Business Action: Gamification in Depth


It's rainy November night, you open up Google Chrome, click on the Facebook icon, but something doesn’t seem right. You have lost internet connection. Suddenly a little T-Rex shows up and saves the day! This is where Google introduced a basic element of entertainment where nobody expected it, applying game elements to non-game concepts. Gamification has become a part of everyday life, and that also applies for business. Thanks to this concept, we can internally see more employee involvement, naturally driving the development of the companies concerned.

Encouraging employees to get spontaneously involved in entertaining activities within companies is the key to the success of both simple and more advanced gamification mechanisms. Due to the challenges that companies around the world have faced in recent years, such as the struggle of engagement in work. According to the Gallup Institute, in 2017 only 15% of employees were actually engaged in their work (average result for employees from around the world). Employers, knowing that the situation has a negative impact on business results, began seeking new methods, ideas, tools, and concepts to boost employee engagement.

The search for new solutions in this area prompted employer branding experts to implement incentive or recruitment mechanisms based on game concepts in business. The aim here is to create a friendly workplace where employees want to stay and develop, while their passion attracts new people and drives business into the next phase of dynamic development.

A Strong Employer Brand

Engaged employees are able to take a broader view of the employer's business needs and not only strive for individual success, but corporate one as well. Game mechanisms provide the potential to help employee develop, making them impatiently wait for the next challenges and engage in each subsequent stage. Companies introducing these solutions open up opportunities for self-fulfillment and achievement of goals for their employees, as well as fuel the curiosity to gain feedback, and at the same time provide rewards or… pleasure. So why is gamification effective exactly? How to incorporate it into the company? And can the SS sector dive into this gamified world as well?

Why Do we Gravitate towards Games?

Gamification is connected to mechanisms that we usually relate to. Many of us react similarly to the motives that connect and drive us as humans. We believe in stories, we like to take on unusual challenges for pleasure. We have a need to develop ourselves, acquire new skills, and overcome difficulties. We like to act when we see that we can do something good for others. In life, just like in games, we attempt to reach for what is still missing, we are curious and want to find out what will happen next. Gamification puts all these elements togethers and satisfies each of these needs. This universalism of gamification makes positive effects visible in various business processes. According to TalentLMS (see:1), 78% of users believe that thanks to such mechanisms, the recruitment process becomes more interesting and engaging. According to the same source, trainings and workshops based on gamified mechanisms make the candidates feel 83% more motivated.

Recruitment through Games and Interaction – Relevant Benefits

Through gamification, companies are able to attract more suited candidates, as Heineken has done. The company is known not only for its products, but also for its interesting approach to employer branding. The “Go Places” recruitment campaign is an interactive job interview concept during which participants are able to apply online for an unspecified job at the Heineken company, all in a fun, interactive, and innovative way. The campaign went live at the end of 2016 and is still running to this day. Among the many benefits Heineken harvested from this action, they have received 3.1 million social and news interactions, attracted engagement across 70 markets and 23 languages, completed 61% of interviews, acquired a 300% increase in visits and job applications, 78K new followers, and over 300 individual media articles.

Get Points, Get Certified

In the form of a 12 month initiative, 3M GSC Poland made the decision to join the ISO:9001 certification process, a certification confirming that the organization guarantees the highest quality management standards and offers transparent procedures. Making learning as simple and fun as possible, the company developed a Quality Game where employees were able to boost their knowledge by answering questions in a really entertaining and engaging manner. The global services center implemented an interactive platform, a challenging environment for teams, and several engaging actions throughout the year that led to 100% compliance with the standards, promotion of a team competitive spirit, and massive engagement and involvement by the employees.

It is Not only for Big Players

Moreover, It is worth taking a look at another example, this time from the area of internal communication. MHS Homes Group is an independent rental company in the UK that had the need to promote its internal platform among its employees, so it created a game-based competition. The task was to connect the certain descriptive facts to specific people in the company and thus guess which employee they refer to. Mysterious graphics with interesting, funny information about colleagues became a way to get to know each other better for the employees, under the name “Guess the Employee”. The company gained 85% of active intranet users and invaluable employee satisfaction. Gamification is not really limited to one sector, and it does not only work well for large companies.

Does Playing for the Company’s Development Cost a lot?

Gamification brings direct value to business. it provides a broader view of areas that need to be strengthened within the company. This allows companies to analyze key elements of team performance, and gives them a clear vision of the next steps of developments. Many businesses, especially startups, are doubtful about venturing into the gamified world, worrying that it may actually cost too much. On the other hands, according to Gallup Institute, one disengaged employee costs the average organization 3400 dollars PER 40.000 dollars of salary, while companies with highly engaged employees improve operating income by 19.2% over a 12 month period. According to the same source, employee turnover can be reduced by 87% in highly engaged organizations. Gamification and business benefits can go hand in hand. However, the condition is that the developed concept should be properly adjusted to the company's image, its value system and, above all, its organizational culture. Not only does creating a dynamic & fun work-space with happy & engaged employees inevitably improve the image of the employer, it improves their operating revenue as well, and the numbers to back that up are all around us.

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About the author

Walid Jabrane is an employer branding expert in Grupa Komunikacja+, Master’s in Communication Management, Image Communication. Passionate about photography & videography, intrigued by brands and their stories’ development, and in love with the ever-growing gaming industry.