Using Gamification to Motivate Your Contact Center Employees

In the most literal sense, we believe motivation can be tied directly to a perceived benefit or outcome. It makes sense; you work hard, and you’ll receive a reward that’s equivalent to your efforts. However, in the realm of work and vocation, this formula tends to be a little more complicated.

In his book “Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations,” author Dan Ariely states that “when we are in the midst of a task, we focus on the inherent joy of the task, but when we think about the same task in advance, we overfocus on the extrinsic motivators, such as payment and bonuses. This is why we are not good predictors of what will motivate us and what will crush our motivation.”

Often, businesses focus on offering their workers monetary rewards to drive better performance. But studies show that this isn’t the only way to drive improved performance. For contact centers especially, where employees are 8.5 times more likely to stay than leave within a year, ensuring a satisfactory employee experience is essential. And, an important element of motivation that companies can easily overlook involves an employee’s connection to their peers — fostering a sense of belonging and enjoyment in their work environment is reflected directly on results and efficiency.

Enter Gamification

Gamification, a powerful tool to drive employee performance, leverages game and social media concepts to influence behavior and promote engagement. Most importantly, it helps companies make it fun to meet goals and reach KPIs. But how do these relate to how our brains function and react to work?

Some of the core tenets of gamification relate directly to intrinsic motivators that occur naturally in human beings. Factors like a desire for recognition or status, competition, and a feeling of community are what make gamification such a powerful tool to motivate agents and improve overall performance.

Recognition: A Kind Word Goes a Long Way

A job well done is its own reward. Or, it should be, anyway. But the reality is that extended periods of toil without any acknowledgement only leave employees feeling underappreciated or taken for granted. As Dan Ariely states, “Acknowledgment is a kind of human magic — a small human connection, a gift from one person to another that translates into a much larger, more meaningful outcome.” The simple act of recognizing employees’ efforts and contributions goes a long way toward keeping them engaged and motivated.

Gamification gives agents a platform in which they can earn points and gain recognition from peers for their everyday activities. Elements such as leaderboards and badges give employees instant feedback and virtual rewards. And that triggers the release of dopamine in the brain and encourages agents to keep working toward more rewards.

Competition: Leveraging Our Instinctual Drive to Succeed

Whether you’re shy or outgoing, I can probably guess one thing about you that’s true. You like to win. We all do; it’s part of our primal instincts to want to outperform our peers and get all those good feelings associated with status, rewards and praise. So, it makes sense to leverage this drive to motivate employees so they’ll put in more effort and achieve better results in the workplace in a way that’s productive and healthy.

Creating situations where competition generates feelings of excitement — not anxiety — help companies promote creative problem solving and deliver more enjoyable employee experiences. When you add in gamification, presenting these opportunities for healthy competition is simplified through dynamics like one-on-one challenges that agents can issue, team contests and company-wide tournaments.

Teamwork: Creating Bonds and Building a Sense of Community

At Genesys, we know all about being part of a team. We acknowledge each other as part of a whole entity, One Genesys, and work better for it. We support each other, celebrate our collective and individual victories, and enjoy all the special qualities we each bring to the team. And, it makes sense to value this — the feeling of belonging is essential to our human experience and it’s incredibly effective toward building highly engaged teams.

But beyond that, fostering a feeling of belonging is actually good for business. As stated in a Harvard Business Review article, “High belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk and a 75% reduction in sick days. For a 10,000-person company, this would result in annual savings of more than $52 million.”

Making sure employees feel included and encouraged to support each other is another area where gamification helps greatly. By creating team challenges or goals, agents are prompted to collaborate with each other. And social media elements, such as an activity feed and comments, let them congratulate and comment on each other’s achievements and growth.

Self-Development: The Joy of Mastering a Skill

Have you ever felt that urge to learn an instrument or try something new like rock climbing? Though your current job description might not exactly fall under “rock star” or “world-famous rock climber,” your desire for trying these new things is pretty normal and explainable. It’s fun.

They present you with a challenge that engages your brain, you get to see yourself improve and evolve and, by the end of it, you have an interesting new skill to enjoy or share stories about at parties. Self-development and the satisfaction of getting better is an incredibly important piece in the motivation puzzle.

Being able to visualize your progress and get a list of steps toward further improvement can make a great difference in driving someone’s self-development journey. With the tools at hand, agents can own their own growth and progress. Fortunately, gamification comes helps with this aspect by allowing agents and managers to set micro-goals, follow progress closely, and provide or ask guidance in accordance.

If you add game-changing technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) to the mix, results are bound to be much more significant. Genesys, through its nGAGEMENT capabilities, gives companies the ability to use game mechanics, social media concepts and recognition to influence their agents’ behaviors. And it provides AI-powered capabilities to automatically adjust agent KPI goals and drive employee engagement. More importantly, nGAGEMENT fits seamlessly into the Genesys Cloud™ Workforce Engagement Management portfolio to deliver greater value and use of employee information overall.

Discover how to get the most out of your Genesys nGAGEMENT solution. Register today for our upcoming Genesys gamification event series and find out more about Genesys Workforce Engagement Management.