Corporate Gamification: How Businesses Can Engage Workers

Designing Digitally


If you want employees to retain what they learn, how can you make sure that happens?

Training can be effective depending on the employee’s desire to learn, the instructor, the topic or other factors.

Corporate gamification can be the training variable that wins over employees and holds their interest.  Otherwise, they may get sleepy or simply brush aside what you wanted them to absorb. You don’t just want them to do their jobs; you want them to excel. Training can minimize problems and help your business reach or exceed its goals.

Does that mean they’re given a shiny star sticker every time they do something right? Not exactly.

But there are points and incentives with corporate gamification, which can involve rewards for players and feature tracking data like leaderboards that show the status. In short, corporate gamification makes training more appealing and engaging. Game mechanics can make something that’s potentially boring much more fun to do. Training should be memorable, not a sleep inducer – and that’s what gamification can do to help.

Even the iconic Mary Poppins referenced how routine tasks can have an “element of fun” when she sang “A Spoonful of Sugar.”

Corporate gamification can be effective with compliance training, which otherwise may be dry from start to finish. Businesses often don’t have a choice because other companies and government agencies require difference forms of compliance training related to everything from respecting other employees to understanding the Family Medical Leave Act.

With compliance training that uses gamification, employees can earn badges, track their progress, and sometimes find out how their co-workers are doing while learning about what can ordinarily be some very dull content.

Specific training types that fit well with corporate gamification include:

  • International trade controls
  • Ethics
  • HR laws and rules
  • Pharmaceutical warehouse safety
  • Operating machines
  • Food preparation
  • Workplace violence prevention
  • Sales training (product, service, or sales approaches)

If the training is mandatory, shouldn’t businesses do what they can to improve the odds that employees will remember what they’ve been taught? Too much is at stake, including substantial contracts with other companies, potential fines for non-compliance and more.

The key with corporate gamification is to adapt it to the employees and their jobs. The type, timing and presentation of rewards and gamification themes must match the nature of what they do every day and how they normally communicate.

Organizational challenges and barriers should be discussed before spending much time to enhance training with corporate gamification. For example, if a group of employees isn’t getting along, they may not cooperate even if efforts are made to make the training more enjoyable.

Corporate gamification has several advantages beyond keeping employees engaged in a given topic. Designed correctly, corporate gamification can help companies pick up on nuances and gain insights about their employees’ behavior. You might discover that an employee who seemed like an overachiever is simply a socializer when it comes to participation within training environments.

Designing Digitally, Inc. has mastered corporate gamification based on experience we’ve gained in several industries through the years. We know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to adding game mechanics to dull content.

Employees simply may lose interest if companies resort to the same training methods and rely on material instructors have been using for decades. The approaches to training and learning in the past will not work with future generations entering the workforce.

Some eLearning companies try to bolt corporate gamification onto their service offerings. For us, corporate gamification isn’t something you just throw in the mix. It’s not for every company. But it can be a good investment. You might roll it out with one set of employees and then expand it throughout the company – all based on the original approach.

Our clients value our process, which is successful because we draw from the skills and knowledge of both instructional designers and game developers who find the best ways to help clients leverage corporate gamification.

It’s important to remember that corporate gamification is not a serious game (the two are easily confused).  It’s an essential aspect of a serious game that can seem to be cheesy if it’s not aligned with the learners. Similarly, corporate gamification elements can look amateurish if they’re poorly conceived and don’t reference the right incentives.

Intrinsic rewards can range from badges to trophies that the learner earns based level completion benchmarks and desired performance outcomes. Extrinsic rewards aren’t uncommon either, including lunches, corporate apparel or even paid time off.