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Promoting playing games in the workplace?

Forward looking organizations are incorporating aspects of “gamification” and are slowly integrating applications that aim at engaging employees and creating a more innovative culture.

Brian Burke, an analyst at Gartner Enterprise describes gamification as “the broad trend of employing game mechanics to non-game environments such as innovation, marketing, training, employee performance, health and social change. Enterprise architects, CIO’s and IT planners must be aware of, and lead the business trend of gamification, educate their business counterparts and collaborate in the evaluation of opportunities within the organization”

When using tactics from gamification, the aim is simple, user engagement. Human resources professionals understand that company’s biggest resource is the humans that occupy various positions. By giving employees a channel to provide ideas for improvement, as well as supplementing these channels with leader boards and potential prizes to be won, smart companies utilize the front lines to make their organizations better.

Companies that rely on emails and suggestion boxes are being left behind by companies that use custom web applications that leverage the latest trends from games their employees play when they are not working and integrating within organizations “employee portals”. Gone are the days of stale intranets where file sharing and IM ruled. Smart companies are focused on retention and creating a culture that uses the latest and greatest technology to improve on interior workings. Who would be better to tell you what is working and what isn’t than the employees that work at your company? If it costs an iPad a month, isn’t that worth it?

Burke states “Where games traditionally model the real world, organizations must now take the opportunity for their real world to emulate games.”

Currently at JOI Media, we have a crowd source mentality and every month give away a prize for the “Best Idea”. As there are so many emails that get passed back and forth, we created an application that allows employees to login, post an idea and based on the # of votes it receives from peers, a winner is determined at the end of the month. Needless to say, this has been a huge benefit for our company.

Let the games begin!