Disengagement is an epidemic in the American workplace. A Gallup poll revealed that 70% of American employees are not “enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace”, and this causes $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity a year.
The cost is so high because there is a strong link between employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity. In a meta-analysis, Gallup also found that organisations with a high level of engagement report 22% higher productivity, as well as double the rate of success, lower absenteeism and turnover, and even better health.
All this data emphasises the importance that employee engagement has on a business’s bottom line, but acknowledging its importance is one thing, and driving it quite another.
Today, employers are trying everything from unlimited vacation days and organic snacks to completely flat organisational structures in an effort to promote the satisfaction, and thus engagement, of their employees.
These efforts are commendable, but they don’t really get at the root cause of the disengagement crisis. While employees appreciate benefits and perks, research shows that they are not actually as important as employers think.
Stocked beer fridges and complimentary home cleaning cannot compensate for a job that someone finds boring or dislikes doing.
As a result, the most effective way to drive engagement is to focus on making an employee’s day-to-day, and even hour-to-hour or task-to-task, experience better.
Gamification uses the elements of gaming, such as competitions, game rules and point scoring, to increase interest and investment in whatever task an individual is doing.
Despite setbacks along the way, the industry is gaining momentum and is expected to grow to $5.5 billion by 2018, largely driven by Millennials who grew up playing games.
Here are four ways companies can deploy gamification to boost engagement in the workplace.