Improve Organizational Productivity with Gamification

Picture your elementary school days. Your teacher has brought in a Costco sized batch of shaving cream for the class. She spreads the shaving cream on each of the desks as you and your classmates roll up your sleeves to “play”. While spreading the shaving cream all over the desks certainly was enjoyable, our teachers had an to ulterior motive as we found out later – we were cleaning the desks. By creating a game, our teachers were able to encourage us to actively participate in a task normally considered mundane. This is gamification.


Gamification is the process of taking typical elements of game playing, such as point scoring or ranking, and applying it to areas of activity in order to encourage engagement and participation. Companies have already been using gamification to encourage consumer engagement with varying levels of success. BJ Novak’s character on The Office, Ryan Howard, had the ill-conceived idea of adding a chatroom feature to the Dunder Mifflin website.

Conversely, Starbucks’s reward program within their app lures in customers with “Star streaks”, a promotion that has worked on me numerous times. With Star streaks, app users gain bonus stars for performing an action, i.e. purchasing a drink, several days in a row. On the third day, I often find myself going to Starbucks regardless of whether I want coffee. I just want the bonus stars.

These programs are incredibly effective at driving customer engagement. In the case of Starbucks, rewards members with the mobile app, although only representing 18% of Starbucks customers, were responsible for 36% of all of Starbucks sales in 2017.

Within an organization, gamification can also be used to encourage behavior. Human resource departments are starting to give employees “badges” for completing training or achieving verification. Companies are awarding points to different departments for compiling with certain initiatives. Firms are also encouraging friendly competition between employees by creating a company .


Traditionally leaderboards are used within departments, but the roadblock is comparing the performance of say an accountant with that of a marketer, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Leaderboards can even pose issues wit