It’s Not All Fun and Games…but Gamification Does Make Work Fun | DCR Workforce Blog

It’s Not All Fun and Games…but Gamification Does Make Work Fun

Dale Carnegie said, “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”

A big push right now is employee engagement. Most employees are far-removed from being engaged in the workplace, so upper management has been finding ways to get them more engaged.

The road to success is paved with fun

“We need to trust to play and to be creative,” Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, a global design company, said in a TED Talk.  He went on to say that creating an office in which people have the security and comfort to play and not be judged allows them to take more creative risks.

That’s why a ping-pong table in the office reminds people they work in a permissive and playful environment. But you don’t need to have a foosball table or climbing wall to have a playful workplace. You can get into a state of play by doing something for fun, without a goal or a purpose.

Play is individualized, so one person’s play may not be another person’s ideal. Putting some action figures, moldable dough or puzzles in the center of a conference room table can automatically lighten the mood of the meetings. Google takes play so seriously they have a range of play opportunities so employees can find the things that work for them.

Many people think that fun and games should be reserved for after work and weekends, but bringing fun to work is proven to get employees more engaged and activates creativity so innovative ideas can be explored.

How to make work fun by lightening up

Fun leads to happiness, which is contagious. So lighten up! Live a little. Indulge your workplace with few simple things that involve little cost. Take some of these ideas from DCR:

  • Throw a birthday bash or a baby shower
  • Celebrate with a themed pot luck (international, luau, etc.)
  • Dress up on Halloween and have a pumpkin carving contest
  • Throw a Christmas party or play Elf on the Shelf
  • Have a cubicle decorating contest and give out awards
  • Make Olympic Games with jump rope, ping pong and 3-legged races

Contrary to popular belief, play and work are not mu­­­­­tually exclusive! There’s a growing body of research suggesting that happier people work harder than their less happy counterparts. And a playful workplace helps draw new talent, relieve stress, increase motivation and drive creativity as well as helps build relationships with coworkers.

Fun games at work

Why games? Because games have the power to dive into interpersonal space, facilitate shared experiences and incentivize employees to cross social boundaries found in the workplace. The power of games as motivators lies in their ability to tap into our social natures and harness powerful psychological factors — such as the desire to share, to collaborate, to compete and to create — to a playful end.

“I think there are some enlightened companies that are beginning to get this, especially companies in research and development and design,” said Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play. That’s why he encourages people to play more fun games at work.

Brown offers play consulting for tech and non-tech companies alike, including Whole Foods. The reason: Not only does having a playful atmosphere attract young talent, but as stated earlier, experts say play at work can boost creativity and productivity in people of all ages.

“There is good evidence that if you allow employees to engage in something they want to do, (which) is playful, there are better outcomes in terms of productivity and motivation,” Brown said.

Play can also affect your health in many ways. It can lower stress levels, boost optimism, increase motivation, improve concentration and increase perseverance. “All sorts of creative new connections are made when you’re playing that otherwise would never be made,” Brown added.

Playing also engages the creative side of your brain. When you’re fully engaged in play, you lose some of your psychological barriers and stop censoring or editing your thoughts. A fun work environment allows creative ideas to flow more freely. Playing off-the-wall team-building games or having fun ice-breakers help lighten the tone for stuffy meetings. Here are some funky games for team building.

Gamification in business

When companies promote play, it engenders a more lighthearted atmosphere even within a serious business. That’s exactly why DCR has incorporated gamification in xCHANGE and Smart Track. To increase the levels of experience and to incentivize the workforce to reach higher levels in their jobs and, by doing so, make their own lives easier. Gamification at work, works!

DCR’s talent management ecosystem, xCHANGE, has gamification built-in, so users can advance to various levels by earning points. Clients, suppliers and non-employees become part of this ecosystem. Suppliers are able to build a talent pool, share members of that pool with other suppliers or even expose their pools to clients. xCHANGE also provides a forum for workers to invite and build a community of professionals to whom they could share job postings, refer and recommend fellow candidates and get rewarded for such actions via a point-based system. Client-derived content could even be driven directly to the accounts of all non-employees, workers and potential candidates alike, to raise awareness of the company.

Smart Track, DCR’s Vendor Management System (VMS), can also be configured into a fun, points- and awards-based system for users, creating the industry’s only VMS ever designed with gamification, proven to increase user adoption and inclusion to make work fun. Change management is tricky because it’s human nature to avoid it at all costs. We also know that its human nature to want to feel appreciated, get rewarded and feel like part of a community.

So we took change management and flipped it on its head with our built-in fun, rewarding, points-based gamification system where users can even earn real prizes based on their company’s objectives. Now users are competing for prizes and the bonus of bragging rights, and the VMS is being used entirely – to everyone’s benefit. You can check out our video to see how Smart Track’s gamification increases engagement and adoption in this short video.

If you want to know more about how gamification can one-up your change management with new technology implementations, DCR is giving away a white paper entitled “Solve Your New Technology Adoption, Inclusion and Engagement Woes with Gamification” which includes a handy checklist of what to look for in gamification programs.

Do you employ toys, games and gamification at your workplace to make work fun? What was the outcome?

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Shelley has been a published writer since 6th grade. She loves the creative process, and writes so much that it looks like her keyboard is on fire. She’s developed copy for Fortune 500 companies and won numerous advertising and marketing awards.