[PRESS OFFICE] The global pandemic has been a major disruptor in all aspects of life, shifting bustlng boardrooms to pitches in silent Zoom chatrooms. Even monthly shopping has turned a corner from bricks and mortar to online ordering, writes Carl Unger, head of digital at Mediology.
Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the way we engage, and to a large part driven the digitisation of numerous businesses. Employees have also felt increased pressure to work harder at becoming more efficient. In the short term, the novelty of this way of working may spur people on to increase performance, but quickly fades as reality sets in and new challenges are dealt with.
This combination of factors has caused anxiety for many staff members and ultimately leading to demotivation. As such, businesses must deploy a different set of tactics to keep employees engaged, informed, and continuously learning in a way that feels rewarding.
User behavioural changes
With the advent of lockdown in South Africa, we have seen several changes in user behaviour. Gaming, for one, has become a major adoption due to physical confinements as a form of pastime and escapism.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak:
- 84% or 23.5 Million of South African internet users play games on at least one device (*) source – see source at the end
- 38% spend more time with computer and video games
- Users are frequently playing across a multitude of platforms with
- smartphones at 71%
- personal PCs/laptops at 50%
- gaming consoles at 37%
Gamers are often stereotyped as lonely teenagers playing games on monster rigs in their parents’ basements. However, this is not true – ever since the earlier board games of yesteryear like the property-dealing Monopoly to the recent MMORPGs (massive multiplayer online role-playing games) like World of Warcraft – gaming has always been social.
Today, a new breed of player is emerging who wants to take part in the fun of the digital community. Humans are innately social, striving to connect with others and find validation within their circle of friends. Gaming allows them to overcome challenges as a collective and bask in the glory when successful.
In South Africa, the age range of gamers vary vastly:
- 16 to 24 (27%)
- 25 to 34 (33.8%)
- 35 to 44 (21%)
- 45+ (18.2%)
As game artist, Inci Alper puts it: “As casual titles present easy mechanics with quick and satisfactory gaming moments, audiences from different ages find a common ground. The fact that anyone can play these games and enjoy their time, is the main reason behind the age diversity.”
What then is gamification?
Gamification is applying game-design elements and principles to any set of tasks to get users motivated to complete it. It takes the basic elements of games such as experience bars, leader boards, quests, and rewards to build a platform that drives active participation, engagement, and loyalty.
Why does gamification work so well? In this article, Deep Patel puts it like this: “Gamification is not a gimmick – it works because it triggers powerful emotions. This feeling of “winning” gives players a constant feeling of gratification and enjoyment. When we experience something we enjoy, our brains light up with a pleasure-producing chemical called dopamine. This is the brain’s version of a carrot – it keeps you motivated and focused.”
Here are some great examples:
- ‘The Speed Camera Lottery’ – average road speeds in Stockholm were reduced from 32 to 25 km per hour by including law abiding citizens in a draw to win money raised by fines.
- ‘Ping Pong Fight Club’ – a competitive, team-building initiative held in secret locations such as warehouses and galleries accompanied by food, DJs, and speed networking bars to build the perfect night out.
- ‘Can You Crack It’ – a UK project by the intelligence agency to find qualified candidates. Participants had to decipher the hidden message and by doing so could progress to the next round of interviews.
- ‘Duolingo’ – combines great design and iconography to motivate people to learn new languages.
Implementation in the agency
In the workplace, we can combine these gaming mechanics to clearly defined goals and measurable success factors to influence and motivate employees. The purpose is to break the monotony of everyday tasks and enable people to embrace challenges with new vigour, while rewarding them for their productivity and the overall success of the company.
Gamification has on numerous occasions shown to change behaviours and actively motivate people to take part. Our HR manager, Stacey, uses gamification to great effect to keep staff passionate and gage their motivation levels while we are all working remotely.
Staff-inclusive polls and surveys have allowed us to make collective decisions on when-and-how to return to work after Covid, while also understanding staff sentiment, fears, and objections. Scavenger hunts on Easter weekend, and activities like ‘Who’s that?’ for Father’s Day made for good peer bonding. Incorporating more gamification elements into the business has positively contributed to a more cohesive and motivated team. We will continue to use gamification in a variety of ways to keep staff engaged and motivated.
How are you using gamification to engage with your staff?
Head over to our LinkedIn page to discuss.
Carl Unger is Head of Digital Media at Mediology. Carl has grown strategically from strength to strength over the past seven years at Mediology. Carl has come up with some awesome campaigns, by leveraging desktop and mobile technologies to assist businesses in achieving their goals. He is an active participant in sourcing and implementing new media execution with a passion for data and optimisation. In his spare time, he enjoys whiskey tasting and he considers himself a TV series critic.
- (*) www.globalwebindex.com
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