9 signs your business is ready to gamify.

The key signs your business is ripe for gamification.

Putting on a silly face is not what gamification is about

Putting on a silly face is not what gamification is about

With all the hype surrounding gamification within the workplace, how do you find out if it will work for your business? There is no point wasting time or money in business. Indeed, todays profit margins demand higher returns on our investments. Here I put forward the key signs that show gamification is ripe for your business. If you a match with only one of these 9 signs then it will be well worth your time to consider a rapid implementation plan.

First of all, let’s dispel some myths you may have heard about gamification at work:

Myth 1: Gamification at work means we will have Pokémon go figures in the office – No. Technology still has a little way to go before augmented reality can be smoothly integrated within a good work place gamification system.

Merit badges

Merit badges

Myth 2: It’s just like been in the scout movement by collecting badges. – No. Badges can be uses as symbols and rewards for effort but can also be easily replaced with other symbols and status tools.

Myth 3: I am too old for games at work. – Really? Would you prefer work to be just boring drudgery or stimulating and interesting? When was the last time you ever participated in a fun and learning event?

Myth 4: This is just for soft liberal minded folk, our business is tough and we need tough people. – No, even the US army use gamification.

Myth 5: I have seen many fads come and go, this is just another one. – No. Gamification has already entered our lives and become more important than ever to business survival. Have you honestly never checked your likes or counted the number of notifications on Facebook?

If you have already tried to implement the process within your business but struggled, then take a quick read of my prior article to help provide some 20 extra implementation tips.

Sign 1. You want success

Do we need to continue? OK it is an obvious that most companies want success. The only ones that do not are on an exit or a decision has been made to close down (even there gamification can help – see sign number 3).  

Defining a business success position is ideal for each part that makes up the success factors. This can include environment, social responsibility, customer engagement, market share, profitability etc., you get the picture. Select your success and create a specific activity surrounding that point. It is possible and encouraged to cross migrate different levels of success into levels of achievement.

For sale

For sale

For example, a great sales quarter might justify a reward that is then later removed if sales performance drops for your chosen product or service. This process helps retain focus and motivation on continued sustained performance levels that define your success path.

Take a short read of this article by Paul Nuki about implementation across many industries for sustained success purpose.


Sign 2. Have an old story to tell and share

No matter the age of the business and the retained values and principles and goals it holds, there are great reasons to include gamification as a supportive mechanism and framework to retain these principles.

Generating happy staff with principles

Generating happy staff with principles

One such business candidate is Bureau Veritas. Established in 1828 it operates under strict ethical and quality principles, indeed these are necessary parts of its brand identity as a leading standards, certification and inspectorate body. Within its divisions are incentives for positive behaviour and development opportunities found similar to other mainstream industries, yet their focus returns to the old story of ethical behaviour.

If your business has operated for a while with some core principles and values for pure brand identity, then gamification can provide a framework to retain and protect these areas. This is especially important to control project scope, product development or at times of employee change and rapid growth.

Sign 3. Have a new story to tell and share

New markets and opportunities arise, as does methods of management and strategies within business. So, these new directions can be used to create a narrative and storyline for the business. This is critical to employee+market understanding – basically it is necessary to communicate well. This is one area where gamification can help create the right atmosphere, momentum and create validation of understanding.

For example a new product is created that is an accessory to your core service. Through gamification techniques it is possible to incentivize and educate and reinforce new behaviors to support your “narrative” (read product, service or strategy).

I find many company’s embarking on a change are very close to gamification concepts and models already. With some small fine tuning these management models can embrace best practice from gamification and reap its benefits swiftly.

Take a short read of this article by the Australian Institute of Business offering 4 ways to gamify your workplace.

Sign 4. Seeking cost effective productivity boost

Productivity check list

Productivity check list

A challenge for many companies is balancing investment and productivity levels. A small investment into understanding and developing gamification knowledge within the leadership team can provide huge productivity gains across a business.

If your business (like most) are seeking new methods to improve productivity then you are a perfect candidate. For employees or clients that are subjected to repetitive or boring activities, gamification offers new insights and techniques to boost their and your productivity.

For example, a low margin retail store often struggles to have enough people at the cash till at peak times, thus making the queue to the cashier longer which in turn puts off your potential customer from buying. Let’s face it, we all want to just shop, buy and get out…Unless you make the queuing part of the experience through gamification. Incentive offers using social media hashtags of selfies in queues that are linked to offers is on obvious solution.

Team work

Team work

Offering points and rewards for attaining quality of performance in repetitive tasks is another example. One variation of the infamous “No injuries since “X” days” is a perfect case where some parts of gamification has been already applied across many companies. Not only does this improve productivity through productive working hours but it also motivates positive behavior and thus reduces and minimizes costs of health care for injured staff.

Sign 5. Need of organizational culture change

A business that undergoes a significant shift in its culture is at an optimal point to be ready for gamification implementation. From new skills, technology, merger and acquisition to fresh leadership or a strategic direction, these all offer perfect catalysts for a gamification solution.

One of the key objectives of culture change in a business is the behaviors that need to be adopted and developed. Through positive incentives and status recognition plus rapid feedback loops, gamification holds key elements to bring a successful transformation. The use of reinforcement techniques, challenges and personal measurement allows extra support to be provided where needed whilst recognizing the leading change agents.

Consider the key elements of cultural change as identified in this Business Insider article by David Shedd

1.       Clearly define the culture

2.       Communicate, communicate, communicate

3.       Leadership example

4.       Relentless follow up

5.       Create conditions to align with the new culture

6.       Share good and bad examples

7.       Involve the individual

8.       Accountability

9.       Patience and Persistence

 That list looks very similar to a gamification implementation process I wrote about here.

Sign 6. Love to keep things fresh and new

Out with the old

Out with the old

Vibrant business cultures typically undergo rapid continual change and growth. Consider Uber or Ryanair, their cultures are about connecting to their markets, creating stories and controversy whilst seeking to provide low cost efficient and great service.

This fast moving approach is also often found within marketing and sales departments or product development for a SAAS business as such found within Fintech and the insurtech sectors.

These companies and specific departments are perfect players for gamification.  The culture already is set up for rapid learning and fast change towards a wider vision. Using these factors, gamification is great to help stimulate the freshness and change in a managed and scalable manner whilst creating reinforcing values and principles to protect the brand values and ethical behaviour expected.  Take a read of this great article by IBM on introducing gamification into business.

There are wide scope possibilities to introduce a variety of gamification tools, techniques and story’s that align with business departmental campaigns such as sales or branding.

My message to a business that fits this profile: Try gamification now!

Sign 7. Seeking more employee accountability for actions and behaviors

“It’s not my fault”, “that’s above my pay grade”, “sorry but that’s not my department, you need to call back in”.  You know these phrases, you have heard them and possibly within your own business. Even worst, your own market just might have heard these expressions made to them in their user experience with your business.

Personal Accountability - its not fashion

Personal Accountability - its not fashion

If you need to grow the accountability across your business or in specific areas then gamification is a great method. The one to one status feedback mechanisms provide fast feedback and help develop the confidence and skills needed in each person. The speed and pace of change can be fixed or designed on a performance basis to assist the development in each challenged specific area.

Take a read of this short article on Forbes by Adi Gaskell with some specific examples and a mix between personal and business life interaction.

Sign 8. Committed to continual improvement

Total Quality Management systems (TQM) are often greeted with low enthusiasm and groans for employees. Project managers walk to a department with their new innovations and are met with eyes on smartphones and ears tuned to anything other than another new project. These scenarios exist on a daily basis across many large companies around the globe. Do you have a similar story to share or experience where continual improvement is met with a lack of enthusiasm?

Continual improvement can become fun and rewarding for all people when the correct framework and context if provided. Would you suddenly pay attention if, when customer returns are reduced by 10% and free hours training is offered by the business to help develop a specific skill you wish.

Putting the shine into what you do, everywhere is a symbol of quality

Putting the shine into what you do, everywhere is a symbol of quality

So, you can see here, how linking large objectives and a mission can become translated to small case specific examples of excellence and improvement for the customers, business and employees. That is not just a win; it’s a win, win win.

Sign 9. Ready to Boost employee engagement

Several of the key signs have already touched upon inspiration, motivation and forms of goal setting. Here we should directly address the signs a business can benefit from improved employee engagement. The numbers are frankly quite scary. How will you compete and justify against a C suite executive approving an artificial intelligence and chat bot project quicker than an employee training program if staff remain with such low engagement.

A happy worker becomes a happy family member. A happy family spreads to become a happy society. Never under estimate the power of gamification at work.
— James Doyle

I challenge managers to take gamification as an idea and concept to help lift the enjoyment and atmosphere of a working day and career. We can rapidly effect staffs satisfaction, stimulate more interest and boost enthusiasm for their work. This is not just a business benefit but has a self-esteem and sense of purpose benefit that can spread into a wider society.


I confess to writing this article from a position of bias. I want you to become interested in gamification, I want this so possibly you will become interested enough to contact JAMSO and discover how we can help you. Well, I also realised during my writing that I do not need to push a sale, in my opinion the logic, reasoning, timing and emotional benefits from gamification has already won.

There exists sufficient information around the world to explain why you should implement gamification within a business. What I did find interesting during my research was a lack of collective reasoning, so I trust this list and myth buster article has helped you on your path.

Well done, you have now completed your read, you gain the status of a JAMSO Blog reader Level 2 for doing so. If you want to get to level 3, then drop a comment below or share the article, let’s start this change together.

Pop over and see how we help companies with improvement projects and workshops to help this area.