Is Gamification the Solution to Employee Retention?

From the President’s Desk – October 2021

A recent study at Columbia University rated the likelihood of turnover at organizations. It found that if you have a great company culture, your likely turnover rate is 13.9%. However, that rate jumps to 48% if your company has a poor work culture.

But what is a great culture? A great culture to one person may mean the boss’s door is always open, and every day is a ‘casual’ day. Yet, another may like a more professional environment, where everyone wears suits and everything is more formal. Personally, I believe that introducing “fun” into the workplace improves productivity, reduces stress, enhances the quality of life, and well…. is fun. After all, if we are not enjoying life, why bother working so hard?

So, what is the secret to building a great culture? Let’s start with knowing who you are as a company. Young people often want to “find themselves” and discover “who they are.” Why? Having an identity, knowing “who you are” gives you a sense of belonging, a purpose, and meaning.

Recently, our company held a leadership workshop on corporate values. For a company that has been around a while, you really don’t decide your corporate values as much as “discover” them. They already exist, but identifying them and writing them down on paper helps clarify who the company is—determining what is essential to you as a company enables you to hire the right people who share your corporate values. When your team knows and aligns with who the company is and its values, they are far less likely to leave.

Corporations are groups of people working together towards a shared mission or vision. At the end of the day, you have relationships, and any good relationship requires communication. 

So, what are you doing to communicate with your team? How you communicate is as important as what you communicate. Communicating in an enjoyable and engaging way to the audience means they will retain more of the valuable information you are sharing, so get creative. Maybe even provide some games.

Games? Yes. Games are perhaps my favorite way to create an excellent corporate culture. I am not talking about playing monopoly every day at lunch (assuming you have 3 hours for lunch). I am talking about gamification. Turning routine events and tasks into challenging competitions or games. Gamification is not new. It has been around for a long time, though not always referred to in the same way. Learning to use the power of gamification could be, well, a game-changer. 

One client recently told me that after using gamification to motivate their sales team, they saw an increase in sales activity upward of 60% the first year. The CEO told me he could not live without it now. In addition to a rise in sales, the turnover of his sales team dropped. So, who doesn’t like to have a little fun?

You also need to be willing to put your money where your mouth is to run this successfully. It’s great to be the first recruiter with 50 submittals in a week, but top that off with a Star Bucks gift card, and now you have something to get excited about. The size of this prize is not nearly as important as just having it.

We love this approach so much that we are adding it to SmartSearch to create some friendly competition and challenges. Quickly build a graph for your branch office, the whole company, or pit branch against branch to watch the progress of your challenges. You can throw these up on a big screen for the entire office to see as it auto-refreshes every few moments. When someone wins, emails go out, alerts pop up, their favorite video will play, and good times abound.

Will a little gamification solve all your problems? No, but having fun has more health benefits than I have space to mention. Team competitions unite the members through a common task or challenge and create a feeling of belonging. Combine a little fun with a company that knows who it is and what it believes, and you will create a “Sticky Employment Plan” that keeps your team sticking around for years to come.

All the best,

LJ Morris
President & CTO