How can we gamify an uninspiring working environment?

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Published on 05/02/2013

Let’s take a real life example. We have a sales team on near minimum wages. The miserable efficiency bonus has negative impact on both sales and working morale.

The boss with a reputation of a rascal has been currently experimenting with elements of positive motivation: leaderboards, badges… even coffee vouchers and five minute breaks for best sales performances. His “innovations” hardly had any effect on sales.

Conclusion? Positive motivation does not work. He should rather stick to traditional yelling, screaming and employee bullying.

Let’s get real for a moment here. Do you really believe anyone out there is willing to sweat his heart out for a free cup of coffee or a five minute break? Leaderboards are a neat thing is you’re the top dog. What about all those in the middle or at the bottom half of the scoreboard? Maybe some badges? Performance levels? Anyone…?

A difficult situation, yet if we take a closer look this reads just like a perfect game scenario. We just need to introduce two new elements to the plot to make it work:

A Goal
Selling as much as possible is not a goal. Closing 3 sales or a value of X by the end of the day is.

A Motive
When we achieve goals we (usually) get rewarded. Reward is therefore just a consequence of our drive for the Goal. We need to pursue our Goals with passion coming from within, and for this we need Motive. If we see motive in our actions we’ll pursue our goals with desire unrivaled. So what kind of a reward could trigger this desire?

Let’s take a copper wire with a big red switch in the middle. Connect one end of the wire to electrical socket and the other end to the bosses’ chair. Those who reach the Goal earn a chance to electrocute the boss – and everyone else gets too watch them do it! Here’s our Motive!

Would this work in a real life scenario? You bet it would! Apart from one minor problem – the boss might not last long enough to fulfill yearly sales plans.

So our real challenge is to find the right motive. It should be little bit less intrusive and have a little bit longer life span.

We’ll reveal a couple of ideas in our next post. Cheers!

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