As new technologies are developed to combine entertainment and information, gamification is the latest way in which companies are reenvisioning how employees and consumers engage with a product. Gamification is the usage of typical gaming elements and design features, such as scoring points, team competitions and winning objectives for nongame contexts. Utilizing gamification to add a sense of play to an experience leads to multiple advantages, such as improving user engagement, increasing user retention of information and boosting organizational productivity.
How Companies are Utilizing Gamification
A common example of gamification is advergames, which is the combination of gaming and advertisement, such as when companies utilize gaming elements like earning points or collecting badges as a part of a marketing design. Gamification can also be used for recruitment purposes, such as the U.S. Army’s usage of America’s Army, a series of military simulator games, as a recruitment tool. By gamifying the recruitment process, employers can make interviews more interactive through quizzes, tests, and quests for potential employees to complete.
Another advantage of using gamification in recruitment processes is to analyze how a potential employee operates in a simulated work environment, such as using games to represent challenges related to the position. An article from HR Technologist illustrates how the French postal service, Formaposte, used gamification to improve their recruitment process. In order to see how job candidates would handle daily challenges experienced in the life of a postman, Formaposte developed Jeur Facteur Academy, a game which required players to wake up early, educated them about common tasks given to Formaposte employees, and recorded their responses.
Companies like Verizon Wireless have seen success in using gamification to retain engagement, according to VentureBeat. After implementing game elements to their website, such as awarding visitors with points and badges after completing tasks, Verizon saw over half of their website visitors increase browsing time by 30%.
Gamification can also be utilized in employee training programs and is supported by research to improve the effectiveness of the training model. Recent research studies convey that gamifying the workplace is a method to boost employee productivity. In a survey published by TalentLMS in 2019, over 88% of respondents reported that gamification of workplace activities increased their happiness and productivity. Additionally, 83% of respondents who received gamified workplace training felt motivated, whereas 61% of respondents who did not receive gamified workplace training felt unmotivated and bored.
Augmented and Virtual Reality Take Gamification to the Next Level
Today, gaming elements such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been utilized in gamification to further improve a company’s user engagement, including employees and customers alike. AR is created by overlaying virtual image projections within the physical world and requires the viewer to look through a smartphone, tablet or glasses. In contrast, VR creates a fully immersive virtual experience by utilizing a programmed headset and goggles. Using AR and VR increases user engagement by further immersing them in the gamified experience.
Major companies such as the United Parcel Service (UPS), Exxon Mobil and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) have utilized VR gamification to improve employee skills or assist in training. Oftentimes employers use VR and AR to recreate common workplace scenarios, such as UPS truck drivers practicing driving in simulated urban environments. A notable example of using VR for training purposes is KFC’s “The Hard Way,” a VR escape room where employees must replicate a fried chicken recipe to escape successfully. While VRFocus describes this training program as “whacky,” the developers of the fried chicken-themed VR escape room from W+K Lodge note that it will teach new employees how to follow the KFC recipe in an entertaining way.
AR and VR gamification can also improve a company’s customer engagement, as it can transport the user in an alternate virtual reality to interact with products. One example of this is All Nippon Airways (ANA), the largest Japanese airline company, using VR to create a virtual tour of their new cabin designs. Using VR for this purpose allowed ANA to advertise their airline in a way that was memorable and accessible to a broader audience. Another example of using VR to engage audiences further is The New York Times’ partnership with Google Cardboard, a DIY VR viewer that requires only cardboard and the user’s smartphone. Through the Google Cardboard viewer and the NYT VR smartphone app, audiences can experience a new form of storytelling that fully visually immerses them within the narrative. Other significant companies expanding their customer experiences into the world of virtual reality include Progressive Insurance, Samsung, Oreo, Volvo and Wendy’s.
The gamification of marketing, advertising and employee training is creating a new frontier of unique user experiences. Combined with the immersive capabilities of AR and VR technology, gamified companies are developing ways to connect work and play in a newfound and engaging way.
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