Traditional employee performance reviews, full of hindsight assessments and assumptions, are often a waste of time. The secret to extracting productive performance metrics is to engage employees and conducting reviews constantly.
Unfortunately, most employers aren’t willing to make employee engagement a priority. With 70 percent of U.S. workers reporting that they are unengaged at work, only 40 percent of the Global 1000 IT organizations will implement gamification as their main tool for building employee engagement and improving business operations by 2015.
Introducing a “gamified” solution fosters employee engagement and improves the everyday lives of employees and managers alike by creating an environment where expectations are clear and performance is assessed in real time. It’s user-friendly, timely, and fun. It’s a game, after all, and your business will be the winner.
Defining company goals and communicating them with the whole team
Defining organization-wide goals is a crucial factor in a successful gamification implementation. Once all of the players are aware of the big picture goals, team members can better identify the roles they’ll play in achieving them.
Currently, only 40 percent of employees are privy to their organization’s overall goals, strategies, and tactics. That leaves over half of the workforce in the dark about what they’re actually working towards.
Empowering your employees by sharing strategic information will encourage and motivate them to contribute to the business’ overall success. Although an employee’s action may be in line with a general KPI (Key Performance Indicator) outlined on a performance evaluation, it might not benefit the organization’s overall goal. An overly enthusiastic sales team, for instance, may reach their monthly goal by signing clients without discrimination, but their actions may ultimately cost the company money, as those clients are likely to disrupt post-sale departments and create needless fulfillment issues.
Sharing company goals also forces managers to continuously relate the KPIs by which employees are assessed to the overall mission of the organization. In addition, informed employees are better equipped to generate valuable suggestions that management can turn into actionable strategy. When you work as a team, you win as a team.
Speeding up feedback
Hyper feedback, the new standard in gamified management, is simple, accurate, and immediate. Many early adopters, such as LivingSocial and Spotify, have even ditched the traditional review formalities and replaced them with this fun, rapid approach to feedback. Companies employing instantaneous feedback loops, like Work.com (formerly Rypple), have reported employee engagement rates as high as 95 percent.
PERQ, an Indianapolis based marketing and promotions company, has experimented with different methods of gamified employee engagement since day one. Their advice is to keep it simple. They have offered rewards in the form of money, recognition, and even flexible schedules. All of this is tracked from a scoreboard, which allows them to adjust the entire system as often as needed. PERQ’s success using gamification has resulted in a happily engaged team, along with revenues that have grown more than 20 percent annually for three years running.
Building up the “A team”
When expectations are clear, feedback is plentiful, and employees still aren’t stepping up to the challenge, chances are they aren’t part of your “A team.” Employees who are engaged and capable of giving the results you’re expecting will thrive in an environment of instant-feedback and continuous improvement. But when they are not able, or willing, to keep up with the challenges presented through such initiatives, it’s possible they simple aren’t a good fit for the organization.
When employees are aware of their level of contribution, and how those contributions affect larger company goals, it makes retention and development easier for everyone. Managers will save time and resources, and the data generated from engagement programs will allow them to weed out stagnant employees. Conversely, extraordinary employees who are adding value to the organization are easily identified.
Charlotte Ritter is a technology analyst for TechnologyAdvice. She covers business intelligence, gamification, project management, and other emerging technology. She has also written about startups, company growth, and talent management.