Michelle Gantt

4 Common Roadblocks to a Successful Gamification Program - and How to Solve Them

Blog Post created by Michelle Gantt Employee on Aug 7, 2019

In a recent blog post, I shared my top 5 strategies for boosting engagement with gamification, including different ways to leverage Jive Rewards for everything from onboarding to executive adoption. I’m a big proponent of gamification and talk about it often (see: this webinar), but in those conversations, I often hear that Jive customers have reservations.


Let’s look at some common concerns about gamification and how to address them.


Concern #1: My employees will spend all day gaming and not get any work done.


It is important to balance the ways that employees earn points or badges. We need to avoid rewarding only activities that are done by the user - this CAN make "gaming" rampant. Instead, the ways to earn badges and points need to be a combination of user activities and reaction to those activities by others. For example, a "mission" might include activities like creating a document or discussion, but it should also contain activities like "another user liked the document" or "another user commented on your discussion". This makes it so that the activities the user is doing are valued by others in the organization instead of just randomly "following" every person in the community to get points.


Concern #2: Gamification is too in-your-face for my organization.


Sometimes customers feel like gamification isn’t the right fit for their company culture. But one of the things I like about Jive Rewards is that it allows employees to be as engaged in the "competition" as they want to be. If they like earning badges, they have easy access to see what is available and where they are in the leaderboard. If it’s not a priority for them, it can run entirely in the background and they can ignore it. This “opt-in” system prevents the Rewards system from being too “in your face” while enabling it to gain momentum through the folks who choose to engage with it.


Concern #3: Leadership and/or the employees in my organization don’t care about earning points or badges.


Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. Even if your employees don’t care about any other elements of Rewards, no one can say that they didn’t like it when they received a badge from a colleague. Over and over, customers tell me that they find that members of their leadership team are competitive with each other - and using gamification as a way to encourage some friendly points-earning among them (with a leadership leaderboard to publicize it) can set a good example for other employees. And again, if someone truly doesn’t care, they can ignore it.


Concern #4: I can’t measure the impact of a gamification program.


Measuring the success of any initiative is a difficult proposition - and one that many community management teams try to avoid altogether. It can be next-to-impossible to discern if what you are doing with gamification is a contributing factor in changing the way employees work and in increasing employee satisfaction. But never fear, using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data (from both within Jive and external resources), you should be able to put together a convincing story about the success of your initiative.


Jive Rewards has a comprehensive set of reports that allows you to see the completion levels for quests and missions, including which activities are getting completed most often. You can also check individual player activities. This data can be downloaded into csv files for further analysis.


For example, you could compare the number of new joiner onboarding quests completed (and review the people who completed it) to the number of people who joined the company in a certain time period. This can give you an idea of how successful your onboarding program is in getting new employees engaged in your community.


While earning points and badges may sound silly to your executives and/or employees (or even you!), it is definitely worth a shot. Customers are often surprised by how effective a gamification system can be. With a few guard rails in place, a few leaders on board, and a few reports in your back pocket, a Rewards program can take off quickly and return meaningful, measurable results.


To learn more about incorporating game theory into Jive communities, watch my recent webinar: 5 Gamification Strategies to Energize Your Community.