Edina, MN, September 20, 2011. Gamification, the use of games to drive participation and engagement, has been getting a lot of buzz lately as a way to increase employee engagement. When used correctly, it creates a perfect marriage of work and play in order to make jobs more exciting and fun, while encouraging higher levels of performance. BI WORLDWIDE, a global business improvement company located in Edina, MN, uses games to help get employees engaged, inspired and motivated.

“A number of our clients have started to implement gamification in the workplace to drive desirable behaviors, and the results have been impressive,” says Carmen Nesenson, interactive marketing strategist at BI WORLDWIDE. Nesenson says much of the focus on gamification comes from the video game industry which is one of the fastest growing industries – it is expected to be an 80 billion dollar industry by 2014. And it’s not just men and kids—nowadays over 50% of gamers are female and 30% of the gamer population is over the age of 45.

“There is a perception that only a small amount of people are gamers, when, in fact, the majority of people participate in some sort of game playing,” says Nesenson, “That’s why using games in the workplace is such a powerful engagement tool – it’s something we all love to do.” According to Nielsen, games are the second most frequent Internet activity for Americans after social networks, with Americans spending an estimated 906 million hours per month on social networks, 407 million on games, and 329 million on e-mail.

Here are some of the ways Nesenson says employers can use games in the workplace:

  • Make employee training more effective
  • Drive wellness program participation
  • Make mundane tasks, like data entry, more fun
  • Increase customer service levels
  • Increase employee benefit usage
  • Drive innovation and idea generation

“It’s not just about developing a fun game,” Nesenson says, “it’s about figuring out the best way to use gamification techniques to drive a desired behavior in employees.” The success of the game will all depend on the design of the game, how well it aligns with the needs and wants of the audience and what is the method and intention of using it.

But, says Nesenson, “When all is done right, we can expect games to help increase employee performance, while (gasp), having a little fun along the way.” For more information on getting employees engaged with games visit BIWORLDWIDE.com.
Going to this year’s Engagement Expo 2011: powered by Loyalty 360, on November 6-8th? Be sure to check out Carmen’s workshop “How to Use Interactive Promotions to Effectively Engage Consumers” at The Westwin Stonebriar in Dallas, Texas.

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