Sunday, August 16, 2015

Are Gamers Your Ideal Employees?

My adventure into the world of Gamification formally began in the summer of 2012 when I received a call from a client asking me to develop a Gamification Workshop to teach problem solving skills for managers. I was honored to be asked and thanked her for thinking of me.

I assured her that I was the ideal person to hire for this design and delivery … after all, since 2003 I had earned the reputation of using games to interact and motivate participants in all my leadership, strategic thinking and communication workshops.

However, as I asked her about her objectives and outcomes ... I was quickly Googling the word “gamification.”

Truth was, at the time, I didn’t have a clue what gamification was. I had heard the term bantered around … but as of yet it wasn’t anything I had turned my focus to. A lot has happened since then.

Fortunately the first article I stumbled upon was by Adam Carstens and John Beck called “Get Ready for the Gamer Generation.” (TechTrends, 2005)

What I read started to change my entire way of thinking about the Gamer Generation and games in the workplace.

I then sat fascinated while watching a TED talk given by Californian game designer, Jane McGonigal. She says that by the time they turn 21, a dedicated gamer will spend 10,000 hours playing video games – exactly the same amount of time they will have spent in formal education.

According to McGonigal, four miraculous things happen to gamers while playing during those 10,000 hours.
  • First, they become urgently optimistic, overwhelmed by a desire to win
  • Second, they bond closely, as those who play together are more inclined to like and trust each other
  • Third, it makes them happy over-achievers, sitting at their screens for hours in a state of focused bliss
  • And finally it furnishes them with some sort of epic purpose – a larger-than-life reason for being
What interests me about these four stats is that they are precisely the things that make up a model employee – an optimistic, idealistic team worker who is blissfully happy to create, innovate, and work away all day and all night.

Indeed, if only some way could be found to make the working world a bit more like World of Warcraft, then not only would offices vanish, so would all problems of morale, lack of engagement and slackers.

But before I got too carried away with this high-tech nirvana, a couple of other things occurred to me. From observing the excessive gaming that went on in our recreation room, as my now 20-something sons grew up playing endless hours of games with their friends, I also remembered that video games make people lazy, grumpy, and addicted to instant gratification.

They also make you terribly inefficient: You feel productive … while achieving nothing. They make you think you can do things you can’t, like be a global ruler or score goals like Tom Brady when you're actually not in shape enough to even run round the block.

But then … don’t we see those same traits from some of the Boomers in our working world -- inefficiency, laziness and overconfidence?

Maybe the new version of the workplace run by the Gamer Generation won’t be all that different after all. It will be good and bad. Just as it is now.

Forward thinking organizations everywhere are beginning to understand the power of gamification to increase engagement as well as the bottom line and are quickly learning how to leverage its power. Let’s enter the world of Gamification together.

Game On!

More Gamification Articles:
For more ideas on the power of gamification to increase engagement, get started with the Gamification Design and Implementation Program.

About the Author: Monica Cornetti
Founder and CEO, Sententia

gamification speaker and designer, Monica Cornetti is rated as a #1 Gamification Guru in the World by UK-Based Leaderboarded. She is the author of the book Totally Awesome Training Activity Guide: Put Gamification to Work for You, writes The Gamification Report blog, and hosts the weekly Gamification Talk Radio program.

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