Gamification – The Modern Day Performance Appraisal

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According to a Forbes article by Eric Jackson, two of the reasons why performance appraisals are done wrong by bosses are “No pats on the back” and “No recognition for doing the work of 3 people”. This is a problem that is plaguing most businesses today, especially when organizations start to cut headcount and employees are asked to take on more and more work. In the last year, there has been a growing trend towards “Gamification”. Gamification? Yes, Gamification. The process of adding game-like features to performance reviews such as challenges, levels, leaderboards, and badges.

You may be asking yourself, how does turning my office into a videogame help improve employee performance and the actual performance appraisal. Well, the gamification of your performance reviews fits naturally with your entire employee feedback process. Employees may feel like they never get a pat on the back, but adding gamification makes it easier for both bosses and peers to quickly give them a “pat on the back” that is more public. If the “pat on the back” is visible to the entire company, through a badge or some other accolade, it can be even more effective than a private message.

performance review badges gamification
Additionally, if you have an employee who’s doing the work of three people, you can quickly give them accolades through the use of badges. Come review time, you’ll have a complete online record of all of their achievements and tasks completed, and you’ll even have an understanding of how well that employee worked with their peers from the number of badges they’ve received.

While the gamification of performance reviews, may seem like a simple plug and play (buy the software and watch it work), you have to take into account that employees need to buy into it first. If you’re looking to apply gamification to your performance reviews, here are 5 simple steps to help you get started.

  1. Use measurable goals – encourage specific behaviors. If you want your employees to learn about your products or services, give them awards for attending that optional product webinar.
  2. Focus on things employees already want to do – The best way to get buy-in for any gamification of your performance appraisals is to reward employees for a behavior that’s already happening. Are some sales people hitting 50 outbound calls in a day while others are not? Maybe try rewarding those hitting 50 with a badge, and see if it pushes those other salespeople to move from 40-45 outbound calls to hit that big 50.
  3. Measure the change in performance – before you implement any sort of gamification to your employee performance, make sure to create a baseline to measure the increase (or decrease) in performance.
  4. Reward incremental progress – Don’t just focus on the big accomplishments. Every project will involve multiple steps and milestones. So, try rewarding your employees for making incremental progress towards the overall goal to encourage progress.
  5. Want to get the most out of gamification? Make it Social! – Using gamification is meant to encourage employees to give each other public accolades, so promoting it through an open environment will allow employees to share their accomplishments and badges to give them more bragging rights for their achievements. By publicizing accomplishments other employees are driven to try harder to collaborate more effectively to get more badges.
  6. Overall, the gamification of performance reviews can help increase your employees engagement and motivation. Allowing you to have your employees strive harder to unlock new badges and receive more accolades for their hard work. By using gamification you change the employee review process by adding a fun game-like element that also lets you track actual performance and collect more information regarding your employees actual performance than from the standard 180 or 360 degree performance review.