Gamification for Workforce KPI Realization

What is Gamification ?

Gamification, in simple words, is the process of adding game-like elements like scores, rewards, thrills, etc. to a rather routine activity to encourage participation and engagement. This concept has been around for decades and has been used by top fortune 500 corporates to motivate, engage and enhance the productivity of their workforce. In the digital era, a typical gamification platform rewards the participants with points, badges, etc. to the employees for their achievements. These rewards are then displayed on a leaderboard where everyone can see the top performers and their scores. The winners get e-certificates, a pat on their back, and even tokens of cash rewards. This encourages healthy competition among the employees and motivates them to be more productive.


Why Gamify ?

Gamification is all about triggering human emotions – competitiveness, intrigue, excitement, exploration, curiosity, engagement, etc. Let us take the example of Nike’s fitness app, which is a standout gamified solution. It invokes our desire to stay fit and tries to overcome our laziness by tapping into our competitive spirit. The app lets us set a goal and measures our running statistics. Then it shows our progress towards the goal. That way it forces us to go out and run to meet the goal. The next day it compels us to beat our previous record. It connects us to social media and lets us compete with our friends. It is a win-win for both the company and the customer. The users get encouraged to run more and stay fit, while Nike gets to sell more fitness trackers. Gamification in the professional workplace adds the fun factor to the work and enhances employee motivation, engagement, and happiness. It can be applied to various workplace activities and goals for better productivity and faster adoption.

Gamification is usually a four step process :

  • Determine which KPIs to gamify
  • Break down the KPI into key activities
  • Build the rules of the game
  • Identify relevant applications to collect data and show scores
  • Integrate gamification with the KPI

Which KPI to Gamify ?

There are multiple KPIs or goals in any organization. The KPIs vary depending on the employee’s role, business line, and time. Here are some examples of key KPIs.

Organization-wide KPIs

  • Learning and skill improvement: Learning new skills, quiz, certification
  • Organization Change Management (OCM): Faster adoption to change, following best practices, be change champions
  • Compliance: On-time submission of timesheets, punctual to work, submitting claims on time
  • Employee wellness KPIs: Employee healthy habits like walking 10K steps per day, taking 7 hours of sleep, leaving the office on time, taking periodic breaks
  • Improving workplace culture: On-time to work, participating in events
  • Collaboration: Community services like blood donation, volunteering for initiatives
  • Recognitions: Recommending team members for reward, acknowledging the support from peers
  • Managerial parameters: Collecting 360 feedback, organizing team-building events

Business Line Specific KPIs

Many organizations have groups of people who perform a very specific activity. For example, store managers for a retail chain, nurses attending patients in a hospital, sales reps for a product manufacturer, a corporate trainer, a lineman fixing electric connection issues for a utility, a service technician for a cable company, etc. For such people performing a certain technical activity, gamification has to be integrated with the app that is used to manage that work. For example, a field technician of a cable TV organization is responsible for installing new connections, resolving customer issues, upselling, etc. They get their jobs in a mobile app and travel from one customer to another to execute their tasks. So his KPIs will include the number of orders executed per day, customer satisfaction review, less travel time and more work time, etc.

How to Design the Game  ?

After the KPIs are determined, the most critical part is designing the game elements. This comprises identifying key activities to be rewarded, the number of levels in a game, scoring reward mechanisms, reward options, etc.

Break it Down into Small Steps

KPI and gamification scores or badges may not have 1:1 mapping. A KPI is realized with a combination of multiple activities. These key granular activities should be turned into a game component. For example, the KPI for an org might be to reskill 50% of their workforce in a new tool. The reskilling is achieved with multiple steps –

  • Registering for the learning session
  • Attending training classes
  • Taking quizzes and assignments related to training
  • Volunteering to work on projects using the new tool
  • Taking external certification

Each (or some) of the above activities can be gamified and some point or badge etc. can be awarded to the person for each of the above points.

Build the Rules

Once the KPIs are broken down into key activities and the list of activities is selected for gamification, the next key thing is to build the rules of the game. Typical rules will include the following.

  • Determining the points for an achievement
  • Deciding on the number of levels
  • Special scores: For example, if an employee health goal attached to the fitness tracker data might ask the user to walk more steps than last week’s average to get this extra point. (this pushes the employees to beat a target)
  • Deciding the reward mechanisms: reward points, badges to be awarded after a certain number of points, discount coupons, cash vouchers, etc.
  • Communication frequency and template (how frequently scores are updated, emails are sent, etc.)


Scoring Mechanism – Multi-level Roll-up
After the rules of the games are built, the scoring logic will count the scores for each employee. The games mustn’t look too difficult to win, otherwise, it won’t be fun and people will not play. Hence for a certain activity, winners have to be identified at multiple levels – team level, group level, unit level, corporate level, etc. That way, employees know who they are competing with and they can see a winner around them in their team or group.

Integrating Gamification

Once the game is built it needs to be decided where the game elements like scores, badges, winners  can be displayed. There are four key places to achieve this.

  • A leaderboard in the relevant app
  • Corporate intranet, employee mobile app
  • Mainers and R&R
  • Other communication channels

In-App Leaderboard

Most KPIs can be easily associated with some apps. For example, the timeliness of timesheet submission is associated with the timesheet app. Similarly, hours spent learning a new skill can be tracked from the corporate learning app. Gamification has to be integrated with the relevant apps. These Apps should show a leaderboard describing the points and scores.

  • Timesheets
  • Leave system
  • Learning system
  • Quiz
  • Survey and feedback
  • HR systems
  • R&R
  • Business function and user group specific apps

Corporate Intranet Homepage, Employee Mobile App

Some KPIs are measured differently and may not have a matching front end. The typical example is “Swipe In – Swipe Out” data. Employees swipe in and out of the office using the card and the data is stored in the back end. There may not be a frequently used front end for displaying such data to the employees. Hence this data should be processed in the back end, a score should be calculated and displayed on the intranet homepage as a dashboard.

  • Swipe in hours
  • Fitness tracker
  • PC usage habits

Email Communications
Periodic emails containing the score, winners, next levels, etc. should be sent out to the team. The team members can be copied in the email, which will motivate both the winner and the teammates to push themselves. Shout out in the meetings and R&R sessions by the managers and corporate leaders can also be another way to communicate. The employees can be given reward points, gift vouchers, etc..

Last, but not the Least…
A true gamification experience should include elements of storytelling to describe the narrative. A shout-out in a team meeting or a 2 liner praise from a colleague or manager provides much more motivation than just giving scores and system-generated emails. So it is important to verbally reward or give a clap for the folks for their points.

Key Design Principles

Poorly designed gamification in the workplace can look like a form of micromanagement and it will defeat the entire purpose. The following are a few key points to ponder while gamifying a KPI.

  • Enjoy the game, not just the reward: The system should encourage the users to have the joy of playing (playing here practically means working productively)
  • Let them know who they are playing with: Winners have to be rewarded at multiple levels- team level, group level, unit level, corporate level, etc. That way, employees know who they are playing within their team
  • Reward players often: It is more important to give small rewards to many people than a large reward to a select few
  • UX matters: The aesthetics should be seamless while integrating the game components into the production apps
  • Easter eggs: Build elements of surprise. Say if you score 100 points in a day (which might require a continuous 1 hour of training), they will score 10 extra points.
  • Carrots, but not sticks : Pat them on the back for a good score around a KPI, but the game-score itself should not become criteria for evaluation
  • Let them not game the game: While designing the scoring logic, it is important to ensure that it does not get misused. The system should not allow the users to score points cheaply way. For example, a poorly designed gamification for employee collaboration solution might allow the user to score 10 points for submitting a simple survey about org initiatives, but might be rewarding the same 10 points for participating in an anchoring activity
  • Review the rules of the game: Periodically review the results of the solution. Check if the points need to be recalibrated


Corporate gamification maps achievable goals to attractive rewards and helps improve workplace productivity, harmony, learning, and engagement through healthy competition. Organizations can achieve their KPIs by designing game elements mapped to their business objectives. In the digital world, all scores are captured in real-time making it fun, addictive, and engaging. This also helps the leadership team get the real-time pulse of the organization. Gamification, when implemented properly, works as a great tool for businesses to achieve their objectives.

Author Details

Sambit Bisoi

Senior Technology Architect focused on Digital Experience, Enterprise Mobility, Digital Utility, Mobile Work Management, Field Service, Salesforce, Products and Platforms

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