With few exceptions, when a company implements a new voluntary use system, user participation ends up being lower than initially expected, regardless of the gusto and excitement with which the system was launched. It isn’t unusual for companies to reach less than 30% of their critical participation levels. There is no stick that can be used to effectively and sustainably drive participation in voluntary use systems. But there is a carrot.
The concept of gamification has been used successfully to promote employee participation in the workspace by corporate giants such as Samsung, Deloitte, American Express and AT&T. Implementing game development aspects like goal tracking, score-keeping, competitiveness and periodic challenges, gives employees a sense of accomplishment and pride when contributing to system use. Here are some the gamification techniques that we found promoted participation based on our experience with innovation systems:
Scoring employee contribution to innovation
Tracking each employee’s activity on the system allows them to take part in activities that they’d like to promote in their careers. In the innovation space, problem identification, description, analysis and solving can each form the basis of different careers. If it is known that employers take an interest in the categorised activities of individuals, it promotes participation
Challenging employees to develop specific ideas
Besides giving an employee Carte Blanche to create and evaluate ideas, a list of ideas or problems can be sent to challenge the employees to focus their cognitive efforts on concepts that management believe are promising and deserving of more attention.
Allowing Individuals to create their own challenges
Provided the company provides some direction, it is empowering for individuals to be allowed to post their own challenges. This might not be the setting of strategic objectives, but it might be asking a random or selected group to provide feedback on an idea.
Individual contributions are a good measure of an employee’s innovation capability, but measuring a team or a department’s participation creates a corporate culture that drives participation.
Essentially gamification techniques can promote participation-pull which can result in the critical mass required for success.