“Either I’m going to kill myself or turn this into a game.” I’m sure we can all relate to game designer Jane McGonigal’s words here. When you’re stuck in a monotonous task, time slows, your head aches, and reality feels pointless. In McGonigal’s book, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Change the World, she states, “Compared with games, reality is hard to get into. Games motivate us to participate more fully in whatever we’re doing.”
McGonigal speaks a lot about alternate reality games (ARGs), which are games you play in real life, not a digital environment. She talks specifically about an ARG called Chore Wars. It’s a chore management system that helps you keep track of housework and assign points to different tasks. The users are encouraged to give prizes to the top scorers, such as allowances if you’re playing with kids, coffee, candy, anything really. One of the players reported, “I live in a house in London with one other girl and six guys. A lot of times, I’m the only one tidying up, which was driving me slowly insane. I set up an account last night, and set some ‘adventures,’ and when I got up this morning everyone in the house was cleaning. I honestly could not believe what I was seeing. All we had to do is make it a competition! Now the guys are obsessed with beating each other!”
We encourage companies to use a leaderboard as a way to keep traffic of their employees success on social media, as well as providing prizes to the highest scorers, making the whole experience into more of a competition.
There are so many advantages to making seemingly mundane tasks into a competition. First off is clarity. You now have unbiased, hard facts on the effectiveness of your employee advocacy campaign. Secondly, the competition helps boost your team. They gain recognition for the hard work that they have been doing, spreading your company’s message, as well as giving them a ‘quest’ and something to master, which leads to fulfillment and well-being.
It’s also a great way to build team morale. Employees have a sense of direction and something to strive for, and that thing that they’re striving for isn’t exactly spelled out, giving them a host of options and a level of creativity not typically found in a certain kind of professional environment.
Gamifying your employee advocacy program is a great way to encourage your employees to share across social media. You’ll be spreading your message and having a good time while you’re at it. That’s a winning combination.
Originally published on Forbes and reprinted with permission.