Gamification of Work


First data collected from different gamified (business) applications and processes indicate that there is at least a short-term benefit from gamifying[1].

Challenges & Vision

There are certain pitfalls using gamification in a work environment, if compared with consumer gamification. Consumers have a choice to visit and interact with a gamified platform, while employees and partners must use it[2]. In such an environment, other restrictions may apply, like labor laws, data privacy, equal opportunity etc. It must also be taken into consideration that while fun and entertainment is an important aspect of enterprise gamification, tracking user achievements will potentially lead to disruption in such organizations. The aggregated data on the performance of each player will make promotions, bonuses and layoffs more transparent and fair. This will have the effect to undermine the power of a manager.

Characteristics of Work and Play

Many characteristics of work and play are similar, but the way users are perceiving them is very different:

Tasks repetitive, dull repetitive, fun
Feedback once a year constantly
Goals contradictory, vague clear
Path to Mastery unclear clear
Rules unclear, intransparent clear, transparent
Information too much and not enough right amount at the right time
Failure forbidden, punished, don't talk about it expected, encouraged, spectacular, brag about it
Status of Users hidden transparent, timely
Promotion kiss-up-o-gracy meritocracy
Collaboration yes yes
Speed/Risk low high
Autonomy mid to low high
Narrative only if you are lucky yes
Obstacles accidential on purpose


Areas & Examples

While the current dominance of gamification is in the areas of entertainment, marketing, and branding, entertainment gamification is seen in the following major areas of an organization:

  1. Business applications, processes, and systems
  2. Education & training
  3. HR
  4. Workshop, team building, and conference games
  5. Marketing & branding
  6. Innovation games

Ad 1) Several dozen examples of concepts, prototypes and products from Master Data management[4], Sustainability[5] and others[6] demonstrate the value of using gamification in the enterprise.

Ad 2) At work training and education to keep employees competitive is crucial. Using games and simulations (e.g. SAP ERPSim[7], IBM Innov8 or Siemens PlantVille[8] amongst others have shown to be more effective and have employees memorize more knowledge from gamified training sessions than from traditional training approaches.

Ad 3) Human resource departments aim to onboard new hires faster and engage employees more with games and gamified tasks and processes

Ad 4) To spur collaboration, have teams perform better, or simply make a great conference for partners and customers, organization teams have employeed game design companies like GoGames and others to engage and entertain participants. these games often take the course of a scavenger hunt, with the implicit goals to educate and help participants network.

Ad 5) Engaging customers with the brand and products, having to fight for attention and eyeballs, the marketing and branding departments have been at the very forefront of using gamification for these purposes. Get full details and examples under Marketing.

Ad 6) Innovation games come in at the point, when cultural or status biases threaten to skew the outcome of work. When higher ranking employees (aka managers) dominate a discussion, the results of e.g. prioritizing features of a new product may be based on wrong assumptions, as not all voices are heard and get the same weight. Innovation games help to avoid these mistakes.


  1. ^ Enterprise Gamification Facts
  2. ^ Leveling Up: From Gamification To Enterprise Gamification
  3. ^ Workshop slides
  4. ^ Master Data Management examples
  5. ^ CRM examples
  6. ^ List of Enterprise Gamification examples
  7. ^ IBM Innov8 
  8. ^ Siemens PlantVille
  1. The Gamification of job seeking:
  2. Study Says Playing Videos Games Can Help You Do Your Job Better -
  3. Employers: Look to gaming to motivate staff -,employers-look-to-gaming-to-motivate-staff.aspx
  4. Wordcamp 2010: Why we turned Microsoft Office into a Game -
  5. Productivity Games blog -
  6. Video: Google Test Conference - Score One for Quality
  7. Score One for Quality Whitepaper -
  8. Forrester Report on Productivity Games -
  9. Forbes Online -
  10. Book: Total Engagement - Using Games and Virtual Worlds to Change the Way People Work and Businesses Compete -
  11. Book: Changing the Game: How Video Games are Transforming the Future of Business -
  12. Management Innovation Exchange - Using Games and Play to Improve Productivity -
  13. Can Branchout gamify career networking on facebook -
  14. The Gamification of Work -
  15. RedCritter Tracker, Gamified Project Management - Agile Project Management with badges, rewards, ribbons and leaderboards -
  16. Gamification of Employee Engagement - Gamification in the enterprise -