Owen Stern & Gal Rimon
| February 12, 2016
Everyone is looking for a competitive advantage in 2016. While a good bit of the discussion focuses on the customer experience—and it should—providing tools for success to the people who speak daily with your customers should be front and center as well.
After all, those are the people who serve your customers and help determine if they stay loyal or not. While you may or may not have previously considered gamification a key part of these employee engagement efforts, it can help keep your employees focused on what matters and what helps drive the bottom line.
One element of employee engagement is setting goals—tracking workforce key performance indicators (KPIs), such as conversion, customer satisfaction and more. KPIs can be set to define ranges of “good” performance, while the overall score can help drive a balanced achievement of KPIs.
Effectively applying game mechanics made to drive engagement can help drive continuous improvement, a clear indication of areas for development, and a more transparent culture.
It also frees management from being task enforcers or “evaluators” into being coaches—allowing them to coach employees based on real-time results. Isn’t coaching what your employees can benefit from long-term—as well as your customers that subsequently may receive better service?
When embedded within customer engagement optimization, gamification can allow organizations to not only help track performance but to also drive action and, in turn, help improve customer sentiment and loyalty.
Looking back at 2015, it was, in many ways, a landmark year for employee engagement and workforce optimization. It marked a fundamental change as some organizations moved away from subjectively evaluating their employees to looking at objective, data-driven employee performance management. This came with changes in goal setting and management, and it also impacted corporate culture.
Here are the four main elements that are driving this change in 2015 and 2016:
2015 Was the Year of Objectives and Key Results
Shifting away from annual performance reviews, some organizations have evolved to other methods of goal setting and goal tracking. One such method is Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), pioneered at Intel and featured as a core management practice at Google’s re:work site.
Transitioning to OKRs allows management teams to focus on coaching and developing employees instead of complex goal setting—a key element to keeping your employees more highly engaged. Moreover, engaged employees often provide better service—which can lead to longer-term customers.
Goals can be aligned with corporate objectives and can potentially lead to improved transparency, because OKRs show employees how they and their peers are doing in real time, based on objective and transparent data.
The Internet of Things and the Workplace
The Internet of Things isn’t only about machines and sensors predicting when you’re going to run out of milk. Think of the fitness tracker—tracking “steps taken” usually makes you take more steps, right? Focusing on continuous improvement helps inspire you to improve.
So, if there is a fitness tracker for your personal life, can’t you have one for work? Tracking performance in real time provides real-time feedback to the employee, encouraging motivation and self-reflection. It also offers management a great opportunity for coaching—emphasizing the elements that can be corrected in real time.
In 2015 Josh Bersin, an HR thought leader, wrote a Forbes article titled “The Geeks Arrive in HR: People Analytics Is Here.”1 Its main point is that HR is no longer a slightly “fuzzy” business: it is beginning to use data science. People Analytics focuses on measuring how employees behave and then better personalizing environments for them. Leveraging analytics can help managers chart individualized development maps for employees.
As we have all likely heard by now, millennials are rapidly becoming a majority in the workforce. This will begin to force organizations to accommodate a generation that expects transparency and is more digital than any generation before it.
Millennials are less comfortable with hierarchies, expect information sharing and constant feedback. In other words, tracking goals, evolving them and focusing on continuous improvement feels quite natural to them.
No doubt that as 2016 unfolds and evolves, we will continue to see other ways where gamification and employee engagement will become critical success strategies for organizations looking to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
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