By Trevor Keane, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sportego

A wise man once said “play is the highest form of research” and gamification is underpinned by this concept. It uses the mechanics of playing a game to increase a brand’s user engagement and loyalty, and in business this has a direct correlation not only with employee engagement but with employee retention and customer retention too.

Gamification in the workplace can make mundane, repetitive or even laborious job-essential tasks more engaging by implementing game-like elements, such as rewards, competitions and storytelling. It’s fast growing in popularity, and by the end of 2015 it’s been estimated 40% of all the Global 1000 organisations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform their business operations.

As businesses of all sizes and across all sectors recognise the benefits of customer engagement and employee rewards, here’s the ultimate top four big business benefits of gamification:

  1. Engagement
The sense of community and collaboration gamification brings, as well as fast feedback and competition are all key mechanics in revolutionising both customer and employee engagement. Businesses also benefit because it enables employees to share and learn as part of a team, and this works whether these are well established teams that require invigoration, or worldwide teams that need to be brought together. Gamification promotes a positive business community both externally and internally.
  1. Motivation
The psychology behind gamification is that it uses regular and consistent positive feedback in the form of points, for example, to build up the users’ confidence. This then motivates individuals to become more aligned with the brand and even, develop skills and solve problems as confidence grows. Another aspect of gamification is that it makes work fun and this creates an alignment between incentives and motivation.
  1. Training
There’s a lot of talk about skills shortages in numerous industries and gamification can help close these gaps. Research shows 90% of new skills "learnt" in the traditional sense are lost within a year, owing to little practical follow-up or meaningful assessments. Gamification makes training and Learning and Development more accessible, and can lay the foundation for continuous learning. It is not only helpful for training older employees on new products and practices, but for on-boarding new employees as well. Gamifying your learning processes will help you motivate your employees to continually learn and contribute as part of a team, which can significantly improve the ROI of your training materials, in relation to traditional methods.
  1. Data capture
One of the most important aspects of data is personalisation, which businesses can capture via the data produced from gamified apps, to learn about their customers and employees. For example, by tracking employee progress and results managers can quickly identify strengths and weaknesses and amend training to suit. Also, gamification can help build customer profiles by monitoring trends to detail how and when they interact, and their purchase decisions.

It’s simple really: if you have a workplace based community where your employees wish to gather and interact, and there’s a desire to grow and develop, your business will advance. Businesses of all sizes, and across all sectors, from the corporate 500 to SMEs and professional sporting clubs, have much to benefit from gamification. To quote Albert Einstein again “creativity is intelligence having fun”, so consider using gamification to entice customers as well as to create a new company culture in your business.