Game on may be the new rallying cry around the office these days. Gamification – the use of game play mechanics for non-game applications — is now making some of the most routine tasks at work fun. By engaging in interactive online game initiatives that yield points redeemable for badges, titles and even tangible rewards, employees are being incented to collaborate, increase productivity and more.

In “The Newest Trick Companies Are Using to Turn Awful Office Jobs into Awesome Ones,” Jeanne Meister, cofounder of HR research firm Future Workplace, says,  “Games are fun, addictive and challenging and when done right tap into our competitive sides that make us want to work harder.”

Many companies agree. Today elements of game mechanics are being employed by companies for training, marketing, education, and wellness initiatives, according to Pew Internet in its report on “The Future of Gamification,”  Technology consultancy Gartner projects 50 percent of corporate innovation will be ‘gamified’ by 2015.

Several examples of successful company gamification efforts include the use of video games by UPS to train newly recruited drivers when it was clear that nearly one third were failing the company’s traditional training program. Marriott uses social media gaming to facilitate recruitment. In My Marriott Hotel on Facebook,gamers manage a “virtual” hotel restaurant kitchen before moving on to other areas of hotel operations.

Plantronics gaming headsets improve game play

Among other businesses, games are being used to boost sales, encourage attendance at industry events and encourage employees to post company information on social media sites. Whatever your goal and whatever your game, keep these tips in mind to foster engagement and ensure success:

  • Keep it simple to encourage a change in behavior, not discourage it
  • Define motivation, since winning means different things to different communications
  • Apply incentives whether its ranking, goals, badges or titles
  • Provide updates on where participants stand
  • Avoid trouble by making sure there’s a clear code of conduct
  • Focus on the competition more than the prize

Shakespeare said all the world’s a stage. If he were around today, he might want to change that to “game.”

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