Gamification is the application of game design and game mechanics in a work or social setting to motivate individuals and teams to perform specific and often repetitive actions. A core principle of KCS is rewarding and recognizing effort, and it has proven to be a successful combination when used with gamification to achieve this, both immediate and long term. In this article you will learn about the goals of reward and recognition, how to calculate the scoring and how to steer the content work with gamification.
Every week, companies across the globe struggle with the same challenges when implementing a Knowledge solution and Knowledge Centered Support (KCS). Once the processes are created and the tool is implemented, the actual day to day performance comes under scrutiny, with metrics being analyzed and meetings being held to determine (from the CIO) why knowledge ‘isn’t working’, and (from the CFO) where is the ROI?
Regardless of how perfect the project plan seemed, the first struggle is getting employees and customers to use the tool (and follow the processes). While the workflow may have seemed straightforward, and even easy to do, most employees, and most people, regard any sort of change as difficult, and will resist anything that could be perceived as adding to their workload. A well-engineered and fully integrated solution will make their lives easier, however, the reality is that it still requires their participation and investment, even to perform the routine, yet key steps.
The goal –immediate and long term reward
Companies turn to training, workshops and frequent communications to jumpstart new initiatives; however, a core principle of KCS is rewarding and recognizing effort. A well thought out KCS program will not only incentivize the employees to follow the Knowledge processes, but will also reward them for each behavior that ingrains the pattern needed into their daily work flow. Gamification formalizes and automates both immediate and long term reward and recognition so that employees (and later customers) will ‘buy in’ to the processes, which is critical for not only the program launch, but also the continued success.
How to calculate the scoring
The first steps in Gamification are to decide exactly what behavior you wish to incent. For example, when a knowledge program is in its first steps, the concentration is usually on searching, creating new articles and then editing existing articles. This focus will feed the knowledge solution with new information and ensure that articles are kept relevant by the continuous review and updating of existing articles as they are used. Because both of these are core functions of KCS (as covered in past blog posts – Meeting customer needs with KCS and Evolving content based on demand and usage), they merit equal scoring when calculating the participation rates.
Also, whether an organization decides to import existing knowledge articles or to start fresh and create all new articles as they are needed, the employees should be searching the knowledge solution for existing content before creating a new article. When it is found, it should be linked to the ticketing system (CRM or ITSM), and while the level of effort to link an article is minimal (because systems should be integrated, making one click linking possible), this should still be rewarded and counted.
A robust knowledge solution will automate the calculations needed, and display the results, both for individual employees on their own view of the tool, and also overall in a Top 10 type of display. This provides an immediate feedback every time an employee reaches a new milestone (first article created, tenth article created, etc.), and also fosters a sense of pride when the employee makes the leaderboard and is recognized (virtually) in front of everyone for their hard work.
Let gamification lead the content in the right direction
Once the program is established, gamification will ensure continuous improvement by periodically conducting a competition which will garner attention and refocus on the key performance objectives that are needed. For example, a company may notice that the quality of article is waning, and launch a 30 day quest in which Article Edits are scored at a higher point count, and all employees who achieve a certain number of Edits are awarded a virtual badge that is displayed when they log in, as well as a summary list that is displayed organization wide. In addition, many companies tally scores (automatically) for overall ‘points’ as well as a rolling 30 or 90 day total, so that a new employee may participate and be recognized as much as a seasoned veteran.
Gamification works, and more and more companies are turning to it, with an estimated 70% of Fortune 2000 companies planning to implement some form of it by 2015. Great organizations are embracing it, and seeing an increase in productivity and employee happiness, which in turns leads to greater ROI.