According to a recent Gallup study, spanning over 142 countries, only 13% of the active workforce is engaged at the workplace. Most shockingly, actively disengaged employees outnumber actively engaged employees by a ratio of 2:1. The effects are only all to visible on both micro and macro levels. Chances are, if you turn your head to either side, you will most likely see an actively disengaged member of the workforce. Thus, before starting amazingly expensive and externally focused marketing programs, you might want to look at engaging your own employees at the same time. Little tricks can help, as will be shown later.
Whilst there are numerous reasons for the continuous increase of disengaged employees, such as questionable hiring practices, inadequately trained managers for leadership positions or organisational politics, a common denominator found across many organisations is the focus on extrinsic motivation; or in other words outdated incentivisation structures.
The truth about motivation
The following clip, provides an interesting dive into sources of motivation and how current organisational performance management systems and therefore incentive systems, fail to acknowledge the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.
Source: Daniel Pink, The surprising truth about what really motivates us
If you have made it thus far, you have learned, that it is hard to almost impossible to incentivize creative or intellectual tasks with monetary rewards. In other words the reward structure does not fit the underlying motivational driver.
With the ongoing shift from a labor centric to a knowhow centric workforce, it is inevitable for organisations to change incentive systems to account for the increase in intrinsic stimuli needed.
Workplace Gamification to account for a shift in motivational drivers
To quote Dr. Stuart Brown, “Play is not the opposite of work. Instead, think of play as being at the root of gamification and when done well, people can engage in playful activities and still do business at the same time.” Workplace Gamification combines motivational theory with game techniques and design principles to engage employees in new ways.
Why is it that Angry Birds, a popular smartphone game, has been downloaded over one billion times, thus by almost 100% of the smartphone population with no incentive whatsoever. People seem to find time to play games in all walks of life which, according to Wharton Professor Kevin Werbach, is attributed to their inherent intrinsic motivational force paired with a positive neuro stimulus, also known as fun. Extracting the learning from years of digital game developments lead to the birth of a new practice called gamification, which is applying game mechanics and game design techniques to non-gaming environment, such as the workplace. Some public examples of applied game mechanics are the LinkedIn profile progress bar, which lead to a large increase in user profile completion or widely used loyalty programs, building on status, ranks and points.