Skip navigation

gamificationGamification has recently become a popular topic within enterprise collaboration platforms – so much so that I think my spell check now accepts the word as valid. As with many other social technologies, gamification first gained adoption in the consumer world with apps like Foursquare, so it isn’t a novel concept, but applying it in a business setting is still fairly new to most people. The key difference is that there’s more to gamification in a business setting than badges and points – it can actually be used to solve critical business problems, such as employee engagement.


As Rajat Paharia points out in his new book Loyalty 3.0, 70 percent of people who go to work every day aren’t engaged in their jobs, costing the U.S. economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity. Done right, gamification offers a unique and effective way to mitigate this problem by giving employees a way to gain recognition for their contributions as they work.


Recognition is the root of gamification. People want to be recognized for their contributions; in fact, they feel they deserve to be recognized. As an informal poll, I asked some of my friends, all under age 40, what would make them happier about their workplace. Although “more money” was the response that would make them happier personally, “more recognition” was the response that made them happier at work.


In today’s world of instant gratification, using gamification as a public recognition tool within an employee collaboration community can be much more effective than quarterly awards. And while every gamification initiative starts with a simple badge and point system to drive initial adoption and engagement in the early stages of your community, your deeper strategy should be geared towards changing and shaping employee behavior to drive long-term business results.


With new technology comes new work processes that need to be learned, and gamification can help drive those desired behaviors. One example is making content easy to search through proper tagging.  Most people forget to tag and don’t realize how important it is for document location, but you can design your gamification module to make tagging (or attaching metadata) a repeatable event so it rewards users for doing something of value to the community. They may start doing this for points, but eventually it will become a habit.


A more advanced example is generating involvement for a real world event in the community. By applying custom badges that can be earned leading up to the event and promoting the event with “limited time” badges, users that may not have been interested otherwise will participate in the event. I’ve seen this happen on one such occasion that produced the largest physical turnout at a volunteer event the company had ever seen.


So what is it about points and badges in a virtual community that make people change their behavior? There isn’t any real value to the points, and badges are meaningless outside of a particular community. Still, conversations about who can post a document first, “… because I need the points,” pop up all over the enterprise when a gamification tool is used. If points go missing or places are exchanged on a leaderboard, it becomes a point of contention for many. This irrational obsession with status and recognition is a powerful tool that a company can tap into to shape behavior in their community.


Using positive reinforcement, recognition, and status in the community are the underlying utilities that gamification employs. And one of the best things about gamification is that you can make adjustments and introduce new badges as you go to achieve desired outcomes and drive changes in behavior.


Are you taking advantage of these tools to engage your employees, or are you losing your share?

Gamification is the latest buzz word. You can't read a social business blog post or attend a conference without people debating the merits of this technique, which uses game, economic and loyalty to engage people and solve problems. Check out these surprising gamification stats:

More than 70% of the world’s largest 2,000 companies are expected to have deployed at least one gamified application by year-end 2014 (Gartner)

Vendors claim that gamification can lead to a 100% to 150% pickup in engagement metrics including unique views, page views, community activities, and time on site (M2 Research)

Over 2/3rds of employers consider gamification an effective strategy for encouraging their employees to improve their health (Buck Consultants)
80% of current gamified enterprise applications will fail to meet their objectives, due largely to poor design (Gartner)
63% of American adults agree that making everyday activities more like a game would make them more fun and rewarding (JW Intelligence)

While you should be able to gamify most everything to provide incentives and reward people for meeting their goals, the logistics and execution can be rather complex. At Jive, we wanted to move beyond the hype. We turned to our community of thought-leaders to determine some best practices, measures of success and interesting stories.  Check out our user-generated gamification best practices SlideShare:

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 3.29.56 PM.png


I'd like to give a shout out to all of the fabulous contributors: Ted Hopton, shirlin, Jennifer Kelley, alanlepo, wesley.goldstein, jsummers and Megan Truett.


What tips do you have for gamification? Comment below or join these swarm discussions:


Look for additional swarms in the Jive Community on other topics. Who knows, your insights could end up in a similar best practices document!

Ensuring that every customer receives a consistent, high-quality experience is no easy task. You've got global teams, multiple client divisions as well as new products, services, and solutions launching all the time. How do you keep it all together for a single positive customer experience?


Join us for the second installment of the B2B Summer School Series where you'll discover how Hitachi Data Systems:

  • Ensures that its account teams have access to critical customer information to keep up to date.
  • Fully aligned their entire organization with customer needs.
  • Became proactive in delivering on customer demands.
  • Enabled the HDS Community to be a hub of customer loyalty.


James Cater, VP of Global Accounts Development, and Lauren Klein, Communities & Collaboration Consultant, at Hitachi Data Systems join Jive to show you how to champion customer satisfaction challenges!


Reserve your seat today!


James Cater

VP Worldwide Global Accounts Development

Hitachi Data Systems


Jive Software

Lauren Klein

Communities & Collaboration Consultant

Hitachi Data Systems

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”  ― Philip Pullman


Want people to remember your message and share it with others?  Tell a story.  From parables to autobiographies to charitable campaigns, we know that storytelling can be powerful and engaging.  What if you could use the power of stories to help people not only understand how a collaboration platform could help them do their work, but motivate them to use it?


Some Early Failures

As we rolled out our Jive instance (called myDB) we talked about the potential benefits of working collaboratively.  We spoke about the importance of connecting to colleagues and the ease with which you could find people and information.  We created a "Solutions Catalogue" listing potential use cases.  We had a one-page marketing 'brochure' to answer questions like, "What is it?” and “What does it do?"


None of these had very much impact.  Until we noticed a shift. Stories began to emerge of how people were actually using myDB.  And as we continued to give demos and speak at team meetings evangelizing on what it was and what you could do with it, we found ourselves retelling these stories.  The result?  More people started to get it.


Inspiration from a Strange Place

My background is in theatre.  I grew up spending my summers at drama camp or in the local, community production of "The King and I".  Theatre is all about storytelling.  The choices you make as an actor need to serve the playwright's words and the director’s vision.  And it always comes back to the story you are telling.


But while I understood using storytelling as a device in a business context intellectually, I didn’t entirely understand its power until I tried it.   During a demo as I would launch into my script describing various features and functionalities of myDB, I saw people's eyes light up when I told them a story of what someone else was doing on myDB and the impact it had.


6 Kinds of Stories

Here are a few different ways we’ve discovered (so far) to tell our stories.


  • Working out loud profiles - Interviews with people who are active on myDB, sharing the benefits they are seeing from working more transparently and openly.
  • Team profiles - Similar  to  the  Working  out loud  profiles, but highlighting teams that are using myDB to engage with clients, improve team collaboration and get feedback and input from others.
  • Use case stories - Instead of listing potential use cases - like we tried with the "Solutions Catalogue" - writing up and telling the stories of people crowdsourcing solutions to common problems.  (An example is our Genius Bar story describing a grassroots effort to help people be more productive by allowing them to connect to work via their iPhones and iPad - conceived and rolled out via myDB).
  • Today's Picks - Daily stories of content, conversations and people doing ‘interesting’ things told in a distinctive ‘voice’.
  • Video spolights – Filmed interviews of people talking about their personal myDB stories - when it started making an impact, when they had an "ah ha!" moment, etc.
  • Advocate stories – Short anecdotes (told in a variety of ways) highlighting how members of our advocate program are helping others see benefit from myDB.


From Stories to Purpose

We’ve found that sharing how others are benefiting from a collaboration platform helps shift the focus from a purely tactical conversation around whether to create a group or a space or which widget to use, to a richer understanding around how people can benefit and the value it can add to your organization.  And we’ve discovered that by doing this, pretty soon people will stop asking “What is it?” and “What does it do?” and begin asking, “How else can we be using this?”

pet-rock.jpgIn the 1970s, "fads" were all the rage.  Disco MusicMood rings, and video arcades reigned supreme and the world has never been the same.  In light of these fads, there is one that is most relevant to social business than one might suspect, and that is the Pet Rock.  Void of care, responsibility, or consequence the pet rock symbolizes the historical "build it and they will come" approach to online communities.  For a lucky few, this strategy may be good enough; however, history has shown that success favors online communities that employ community managers to engage members in meaningful conversation and drive business objectives.  As the Jive Community Manager for the last 2 years, I can speak first-hand to the returns and value gained by investing in such a position.  That being said ...

... it is with bittersweet emotion (at least that's what my mood ring tells me) that I share with you that I will be stepping down as the Jive Community Manager.  Over the coming months, I will transition into a new role as Jive's Developer Evangelist where I will work side-by-side with mark.weitzel to showcase to the world's developers and IT organizations why Jive's technologies are best in class.

Looking Back

When I first joined Jive in October 2011, I was fortunate to be reunited with deirdrewalsh, a great colleague and friend who I regard as one of the best social media marketing minds around.  Together, she and I started a plan to revitalize the Jive Community with a fresh look and purpose.  In this past year and a half, we delivered numerous improvements to the Jive Community, such as:

I am extremely pleased with the progress that our team has made and I am excited about the work still to be done.  It also goes without saying (but I'll say it anyways) that none of these improvements would have been possible without the tireless support of our Director, sydney.sloan and her passion to put customer best interests first.

To all Jive customers out there:  You truly have an amazing all-star customer marketing team in your corner watching over you!

What's Next

First and foremost, let me reassure everyone that I will remain active in the Jive Community, so I wont be a stranger.  I will work with the customer marketing team to make sure that my replacement is the best possible match for the community.  In the mean time, feel free to continue @mentioning me and asking questions; however, just know that I'll have a stronger focus on the Developer Community for the foreseeable future as I look to raise that community to new heights.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to earn the respect and trust of so many respected social business professionals here in the JC, and I aim to pay dividends on your investments by arming your developers and IT organizations with the best and fastest time-to-market social business solutions to take you even farther down the road to business value!

Do You Know a Community Manager All-Star?

If you know someone who can think outside the box and you believe can lead the #1 social business community on the planet, then please have them apply online at the Jive Careers site.  They will not find a better opportunity to work with such a diverse and knowledgable community of social business professionals.  Not to mention working with an all-star social and customer marketing team, on the the world's best social business platform!


In closing, a special thank you to my fellow community managers, developers, and Jive Community patrons.  Sharing these past 2 years with you has been an amazing adventure, and I look forward to working with each of you again in my new role.  With that, I only have 1 thing left to say ...

Snatch the pebble from my hand future Jive Community Manager ... and let's do something great!

design-570.pngWhere communities, public-facing knowledge bases and other forms of self-service used to be more of a "nice to have" rather than a must-have; these channels have become among the most preferred avenues for customer service. Despite this trend, I talk to companies all the time that still drag their feet on making investments in these channels. While they understand the inherent value at a high level (deflecting tickets from the call center), they're seeking proof -- in dollars and cents.


Recently, I decided it was time to respond to these objections -- "show them the money" as it were. So, I devised a formula that companies can use to literally calculate the value of the service they provide through these channels, relative to what it would have cost had these customers called or emailed a customer service representative. This includes customers that are helped by reading an article, finding a solution in FAQs, or asking a question and receiving a response from the community. After much thought (and interviews with seven experts), here's what I came up with:

Depending on what self-service vendor you use, the “c” variable might be number of “likes” or “thumb ups” that an article receives, rather than votes for “this article helped me.” If your system uses a “star rating” method for user engagement, measure the quantity of articles with high ratings (three or more stars on a five-star scale, for example). The “.10” in the blue bracket accounts for the percent of page views that resolve a customer issue on average (on the conservative end). The remaining site visitors are likely browsing articles, doing research, or ultimately calling support.

Now, I don't mean to assume with this formula that self-service doesn't provide value to companies in other ways -- feedback for product development, for example, or providing another platform for marketing material. I just wanted to draw a direct line between these channels and the value they provide to the customer service organization, which is essentially crowdsourcing your customer service.


Creating this kind of value isn't just a matter of making these channels available. In the same way you apply KPIs in call centers, self-service channels require constant measurement to identify opportunities for improvement. Each of the variables in my formula are calculated using a performance measure. "Average percent of issues resolved by customers, rather than employees," for example, should ideally be more heavily weighted to customers. Also, the number of issues that receive "this article helped me votes," should tell you which articles are the most popular. Both of these findings are valuable for helping take actions that improve the overall customer experience.


  • What KPIs do you use to monitor and improve your self-service channels?
  • How else do you measure the value of your self-service channels?


I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: