New Trend in Employee and Channel Incentive Programs: Gamification

by: Nichole Gunn June 6, 2011

Imagine being able to play work-related games and earn points and recognition in the process. Well, Incentive Magazine reports on a brand new trend in channel sales programs called gamification. The premise is the adaptation of online social gaming features in business applications.

Maritz Loyalty and Motivation, a sales and marketing services firm, recently formed a partnership with Bunchball, a gamification consulting company. The union was established so Maritz can utilize the new software platform, Nitro, which affords clients all-in-one-place solutions.

Maritz’ solution vice president of consumer loyalty Barry Kirk told the magazine, “In the employee recognition space, we will leverage the social aspects of gamification … and we will leverage competition in the sales and channel contexts."

While there are a number of channel sales and employee engagement programs that foster healthy competition via sales lead boards and productivity, there are many other avenues to utilize. One such avenue is to implement an initiative similar to FourSquare. This website offers ‘location-based social networking’ that affords prize badges for stopping by various locations. As the participant clicks onto certain sites, cities, events, or other featured locations, he earns a badge. The individual who visits a particular location the most receives a ‘mayorship,’ along with ‘big time’ recognition.

The concept behind FourSquare is flexible, allowing employers to adapt the program to earn points and badges attainable based on specific employee objectives, such as a certain productivity rate. The platform can be used individually and for team efforts. Also, channel partners would be afforded the opportunity of earning sales-related points; program websites could then feature the points or badges, providing added recognition.

Bunchball’s founder and chief product officer Rajat Paharia explained, “If you can get people to engage and participate in your program, you can drive meaningful business results."

The program’s structure generates constant participant motivation. In addition, other game-like features such as reaching and unlocking the next levels after accomplishing particular feats/tasks, and progress bars all add to an engaging employee incentive.

Recognition, along with real-time validation provides the participants with strong motivation to achieve objectives. In addition to this, businesses have the capability of tracking activity via lead boards and the option of providing their own awards for the accomplishment of set objectives. The additional rewards earned might be points that could be redeemable toward tangible rewards.

Paharia realizes the potential these programs can have in the business world, “Game designers have known for years how to engage players, encourage meaningful participation and drive fanatical loyalty.” He adds that Bunchball is excited to bring “game mechanics to the customer loyalty and employee incentive space."


About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.