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'Gamification' could boost engagement

'Gamification' will be used by two-fifths of the world's largest companies as a means of improving some aspect of their business operations by 2015, according to the technology research firm Gartner. What is gamification and why is it predicted to become so important?

To many, the term 'gamification' is just ugly jargon for a principle that is broadly familiar - and probably already in use in some form at many organisations. It's about applying elements of games and game-play to some aspect of business activity to improve engagement with users.

Parents have long used something like gamification to encourage children to do household chores - for example, by making a race out of who can tidy their room in the fastest time. Commentators say that a similar motivation can be harnessed to inspire employees to strive for higher performance in the workplace.

Evidence suggests that taking the attributes of a game, the fun, competition and sense of tangible reward, and applying them to, say, an in-house training programme can engage users much more effectively than traditional means. A similar impetus that drives gamers to get to the next level in a computer game could be applied, for instance, to modules of a training course.

Gamification techniques have played a part of marketing for a number of years, but the wider applications for employee engagement are only just beginning to be realised. Some organisations are reporting a surge in interest in online training programmes that employ tests, quizzes, achievement badges and leader boards.

To help organisations improve their levels of employee engagement, Acas provides free, impartial and independent advice, and has published the pdf  Advisory booklet - The People Factor [937kb]. Acas also offers training courses on strengthening employee engagement, listed under Staff retention.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.

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