According to Gallup’s “State of the Global Workplace,” over two-thirds of US employees are not actively engaged in their jobs.

That’s bad news for the bottom line as well as 60 million unhappy workers. Disengaged employees drag down production levels and can erode morale with negativity. By contrast, employees who are actively involved with their jobs are more motivated, which makes them more productive.

To boost engagement levels, businesses are continually experimenting with different strategies. One innovative approach is gamification, aka digital motivation. Gamification mixes work with play by applying game elements and techniques to non-game situations. It has proven effective in education and as a customer retention tactic. Now the enterprise has gotten in the game.

However, as with most technology, the success of your gamification efforts will depend on your people, processes, and the objectives you want to achieve. Through trial and error, we’ve learned some rules of what works and doesn’t to engage your players and keep them competing to win on the metrics that matter.

Gamification Innovation at iQor

Many of our gamification efforts have been developed in iQor’s Experience Innovation Lab and led by Ada Smith, an iQor IT professional. To build their successful program, Ada and her team created and played by clear-cut rules from the start. Use them or make up new ones to turn your own company into a power player.

1. Have a Clear Objective

Early on, you need to nail down the top goals for the program. “We wanted to focus on changing behaviors and driving outcomes,” Ada explains. “All our content addresses three major contact center Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs—Average Handle Time, NPS Score and Quality Assurance. At iQor’s huge volumes, even a slight improvement in any of these areas makes a tremendous impact, especially in mid- or low-level performers.”

2. Choose the Right Technology

There are a number of game mechanics apps out there. Choose the one that best fits your objective and integrates easily with your existing software. Look for scalability and simplicity of use, and make sure you’ll be able to add features and customize later. iQor’s team picked Centrical as the basis for their colorful, dashboard-driven program.

3. Bite-Size the Content

Chunk the content so agents can fit in a “game” whenever they have a few minutes. “Agents can play games, read articles, and take quizzes between calls or on breaks,” says Ada. “We have a mobile app so they can play on their own time.” iQor’s program uses Jeopardy-style trivia matches, contests, challenges, missions, quizzes, and other short, engaging activities.

4. Make Progress Trackable

Color-coded graphic devices measure and define performance so participants can see their progress and track it over time. “Measurement influences behavior,” Ada comments.

5. Build in Rewards. Lots of Rewards.

As anyone who has run a customer loyalty program knows, people love free stuff. iQor’s incentive program works on a scoring system where solo agents and teams earn points for wins. The software collects and calculates the points automatically, and players can redeem them for gift cards or “iQor bucks” to spend at the company’s virtual store. Free lunches are also a popular prize.

6. Ditto for Recognition

Badges, employee-of-the-month honors, pop-up tokens of encouragement, birthday and anniversary shout-outs: It’s crucial to give people plenty of moments to shine. Research shows that workers who feel ignored and unimportant have little motivation to excel.

7. Keep It Competitive . . .

“Like rewards and recognition, competition motivates people,” says Ada. “It builds excitement and encourages them to participate.” A leader board shows participants where they rank relative to each other on various activities, providing an incentive to climb higher—along with positive feedback and recognition when they do.

8. . . . While Building Community

“We keep our program competitive, but we also want to encourage team spirit and community-building,” Ada explains. She recommends a Community page to share information, congratulate special achievers, or just reach out and connect—a kind of virtual bulletin board.

9. Don’t Forget the Human “App”

The best technology is only a tool. It takes a skilled human application to be of real use. “Our management dashboard shows supervisors agent by agent and team by team exactly how everyone is performing,” says Ada Smith. “Our leaders can quickly identify opportunities and generate content and challenges to address and improve metrics and behaviors.”

10. Change the Rules When You Need to

See what works and don’t be afraid to ditch what doesn’t. Every tweak could be a game-changer.

And the Golden Rule of Gamification: Make it fun! 

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