No games, just business: bringing gamification to the workplace

Socialising, playing and competing are all human nature. Competition motivates people to do their best so they can win, and it drives social interaction too. This is why gamification is so successful, explains Peter Ruchatz at Veeam Software

By Guest on 13 July 2015
No games, just business: bringing gamification to the workplace

This article was first published in the Summer 2015 issue of OnWindows

The primary aim of gamification in business is not to entertain, but rather to help players, or employees, realise their full potential through the use of exciting incentives. The most widespread use of workplace gamification is in company sales departments, where the competitive spirit already fully exists. Beyond sales, however, there many other terrific gamification opportunities in the business world.

At Veeam Software we have successfully implemented gamification in our technical customer support team. Our customer support engineers are technical professionals who have a rather repetitive daily routine of solving the software challenges facing our customers. The team’s work is often stressful: each new opened support case means that a customer is frustrated with the technical problems he or she is experiencing. There’s an unwritten rule in our customer support department that states: “Each closed case should leave the customer happy and feeling loyal towards Veeam.” Customer support engineers, therefore, needed the highest-possible motivation levels and a genuine engagement in customer needs to provide excellent support.

Our engineers requested a gamification tool that would provide individual productivity analytics, compare personal achievements across the team, demonstrate average team performance metrics and bring some amusement to the team’s very routine activities.

The gamification platform needed to be flexible and customised. And, because our customer support team tracks all of its activities in a customer relationship management (CRM) system – including opening and closing cases, monitoring incoming calls and acquiring customer feedback – the complete integration of the system with the new gamification platform was an absolute necessity. The new solution needed to be transparent for all players, and fully integrated with the established workflow. Gamification activities could not interfere with engineers’ regular responsibilities or be distracting in any way. Due to the many custom requirements, our gamification platform could not be an out-of-the-box solution.

We took three months to analyse the team’s processes, build a set of requirements and create a project plan. We then evaluated 14 gamification vendors and ultimately selected IActionable to design and implement the gamification project. The adopted platform is both flexible and reliable, with a built-in mechanics set that’s been adjusted specifically for the customer support team environment. Visually, the gamification features and elements look the same as the CRM system user interface. There’s a weekly leaderboard, recent individual achievements, a closed-case progress bar and a satisfaction-rate panel showing both personal and average team results. The new gamification platform tracks each team member’s activities and automatically assigns reward points and achievements. The list of available achievements includes more than 100 special badges. For example, players can get a badge and 75 points for taking 75 incoming phone calls, 15 points for closing 15 cases in the United Kingdom and 250 points for closing his or her first 250 VMware cases. Players earn rewards, depending on the number of points collected during a covered period.

The system provides an instant view of individual performances, which are evaluated by the completed percentage of individual goals. Goals are calculated by the amount of closed monthly cases. While one individual can achieve 100%, and another 90%, each individual’s personal plan can vary by as much as 10 to 110 closed cases in a given month. A leaderboard for all team members shows all personal results and achievements, so anyone can see how he or she compares to the others.

Workflow gamification has become a flexible management tool for the team leaders and heads of department. Using team performance metrics and analysis collected by the gamification system, managers can now improve overall team performance and fix issues or bottlenecks in work processes.

Overall, there’s no doubt that gamification has helped us build a strong team community and has added flexibility to team management. Social engagement levels have been elevated, both internally and externally, which has resulted in higher customer-satisfaction levels. Indeed, in 2015 we have experienced a net promoter score improvement of 32%, year-on-year, to +62 points. This score is a best-in-class result, even among world-renown brands such as Pandora (+67), Southwest Airlines (+62) and Netflix (+52). Inspired by this first success, we are now looking to implement gamification in other departments.

Peter Ruchatz is chief marketing officer at Veeam Software

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