I have a rather large backyard at my home. I also have neighbors whose yards border every side of mine. We love our neighbors and we live in a great neighborhood. However, in our neighborhood, several of us have dogs, cats, chickens, horses, and (in our case) even honeybees. With all of these animals, and with the backyard garden that my wife loves to grow each year, fences are important. As Robert Frost famously penned in his poem, Mending Wall: “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Due to a rather strong wind gust, the 25-year old fence on the north side of our property recently blew over when one of the old rotting fence posts finally gave way. Our neighbors on that side of our home have dogs…lots of big dogs. They are great dogs, very sweet for the most part, but they are also territorial and can be unfriendly to our dog and children through the fence. When the fence blew over, we knew we needed to take quick action.
The following evening, my neighbor and I, with the help of some friends and family, began the arduous task of digging up the old rotted out fence posts and replacing them with brand new posts to repair and strengthen the fence. After coming up with a system of pulleys and chains and come-along wenches and a hand-built metal frame, we were able to dig the first concrete fence post foundation out of the ground and replace it with a brand new post. Then we moved onto the second rotted fence post and the fun really began.
After trying to get the concrete foundation for the second rotted fence post to budge at all, we were about to give up for the night as it was approaching 11 pm. We tried moving the crow bars, wenches, and metal frame we were working with one last time to see if we could make any progress…and then we saw some slight movement. Immediately, my father-in-law grabbed the 4×4 piece of lumber that was to become the new replacement fence post and was able to wedge it under the concrete in just the right way. He created enough force using the metal frame as a fulcrum that the sunken concrete foundation finally gave way and we were able to get it out of the hole and put in the new fence post. After trying so many ineffective ways, we had finally created the right environment to generate what had eluded us for the better part of 90 minutes: LEVERAGE.
Effective motivation techniques and behavior modification principles are sought after by organizations who understand that getting their employees to perform consistently, and in the right ways, is often one of the keys to success for their business. The problem is that all of the pushing, prodding, forcing, coercing, pleading, and manipulation in the world rarely provides any tangible results until the correct environment has been created where leverage starts to work in your favor. That concrete fence post foundation didn’t budge until the right environment had been created where we could take advantage of the principles of physics and use leverage to our advantage.
So how does one leverage the ever-changing workplace environment and create a self-motivated and productive workforce? How does an organization cater to the differing motivational factors and needs of team members from all walks of life, all races and genders, all ages and generations, from new-hires to 30-year veterans alike? The answer to both questions is: gamification. The Snowfly definition of gamification can be referred to in an earlier article here, but suffice it to say that gamification is the process of adding elements of fun, competition, and the possibility of winning a prize, to normal activities which turns that task into one with aspects of a game.
The principles of gamification can be used as very effective leverage in the workplace to motivate employees and modify behaviors without having to enact new policies, legislate changes in management or leadership styles, or even force or coerce new behaviors. Providing incentives which reinforce performing positive behaviors is definitely a move in the right direction, but by adding gamification principles to an incentive program, the end reward is only part of what makes an individual want to do the right things. When applied properly, gamification can provide direct feedback on progress towards a goal, gamification can allow an individual to know where he/she ranks among colleagues, and gamification can ultimately make completing a task or learning a new skill the catalyst for personal affirmation and accomplishment. Public recognition for an accomplishment via gamification often is more valued by the person being recognized than the actual reward and is in some cases the greater incentive for individuals.
But what really makes gamification the ultimate leveraging tool is that a good gamification based system can effectively take the results of the efforts of one person and multiply the effects over many people. In other words, by leveraging the power of gamification, one individual’s success can be broadcast to others thereby motivating others to achieve success as well. When a colleague’s successes are shared throughout the workplace, whether that success is shared directly by that person or indirectly through the gamification tools, human behaviors and emotional responses start to kick in and that success is leveraged because others want to experience the same thing, or better, for themselves.
If you’ve never seen a gamification system built for the workplace in action before, give us a call at 1-877-Snowfly and let us show you the best system available. Or if you are curious to see how partnering gamification with a customized incentive system solution would benefit your organization, call us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to give you a demo of our unique system and show how you too can leverage the power of workforce gamification in your organization.