People are addicted to the games all the time. People play games not only for the game itself as for the experience the game creates: an adrenaline rush, a vicarious adventure, a mental challenge; or the structure games provide, such as a moment of solitude or the company of friends. People play games to create moment-to moment experiences, whether they are overcoming a difficult game challenge or seeking relief from every-day worries.The fun element in the games keeps the user motivated long enough to spend large amount of time on it.How to make jobs fun? Fun can be associated with gamification in a form of a game element or aid in the game design technique to be used in the non-game context. Fun can be hard and serious if it involves something meaningful for the players.(Nicole, Lazzaro.2004) But are the games and gamification the same concept is what needs to be discussed. If not then what exactly is the current trend in the organization. Lots of organizations like Deloitte LLP,Accenture, NTTData Samsung, and Capegemini, Foursquare and many more are adopting this new technique in the market Gamification to build up the interests of their employees. Gamification is said to be the great hope for the deeper user engagement.

Gamification can be defined as the use of game elements (rather than full-fledged games) and game design techniques in the non-game contexts (regardless of specific usage intentions, contexts, or media of implementation) to motivate and increase user activity and retention. (Deterding, S. 2011) The idea is not necessarily to create a game but rather try using certain gaming techniques which can make learning experiences for employees more fun and engaging. Gamification is about using fun like elements to help people move little bit closer towards their objective .In other gamification can be considered as participation and reward system that focusses on users sharing information with their networks.

And looking into what Gamification does not include would comprise the likes of making everything a game or any use of games in business, Simulations (although they may constitute serious games) or just PBLs (Points, Badges, Leader boards). Gamification is much beyond the above myths mentioned above and it will be seen further how the concept of gamification is being applied at the workplaces for the concept of employee engagement.

Gamification for Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being. Various definitions make the state of knowledge of employee engagement difficult to determine as each study examines employee engagement under a different protocol.

Scholars, such as Schaufeli, extend Kahn’s concept of job engagement in another way and the definition of Engagement comes across as a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption (Schaufeli, Salanova, Gonza´lez-Roma´, & Bakker, 2002a). Engagement refers to a persistent and pervasive affective–cognitive state that is not focused on any particular object, event, individual, or behavior. Vigor is characterized by high levels of energy and mental resilience while working, the willingness to invest effort in one’s work, and persistence also in the face of difficulties.Dedication is characterized by a sense of significance, enthusiasm, inspiration, pride, and challenge. Vigor and dedication are the direct positive opposites of exhaustion and cynicism, respectively. The third dimension of engagement is called absorption, which was found to be a constituting element of engagement in 30 in-depth interviews (Schaufeli et al., 2001). Absorption is characterized by being fully concentrated and happily engrossed in the work, whereby time passes quickly and thus has difficulties with detaching from the work. Being fully absorbed in the work comes close to what has been called ‘flow,’ a state of optimal experience that is characterized by focused attention, clear mind, mind and body union, effortless concentration, complete control, loss of self-consciousness, distortion of time, and intrinsic enjoyment (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).

Hypothesis Model

Based on the works of experts on gamification and employee engagement, Hypothesis model linking the elements of gamification along with the elements of work engagement is proposed below. The introduction of gamification techniques at the workplace can keep the employees engaged, absorbed and engrossed in the work for longer amount of duration.


H1:Game elements in gamification have significant impact in determining the Vigor.

Vigor refers to a set of interrelated affects (e.g., feeling energetic and vital) that employees experience at work (Shirom.2007). For empowered salespeople, their sales roles are more meaningful and thus they are more willing to perform their sales work. Meanwhile, the sense of competence and the perceived freedom to perform their sales work at their own discretion will make them more confident and more proactive, and anticipate fewer obstacles while completing their work. In addition, feeling that their work will have impact on their work units will increase their sense of self-esteem and self-actualization. All these perceptions are likely to generate more active and energetic feelings among salespeople. In other words, empowered salespeople are more likely to be invigorated at work. Previous research has found that when people are vigorous and feeling energetic, they will be more motivated, more involved in their job tasks, and able to perform them more successfully (Carmeliet al.2009).


Gamified elements can be well utilised over here to keep the energy level and ensuring that salespeople stay motivated enough to achieve the targets. Game mechanics like competition has been proven that higher levels of performance can be achieved when a competitive environment is established and the winner rewarded. That’s because we gain a certain amount of satisfaction by comparing our performance to that of others.All elements of game mechanics tap into this desire, even self-expression, but the use of leader boards is central to display competitive results and celebrate winners. Most all games provide at least a simple top ten list, and using that public display to indicate new levels achieved, rewards earned, or challenges met can be a great motivator for the sales people to achieve their targets before the stipulated time.

H2: Game design is positively related to the Dedication in relation with job involvement model.

Employee involvement can be associated with the dedication. Dedication can be defined as the strong psychological involvement in one’s work and “by a sense of significance, enthusiasm, inspiration, pride, and challenge” (Schaufeli et al. 2002, 74).This dimension of engagement shares some conceptual similarity with the concept of job involvement or commitment (Mauno et al. 2007).

The Job Characteristics Model (JCM) suggests that organizations can design jobs to increase employee involvement by enriching jobs with more autonomy and decision-making authority. Job enrichment provides employees the opportunity to have meaning and responsibility in their work. Researchers have found that job satisfaction is increased when jobs are enriched with more involvement and discretion (Fried &Ferris.1987) and greater skills and autonomy (Berg 1999).

In addition to influencing job satisfaction, involvement is thought to be an important motivator for employees to attend work. Employee absenteeism, which refers to the temporary withdrawal from the organization, is used by employees to escape from a work situation considered as stressful and unpleasant (Deery, Iverson & Walsh. 2006).

Both dedication and job involvement are regarded as rather stable phenomena.Dedication seems to be a broader phenomenon—at least with respect to its operationalization—than job involvement; the former includes feelings of enthusiasm, inspiration, pride and challenge, while the latter focuses solely on the psychological importance of the job in an employee‘s life.

Based on the above theories, hypothesis can be framed involving Game designs i.e., Conceptual models of the components of games or game experience can be adopted to increase the engagement. Few examples would be MDA; challenge, fantasy, curiosity; game design atoms; CEGE. MDA (Mechanics, Dynamics, and Aesthetics) is said to bridge the gap between game design and development, game criticism, and technical game research. Basically, mechanics (such as rewards, challenges, competitions, win states etc), dynamics (such as constraints, status, achievements, self-expression etc) and aesthetics can be together combined into a framework or interface (for eg: GUI/HCI) which can keep the employees engaged in anticipation for more challenges and competitions. Monetary and non-monetary rewards can further boost the employee’s interest thereby lessening the effect of absenteeism.

H3: Game elements in the non-game context are instrumental is increasing the Absorption at workplace.

Absorption refers specifically to total concentration on and immersion in work characterized by time passing quickly and finding it difficult to detach oneself from one‘s work (Schaufeli et al., 2002a and Schaufeli et al., 2002b). In other words, Absorption is about forgetting about time when working. Absorption has conceptual similarity with the concept of flow (González-Roma, Schaufeli, Bakker, and Lloret 2006). Flow experiences are more likely to happen in work situations that are characterized by high challenge or skill utilization (Eisenberger, Jones, Stinglhamber, Shanock, and Randall 2005).

Games are primarily motivating to the extent that players experience autonomycompetence and relatedness while playing – three basic psychological needs that promote intrinsic motivation. This theory is referred to as Self-Determination Theory.

(Ryan, R. M., Rigby, C. S., &Przybylski, A. 2006)

Autonomy refers to the choices people make and why they make them. When people choose to take on an activity for interest or personal value rather than for rewards or because they are made to do it, then perceived autonomy is high. (Deci, E. L. 1971).

Competence relates to Flow theory that describes a mental state of operation where a person is fully and completely immersed in an activity.

Relatedness refers to a person’s connection with others, in a game this may be with computer generated personalities or with other players.

Based on the above theory, hypothesis can be established between these three elements along with absorption which is related to competence and game elements for non-game contexts. The ability to optimally challenge people, in games if the controls are intuitive and the tasks within the game provide ongoing optimal challenges and opportunities for positive feedback then the rate of absorption would be high. Rather than simply falling back to motivation by rewards, then the player might be more engaged with the non-game context if they are given the freedom of choice over the sequence of actions they undertake and are not forced to one specific path in a gamification design.


Gamification is not just about making games but rather integrating the game elements into the existing processes. It involves looking beyond badges and incentives and identifying the intrinsic motivations they wish to focus on. This involves understanding employees’ behavioural patterns in relation to the processes they work on and creating a socially collaborative work environment. By identifying these patterns through behavioural analytics, focus can be on the gaps to be filled, which in turn will guide the game elements that need to be introduced.The next challenge is determining which processes to gamify. Gamification is not for every process. The gamification of a process should consider the potential impact on existing incentives and rewards. Getting the game design right is also important. Setting the right challenges, goals and objectives is crucial for a rugged game design. For all these reasons, game design is one of the most challenging and significant tasks in the gamification process. Another risk is unintended consequences. Since individuals are motivated in different ways and at different levels, gamification can introduce undesirable user behavior that does not align with business goals.Organizations need to be aware of individual motivations when determining reward systems of a game. Feedback is another area in which basic user experience guidelines need to be estab­lished. Generally, feedback needs to be balanced, well-timed and continual. Too much feedback can be frustrating to users and may prove futile, while too little feedback can result in dwindling user interest.

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5 years ago

The concept of gamification as a tool for employee engagement is a new and very fast growing trend across the industry. The article here is a very interesting take on this. However, I felt the need of a little more clarity on how actually gamification can be implemented in a organizational setup.



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