February 13th, 2019 By Steve Mooney
The whole thing snuck up on me – our corporate global challenge. And it’s not the first time that we’ve participated in one. Certainly not my first rodeo. And yet, this one has me engaged in a way that I would not have predicted. So much that it leads me to think that in the future, the best way to engage your employees is to gamify the experience.
I’m on a team of seven, and our agency has over sixty teams signed-up. For the next one hundred days, we’re tracking our steps and comparing workouts. We’re talking about it. We’re embracing our teams. We’re competing.
Consider companies that rank highest for employee engagement. It’s no surprise that they understand the importance of teams and gamification. Google, ranked number 1 for best company culture in 2017, has many perks.1 One is a unique and active way of engaging its employees – through pedaling a seven person tricycle! Used often for transportation around the Google campus or even for an outdoor meeting, the Conference Bike is a team-building exercise that promotes socialization and collaboration.2 One driver, seven riders. The team that plays together, stays together.
When thinking about our global challenge at Jack, I’m struck by how important this notion of challenge is, and how competitive I am. I’m constantly looking for how I stack up against everyone else, continually scanning the leaderboard. I quickly learn that my performance is important, but only in the context of the team. We can win. I can’t. Love it!
Competition is an effective way to invigorate your employee base. As I scan the top companies for culture and employee engagement, Blizzard Entertainment appears. They’ve turned eSports into successful ways to engage their own people. Gaming isn’t going to be an option for younger and future generations; it’s going to be the oxygen that feeds them. Anyone who has a teenager knows what I’m talking about. And Blizzard is leading the way with its Level Up! engagement culture.3
At Blizzard, Gameplay First (one of their eight core values), translates across every aspect of the business. And at Google, during an interview you might be asked how many golf balls fit in school bus.4 Puzzles, challenges and games — all simple ways to improve employee retention — increase passion for your brand and ultimately improve productivity.
Future of engagement
“In the next five years, more people will watch eSports than the Super Bowl,” declares my son as our New England Patriots bank their sixth championship. He’s twenty. A gamer. And he’s not wrong. 100,000 fans at one time have gathered in arenas to watch various finals of eSports. This is real.
Let’s face it. Gen Z is live streaming the future of engagement. So it comes as no surprise that a gaming company leads with it. I don’t have to look any further than my own kids to understand this phenomenon; they are the first digital natives who don’t see a distinction between on-line and off-line – “It’s just life Dad.” So it also comes as no surprise when companies that embrace this phenomenon outperform their peers.
59,762 steps in a day and what am I thinking? We can win!!!
1 Comparably. (2017, November 30). Best places to work 2017. Retrieved February 5, 2019 from https://www.comparably.com/blog/best-places-to-work-competition/
2 ConferenceBike. (2017, March 14). Inside the Cycleplex – The Weird, Wild World of Google Bikes – Wired. Retrieved February 5, 2019 from http://www.conferencebike.com/inside-the-cycleplex-conference-bike/
3 Indeed. Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved February 11, 2019 from https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Blizzard-Entertainment/about
4 Business Insider. (2009, November 5). Answers to 15 Google Interview Questions That Will Make You Feel Stupid. Retrieved February 5, 2019 from https://www.businessinsider.com/answers-to-15-google-interview-questions-that-will-make-you-feel-stupid-2009-11