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How gamification can help engage and motivate staff

Previously aimed at driving and retaining customers, gamification is now being utilised by hoteliers to engage and train employees. Click. explores the potential impact of game-based learnings in the workplace

Gamification uses gaming mechanics - such as badges or leaderboards - and rewards to motivate users and enhance engagement. Many hoteliers are already using the concept for their customers, but the benefits can also transfer to employees - resulting in a boost in productivity and staff satisfaction.

Empowering employees

With staff shortages and retention rates on the rise, creating an enjoyable workplace should be a key focus for businesses. Research has revealed employees agree that gamification makes them more productive (87%), more engaged (84%) and happier (82%) at work.

“Employees today get more excited with game-based learning - they are more engaged and their willingness to learn increases,” says Falguni Bhuta, Global Head of Partnerships and Communications at Kahoot! - a game-based learning platform that makes it easy to create trivia and quizzes in minutes. "Besides, they also retain more knowledge for a longer period of time. As a result, employers are getting highly-engaged employees, better productivity and performance, as well as creating a better culture and team spirit.”

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Photo: Helena Lopes, Unsplash

Game-based learnings encourage voluntary participation among staff. Photo: Helena Lopes, Unsplash

Research also shows it’s more effective to learn with games compared to traditional teaching methods. “The way that you learn something has a direct impact on how long you retain it for,” says Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO of 1Huddle - a mobile game platform for employee training. “Employees today are hyper-connected, there’s a lot on their minds and giving them a training manual to read is no longer the best way to teach people.

“The game experience makes material more sticky. We conducted research that found three days after a live training was conducted, staff forgot 70% of what was taught. With our platform you see the polar-opposite occur because of the fact that it’s done through an immersive experience where employees are constantly challenged.”

Improving guest experience

By empowering workers, employers also create the opportunity to increase their bottom line and maximise guest satisfaction. “One benefit of using gamification within the workplace is that it increases revenue,” continues Caucci. “If you can onboard and upskill your staff better, then customer-facing positions will drive more revenue because the staff will feel more confident in their role and deliver a better customer experience.”

“Employee engagement and service delivery is one of the most important factors affecting customer satisfaction, loyalty and repeat business,” says Gabe Zichermann, a leading expert in gamification. “For hotel proprietors, therefore, getting employees to do their best would be crucial to success. Gamification is the best way to design experiences that will engage and retain key employees while driving performance goals.”

Moving with the times

With younger generations entering the workforce, hoteliers need to consider if their workplace caters to their expectations. "The reality is that trainers are still using traditional methods - such as classroom training or manuals - more than game-based learning,” says Bhuta. “Trainers may come from a time where it’s more traditional to conduct that type of training and so they just continue that way. However, Gen Z and millennials prefer being trained using gamification.

“62% of surveyed business users said Gen Z employees prefer using mobile apps for training, according to the Kahoot! EdTrends report. They come from a time where they had early access to the internet and social media and so they want that to reflect in their workplace. They want to view their employer as cool company to work at that uses advanced methods to train their employees.”

90% of employees over 45-years-old agree gamification would help them get better results at work

While it’s important to accommodate new generations of staff, digitalised learning doesn’t just benefit younger employees, with research finding 90% of employees over 45-years-old agree gamification would also help them get better results at work.

Game-based learnings encourage voluntary participation due to their competitive nature, motivating staff to undertake trainings in their own time. “In Q4 of 2018, over 70% of all of our games, across all of our clients, were played outside of working hours,” says Caucci. "We hear people say to us all the time that because there’s a contest they will play in their spare time.”

For added motivation among staff, however, hoteliers are adding incentives to the mix. “We’re seeing a lot of companies incentivising their gameplay,” says Caucci. “Take Loews Hotel for example, they tie a reward to their competitions to encourage their staff to play. Some companies do gift cards and others do experiences, like a two-night all expenses paid stay at their property - which is something that really doesn’t cost them much to do. Every company can tie its own culture into the experience based on the prizes it offers, it’s all about the intrinsic value it offers employees."


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Hero image credit: Rodion Kutsaev, Unsplash

Takeaway
  • Gamification uses gaming mechanics - such as badges or leaderboards - and rewards to motivate users and enhance engagement
  • Many hoteliers are already using the concept for their customers, but the benefits can also transfer to employees
  • Research shows employees agree that gamification makes them more productive, more engaged and happier
  • While aimed at younger generations, 90% of employees over 45-years-old agree gamification would also help them get better results at work

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