There has been a significant increase in the amount of interest towards ‘gamification’ - essentially the ‘game-etising’ of tasks and processes. The rationale being that by making things more fun, people’s performance and productivity can be enhanced.
Although there are situations where this might be appropriate, the rise of gamification should serve as a reminder that organisations are at risk of missing the mark if they are having to resort to fun to drive productivity.
While making work enjoyable makes sense, making it meaningful is critical. If we are unable to clarify the meaning of people’s work, making it fun will do nothing more than trivialise their roles. If their roles (or tasks) are trivialised i.e. seen as offering no value to the organisation they should be ditched, for keeping them alive will do nothing more than insult the intellect of those responsible for them thereby causing them to disengage.
As shareholders know, the purpose of business is not to employ people and nor is it to entertain them; albeit some organisations are in the ‘entertainment’ industry in which case their aspiration will be to entertain their customers in order to generate a return on their shareholders investment.
If our staff understand the fundamentals of business, we will off-set the need to entertain them and instead, be able to focus our efforts on ensuring they understand the purpose of their roles and how they contribute to the organisation’s success.
When engagement is so critical to organisational performance, ‘gamifiying’ activities is risky. Yes, we should lessen the burden on employees having to use archaic systems and processes to carry out their work but more importantly, we need to ensure they understand their performance and productivity are critical to our organisation’s future; hence a leader's interest in helping their people honour it should be their No 1 priority.
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