Gain greater staff engagement on the service desk with gamification

OVUM VIEW

Summary

Gamification is the transfer to the world of work of practices undertaken when playing games. It can bring real benefits to the enterprise, adding new incentive, and a sense of healthy competitiveness that inspires employees to work at an optimal level. In implementing gamification techniques, the best approach for service desks is to first adopt those that provide immediate benefit without further stretching resources.

Reporting is a key component of gamification. Although a points system may be effective, tracking the points may prove overly time-consuming. Service desks should look at the reports they already use on a regular basis, and apply gamification incentives to them. This could further motivate staff and increase their productivity, and demonstrates innovative thinking by improving operations without excessive costs.

Actively engaging the user

Since I began gaming at eight years old I have spent an estimated 5200 hours actively engaged in the hobby. The key words here are “actively engaged.” Gamification can promote engagement among employees, which is why it is increasingly provoking interest from enterprises, and the benefits of this engagement can include improved productivity, staff retention, and engagement.

When we are “in the flow” we are working at our optimal level: we are energized, focused, and fully involved in what we are doing. We lose track of time, and the world around us becomes a blur. We are committed to achieving the task or resolving the problem before us. Imagine a workforce of employees engaged at this level, driven by intrinsic rewards. Keeping employees engaged, motivated, and able to contribute to the overall vision of the organization is a challenge faced by all managers. If used effectively, gamification can help with this challenge.

Gamification techniques can help better engage service desk staff

Rewarding staff and providing them with regular feedback are valuable practices in improving staff morale and retention. Traditionally, rewards are extrinsic, and usually financial (including pay rises and bonuses). In a tough financial climate, however, such rewards can be difficult to justify. IT departments must therefore look at other methods by which they can reward employees, and thereby improve motivation and reduce staff churn. Gamification is one such method.

Practical examples of where to apply gamification techniques

Positive feedback given in one-to-ones and team meetings is valuable in motivating and empowering staff. Employees are rewarded for actions they have undertaken, even if the reward is only recognition from their line manager. Such rewards, and the emotions that are tied to them, help motivate employees to better themselves in the hope of more of the same at their next meeting.

Gamification uses these concepts of reward and feedback and delivers them on a more consistent basis, rewarding staff for every task they complete. Points-based reward systems allow staff to gain points for every task they undertake, from raising an incident or request to updating a knowledgebase article. Issuing points increases employees’ awareness of their goals, and motivates them to consistently improve.

Another approach is based on a system of frequent rewards. Managers could issue certificates at the end of shifts to the employee who resolved the most calls. The employee with the most certificates in a month could then be rewarded with a further incentive such as a gift voucher. This method of reward would be relatively easy to manage, as reports providing information on call resolution are widely available.

APPENDIX

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