Cathryn: Hello, and welcome to today’s webinar, “Less Work More Play, Why HR Should Get Involved with Workplace Gamification.” If you don’t know CIPHR, we’re a leading U.K. developer of HR recruitment and learning software that helps organizations to attract, engage, and retain their workforces more effectively. We’re proud to have Play Consulting onboard as one of our cyber connect partners, they are using gaming principles as a foundation to create tools to help organizations better engage and communicate with their workforce.
My name is Cathryn Newbery and I’m joined today by Marcus Thornley, founder of Play Consulting. Welcome Marcus, it’s great to have you with us.
Marcus: Hey, everyone, thanks, Cathryn. I’m really excited to be here.
Cathryn: Before we begin the bulk of our presentation, a little housekeeping, this webinar should last around 45 minutes, with around 35 minutes from us and then time at the end to answer your questions. Do send in your questions, comments, and queries using the box on screen at any time during the broadcast, and we’ll answer them as best we can. If you miss anything or have to leave the broadcast at any time, don’t worry, everyone who is registered will receive a link tomorrow to an on-demand version that you can watch at any time or share with your colleagues if you think they’ll be interested.
Here’s today’s agenda, we’ve done the welcome and introduction already, we’re going to explore what gamification is, how some employers are using gamification at work, some key takeaways and quick wins that you can use following this webinar, and of course, your Q&A. So, before I hand over to Marcus, I have a quick poll for you to see how engaged you are with games. So, you should see the questions and options on your screen now, it’s multiple choice, and click as many as apply. Which of the following have you done in the past 30 days? Played a game on a mobile device, played a game on a console, played a game on a computer, played a board game, or you have not played any games in the past 30 days. Marcus, where do you think most of our audience will fall on this?
Marcus: So, it’s interesting, it’s quite weird doing a webinar because you’re kind of speaking into the abyss, I don’t know the makeup of the audience. If you look at generically across the U.K., you’d expect most people to have played a digital game over the last 30 days. It’s good to do this to start off with because it gives me an idea of kind of who’s on the other end of the line, but also one of the things I want to do before we kind of get into what gamification is, is just to talk about why games, why games are relevant, and why I think games are going to be increasingly relevant going forward. And so, we can see how representative of the U.K. the attendees on today’s call are.
Cathryn: Okay. Thanks for that Marcus. I’m gonna close the poll now. So 61% of our audience say they have played a game on a mobile device in the past 30 days, just 15% say they played a game on a console, only 10% have played a game on a computer, I’m one of them, I last played a computer game about 3 days ago. Surprising, 22% have played a board game in the past 30 days, but a third of you, 32% have not played any games at all in the past 30 days. And Marcus, are you surprised by those results?
Marcus: I’m kind of surprised by how representative they are. If you look across the U.K., it’s roughly 69% of people in the U.K. of all ages have played a digital game over the last 30 days, so I think the stat from this group of 61%, so broadly similar to that. Console is relatively low, but console games tend to skew a lot lower than mobile games. I think one of the major growth of gaming has been down to mobile devices and they’ve ushered in a kind of game which is far more casual and far more accessible than typical kind of shooter console games that are still more skewed towards men or males and still more skewed younger, so it’s pretty representative. So, if that gives you any solace, everyone out there, you’re all pretty normal.
Cathryn: Hey, thanks, Marcus. And we just had a quick question in from Melissa asking us to put these percentages into context. So there are currently 50 people on the line, so that should give you an idea of how many people are voting in it, so around 90% of people on the call have voted, and of those 90% about two-thirds of people say they played a game on a mobile device in the past 30 days. Okay. I’m gonna hand it over to Marcus now, take it away.
Marcus: Perfect. Hi, everyone. What I’m going to quickly do is just to introduce myself and kind of the background of how I got to where I am today, it should be really quick, but that will help you understand whether anything I say has got relevance, credibility. Then a quick bit on games and why I think games a very important today and becoming increasingly important, and then we’ll go through looking at examples of gamification in the workplace and more importantly, why I think gamification and HR are natural partners. So, just a kickoff slide here with lots of games, these are collectively the games that we worked on. My past, I used to work for a company called Electronic Arts, and realized after a couple of years of working in the mobile gaming space that games could drive incredible engagement that we were then successful, not just us everyone in games, using [inaudible 00:05:19] of habit formation, behavioral change.
The kind of seminal moment for me was I was working on a game called Sims, which was a farming game. We started looking at youth behavior and we could see they’re obvious a small cohort of people were having play sessions up to roughly 10:00 at night, a short play session at about 2:00 in the morning, and then were playing again at 7:00 in the morning. And we looked into it and we realized that people were planting, virtual character, around 10:00 at night before they went to bed, they were setting their alarms, waking up, farming things that didn’t exist, planting more things that didn’t exist, go back to sleep and then reaping and farming in the morning. And I thought that was incredible that if people were disrupting their sleep habits for something that was kind of so trite, then surely, kind of game mechanics could be used to drive things that were more purposeful.
So, we started in 2014, and on the face of it we were a tech startup. If you came to visit us it’s kind of, you know, developers, coders, designers. We, you know, were in funky offices in London on the face of that we’re a tech startup. After about six months I realized that it kind of had nothing to do with tech, tech was just the vehicle, it was only about people, it was only about designing technologies, and platforms, and mechanics around people that were empathetic, that could drive happiness, that could drive positive behaviors, and positive impacts. And actually, I think about us today far more as a culture business than a startup business, and the more conversations I have the natural kind of landing place for gamification organizations isn’t anywhere near IT I think. I think it’s absolutely in the HR space.
So, before we kind of get specific examples on what gamification is and isn’t, a quick piece on why games are relevant in my opinion. Can you get forward this, Cathryn? Perfect. Games, games everywhere. So, I’m going to suggest to you that the games are everywhere, that games and game mechanics are permeating interaction models well outside standard games, and they’re becoming the most effective way that people learn, they improve, they infuse, they’re motivated, and they commit. I think a game mindset is probably the future of all digital products, and just to put that kind of into context. So, in terms of the state of games, games from a revenue perspective, are bigger than film, they’re worth more than $100 billion a year. If you look at “Fortnite,” which is an absolute hit at the moment, that’s making somewhere in excess of $300 million a month on what is essentially a free game.
The biggest “Spider-Man” release ever is none of the “Spider-Man” films, it’s the “Spider-Man” game that came out a month or so ago. But more than the money piece, it’s the breadth and the reach the games have which is really important. So we’ve seen in this small but very representative sample, 60% or so of people playing on a monthly basis. If you look worldwide, it’s estimated to be two billion individuals who play digital games on a monthly basis, that’s incredible. And then you drill down and you look at the demographics and the split in that, there’s more people over the age of 44 playing games then there were under the age of 20. Now that’s changed massively from when I was a spotty boy in my bedroom playing games and a lot of that, as I said earlier, it’s got down to very casual gaming and these incredible gaming devices that we all have in our pockets. And from our perspective, I can see games or game mechanics kind of stepping outside of games. We would look with our spectacles at all habitual very successful digital products and see game mechanics are playing them.
Whether it’s Facebook, or TripAdvisor, or Dropbox, or LinkedIn, or even Tinder, even Uber. And another interesting kind of metric or viewpoint of this is that if you look at mostly Americans, but the guys who are leading these huge tech companies, it’s really interesting how many of them come from games. Musk at Tesla, his first job was as a games programmer, in fact, has just released a new update to the Tesla operating system, where he’s put some hidden Atari games in there, you’ve got to find them but you can play games in your car. Zuckerberg started coding before he started Facebook because he wanted to make games. And Jobs, Steve Jobs’ first job was at Atari.
I think the implication of all these things comes together, and especially the breadth from the amounts of players there are playing games, is the whole generation has been gamified from birth, and they’re our colleagues, our customers, our suppliers, our children. People are increasingly receptive to the trigger, to the stimuli, these very quick reward feedback loops that are pioneered by games, and that’s coming through the workforce now and will only accelerate as we go ahead. And I think another thing that will speed this up is when you look at the new technology that’s on its way, games is invariably going to be the medium through which we’re introduced to incredibly powerful new technology, whether that’s VR and AR, or whether that’s AI, games is probably going to be at the context with which we introduced them.
So, my perspective on why games are important. If that’s true, how do they translate and what does this thing called gamification really mean? So, the first thing to say is that gamification is absolutely not about building a game. We get people coming through the door saying, “I want a game,” and we need to do all that’s humanly possible to talk them out of it. Games are insanely expensive, they take a very long time, and they’re really brutal. Unless they are wonderful, they are an abject to failure. And so, gamification, for us, isn’t about building a game, it’s not about running around and fighting bosses, or flying spaceships, or building cities, it’s the application of game mechanics to create really highly engaging and enjoyable experiences that motivates positive behavior.
It’s a mechanism that we add to turn experiences, and this is really important, I’ll give you some examples later, to reposition experiences, especially in the world of work from something you have to do to something you want to do. Something that’s intrinsically motivated the man, you know, the boss, blah, blah, blah, “I have to do this thing,” to something that is intrinsically motivated. And if you can make that switch from the extrinsic to an intrinsic motivation then it’s really powerful, there’s more engagement, and more joy, and more application from the user, the colleague, but also the success metrics are far higher. So, if that’s what gamification isn’t, what is it? So, I’ve taken a dictionary definition or the best one I can find for gamification, it’s quite interesting. So coming from…I worked in the games industry for about 7 years, in none of those 7 years did I ever hear or did I ever use the word gamification. I probably could’ve guessed what it meant, but it had no real resonance to me.
I think it’s a pretty good definition of this, of what gamification is, I think the most important piece though is focusing on the personal goals and business goals, so I put the parenthesis around and business goals. It’s not that the business goals aren’t important, they’re clearly important, but unless you can deliver experiences that absolutely focus and give value to the person and deliver against personal goals, then you haven’t got a chance of ever delivering against business goals. And I think it’s really interesting in the space we’re in and you’re in, in the enterprise space, the dichotomy, there’s a split between payer and player. In the consumer world, the payer and the player are the same person, so there’s no angst or conflict there. In the business world, very often the people who commission and have the budgets for technology aren’t the ones who necessarily use the technology. And I think, as a result, we see far too much enterprise tech that isn’t really based around the player because they were never that important in the process.
I think it’s really important, and part of our kind of core definition of gamification is that you concentrate on player needs because that’s the only way you can ever deliver against payer needs, otherwise, there’s no engagement and it’s a colossal waste of time. I’ve got some images on here, I mean, one thing says I think gamification to some degree is as old as the hills, it’s kind of built into our historic kind of lizard brains. When I was a kid I used to do [inaudible 00:14:10] gamification. I used to be in the Cubs and the Scouts and that’s gamified. I’d do something, I’d get a badge usually a few weeks later. I’d go home, usually I’d have to ask my mom because I was rubbish at sewing, in regards my sleeve, and that would be a measure of what I had attained.
So, gamification isn’t particularly new. What digital’s done is that they’ve supercharged it and it’s made it instantaneous, and by being instantaneous it’s more powerful. So, instead of waiting weeks for the badge to be delivered and then sewn onto the sleeve, in a gamified digital experience, you do something and that reward feedback loop is instantaneous. And it’s the shortness of the distance between action and reward that actually makes the whole experience so much more powerful in driving habits and forming behaviors. And I mentioned some examples of gamification previously, but it’s kind of everywhere, you know. If you’re using a Fitbit, or you’re a cyclist, you know, on Strava, if you’re looking to find love in Tinder, or a job in LinkedIn, or you’re collecting air miles, they are all examples to different degrees of gamified experiences. So, I think that leads us quite nicely onto the next slide, which is another poll. Do you want to introduce it, Cathryn?
Cathryn: Yes. Thanks, Marcus. And so, now we have a good grasp of what gamification means and the principles behind gaming. Have you engaged in any gamified activities in the past 30 days? Yes, at work, yes, in your personal life, yes, at work and in your personal life, or no, not at all. And Marcus, do you have any sense of where our audience might fall on this?
Marcus: So, I’m really interested in the breakdown between work and personal. I suspect people, although they might not recognize it, are engaging in gamified experiences really often in their personal life. Whether they have crept into work yet, I’m not so sure. I would bet there’s a general movement, things start in consumer and then go into enterprise. We can see it happening in social at the moment. And so, I expect the personal life to be higher, and I expect if we ask the same question in five years’ time the work life would be equally high.
Cathryn: You clearly know what you’re talking about because our poll results are validating your theory. So, 54% of people who voted said they have used gamification in their personal life over the past 30 days, 17% had said they have used it both at work and in their personal life, just 4% have said that they have only used it at work in the past 30 days, and a quarter people said they haven’t engaged in any gamified activities in the past 30 days at all. Okay, so…
Marcus: It’s really interesting, I mean, that personal…Sorry, just take over. So that personal life status is probably higher than I would have expected, and there seems, you know, I would imagine, but then I got [inaudible 00:17:02] on the world, and there’s a general movement here from personal, then going to personal and work. And, you know, it’s representative, I think there’s so few [inaudible 00:17:14] work, people are saying it’s work only.
Cathryn: Yeah, definitely. Okay, back to the slides.
Marcus: Perfect. So, next slide, so very quickly, games are important, gamification is kind of rife in the consumer space, and we’ve got some sort of idea and I’ll give more details as what gamification is and isn’t it. So, for us, what does it mean? You’ll see here I kind of use gamification and the games mindset interchangeably. What I prefer talking about is the games mindset and I’ll talk about why that is because I think gamification, because it’s kind of coined by the consultants, kind of does down the product side of things and it concentrates on just the gimmicks, the lipstick, which would be, I’ll talk about them in the next slide, badges and leaderboards and the like. I think really the core of gamification is the same as you would pursue if you tried to build any product that was digital that people absolutely love.
So, what I’ve tried to do here is pick out kind of the five big things for us, and this is completely our methodology, and it’s very subjective but it served us very, very well. So, what are the five? I think all of them, and in no particular order, although number one is probably more important than the others, but they’re all important. What I can say about all of them is like they all seem obvious, you’d read them and say, “Well, yeah, duh, obviously.” And that said, when you look at enterprise products, especially as ones that seek to gamify behavior at work, most of them you look at, you can’t believe that anyone has really followed through on any of these five things because on the one hand, they’re very obvious, on the other hand, they’re not necessarily followed through that often at all.
So, to go through them quickly, number one, and absolutely laser-focused on the user, the player, the colleague, whatever we call it, but the person at the end of the experience, not the person who’s necessarily paying for the experience. Number two, and this is core about games, we come out of games and say, “Well, actually we’re not gonna make games anymore, but how can we distill the magic of what a game is and how can we use that to drive behavior?” Our definition would be, at its core, a game gives you a measurement of self, it gives you some sort of self-insights into an environment that’s so engaging that you want to optimize around that self-insights and that’s where you have a progression, that’s how you move forward and you get better.
Now, in games, obviously, that measurement can be really kind of trite, you might be playing FIFA and it might be your past completion, or how good you are swapping candies in Candy Crush, whatever it may be. But this general notion that if you can measure something and you can put it in an environment that’s appealing and motivational, you can then drive their self-optimization of that measure. And that’s something we do across all our properties and we see incredible…We haven’t found an example where it hasn’t been incredibly successful. So, this notion of measuring and using measuring in a fun way to improve is core, I think, to a game.
The other piece to say is that engagement is the kind of the foundational table stakes of any successful product and it doesn’t just happen from luck. It will work, and it’s important whatever you guys do, to try and understand the engagement patterns that you want and then you build the product, quite obviously, to deliver those things. It’s not a rear view mirror where you kind of you build a product, look back and say, “Have I got engagement?” Engagement is kind of designed from core, from source, in the foundation of the products. There’s lots of work around kind of engagement loops. I touched on number four before and I’ll show you an example in a minute, just repositioning the have to do to the want to do, and that can be done really simply just through the visual language and the tone of the experience that you’re developing.
And the final thing, which is kind of obvious, it’s quite interesting some businesses really shy away from it, find the fun, find win moments that delight. Every business we speak to will pretty much say, “Yeah, but we’re different. You know, we’re a bank and what we do is really important and really serious and we don’t want to be frivolous,” and that’s completely valid. And you can still have fun, you can still have personality without being childish or frivolous, and people respond really well to it. Work is too often too drab and almost kind of runs away from any notion of fun, games do it incredibly well. So, our prognosis or our suggestion would be if you can build products with these things baked in, you’ve then got a chance of being a beautiful product. And then on the back of that, you can then implement different specific gamification mechanics.
So, in the next slide, I’ve just got some examples of what you might do. And I can’t kind of iterate strongly enough, if you haven’t delivered that thing in the previous slides, then XP, and badges, and streaks, and all the rest of them are just a colossal waste of time. In and of themselves, they don’t really do anything. I kind of use an analogy, if the product is beautiful then these things are like lipstick, augment it and make something that has value into something that’s even more attractive and even lovelier to use. If the product itself, at its core, is ugly then no amount of kind of lipstick or veneer will make any difference. So, take another product and adhere to the five things previously. These are different things you can see, so very quickly without going into too much depth.
XP is kind of the single-gamified economy that motivates all actions, so sometimes in games [inaudible 00:23:06] economies and the things we build you have once. So, if you can get people to believe and have credibility in the currency, I’m not talking about currency in a transactional money point of view, but the units the success is counted in. Once people believe in that, then you can pretty much drive any action through the allocation of those units, and I’ll give some examples in a minute. Levels and progression are really important, it’s really important for human beings that we feel as though we’re on a path to mastery, we’re progressing and we’re getting better. Things might be hard, you don’t want progression to be too easy, but we all need to feel that with the right application we have the chance to progress. Badges are very, very powerful in terms of measuring success and achievement, but also setting the tone of the product. Leaderboards are interesting, and for different companies, they can be either dialed up or dialed down. So, you might have a sales letter organization where the leaderboard is very competitive, where individuals are competing against other alpha individuals in a leaderboard setting, and that might be culturally appropriate.
You might have other organizations where it’s not culturally appropriate at all, and it might be less the individual competition leaderboard, it might be more of a collaborative team leaderboard, where you’re all working towards a shared goal, and it’s not what the individual can achieve is what the business, or the units, or the team can achieve. So, there’s a lot of flexibility other challenges, and streets really just drive the frequency of the action. If you think we’re trying to drive behaviors, behaviors are built on habits, habits are built on the quick repetition over a period of time of a certain task or action, and streaks are very good at driving that.
So, my daughter, I think, is on a Snapchat streak of about 450 at the moment. She goes into the application, she uses it because she doesn’t want her streak to be nullified. It’s almost like snakes and ladders, she wants to continue with the multiplier that she’s getting by doing the same action with a high frequency. And all these things can be very powerful and supercharged with driving engagement and frequency, and then I’m gonna come back to this later on. Another thing we started thinking about was how gamified products need to absolutely deliver three things to users, successful games deliver three things to users. They deliver high degrees of user autonomy, they deliver high degrees of user mastery and learning, and they deliver high degrees of purpose.
And then it’s quite interesting, we started looking and realizing that other people had done work on this outside games, Daniel Pink [SP] is one of them, and they’re exactly the same things, autonomy, I can decide, mastery, I can learn and be a better purpose and part of something bigger than me. Actually, a thing called PC fundamental human drivers, and so this…we talk about AMP autonomy mastery and purpose, it’s very important in the games and the experiences we build, but it’s also very important in the culture that we hope our experiences drive. And that tips on thinking about the workplace culture, and it’s here that I think the biggest future applications of gamification will be. I’ll come back to it later, I’ll give now some specific examples of more particular behaviors within successful driving, but I think the big thing, and I think the big thing in HR generally, all comes around culture.
So, let’s go through some specific examples. So the first one is I’m looking at health and well-being. Bupa wanted to provide everyday value to their corporate clients, not value that was only delivered, you know, when you’re in front of a doctor or potentially receivers of bad news, and also they’re a very purpose-driven organization. They wanted to feel their, purpose which was helping millions of people lead healthier, happier, longer lives, and they wanted to understand that gamification could drive health behaviors, and so they created a gamified mobile ecosystem that’s called Boost. It links to whatever trackers you might be using or whether it’s RunKeeper, or Strava, or Apple Health, or Google Fit on your phone, and it uses various elements of gamification really, really powerfully.
So, the one is social, you’re connected to a social graph of your choosing and you can see how your friends are performing and your friends can see how you’re performing, and that social fabric drives everyone to demonstrate higher behavior and longer commitment to their goals and healthier performance. It uses badges really, really well in terms of understanding where you’ve got to, and because it’s a social setting, those badges add social validation to individuals, it’s not just that I can see my badge, everyone could see my badge. I think it’s built into a single-point universal machine, this product is wellness points, and once people believe in wellness points, you can then use one’s points to drive specific behaviors.
So, it may well be that you want to encourage everyone to go running this weekend, in which case it might be a double points running weekend, or you might get triple points if you do certain mindfulness activities, or you’ve demonstrated that you’ve hit your nutritional goals. There’s lots of challenges in there, a kind of peer to peer but also group to team challenges. Goals is probably the most specific part of it, and I think that’s where we’ve probably done the most development on, just generally as a business, allowing people to set and measure their own goals and derive benefit and drive internal motivation through the doing of those goals. And of course, there’s levels and streaks, so it’s a relatively aggressively gamified system that, you know, to drive the creation and continuation of healthy habits. It’s been really successful.
So, people will say, you know, two-thirds of their users are demonstrably healthier as a result of using the platform, and they know that because it’s integrated into their annual kind of health check-ups as well. And so they know who’s using the platform, and actually, they’re also collecting data on, you know, BMI, or heart rates, or blood pressure, whatever they be, so they can see the connection between the physical and the digital, so that’s a health example. The next one is looking at something that on the face of it is a kind of really boring, but is a very good example of repositioning things that are perceived to be mundane and have to do into things that you want to do. So, tend to alter a responsible to maintaining the huge network of assets, millions of assets, and if they don’t know about the assets, they can’t maintain them, and if they don’t maintain them, there’s a, you know, a risk for them, it’s a business and that they’re fined by the regulator.
And so, engineers were tasked with what was essentially a data collection exercise, Excel sheets to a high level of kind of degree and completion so that the business knew what assets they had to maintain. And the task was really mundane, and it was slow, and it wasn’t necessarily complete with necessary speed or accuracy. For engineers, I think it was a task that it was painful and something that they felt they had to do. So we wanted to change that and see if we could reposition it to something that they wanted to do. So, we created something called a Great Asset Tons, which is a real-time race between teams of engineers on the ground to find and log assets, and they got real-time feedback in terms of scores and badges, and a far more intuitive data input system. So, not only do we make it easier, so we looked at the utility function, but actually, it’s the repositioning it that I think drove the success to the largest degree.
I pulled out some of the badges just because you’ll get an idea of how you can reposition things, they don’t quite fit your like work, so if you can see the top right for those of you who are as old as me, it’s a Speak & Spell. I craved one of those when I was a child. And if the data you are logging hits a certain degree of kind of spelling and grammatical accuracy, then you’ve got the “you spell good” badge. The bottom one on the right of the bear is the taxidermy badge. It’s really important for Thames Water that they log if they find any dead animals in any of the underground assets they had, and if you log X amount of dead animals, you get the taxidermy badge. On the far left-hand side, they have to log if they find evidence of invasive plant species, Japanese knotweed and the like. And so if you were logging that sort of data correctly into a high degree of accuracy, you unlocked the Alan Titchmarsh badge.
On the face of it, something there was really dull, nothing really changed, the same questions needed to be answered, but we made the utility better and just repositioned it as something they wanted to do rather than they had to do. And as a result, tasks that took the equivalent of eight man-days now take the equivalent of two man-days. So, business goals are served, absolutely, it’s a kind of full-time productivity increase, but that’s only driven because the personal goals were delivered on as well. And finally, in terms of the specific examples, so we looked at health, looked at data in [inaudible 00:32:38] productivity, this is really to do with kind of sales performance.
It’s the example from British Gas who wanted to motivate lead generation. So they already did this, they already did it through bonuses, but found that transactional rewards over time didn’t drive long-term motivation. I think it’s really interesting is how we do a lot of work in the loyalty space as a people, as a humanity, we kind of got to the point where too often we only think…We think the only way to motivate people is through money, is through transactional rewards, and it’s not that instant motivational, it’s just they only gets you so far, and non-transactional, more emotional rewards can be absolutely powerful in motivating people above and beyond what transactional rewards can get them. So, for British Gas, they came up with Game of Flames. Engineers could see in real time how many leads they were driving, they had no oversight of this before. How the team was doing, how they were compared to the team, how their team was doing against the other teams.
There are also challenges in there, fun weekly challenges, or peer to peer challenges, and there’s weekly movement up and down, specially designed for leads. You’re trying to get Wilbur the mascot back to the poll and we went through different locations. And all of that was wrapped up in a single gamified currency that measured success in a really, really fun way. And the business output, this was insane, it was, you know, they drove lead generation by 37% without putting any more money on the table. And I think it works because it goes back to core game methodology, gives people insight into their own performance in such a way that they are motivated intrinsically to improve that performance, and all the time it gives them feedback as to how they’re doing. In an environment where no one’s losing, everyone’s winning, but they’re just winning potentially at different speeds.
So, they’re just three examples of kind of more point solution gamification. I just want to finish up talking about what I think is the big stuff and I would be really interested from the views of people on the call because I suspect it’s something you’re looking at as well. So, for examples, we’re looking at gamification’s drive specific business goals, performance productivity health. And what we’re really interested in is the big thing there, and from what I can see and from what we learn working with big business, the real big thing that’s the biggest determinant of any sort of business success and more importantly individual happiness at work is culture. And on the one hand, the cultural tools we have are abysmal, I think. I think the current provision is the pull we have, if we’re lucky, a quarterly engagement survey. And then, on the other hand, culture is the most important thing. I mean, I absolutely believe this [inaudible 00:35:38] line and I don’t even get [inaudible 00:35:41] unless you’ve got a really high-performing culture.
And if the game’s mindset can drive engagement, delivers habit formation and behavioral change through driving, you know, new user levels of autonomy mastery and purpose, then what we should really be concentrating on is trying to push the cultural agenda forward. And so, here’s an example of a gamified take on trying to drive the cultural agenda forward, and different things that we can kind of pull out. Number one is the user experience design, it’s kind of that first point to five that I had in a previous slide, and it feels like the fun consumer platform, it doesn’t feel like a drab one and it feels like something that’s built for users. And another thing it does, it gives teams data, measurement that they can optimize against. I’m not saying any of these things as a plug for Totem. I’m just giving an example of what’s a really focused gamified application looking at culture could or should do.
We also have the in-game currency called Kudos [SP], which is there to drive a culture of recognition because I think recognition is incredibly important, it’s heavily social and that drives very high engagement in collaboration. There’s loads of badges, and those badges are used to drive the celebration of organizational values, and then it also gamifies surveys to get higher, you know, participation rates and more honest data. As I said, this isn’t really about Totem, it’s just an example of people who only look at gamification, we think that culture is the biggest thing, and if we’re letting loose on something in the culture space, what would we bring from a gamified environment and it will help you understand what we think the most important thing is a gamification for.
It’s interesting as we’ve gone down this journey, we’ve got nearer and nearer the HR space, and as I said at the opening, I think gamification and HR are like the most natural partners. Albeit, from different starting off points, we both got an absolute focus on people and how we make people’s lives more successful, more fulfilling, more meaningful. And we just started from a tech background it’s interesting that we’ve kind of converged on the HR space. So, to wrap up, some takeaways, there could be lots I can put here, but some general things. I’m sure no one comes to work to do a bad job, so this piece of using gamification to help motivate and set the context in which everyone wants to do their best and be recognized for doing their best, we’re pushing against an open door. One thing we’d learn and I’m sure you guys have learned as well, is that when you’re designing these systems you have to pay the ultimate respect to the users, the players, the colleagues, whatever we call them, and put them at the absolute center of the experience.
Not design things because it’s easy for the IT department, or design things because it fits into the budget cycle we might have, but what do users really want because if you can’t answer that then you can’t drive any engagement. The other piece is trusting colleagues anywhere in the business, but you know, who might be not quite so high up the pyramid with data and insights is incredibly powerful, both in driving trust but also allowing people to take autonomy for business outcomes and to deliver upon them. It’s very interesting in business is kind of data transparency quite often stops at a certain level on the poll, and it doesn’t really make any sense not to give your colleagues and the users their interest in performance because they’re the only ones who can really drive the business forward. Number four, be comfortable having fun, like it’s infectious and it’s motivational, and it can be culturally appropriate to whatever industry it needs to be.
And the final thing is from a technical point of view when looking at anything just start off doing the absolute minimum that needs to be done. The key with all kind of agile development, really, is to get something out there and to learn. And quite often with these things, you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of pounds on that to find out what works, you can do it in quite a ghetto way through, you know, it might be pieces of paper, or it might be a really simple program that’s running on the web, it doesn’t necessarily have to be something that’s hugely invested from the start. And then finally, I’m just going to finish with a quote from the world’s greatest philosopher, which I hope sums everything up. From Mary Poppins, “In every job that must be done there’s an element of fun. You find the fun and, snap, the job’s a game.” And that’s what we try and do, not to make work any less serious than it is, but really to unlock business success and individual happiness. And that’s me, and I’ve probably run about five minutes longer than I should have, so apologies and hopefully, there’s some really good questions.
Cathryn: Thanks, Marcus. That was really interesting, I think loads of stuff that people can take away from that and use in their organizations, and lots of things to be thinking about, about how people structure initiatives and things like employee engagement programs, and how the principles can be built into that. And, I mean, you’ve been showing us some of the products that Play Consulting have designed for organizations, are these principles things that HR teams on a smaller budget can start to think about using in stuff they’re already doing without having to commission their bespoke product?
Marcus: Yeah. I think absolutely. I think in terms of whatever the initial product might be, maybe it’s just something that’s pre-existing software, maybe you’re using some survey [inaudible 00:41:39] or something you’ve got at the moment. I think a really good starting off point, and probably been done, but can’t have too much focus on it or too little focus on it, is including kind of colleagues and employees in the design of the thing itself, and also being really open with data that’s coming in out of it.
Cathryn: We have a question from Claire who asks, is this technique more likely to work in a sales oriented role? Before I throw that over to you, Marcus, I’d just like to say, Claire, Totem is something that here at CIPHR we’re actually using in our sales and marketing teams, and we find that our sales teams engage in it really well, and we find our marketing teams engage in it really well. But also what’s great is that it encourages recognition and thanks between the two departments as well, so we might have people in sales thanking people in marketing team for their efforts, and similarly, we might have people in the marketing team congratulating people in the sales department on their successes as well. So, what’s been really interesting for me as a user to see is how it’s sort of breaking down those barriers between the two departments. Marcus, do you have anything to add on that?
Marcus: Yes. So, I’d say sales teams, it’s relatively easy to gamify only because the data exists there, it’s easy to measure kind of sales KPIs and then you can play those back to salespeople, it’s usually some sort of monetary KPI. That said, it absolutely works and it’s almost sometimes more powerful in non-sales teams because it’s a way that non-sales teams or back office teams can actually kind of be included in more of the front office stuff. So you mentioned driving recognition kind of across teams. We’ve got one client who uses the performance, you know, showing data to drive data to drive volunteering the work, it’s gorgeous, it’s not it’s tied to any sales mechanic. They’ve got a really strong corporate responsibility mandate where they encourage everyone to dedicate X amount of hours a year to local good causes, and in that environment, we show teams how many hours they committed to volunteering. And as a result of seeing that, volunteering has gone up from, I think it was 15% of the workforce to over 50% of the workforce. So, while it’s easy to find the metrics to gamify sales environments, it works beautifully in non-financial environments as well.
Cathryn: That’s great. Hopefully, Claire, that answered your question. We have another question from Katherine [SP] who asks have you ever used these kind of techniques for appraisals at all?
Marcus: Yeah. So, we’re doing we’re doing some work at the moment actually, so, within the kind of the Totem stuff we do, we’re really trying to understand this whole culture piece, which is hard because we don’t…almost none of us…it’s very hard to almost get the terminology or the measurement for culture. And so within Totem, we gamify kind of feedback, trying to get to the point where instead of 360-degree feedback, we try and get 365-day feedback, but feedback just becomes an absolutely normal everyday thing that you do, so that’s the first stage. The second stage then is to get to a point where we can measure culture through not just what people tell us through surveys, but also through artificial intelligence machine learning, and try and get a way that we can show businesses their cultural dimensions in real time on a daily basis because once we’ve got that then our game backgrounds will allow us to show that in such a way that we can then gamify management and leadership to optimize against culture, and I’m giving the crown jewels away here.
If you think about the cool thing for us the gamification is finding something to measure, putting in an environment that’s motivational and driving the improvement of that measurement. And we do that at the employee level, all the examples I showed you of employees. What I’d really like to do is be able to have measured culture, and we’ve got some smart people working on it now, and then play it back to management and leadership that gives them the measurement that we can then gamify those people in the organization so we can get a loop where culture is being real-time optimized and understood every single day of the year.
Cathryn: That sounds amazing. If you manage to get your smart people to figure that out, Marcus, that’d be brilliant. And that’s all we have time for, I’m afraid, today. And thank you to our audience for joining us. And thank you, Marcus, from Play Consulting for sharing your expertise today. If you’d like to find out more about CIPHR’s HR solutions or the services that Play Consulting offers, check the relevant option in the exit survey that you’ll see after this broadcast ends. And just want to remind you that everybody who’s registered will receive a link to an on-demand version of this broadcast tomorrow, so you can watch a rewind it at your leisure. We hope to see you in another CIPHR webinar soon. Thanks. Bye.
Marcus: Thanks all.
Cathryn Newbery from CIPHR and Marcus Thornley from Play Consulting discuss how gaming principles can supercharge your employee engagement initiatives.