to be one of the differences between us and other gamification solutions! We are here to help you make a difference in your business, not just provide flash and fun to your employees.

Snowfly Gamification for Employee PerformanceWe’re excited about the results we can bring to the table, based on years of experience really helping companies. Want to talk about some of our other differentiators and advantages we bring to the table? Let’s get on a call!

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Jason Alba

Jason Alba

I'm passionate about building great cultures. I love respect in the workforce, especially respect that is earned. I love strategic management, leadership, and vision. I love healthy companies through profitability. I love employee engagement, employee performance, and employee satisfaction. I love how Snowfly can help YOUR organization work towards all of these things.

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