Improving Employee Engagement & Retention with Gamification

Motivating employees and offering real-time feedback

cashier with customer

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Being engaged with one’s work is what keeps people productive and happy with their jobs, but it can be difficult to measure employee engagement--and it can also be difficult to find ways to boost it. Employees who aren’t engaged with their work may be likely to look for new jobs more than employees who are, and they can cost c-stores a lot of money in lost productivity.

Employee engagement is also a key component of customer satisfaction—if employees are engaged with their work, they’re more likely to be interested in the customer’s experience and making sure it’s a good one.

Proven ways to track employee engagement include surveying current employees with anonymous questionnaires, monitoring turnover and conducting detailed exit interviews when people leave the company—this allows management to determine what the pain points are within an organization.

However, to boost employee engagement, which can help improve retention figures, some retailers now are implementing gamification strategies.

How gamification keeps employees engaged

Gamification is becoming an increasingly popular way for employers to keep their employees engaged without having to offer tangible rewards such as gift cards or monetary bonuses. While effective motivators, those rewards must continually increase to keep working, as people become accustomed to the reward after a certain time period.

Gamification doesn’t necessarily mean turning work into an actual game, however. It can be as simple as recording a cashier’s checkout time and letting them know with a red or green light whether they made a time goal—if they didn’t, they might work faster next time. Gamification relies on the idea that workers are achievement-minded, and gets them into a mode where they want to “beat” the game (in this case, beating the time to check someone out at a cash register).

In other words, gamification pulls concepts from games and applies them to the workplace. Loyalty programs and behavioral rewards/economics (such as a green light when the goal is met), for instance, drive employee behavior to be better.

With gamification, performance feedback is offered up to the minute, allowing employees to get a better sense of how they’re doing overall.

And when they know they’re doing a good job, they may be more likely to continue doing great work and not seek other opportunities. Feedback and the rewards systems implemented with gamification tactics help employees stay satisfied with their jobs, which can increase retention rates.

One thing that’s important to note, however, is that studies have found competition against colleagues can harm morale, even though it’s technically a gamification strategy. Instead, the gamification strategies should be molded so that employees are only working to complete personal goals or check off certain achievements—eliminating competition among coworkers and keeping the overall end goal more productive and positive.