Work should be fun. And if it’s not, there’s a fix for it: make the work more like a game.The idea is called “gamification” and it’s becoming the next big thing for the office. For good reason.
Think of all the millions of people that play World of Warcraft or Eve Online. “When someone plays a massive multiplayer online game, they are developing leadership skills useful in the workplace,” says Jeanne Meister co-founder of HR research firm Future Workplace and co-author of the book The 2020 Workplace.
“Games help you develop the types of skills you’ll need ot be successful in the future workplace: collaboration, negotiating, influencing, management of virtual teams,” she says.
Games are fun, addictive, challenging and, done right, tap into our competitive sides that make us want to work harder.
In other words, games are good for you, Meister says.
Gamification is particularly useful in a couple of ways.
Recruiting: Companies are experimenting with games on Facebook to recruit new hires. For example, about a year ago Marriott launched the My Marriott Hotel game on Facebook, patterned after Farmville and Cityville. Gamers create their own restaurant and hotel where they buy equipment, hire and train employees. They earn points for happy customers and lose points for bad service. Those who are good at the game are encouraged to apply for some of the company’s 50,000 job openings worldwide.
Training: Turning corporate training into games is a no brainer. Meister travels around giving seminars. She used to send participants reading material to prep for her classes. Recently, she converted that stuff into a game on her web site using a tool from Badgeville.com. The first two participants in each class to finish the game, win a gift card. Instead of participants blowing off the reading assignment, now they race to finish it.Making dull jobs fun: The Royal Observatory Greenwich needed to analyse over 100,000 images of solar storms, but sifting through these to find the important ones was a dull chore for scientists, reports the Gamification blog. So they tapped into an army of citizen volunteers willing to help. But these volunteers needed training to know what to look for. So they created a game called My Solar Stormwatch. As volunteers gained knowledge to interpret the images, they unlocked new, harder levels of the game. Everyone won.
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