A common characteristic of successful companies is that they have highly engaged employees. Keeping employees engaged can be a challenge in all aspects of a business, but employee engagement is especially challenging in high customer touch functions like contact centers. An unengaged workforce results in low morale, poor customer service, and increased employee attrition. According to Inc.com, a survey of over 50,000 employees found that highly engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave a company. Although many factors drive employee engagement and vary by individual, gamification platforms are proving to be an effective strategy to engage and motivate associates.
Gamification is the application of game mechanics to non-game, measurable activities, which provides a powerful strategy for engaging, influencing, and motivating diverse groups of people. It is a fun, growing resource that provides a set of tools that can be used to overcome business challenges, as successful gamification is goal-oriented, not game-oriented. Successful programs are rooted in clear, realistic business goals and can be used to improve associate performance. The use of gamification is growing but isn’t new and can be found everywhere: frequent flyer programs, Starbucks virtual points, fitness tracker badges, etc.
Gamification platforms support the fundamental culture of an organization and create a space where core values are reinforced and enhanced. Among the goals of the platform is to ensure associates are engaged, have high morale, and are highly productive. Gamification can transform day-to-day performance and actions into recognition and rewards. Gamification also provides a clear, fun, and effective way to communicate and train associates, and it creates a standard language to convey expectations or tasks. Companies that use gamification platforms have seen measurable improvements in performance, and employee retention. According to a survey by review42.com, 79% of employees say they have gained motivation and purpose at the workplace because of gamified activities.
The gamification can inform associates of their current performance for the task at hand, and contests are also utilized to drive associate performance amongst their peers or teams. For example, an associate could earn points for lowering wrap-up time after a call, for completing an eLearning module, or even using a pleasant greeting. If it can be measured, it can be gamified. Points accumulated can be used to purchase gift cards, company apparel, as well as other incentives. Supervisors and managers can use the tool to award points as part of recognition and motivation.
Successful gamification is not effective in a set it and forget it mode. Just as businesses need to adapt to changing business needs, gamification needs to be adapted to fit the changing needs of the business. With this in mind, it is important to ensure gamification platforms continue to be adapted and enhanced to continue to meet the needs of its users. On the horizon, Nelnet is looking to enhance interactions with customers to improve performance KPIs (key performance indicators) by integrating metrics into a gamification platform. In addition to providing performance feedback to associates, this use of gamification can also provide a healthy form of peer vs. peer competition.
Our goal of enhancing integration between the platform and other cultural initiatives within Nelnet will bring our gamification efforts and associate performance to the next level.