In Gallup (2013) Sate of American Workplace survey, it was found that employee disengagement is costing US companies 450$ to 500$ billion dollars a year. Nearly two thirds of all employees are not engage with their jobs. This has a direct impact on earnings per share (EPS), companies that have a high rate of engagement nine engaged employees to one disengaged employee earnings per share are 147% higher on average than those companies that show low engagement. Companies that have a two engage employee to one disengaged employee actually show a negative 2% EPS then their competitors. As you can see higher engagement leads to better earning per share. Companies that want to continue to grow and due well in the global economy are going to have to look for more modern ways to increase employee engagement.
Organizations are going to have to find ways to bring back engagement to employees or risk losing market share to competitors with higher rates of engagement. Reading through Pink(2009) it is easy to realize that employees are looking for something more than just a pay check. Engaged employees are looking for more in areas of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Pink (2009) build upon Deci & Ryan’s self-determination theory.
One area that companies can turn to help improve engagement is Gamification. Gamification is the addition of game like elements in an employees every day work. It is not a game in the traditional sense, but the idea is to add an element of playfulness into employees work day. Gamification can be used as a process improvement tool, often allowing employees to take ownership of issues based on instant feedback from the system. As opposed to the traditional one-on-one talk with a manager or supervisor, Narayanan, Maruvapalli and Nagarajan (2013) cite some examples about insurance call center reps that can now track, and compare themselves to others, see their statistics and receive rewards such as badges for completing tasks on time and with quality.
Hein (2013) talks about target, cashiers who checkout can now see feedback instantly on how timely they are scanning items, this feedback is instant where before, these issues would be again seen only by a manager or supervisor who would let them know how they are doing. If you think in terms of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, the cashier can now be responsible for their own actions in scanning, with practice they can master the rhythm needed to scan a product, and if they understand the purpose, which is providing customer with a speedy checkout, the reward for doing a job well done is not he extrinsic pay check but intrinsic knowing that they are doing a job well done. In the Hein (2013) article there are also some examples of Ford Motor Company and Omnicare.
While Gamification may not solve every problem a company has with employee engagement it certainly can help. While companies may not believe there is a big ROI in implementing Gamification, think about that 450$ – 500$ billion dollars that can be recouped for small investment. While we have heard that Gartner says there is a 6$ billion dollar pie out there, based on what Gallup states, the potential for even bigger wins are out there, as companies will be able to have the opportunity to recoup back from employee engagement.
Gallup(2013) ‘State of the American Workplace’ [Online]. Available at: http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/163007/state-american-workplace.aspx (Accessed: 8/7/13)
Hein, R. (2013) ‘How to Use Gamification to Engage employees’[Online Blog]. CIO, 06 June. Available at: http://www.cio.com/article/734521/How_to_Use_Gamification_to_Engage_Employees (Accessed: 8/7/2013
Narayanan, A., Maruvapalli, D. and Nagarajan, S.S. (2013) ‘Reinventing Customer, Employee Engagment through Gamification [Online]. Available at: http://www.cognizant.com/InsightsWhitepapers/Reinventing-Customer-Employee-Engagement-Through-Gamification.pdf (Accessed: 8/7/13)
Pink, D.H. (2009) ‘Drive: the Surprising Truth about what motivates us’. Penguin books: New York, New York