A growing number of businesses are using gamification as a way to keep employees engaged and motivated. However, new research shows that this may not be a good idea after all. A study conducted by Dr Hammedi and her team found that workplace gaming can have negative effects on employee satisfaction and engagement.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Business Research, found that gamification can create a sense of competition among employees, which can lead to lower satisfaction and engagement. So if you’re thinking about using gamification in your workplace, you may want to think twice. It could end up doing more harm than good.
Gamification is of interest to employers
Google created a game called Inbox Zero, which helps employees to stay on top of their email inboxes. The game provides points and rewards for employees who are able to keep their inboxes clear. Microsoft created a game called Code Hunt, which challenges employees to find bugs in code. And SAP created a game called Gamification at Work, which helps employees learn about the company’s products.
These are just a few examples of how businesses are using gamification to engage and motivate employees. However, what are the long term effects of gamification in the workplace?
Many studies show from a marketing perspective, gamification is successful.
But there is a lack of studies on how gamification affects employees long term. In order to study this, Dr Hammedi and her team looked at data from over 200 employees who had been working at a company for at least six months. The employees were asked about their satisfaction with their job, their level of engagement, and how they felt about gamification in the workplace.
The results showed that while there was a initial positive reaction to gamification, over time, employees who were exposed to gamification had lower levels of satisfaction and engagement than those who were not.
Why employees shy away from gamification
There are a number of reasons why employees may shy away from gamification in the workplace. One reason is that it can create a sense of competition among employees. This can lead to lower satisfaction and engagement, as people feel like they’re constantly being compared to their coworkers. Additionally, gamification can also lead to increased stress levels, as people feel like they have to constantly perform in order to meet the expectations of the game. Finally, gamification can also take away from the intrinsic motivation that people have for their work. When work becomes a game, it can lose its meaning and purpose, which can lead to disengagement.
One example of poor engagement is shown in the case of Sophie, a marketing executive who was asked to take part in a gamified sales competition. The competition required employees to make as many sales calls as possible in order to earn points. However, Sophie quickly became frustrated with the game, as she felt like it was taking away from her intrinsic motivation to do her job well. She eventually stopped playing the game and ended up resigning from her position. (Source: Forbes)
That’s an extreme example, but gamification can easily lead to disengagement if it’s not done correctly.
Gamification vs monitoring
Micro management has been shown to have negative effects on employees, as it can lead to increased stress and anxiety. Gamification is often seen as a way to avoid these negative effects by making work more fun and engaging. However, the research conducted by Dr Hammedi shows that gamification can actually have similar effects to micro management.
While businesses may see gamification as a way to add fun to the workday, could a challenge to get down to inbox zero be a demotivator?
A study of incentives has show that being unable to meet a goal can lead to anxiety and depression.
It’s important for businesses to consider the long term effects of gamification before implementing it in the workplace.
When used correctly, workplace gamification can be a great way to engage and motivate employees. However, it’s important to make sure that the games you create are fair, fun, and meaningful and that employees can opt out, or be rewarded with alternatives.
A great example is the game SuperBetter, which was created by game designer Jane McGonigal. The game is designed to help people build resilience in the face of stress and adversity. It’s a great example of how workplace gamification can be used to improve employee well-being.
Gamification can have negative consequences for both employees and businesses. It’s important to consider these consequences before implementing any gamification tactics in the workplace. Otherwise, you may end up doing more harm than good.